In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault. Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.” You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.
Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.” What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has put the kibosh on a book by whistleblower John Dodson not because he would disclose any sensitive, classified information but rather "because the agency says it would hurt morale," reported Washington Post staffer Sari Horwitz in Tuesday's paper in her 16-paragraph story, "ATF rejects 'Fast and Furious' book."
While clearly such a story is worthy of front-page coverage, editors shuffled it off to page A8. Among the stories on A1 today, the story least-worthy of front-page real estate was William Wan's "Apple for the teacher? In China, many think bigger." Wan's story focused on how bribery was crucial to procure slots at the better public schools in Communist China. An interesting story, but of less import to Americans than a federal agency quashing a book by a whistleblower.
In the midst of a federal government shutdown wherein he's refusing to negotiate with congressional Republicans, President Barack Obama had time to hold forth with his thoughts on the name of the Washington Redskins, telling the Associated Press on Saturday that he would "think about changing" the name were he owner of the NFL franchise. Of course, the Big Three networks and major newspapers across the country dutifully snapped to attention to cover that non-story. The New York Times went so far as to say the president's opinion amounted to a "new turn" in the "long-simmering debate."
But today the Associated Press is reporting something over which President Obama does have a direct say: the federal government's abject failure to address the widespread waste and fraud that marks Indian tribes' spending of U.S. taxpayer monies. The Associated Press has the story, which I accessed at Time magazine's website. Here's an excerpt:
Republicans are godless anti-government zealots responsible for a federal government shutdown that will literally kill people, MSNBC's Martin Bashir charged in the closing "Clear the Air" commentary on his Friday, October 4 program.
But in a not-so-clever twist, the ever-sanctimonious Bashir -- who has a penchant for selective Bible-thumping to push liberal agenda points -- sought to enlist the nonpartisan Senate chaplain, Dr. Barry C. Black, to condemn Republicans for him. The relevant transcript is below the page break, as is the video of the segment:
If Republicans were smart (I know, but stay with me) their focus during the Obamacare debate should have been less on blocking its implementation and more on a page they might have taken from the Democrat's playbook, which is to rally the country to its side by use of sentimentality and the threat of impending doom. The good news for Republicans is that there's still time.
It's a sure bet Democrats are right now writing sob stories of tearful children barred from the Lincoln Memorial because of the government "shutdown." The National Zoo in Washington inexplicably turned off its unmanned Panda Cam, which showed video of the newborn panda cub on the Internet. Boohoo.
The political stalemate leading to the so-called shutdown of the federal government has shown with devastating clarity how official Washington is consumed with symbolism over substance.
The symbolism begins with the word shutdown itself. Despite the noise and fury in Washington, the vast majority of Americans haven't noticed any change in their daily lives because most of the federal government has not shut down. It is functioning as normal. Social Security checks go out, and the military is still on duty.
Are you happy now, Republicans? You went and forced the president to cancel his trip to Asia and with it an important foreign policy overture.
That's the message Time magazine is sending readers with Michael Crowley's October 4 post, "Shutdown Dents Vital Obama Foreign Policy Goal," which was plugged on the Time.com front page with a photo of a frowning President Obama given the teaser headline, "Grounded by the Shutdown." "President Obama cancels a long-planned Asia excursion as the standoff continues at home, yet again putting off U.S. goals to recharge relations with the continent," complained the front-page caption [see screen capture below the page break]. Here's a taste of Crowley's story (emphasis mine):
Republicans seem to "prefer [reopening] war memorials to" resuming cancer treatments for "living children." That's the grotesque, hyperpartisan spin that MSNBC's Martin Bashir weaved on his October 2 program, reacting to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus's offer to have the RNC pay for five security guards to man the World War II Memorial which the National Park Service, in concert with the Obama White House, has ordered closed during the shutdown.
Bashir made that remark shortly into his Wednesday program before introducing his all-liberal panel of guests. Bashir, of course, failed to mention Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's callous rejection of the notion of passing a funding bill that would re-open the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and with it clinical trials to treat cancer-stricken children. The relevant transcript follows the page break. [MP3 audio available here; Video follows page break]:
Corrected from earlier | "After three years of last-minute deals, delayed decisions, and acrimonious finger pointing, the process for one of Congress's most basic functions—spending money—finally buckled and broke down Monday night," the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta sighed in the opening paragraph of his October 1 story, "Breakdown Is New Norm in Spending Fights."
"Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the House and Senate have been directed to pass annual budget resolutions setting targets for government spending levels and then work out the differences," but "Congress in recent years has abandoned its traditional budget and appropriations process," Paletta noted. Yet nowhere in his 21-paragraph story did the Journal scribe lay any blame at the feet of Senate Democrats and their leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though the upper chamber failed to pass a budget in nearly four years, only doing so in March.*
Only at the very end of their article did Rogers and Miller mention that the Democratic National Committee is having a fundraising field day off the work stoppage. There was, however, no mention that the DNC desperately needs the cash because they're drowning in red ink. Reported Fortune magazine's Tory Newmyer yesterday morning:
Michelle Cottle is no fan of Republicans and certainly not of Tea Party conservatives. But in a sign that some liberal journalists are worried that Democrats may overreach with their alarmist rhetoric, the Daily Beast staffer called on Democrats to cool it a bit with the hyper-partisan invective during the government shutdown. To Cottle, it's okay to call conservatives hijackers and terrorists and kamikaze pilots, so long as you keep the slurs "generic" and not, for example, compare Republicans to actual real-life villains like Bashar al-Assad and the Ayatollah.
In its 40-year history, the liberal media never really cared for the Heritage Foundation. But now that the think tank has been more assertive in its engagement of Capitol Hill, the liberal media are rewriting history to depict the move as something that is threatening the organization's respectability inside the Beltway. In July, I noted the Wall Street Journal's stab at the concern-trolling about Heritage's diminishing gravitas. In January, my colleague Matthew Balan noted the Washington Post's bias about Heritage's lobbying arm, Heritage Action.
Today it's Time magazine's turn, as writer Zeke Miller looked at how "political action arm of the once-esteemed Heritage Foundation has perfected the art of disrupting DC, whatever the cost":
"In the Republican Party, there has been nothing but dead wood for about 15 years," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox Business Network host Neil Cavuto on Friday evening. But now that dynamic conservatives like "Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul," are on the rise, the GOP's "old guard," which "will not fight for anything" is outraged and joining liberal journalists and comedians as they pile on abuse against the junior senator from Texas for his nearly 22-hour filibuster of ObamaCare, Bozell noted.
Ultimately, while the liberal media love to mock Cruz and other conservatives, "out in the real world, in America, you've got nothing but bad news" coming out day after day about how ObamaCare is hurting everyday Americans. "It's no laughing matter," anchor Neil Cavuto agreed. Indeed, Bozell agreed, and what's more, "it's not going to connect [with the American people] when they attack Ted Cruz," because "they like what Ted Cruz is saying." [watch the full segment from the September 27 'Cavuto' below the page break]
UPDATE (Sept. 27; 12:45 p.m. EDT): Alter is thrilled with having won last night. He tweeted this morning, "I won grand prize from rightwing Newsbusters for saying in '12 that repealing ACA wld lead to death. Yeah!"
UPDATED (Sept. 27; 11:20 a.m. EDT): We've added the videos of Melissa Harris-Perry and Chris Matthews, winners in the Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis and The Puppy Love Award, respectively.
As voted on by a raucous crowd of nearly 900 attendees at the Media Research Center's 2013 Gala, the Quote of the Year Award was given to none other than the ever-so-contemptible Jonathan Alter, an all-too-frequent contributor at the Obamagasmic network MSNBC. Alter beat out Chris Matthews and Melissa Harris-Perry, also of the Lean Forward network. Alter won for his pronouncement in August 2012 that "repeal [of ObamaCare] equals death" for many Americans.
To watch video of the winning clip, click the play button on the embed below the page break. Come back on Friday for more blog posts about the 2013 MRC Gala featuring the DisHonors Awards.
While The Washington Post wrote about reporters revolving into the Obama administration, the more common pattern is reporters who flatter, pander, and powder the Obamas in the “news” pages. Krissah Thompson should be on Michelle Obama’s payroll. Splashed all over the front of Style today is this concept: “Rest up. You’re going to need extra energy to even read about all the places that the first lady has gone to get to know D.C.”
Following the all-caps headline “MICHELLE OBAMA’S WASHINGTON" and a huge graphic of eight images of Mrs. Obama in her many activities, the Post story went on for two entire pages. Thompson began the smoochy prose from the top:
President Obama pledged to end partisanship, but instead has exacerbated it. He recently accused House Republicans of being extortionists for opposing a raise in the debt ceiling and wanting to defund Obamacare.
Dictionary.com defines extortion as "the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority."
"I’m going to torch this [bleep]ing place." That's what an angry Ed Schultz reportedly threatened at a testy August 2010 exchange with the suits at MSNBC. Schultz was reportedly fired up because, "the network was running election-night promos and he wasn’t in them. He’d been arguing on the phone with marketing, then he slammed down the phone and exploded," a witness to the outburst told the New York Post.
So imagine our glee this afternoon when ol' Ed opened up his September 23 program with a montage featuring, wait for it, "Burning Down the House," by The Talking Heads. [video excerpt follows page break; audio of full Ed Show intro here; video of full Ed Show intro here]
An incredulous Stuart Varney brought NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on his Varney & Co. program this morning to discuss how "[t]he mainstream media [have been] completely ignoring one the the biggest news stories of the year," by devoting zero news stories to the IRS scandal since July.
"Is that accurate, they haven't even mentioned it since those dates we put up on the screen?!" Varney asked Bozell at the segment. "It's fascinating and so troubling" because we have "one of the greatest abuses in my lifetime, the greatest abuse of federal power ever, where you're using the most-feared arm of government against the people and you're seeing one revelation after another" which the networks simply refuse to cover. The Media Research Center founder and president rattled off just a few [LISTEN to mp3 audio here; WATCH the video below the page break]:
It "amazes" MSNBC's Ed Schultz "that people don't love Obama" and think he's doing a stellar job handling the economy. Reacting to a video clip of that absurd rant, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told the audience of Sean Hannity's September 19 program the reasons why.
There's "1.9 million less jobs" now than when President Obama took office, not to mention "47,600,000 Americans on food stamps" and "3 million people [who] have entered the rolls of poverty since [Obama] became president," the Media Research Center founder noted. "That's why they don't love him, everybody's having a very hard time" in the Obama economy and "Ed Schultz needs a dosage of reality," Bozell concluded. Hannity agreed, noting that when it comes to on-air Obamagasms, "he's giving Chris Matthews a run for his money." [watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break] Bozell and Hannity also discussed how the media, particularly MSNBC's Alex Witt, sought to portray President Obama as "coming out the winner" in his bumbling handling of the Syrian chemical weapons crisis:
"The Republican Party is destroying America" with a "murder-suicide" pact in the U.S. Congress to "shut down" the government.
You might expect such over-the-top language from anyone at MSNBC and quite a few at CNN, but, alas, that's from the pen of one Kirsten Powers, a liberal Fox News contributor who has struck us in the past as a rather rational lefty who doesn't resort to the same tired talking points. After all, she is a pro-life Christian who was great on the Kermit Gosnell issue. And let's not forget she's been good on the Benghazi matter. But today, however, she was railing that Tea Party-friendly congressmen in Washington "seem determined to take us all down with them."
Expecting Syria to live up to an agreement between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov for the cataloging, inspection, removal and eventual destruction or sequester of chemical weapons is a subtle seduction.
Why would a dictator like Bashar al-Assad relinquish his most potent weapon in the midst of a civil war? President Obama and his sycophants claim it was the threat of military action against Syria that focused Assad's mind. That hardly seems credible after Kerry's promise that any U.S. missile strike would be "unbelievably small."
In a 66-paragraph masterpiece, Journal reporters Adam Entous, Janet Hook, and Carol Lee gave a behind-the-scenes look of how, "Through mixed messages, miscalculations, and an 11th-hour break, the U.S. stumbled into an international crisis and then stumbled out of it." Among other things disclosed, "The same day [Secretary of State John] Kerry made his fateful remark" that Syria could simply give up its weapons to the international community, "the State Department sent Congress a memo detailing: 'Russian Obstruction of Actions on Syria.'" It really is a great exploration of the Keystone Kops nature of the Obama team's bungling of Syrian foreign policy. Here's a taste (emphasis mine):
Imagine a major news network anchor, in 1985, telling President Reagan that five years into his presidency rising income inequality wasn’t his fault. Ludicrous, given how the media used the term Reaganomics to denigrate his policies, policies far more successful than President Obama’s in turning around an inherited poor economy.
Yet in a sit-down with Barack Obama for ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos compliantly excused Obama’s failure: “Do you look at that four and a half years in and say, maybe a President can’t stop this accelerating inequality?”
While the liberal media predictably focus on the domestic political ramifications for President Obama as regards his strange and ever-evolving policy on Syria, the real story worth reporting is how Obama may actually be strengthening Bashar Assad's hand, even making him "a national hero" who can not only survive but thrive as a result.
In her September 12 front-page story "Syrian Rebels Hurt By Delay," The Wall Street Journal's Nour Malas has an excellent story to that effect. Filing from Istanbul, she quotes Mohammmed al-Daher, "a commander in the rebels' Western backed Free Syria Army" as lamenting that he "wouldn't be surprised if the end result of these negotiations is that [Assad] remains as president and beyond that, turns into a national hero who saved his country." Malas continued (emphasis mine):
Friday in Russia, President Obama let slip that putting Congress on the hook, or in a political bind, was part of his calculus in asking for their approval for an attack on Syria, but twice on Sunday morning ABC’s George Stephanopoulos misquoted Obama’s admission. Obama maintained: “I did not put this before Congress, you know, just as a political ploy or as symbolism.”
Yet on Sunday’s Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos quoted Obama: “Listen to what he said Friday night in Russia: ‘I did not put this’ – this resolution – ‘before Congress as a political ploy or symbolism.’” Later, on This Week, he again left off the very relevant “just” as he mis-characterized Obama back to White House Chief-of-Staff Denis McDonough: “He said his call to Congress was not a political ploy or symbolism.”
MSNBC hosts are skeptical if not downright opposed in principle to President Obama's push to bomb Syria, but the MSNBC.com Facebook page is doing its level best to present President Obama in a favorable light, complete with photo memes of the president adorned with quotes related to his Syria policy. [see screen captures below page break]
On September 1, the day after President Obama announced he was going to seek congressional approval, MSNBC Facebook page editors posted a photo of the president emblazoned with the following quote:
The Washington Post is reliably liberal on just about every major political issue. But there are exceptions, and its stand for school vouchers programs as a way to lift disadvantaged kids out of a failing public school monopoly is one of them.
So it's not too surprising that the paper devoted an editorial on Monday to criticizing the Obama/Holder Justice Department for a lawsuit it's filed that is putting a halt -- temporarily at least -- to school vouchers in Louisiana. Even so, the newspaper has dropped the ball on bringing the public's attention to the underlying story. Aside from the September 2 editorial, the paper has virtually ignored the development in its news pages, with the only mention of the underlying controversy being reported in the August 25 paper in a national news roundup. Here's that item -- an AP brief -- in its totality:
It doesn't take a special occasion for Chris Matthews to smear conservatives as racist, but the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's "I Have a Dream" speech was too good for the Hardball host to pass up. During special coverage of Wednesday's festivities, Matthews smeared "half the country" as opposing the chief executive because of the color of his skin, not the political and philosophical content of his governance.
"Let's try to follow the logic of Dr. Matthews here," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News host Sean Hannity on the August 29 edition of his eponymous program. "First he says if you're a Republican or a conservative" who dares to oppose any of Obama's policies, "you're a racist" but yet "if you can't find any evidence of any Republican or conservative saying anything racist, well, that means they're just not being honest about their racism." [watch the full segment below the page break]
PBS’s Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill provided a tag team of Obama idolatry in their interview with President Barack Obama at the White House following Wednesday’s March on Washington anniversary event, gently pressing him from the left and treating him as a victim of racist opposition as Gwen Ifill forwarded the theory “you are a victim of partisan racial gridlock.”
When, in the session carried on the PBS NewsHour, Obama fretted “we have increasing inequality in this society,” Judy Woodruff buttered up Obama by first hailing how “you’ve been able to do -- help the country in many ways,” yet problems – remarkably – still remain, so “how much does it weigh on you that your policies haven’t made more of a difference in those areas?”