It only took a few hours for President Barack Obama to go back on his executive order concerning the imposition of stricter limits on lobbyists that wish to work for the White House, and CNN's Campbell Brown is quite displeased.
Not only did she begin Friday's "No Bias, No Bull" voicing her disgust about "the Obama administration now [wanting] a waiver to its own rule," but she also wrote a commentary about the matter which was published at CNN.com later that evening.
For what it's worth Campbell, I'm impressed (video and transcript below the fold, h/t NB reader Patrick, file photo):
While most mainstream media outlets continue to ignore racist statements made by Obama economic adviser Robert Reich two weeks ago, CNN's Lou Dobbs not only played them for his viewers Friday, but also pointed out the absurdity of the comments as well as the shameful way the press boycotted them.
Despite Reich's January 7 remarks about stimulus spending and "white male construction workers" having been revealed Thursday morning by a number of conservative websites including NewsBusters, Dobbs was one of the few "journalists" who seemed offended enough about what was said to shed some light on the subject (video embedded below the fold courtesy our dear friend MsUnderestimated):
Sean Hannity debuted his “Media Mash” segment Friday night on his FNC show with NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham as the guest expert to comment on a series of clips, most familiar to NB readers, of the most sycophantic inaugural coverage. Under the “Morning Bias” heading, Hannity ran a bunch of sappy pro-Obama clips from Tuesday coverage, all of which NewsBusters has showcased:
ABC and CBS on Friday night delivered glowing assessments of President Barack Obama's first three days in office, with ABC's George Stephanopoulos declaring “this first week was disciplined and strategic” enabling “sweeping change.” Fill-in anchor Diane Sawyer pronounced: “Change the tone and change it at warp speed.” CBS's Bob Schieffer relayed how “I think he's off to a very good start” and marveled at how -- given “the severity of the problems” -- any “human” could “live up to the expectations,” yet Obama “has laid out an ambitious program” and by closing Guantanamo and deciding to “outlaw torture” he “has told the world that we will practice what we preach.”
Admiring how Obama's discipline is meant to demonstrate he's “moving on all fronts to bring change,” Stephanopoulos trumpeted how on day one and day two he's used executive orders to bring “sweeping change to open government,” “sweeping change in foreign policy” and “then day three, today, two promises kept.”
In a rare instance of critical coverage of the Obama administration on Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman about Obama’s decision to close Guantanamo Bay: "I'm not sure if you've seen the New York Times this morning. On the front page there is an article that reveals that a terror suspect released from Guantanamo a few months ago...is now heading up Al Qaeda in Yemen. I'm wondering if this makes you less inclined Representative Harman, to support closing down the prison?"
Harman actually doubted the credibility of the usually left-wing newspaper: "Not at all. Obviously,if that allegation is true and if this fellow has now become a key Al Qaeda operative, that's shocking and disappointing." Harman went on to argue: "But there is really no justification, and there was no justification, for disappearing people in a place that was located offshore America so it was outside the reach of U.S. law. As President Obama said two days ago, there's a false choice between our safety and our values." Rodriguez then turned to Republican Congressman Peter Hoekstra: "It all sounds great, but Representative Hoekstra you said yesterday that's placing 'hope ahead of reality,' right?"
"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause."
Such was ominously stated by the fictional character Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) in "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith" as she watched Emperor Palpatine tell a cheering Senate that he had taken all power away from them to form a Galactic Empire (h/t NBer bradbenj5952).
As the film was released in May 2005 shortly after George W. Bush's second inauguration, there were many in the media who saw a parallel between the events depicted and what was going on in our nation.
Yet, if you watch this scene now, given what transpired during the presidential campaign last year and the cheering masses at Tuesday's inauguration, mightn't this have been a rather prescient foreshadowing of events in the future (video embedded below the fold):
As a search of whitehouse.gov caches through the site archive.org shows, the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations often featured transcripts of their daily press briefings easily accessible on the Web site. In the case of the Bush administration, this writer can attest that transcripts of daily briefings often appeared within a few hours after having concluded.
But, as the Obama White House page declares, "Change Has Come to America," with the new administration failing to have a place on the White House Web page for daily press briefings.
The redesigned Web home for the Obama administration went live at noon on Tuesday, and contains a "Briefing Room" page that contains seven sections, including a blog, a weekly video address archive, and an archive for press pool reports, but no section for the daily press briefings.
What's more, the press pool reports section as of Friday at 10:45 a.m. ET remains empty and may ultimately end up being scrapped. As Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reported yesterday on the paper's Web site, the White House press corps is rather possessive of its pool reports and won't make them available to the White House for publication:
Conservative author Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity's former liberal co-host Alan Colmes were Dr. Phil's guests Thursday, and an astounding thing happened: the crowd seemed to like Coulter more than Colmes.
I kid you not.
The topics up for discussion were Barack Obama, the presidential campaign, and the media, and whenever Coulter said anything, the crowd applauded loudly.
Maybe even more delicious when Dr. Phil introduced former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan the audience booed (video embedded below the fold courtesy our dear friend MsUnderestimated, file photo):
CNN's Campbell Brown on Thursday night framed a panel segment around Rush Limbaugh's comment that he wishes President Obama will fail if success means implementing socialist policies, a remark she characterized as matching his usual “outrageous” outbursts and which “has a lot of people crying foul out there.” Guest Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine and the former political director at ABC News, then denounced Limbaugh as “off-key” from the “mainstream media” and “congressional Republicans” -- as it that's a bad thing -- and thus declared expressing the view “a big mistake.”
Brown played a clip of Rush Limbaugh telling FNC's Sean Hannity that he wants President Obama to fail, as Limbaugh wondered: “If his agenda is a far-left, collectivism -- some people say socialism -- as a conservative...why would I want socialism to succeed?” As if that were some sort of over the line concept, Brown asserted “outrageous [is] Limbaugh's stock and trade, but this has a lot of people crying foul out there.”
A lot of people in what Limbaugh dubs the “drive-by” media, apparently, as Halperin scolded Limbaugh for straying from the establishment's party line:
Thursday’s CBS Early Show focused on an important aspect of the Obama Administration as co-host Julie Chen declared: "...in a meeting yesterday with senior White House staffers, President Obama showed a lot of love. That's right. The president is a man hugger. We counted nine man-to-man hugs." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez added: "Nothing wrong with that."
Chen then asked co-host Harry Smith: "Man of the show, Harry, how do you feel about the man hug?" Smith replied: "I think it's real." Rodriguez asked Smith: "Did he [Obama] ever man hug you?" Smith then recounted: "You know, I got one about a year ago in Wilmington, North Carolina. We were waiting for an interview, we had, you know, really great access. And he came in -- I have never told this story on the air before -- he came in, and he gives me one of these [Smith grasped Rodriguez’s hand and place his other hand on top]...and he says, ‘Harry Smith, how you doing, my brother?’" Rodriguez was touched: "Awww...He had you."
The New York Times celebrated Obama's presidency Inauguration Night at a hip location in the already painfully hip Lower East Side of Manhattan. Reid Pillifant, blogging for the New York Observer, filed the day after Tuesday night's NYT party at the New Museum on the Bowery, a Twitter-ific shindig co-sponsored by Facebook:
Last night at the New Museum on the Bowery, a crowd of left-behind New Yorkers gathered to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama. The party, sponsored by The New York Times, attracted not the hoped-for celebrities (it was rumored that Moby, Dave Matthews, andIsaac Mizrahi would be attending), but rather the crowd of young Internet scenesters who seem to show up, like moths to a flame, at every media open bar party in town (who knows how long that gravy train will last?)
Pillifant noticed the Times had its own take on Obama's famous "O" emblem:
On Wednesday, part one of Sean Hannity's interview with Rush Limbaugh was aired on the Fox News Channel, and amongst other things, they discussed a term the conservative talk radio host coined years ago:
The Drive-By Media. It's a like a drive-by shooter except the microphones are the guns, and they drive into groups of people they report a bunch of totally wrong libelous stuff about people. They create a giant mess. Sometimes people get really harmed. They go out and try to destroy people's careers. Then they get in the convertible, head on down the road and do it all over again, while people like you and me are left to clean up the mess with the truth. So I call them the Drive-By Media.
As Hannity chuckled, Limbaugh elaborated (partial video embedded below the fold, full transcript and video available here):
A rather astounding statement was made a few weeks ago by an economic adviser to Barack Obama that went completely ignored by America's press: "I am concerned, as I'm sure many of you are, that these jobs [hopefully being created by government spending] not simply go to high skilled people who are already professionals or to white male construction workers."
Such was uttered by Robert Reich, the former Clinton Administration Secretary of Labor, during a January 7 House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee meeting attended by high-ranking Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Despite huge attention given this hearing from a wide range of press outlets not one mentioned Reich's racist comments (video and partial transcript below the fold):
ABC's World News on Wednesday night used limited news time to feature a silly piece with soundbites from naive kids around the world sputtering beauty pageant-like simplicities about how President Barack Obama will bring “world peace” and inspires them to say “yes, we can!” Reporter Jim Sciutto touted how “we heard children around the world expressing hope and fascination with the new American President.” Viewers heard a boy in Russia yearn for “peace, democracy and friendship” and a girl in the United Arab Emirates assert “he's interested in giving peace to the world and stopping wars,” all before a boy from Indonesia promised: “He's going to change the world and make world peace.” From Gaza, a kid hoped Obama will “prevent Israel from attacking us.”
From Pakistan, Sciutto relayed, “hope for an American President with a Muslim father.” A boy then wished “he can make the citizens of the U.S. recognize that we, not all Muslims are terrorists and not all terrorists are Muslims.” And what story on foreign reaction would be complete without input from France? A French girl: “I think that he may stop the war in Iraq. At least I hope he will.”
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Harry Smith aired an interview he did with photojournalist Scout Tufankjian, who has followed Barack Obama since 2006: "Two years and some one million photographs later, Tufankjian's first book, 'Yes We Can.' She was the only independent photojournalist to cover the Obama campaign from start to finish."
Smith asked Tufankjian: "And had you ever met anybody like him before?" Tufankjian responded: "No.You can be so sick of him, and, you know, having heard the same speech and you're tired, you haven't slept, and I haven't seen my boyfriend in six weeks, and I haven't had a decent meal in ages, and I'm crabby and I'm angry and he smiles at you and it just kind of knocks you over."
Tufankjian also explained her motivation for the book: "For people, years from now, I want them to see this is -- this is what this moment in history was like this is how it felt. This is how I saw it...[Obama supporters] thought this guy's going to be president, he's going to change my life, he's going to change my kids' life, he is going to change the country."
On Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Shelia Macvicar declared: "Playing on television sets around the world, the inauguration of this U.S. president became an extraordinary global event. From his father's ancestral homeland in Kenya, where celebration mixed with expectation...Newborn babies now bear the names of the first couple, Barack and Michelle."
From there, Macvicar went to France: "In the splendor of a grand hall in Paris, emotion overwhelmed." One French woman exclaimed: "Martin Luther King say that we shall overcome. We did today." Finally, to the Middle East: "In Gaza, they've seen presidents come and go and not much change, but, still, maybe this really is something new." A Palestinian man explained: "This is good. This is what we are looking for." Macvicar concluded: "As this president begins work, he has been greeted with an abundance of good will, and the burden of even greater expectations."
Following Macvicar’s report, co-host Julie Chen described a trip to Paris just prior to the election: "That was on October 31st. Everyone I ran into on the trip, they were calling it then the Obama election. Not the election, the Obama election." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Well, we were very fortunate yesterday, because both of us were on the Mall during the -- during the speech and during the swearing in and thereafter. And it really -- I have to say it was one of -- a remarkable experience." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez also chimed in: "Yeah. People were jumping up and down, weeping, strangers embracing. It was a beautiful thing."
While she pronounced his prayer as a "good job" for being generally non-offensive and inclusive-sounding, Newsweek's Lisa Miller -- who earlier this month suggested ditching inaugural prayers altogether -- was nagged by the "lingering question" that "remains" from the way evangelical pastor Rick Warren closed his inauguration ceremony invocation in the name of Jesus:
Warren's conservative theology teaches him that there is one path to God, and that is Jesus. So when he wraps his great big arms around Muslims and Jews (and homosexuals), does he really believe there's hope for us? Or is he just being nice?
Miller, as a religion reporter, should know better. Yes -- the evangelical Christian would answer -- there is hope for everyone who puts his or her hope in Christ alone, and that's why preachers like Rick Warren preach the Gospel of salvation in Christ alone. They truly believe it, and as such, it's not nice to keep the good news of salvation and peace with God to one's self for fear of the niceness cops of the media world.
At the end of Wednesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reflected on Barack Obama’s inauguration: "Politics, and patriotism, and the presidency. It is the place where the secular and the religious merge. And one of the sacraments of our national religion is the inauguration...So it was that as many as 2 million pilgrims made their way to Washington and the Mall to witness this most sacred event."
Smith continued to use religious language throughout the report: "As the oath was recited, as the speech was delivered...emotions were laid bear. Tears were shed...An inauguration is a renewal of faith...A confirmation that the republic, and our belief in it, endures."
Smith later concluded the segment by hoping: "And the agenda and the problems, you just hope that some of the momentum, some of the inspiration of yesterday, can continue to filter through the culture." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez agreed: "I thought the same thing. I was standing there with everyone, thinking back to the last time that I was on the Mall watching an inauguration. It was 1989 and I was a college student here in Washington. And there I was yesterday, older, not quite as bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and yet, more optimistic, because you couldn't help but get caught up in that euphoria and that optimism and that hope. And waking up this morning, you just hope, you know, you have your fingers crossed that it continues."
On Monday's inaugural edition of the "NBC Nightly News," well known Obama fan Lee Cowan made no effort to restrain his fawning over the new president, likening the experience of watching the Democrat's speech to being in a "political cathedral." After featuring clips of people viewing the address all over the country, Cowan cooed, "In the end, though, it really didn't matter where you were as long as you weren't alone." (audio excerpt available here)
He added, "Just ordinary street corners like this one here in Chicago fell silent, almost becoming a political cathedral of sorts." Cowan, the man who once announced that covering Barack Obama made his "knees quake," closed the segment by rhapsodizing, "And almost everyone was making that mental scrapbook, noting the time and place where they were on this day and, perhaps, shared a collective tear." It was, he said, "An event meant to be remembered and one meant to be shared."
It seems inaugural attendees weren't the only ones cheerful about George W. Bush's departure from Washington, D.C., Tuesday, for only the Fox News Channel aired a live broadcast of the homecoming ceremony held in Midland, Texas, for our 43rd President.
The rest of the networks, however, did not see the Bush address as news fit to broadcast. At 6:40 p.m. EST, MSNBC was in the middle of "Hardball," with host Chris Matthews and guests batting around the meaning of Obama's swearing-in. CNN was carrying live ongoing coverage of the final moments of the inaugural parade, with the Obamas beaming from the White House reviewing stand.
Too bad, for it might have been one of his finest speeches ever (video embedded below the fold):
It appears the good folks at Comedy Central noticed the same thing that many on the right have been saying for many months: Barack Obama's vision of hope and change when distilled down is actually nothing new.
In fact, according to "Daily Show" host Jon Stewart, parts of Obama's inaugural address Tuesday sounded like what George W. Bush has been telling the nation for eight years.
Strap yourselves in tightly, for Stewart in the video embedded below the fold went where no Obama-loving media member would dare (h/t our dear friend MsUnderestimated):
NBC's Andrea Mitchell encapsulated the veneration for Barack Obama and what his inauguration means to the media elite as she began a Tuesday NBC Nightly News story about her day watching the festivities: “It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today, even for those of us who were lucky enough to have a very close up front view.” Showing a clip of the new President saying “I, Barack Hussein Obama, do solemnly swear,” Mitchell proudly trumpeted: “His very name opening doors, as did his speech, to the rest of the world.” And while most saw a sea of people waving flags, Mitchell saw something more meaningful for Obama, though it reflected more about her: “The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the mall seemed like stars shining back at him.”
She also touted “the final blessing from a civil rights icon, the Reverend Joseph Lowery, changing the tones of official Washington,” but his prayer hardly saw a unified nation. In the soundbite she aired, he lectured the American people: “We ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man, and when white will embrace what is right.”
Nightline's slug for its Tuesday night story about President Obama's inauguration: “America the Beautiful.”
With that iconic song title on screen over images of Barack Obama being sworn in as President, President Obama and Michelle Obama walking during the parade and views of the crowd, at the top of the program ABC's Terry Moran plugged a segment:
America the Beautiful: The nation and the world pause to witness an extraordinary milestone as nearly two million people come together to hail the new chief and celebrate an era of change.
Offering the most hyperbolic take of the night on the crowds who attended President Obama's inauguration, on World News ABC's Bill Weir delighted in wondering “can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer?” He decided it can indeed since “never have so many people shivered so long with such joy” while “from above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.” Weir was certainly awed.
Meanwhile, over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams must have been as awed as those seagulls since he contended he could “feel” the masses watching from around the nation: “While it was unfolding today here in Washington, you could feel the millions around the country who were watching it all.”
Reflecting on the mood of the crowd at Barack Obama's Inauguration, NBC's Tom Brokaw likened it to when he was present for the fall of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. During NBC's live coverage of Obama's swearing-in on Tuesday, Brokaw declared, "It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution," and while Brokaw noted "a communist regime," was not being overthrown he pointed out, "an unpopular president is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment." [audio available here]
The following Brokaw blurb was aired at around 10:02am EST on NBC's January 20 pre-Inaugural speech coverage:
There's no pleasing the greeniacs, I suppose. Eco-evangelism knows no holiday as environmentalists take aim at the buses ferrying caravans of Obama fans to the swearing-in.
Perhaps showing that the only criticism of Obama the print media finds worthy of printing is mild critiques from the left, today's "Inauguration Watch" digest in the Washington Post has the story in a 5-paragraph squib printed on page B4:
Environmental advocates are concerned about the impact on air quality caused by the thousands of buses that are descending on Washington.
Clean Air Watch Director Frank O'Donnell said the "virtual armada of diesel buses" rolling into town might actually have a positive impact. Black clouds of soot might be exactly what it will take to raise awareness for policy change, he said.
Less than an hour before Barack Obama took the oath of office, ABC News anchor Charles Gibson spotted former Vice President Al Gore arriving at the inauguration, and Gibson fantasized about how this could have been Gore's last day in office, not George W. Bush's.
"Had he gotten a second term," Gibson began before correcting himself, "had he been elected president in the first place in the year 2000, and then gotten a second term -- he would be there as the outgoing President of the United States."
Over on NBC, Tom Brokaw merely pointed out how Gore would be an advisor on climate change to the new president, while CBS's Katie Couric enthused about how such high-profile individuals from different parties seem to get along so well at inaugurations.