After reports that Ann Coulter had been banned from NBC News, her return to the "Today" show set this Wednesday morning was, as expected, a fiery one with co-host Matt Lauer. The conservative author put Lauer on the defensive on her being bumped for the likes of Rachel Maddow and Perez Hilton, his colleague Brian Williams’ softball questions to Barack Obama, and Lauer’s charges that Coulter’s takes on single motherhood and Obama’s middle name were "outrageous," and "venomous."
First up, Coulter stuck it to Lauer on his, rather lame excuse for her being bumped from yesterday’s "Today" show:
CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, whom President-elect Barack Obama has reportedly asked to take an administration post as Surgeon General and top health policy adviser, last year thought it noteworthy that the release of John McCain's medical records ignored the Senator's “mental health,” any “mention of post-traumatic stress disorder” or of “substance abuse.” Back in 2004, upon Ronald Reagan's passing, Gupta took to CNN to give legitimacy to claims of how throughout his presidency “many would accuse President Reagan of ignoring AIDS.” Gupta falsely charged that “the first time President Reagan would utter the word AIDS in public would be well into his second term, six years after the virus was discovered.”
The jump would take Gupta full circle back to activist liberal politics and policy-making. “He was a White House fellow in the late 1990s, writing speeches and crafting policy for then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton,” the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly and Howard Kurtz recalled in a story for Wednesday's paper (“Obama Picks TV's Gupta for Medical Post”) which relayed that in addition to the Surgeon General slot “he has also been offered a top post in the new White House Office of Health Reform, twin duties that could make him the most influential Surgeon General in history.” The Post article also noted that Gupta, who joined CNN in 2001 and has since also reported for CBS News, “met for more than two hours with Obama in Chicago on Nov. 25.”
Presumably a last minute replacement for the possibly NBC banned Ann Coulter, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow appeared on Tuesday's "Today" show to drop invective about the Bush administration's "torture" policies. Instead of the rousing bit of Barack Obama bashing and criticism of the fawning coverage of him by the liberal media that would've surely been delivered by Coulter, "Today" viewers were treated to the following slam of Bush policies via a Maddow defense of Obama's choice of Leon Panetta as CIA Director:
RACHEL MADDOW: Well, I think that he made a bold choice in Leon Panetta, and we have seen from Barack Obama a lot of leadership by building consensus, by making people not disagree with him about important and hot-button issues. But on Panetta that was an, "elections have consequences" moment. If you were in the Bush administration and which, with, with warrantless wiretapping and enhanced interrogation, torture. With rendition, with these other controversial policies in the intelligence community, that's not going to be a career asset. And if you were a Democratic senator in an intelligence oversight role, while all these things were happening, your objections may not be the most important thing for this new president looking to make a clean break.
Maddow appeared during the 7am half-hour where, according to the Drudge Report, Coulter was originally scheduled to have been slotted before being bumped/banned. The following is the full transcript of the Maddow segment as it was aired on the January 6, "Today" show:
On Friday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Andrea Mitchell filed a report that reminded viewers of an embarrassing political episode from Hillary Clinton’s past: the controversial hug and kiss she shared with Yasser Arafat’s wife, Suha, during a trip to the West Bank. The NBC correspondent related that Clinton had taken a position favoring a Palestinian state early on, but, after her controversial "embrace" with Mrs. Arafat, she became known for being "an unrelenting supporter of Israel," and argued that Mrs. Clinton’s popularity in the Arab world, and that of former President Clinton, would be an asset as Secretary of State.
Mitchell: "As first lady, Hillary Clinton was an early advocate of a Palestinian state until a misplaced embrace of Yasser Arafat's wife, Suha, backfired politically back home. From then on, Clinton was an unrelenting supporter of Israel but, experts say, is still well known and liked by Arab leaders."
President-elect Barack Obama has been curiously silent about the recent flare up in the Gaza Strip. This apparently is causing some anger internationally from folks that bought into his campaign promises of change and hope.
Will Obama-loving media care, or continue to focus on his chiseled pecs?
Such was indirectly asked in a marvelous column published Sunday in Britain's Guardian (emphasis added throughout):
Barack Obama arriving in Washington to prepare for assuming the presidency is a newsworthy fact. But just arriving isn’t really a front-page story. As the Post explained Monday, "There were no speeches, no ceremonies or official welcoming committees. Instead, Barack Obama, a man famous for his no-drama persona, arrived in the nation's capital in a similarly subdued fashion."
Reporters William Wan and Nikita Stewart went looking for people inside and outside the Hay-Adams Hotel having thrills up their leg at the chance to spot an Obama:
Don't let the cool demeanors fool you, though, said one diner. "That's what everyone's thinking about even if they don't say it," Terrance Mason said later, a safe distance from the elegant dining room. "Just to be in the same building, to be breathing the same air. It's amazing."
ABC anchor Dan Harris led Sunday night's World News with Commerce-nominee Bill Richardson's unexpected withdrawal, but framed the story around worries over Richardson becoming a “distraction” from Barack Obama's agenda. George Stephanopoulos, however, assured him it will only “be a blip.” Harris recited how “Obama is facing trouble abroad, trouble at home, and now trouble in his own cabinet.” So, “this is another major challenge” for the besieged Obama, Harris empathized, “at a time when the economy is reeling and war is raging between the Israelis and Palestinian militants.”
Following a report from Jake Tapper, Harris went to George Stephanopoulos: “Obama's coming into office with a very ambitious agenda, and if you add together what's going on with Richardson right now with the Blagojevich scandal, is that going to be a distraction in the key early days?” Stephanopoulos assured him, given all the issues on Obama's agenda including “the panoply of national security challenges he's going to face when he takes office,” that “this is likely to be a blip.”
To some staunch conservatives watching President Bush relinquish the reins of power to President-elect Barack Obama, a few too many ardent liberals are now crashing the gates.
Some well-known Democratic activists are advising Obama on how to steer federal agencies, including a few whom conservative Republicans fought hard to keep out of power in the Clinton administration. They include Roberta Achtenberg, a gay activist whose confirmation as an assistant housing secretary was famously held up by then-Sen. Jesse Helms (N.C.), and Bill Lann Lee, who was hotly opposed by foes of affirmative action and temporarily blocked from the government's top civil rights job.
So who are these conservatives disturbed by the liberalism of Obama's aides? The Washington Post quotes one, Roger Clegg:
"The transition team as described to me was made up of nothing but people on the far left. Though Obama is more moderate, that makes you wonder what kind of advice the president is given, and what range of choices he'll be given when it comes time to make appointments."
Filing his January 2 Style section front-pager, "Hawaii's Still Waters Run Deep for the President-elect," staffer Philip Rucker made clear all he needs in life are some cool waves and a tasty Obama buzz:
HONOLULU -- In his two weeks in Hawaii, Barack Obama has oozed island cool: the black shades and khaki shorts, the breezy sandaled saunter that suggested he had not a care in the world. Who said anything about the presidency?
He strolled shirtless near the beach, enjoyed a shave ice and a local seaweed-wrapped delicacy called Spam musubi. One day, the president-elect flashed the friendly "shaka" sign, shaking his pinky and thumb in a local surfing gesture.
In the sheer exhilaration of the impending Age of Obama, it's understandable that some stories are overlooked. One that might not be considered newsworthy is the fact that last year homicides in Barack Obama's hometown of Chicago substantially exceeded the number of deaths of U.S. soldiers in Iraq. As the AP itself reported:
According to a tally by The Associated Press, at least 314 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq in 2008, down from 904 in the previous year.
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, fill-in host Chip Reid discussed the economic crisis with left-wing economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, wondering: "I know you've been arguing for a more progressive government for a long time and obviously at difficult times like this, I don't want to suggest that a recession is a good thing. But if looking back at this five years, or some number of years, from now, can you envision a country that is better off because of how it responded to this recession?"
In response, Krugman explained: "Well, if you believe, as I do, that we need a stronger social safety net, that we need universal healthcare, then the revelation of just how vulnerable we are when things go wrong is going to help." Krugman went on to praise the New Deal: "We came out of the New Deal, we came out of the 1930s, as a better country, a middle class country, where we had been in the Gilded Age. We came out as a country that took better care of its citizens."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, fill-in co-host Chris Wragge seemed to feel sorry for Barack Obama having to withstand the media spotlight while vacationing in Hawaii: "Coming up, life in the media bubble. How is Barack Obama adjusting to the press following his every move?" However, as correspondent Ben Tracy later reported, that spotlight is not exactly harsh: "Tours of Obama's childhood stop at the apartment building where he grew up, a favorite lunch hangout, and the ice cream store where he had his first job. Tourist shops are also riding the Obama wave. The soon-to-be president is already a global celebrity."
Tracy began the reported by lamenting: "...the other day, the president-elect just wanted to eat his tuna sandwich. This vacation has been a bit of a reality check as to how little privacy Obama now has...He at times bristles at the constant media coverage...Yet at others, offers to buy reporters dessert." Tracy concluded the report by declaring: "And the media's trying to strike a balance between covering the person who's about to be the most powerful man in the world and also giving him his space to just be himself."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez introduced a segment on 2008 politics and declared: "The end of 2008 brings to a close one of the most exciting and historic years in national politics." At the top of the story, Mike Allen of the Politico explained what made the year so exciting: "2008 was the year that Barack Obama re-wrote the book on American politics."
The segment was comprised of various clips of campaign coverage, with the majority centered around Obama. In one clip, following an Obama primary victory, Early Show co-host Harry Smith exclaimed: "The polls may have predicted it. It was still no less a breath-taking win for Barack Obama."
The most time in the segment given to the McCain campaign focused on mocking Sarah Palin, including a clip of Katie Couric asking Palin what newspapers she read and Rodriguez declaring: "The McCain campaign under fire for spending $150,000 on clothes and accessories." A clip of Tina Fey impersonating Palin on Saturday Night Live was played, after which Allen remarked: "Never again will a presidential nominee pick a vice president who is identical to one of the greatest comedians in the country." Meanwhile, no clips of Joe Biden’s numerous gaffes were shown.
On December 15, NBC’s Today invited Time editor Richard Stengel to promote who might become their Person of the Year, which allowed Stengel to boast: "Obviously, Barack Obama is a titanic figure on the world and American stage now. I mean, he may already be a transformational figure in American politics." (Stengel returned two days later to publicize Obama’s selection.)
By contrast, on December 29, Today promoted the liberal magazine Vanity Fair and its new "Farewell to All That" good-riddance piece on the Bush administration. Co-host Meredith Vieira plucked out what liberals would find to be the most insulting lines: "one of Colin Powell's former aides actually called Bush a Sarah Palin-like president." Vieira’s only nod to conservatives came in defending Vanity Fair’s reputation against viewers at home she suggested might say "Well, Vanity Fair, of course, this is a liberal magazine, so they're going to take pot shots at the president," but she noted they also talked to Bush-friendly sources.
Taking adulation of Barack Obama on a looney left trip through idolization of Mikhail Gorbachev (Obamagasm + Gorbasm = Obamagorbabasm?), far-left Boston Globe columnist James Carroll dreamed that Obama will fulfill Gorbachev's 1988 pledge to achieve “the demilitarization of international relations” and change the world “from an economy of armament to an economy of disarmament.” In his Monday column, “Gorbachev's model for Obama,” Carroll, who fully credited Gorbachev with the fall of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the Soviet Union, trumpeted Obama's opportunity: “By the grace of God, it is not too late to match the greatness with which Gorbachev acted 20 years ago, an overdue acceptance of his historic invitation.”
Fretting about America's “refusal to dismantle its Cold War military economy,” Carroll yearned for “yes we can” responses: “Is it too much to expect Barack Obama to change history? Make peace? Transform an economic system? Rescue the Earth? Build a political program around the truth? Restore a great nation's decency?” Justifying his faith in Obama, Carroll recalled: “On the cusp of this decisive year, it will do Americans well to recall that just such a transformation took place once before, even if we declined to respond with transformation of our own.”
(Just below Carroll's column, in the newspaper owned by the New York Times, readers were treated to an op-ed piece that carried a Tripoli dateline and the byline of “the leader of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” -- yes, that would be Muammar Gaddafi -- titled “Provoking Russia” and which began: “Once again, the West's policy toward Russia and its addiction to interfering in the affairs of other countries is having dangerous effects on the rest of the world.”)
What do Bill Maher slamming Pope Benedict XVI as the criminal head of a pedophilia ring, Washington Post's Sally Quinn defending anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Ted Turner founder prophesying environmental apocalypse have in common?
They are just three of the most outrageous quotes from the mainstream media in 2008 and were featured on the December 23 "O'Reilly Factor" in a segment with MRC's Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham.
You can view the segment in the embedded video at right.
What could have been a fairly apolitical "Career Do's and Don'ts from 2008" retrospective has become an exhibit of how liberal media bias is ubiquitous in digital media. E-mail tipster John Genin informed us of how Yahoo! HotJobs writer Tom Musbach cited liberal heros Barack Obama and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow as worthy of emulation while citing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's wardrobe non-scandal as a warning against corporate expense accounts.:
With the U.S. presidential election and the Olympics as major highlights of 2008, politicians and athletes had a major influence on this year's list of career lessons from high-profile figures.
As demonstrated in the examples below, everyone has career highs and lows, with some more public than others. But learning from them is the key to success. Below are six do's and don'ts that can help your career advancement in the coming year.
1. DO stay focused on achieving your goals, despite adversity or distractions. President-elect Barack Obama succeeded in one of the most lengthy and public of all hiring processes, in part because he kept his cool and kept his eyes on the prize. Another great example of this principle is Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals in Beijing.
Sunday’s edition of Parade magazine (an insert in numerous American newspapers, including The Washington Post) carried a cover photo of Gov. Sarah Palin with the words "The Best & Worst 2008," although the cover didn’t specify which she was. (In the picture, Palin is pointing at the reader, looking like she's laughing at them.) Inside, a tiny article said whether Palin was best or worst was "a matter of opinion," as she "appalled some and energized others. With her eye on 2012, Palin could become the future of the Republican Party – or just a blip on the national memory."
Right below that, they praised Hillary Clinton: "Her smarts and toughness won over former rival Barack Obama, who offered her the job of Secretary of State."
For the list of "Campaign Highs & Lows," Parade brought in a panel of experts, one of them right-leaning (Bill O’Reilly), and the rest left-leaning (Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and former New York Times columnist Les Gelb). Only O’Reilly didn’t see the year through Obama goggles. Here’s the left-tilting list:
The religion section of Saturday's Washington Post was topped by a year-in-review article by Kevin Eckstrom of the Religion News Service. Like many other reporters, Eckstrom blurred Obama's Rev. Wright problem right into two McCain endorsers who are ministers. "Both" candidates had vague church problems:
The unprecedented and extraordinary prominence of religion in the 2008 election was easily the year's top religion story. Both parties battled hard for religious voters, and both were forced to distance themselves from outspoken clergy whose fiery rhetoric threatened to become a political liability.
In the end, the top prize went to Obama, the son of a Muslim-born father and an atheist mother, who spent much of the campaign fighting off persistent -- and untrue -- rumors that he was a closet Muslim. His party, after years of consistently losing churchgoers to Republicans, decisively won Catholics, Jews and black Protestants, and made small but significant inroads among some evangelicals.
Eckstrom was slow to mention Jeremiah Wright, and then failed to quote a single word from him:
On Friday morning’s The Early Show on CBS, viewers were treated to what almost seemed like a parody of Barack Obama’s mainstream media paparazzi fawning over the Democratic President-elect, as the show ran a report exploring the question of "How cool is Obama?" and co-hosts Harry Smith and Tracy Smith referred to Obama as "the man" and "the epitome of cool," respectively. Audio of the classic rock group the Chiffons singing "He’s So Fine" even played as the piece on Obama’s "coolness" began. Tracy Smith oozed as she plugged the segment: "We’re actually talking about how a lot of people think that President-elect Barack Obama is the epitome of cool. Look at that guy. Everything, I mean, even in a baseball cap. Don’t you think?" After Harry Smith referred to a New York Times article about the significance of Obama spending his childhood in Hawaii, Tracy Smith added: "That makes him even cooler."
President-elect Barack Obama might have broken Environmental Protection Agency regulations when he tossed the cremated remains of his grandmother into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Nuuanu, Hawaii, earlier this week.
Secret Service security keeps a close watch as Obama, oldest daughter Malia and sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, among others, make their way down to the rocky shoreline. Together, they spread the ashes of Madelyn Dunham. It's the same spot Obama paid tribute to his mother last August.
Yet, as reported by the Turkish website SABAH Saturday, such a procedure may not be legal:
As we enter the final month of the Bush presidency, Bill Schneider's hatred for the man currently in the White House is reaching a fevered pitch.
Two days after telling his CNN audience "the country has just gone through a failed marriage with the current president," Schneider said Friday, "As President Bush prepares to leave office, the American public has a parting thought: good riddance."
Despite what the public might think, do today's so-called journalists possess no respect for the office of the presidency? Or is it impossible for them to muster such when the man in the White House is a Republican?
Regardless of the answers, the following report is something more deserving of MSNBC, and Schneider should be ashamed of himself (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t NBer Rush Fan):
Here’s a textbook definition of bias by story placement in a newspaper. On Christmas Eve, the Washington Post placed the release of the Obama’s transition team’s report on contacts with Gov. Rod Blagojevich on page A3 – headlined "Obama Report Clears Dealings with Blagojevich." Centered right underneath the headline in this four-column story was a gray two-column box with a sidebar headlined in capitals "OBAMA ATTENDS SERVICE FOR GRANDMOTHER." But on Christmas Day, this Obama story was on Page One of the Post: "As Duties Weigh Obama Down, His Faith in Fitness Only Increases."
The December 25 front-pager, written by Obama-friendly Post reporter Eli Saslow, began by showing how devoted the new president will be to the people’s business:
Being elected president forces a man to take inventory of his life, so Barack Obama has trimmed his schedule to the bare essentials. He’s not in the White House yet, but gone are the hours he once spent reading novels, watching television, and obsessing over the daily transactions of Chicago’s sports teams. He eat out only once every few weeks. He visits friends rarely, if at all.
If you thought Chris Matthews gets a thrill up his leg when he thinks about Barack Obama, you ain't seen nuttin' yet, for on Christmas Eve, CNN's Bill Schneider practically aired a love letter for the president-elect.
Even worse, after gushing ad nauseum about how Obama is "really sweeping people off their feet" -- with statistics to back up his sick-making adoration, of course! -- Schneider concluded his report by disgracefully stating "the country has just gone through a failed marriage with the current president."
I kid you not.
For those that can stand it, a partial transcript and embedded video follow (h/t NBer talkradio03):
The Tuesday morning shows of NBC, ABC, and CBS all promoted Barack Obama’s celebrity status as hosts and reporters ogled the latest paparazzi photo of Obama in swim trunks while on vacation in Hawaii, as NBC’s Matt Lauer declared on Today: "And fit to serve, Barack Obama photographed shirtless in Hawaii and a lot of women are giving him the presidential seal of approval."
On ABC’s Good Morning America, co-host Diane Sawyer outlined Obama’s workout routine: "...these photos of the first abs, which we've all been analyzing this morning. I just want to reminder you, to get those abs, he does standing triceps push-downs, shoulder presses, sit-ups with a high platform, one set of triceps, and calf raises." Fellow co-host Chris Cuomo added: "The most important thing that he does to be fit, is his diet. He's very careful about his diet. He's in good shape, certainly for a man his age. But I think it's how he eats."
On the CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Obama in Oahu. Why he’s getting a lot of attention." Smith later referenced a newspaper cover with the shirtless picture of Obama: "This picture is in a lot of papers around the country...‘Fit For Office.’" Meanwhile, fill-in co-host Debbye Turner Bell held up the paper declaring: "Take a look at this. I'll be happy to pick this up!"
Rev. Jeremiah Wright was a voice crying in the wilderness that the mainstream media and middle class America weren't quite ready for and megachurch pastor Rick Warren is an ignorant evangelical rube who isn't totally without hope, given his awareness of AIDS and other favored liberal causes.
At the end of Monday’s ABC Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo talked to Newsweek editor Jon Meacham about the magazine’s ‘Elite 50' list of influential people, as Cuomo put it: "People who will literally be able to shape our lives in many different ways." Meacham explained: "Our goal with this was, you know, elite got a bad rap this year. It wasn't a good thing to be an elitist. But there's a difference between elitism and excellence...we wanted people who really had fought their way up through a lot of obstacles in life, chiefly, the President-elect of the United States, and were able to exert that kind of command and control." Apparently, Obama staying at a $30 million Hawaiian resort for Christmas is a sign of his excellence.
Cuomo followed up by observing: "It's interesting because the aspects, the dynamics you're trying to capture here in the list, you have politics, economics, and then kind of other, other significant situations. Number one on the list, President-elect, soon to be President Barack Obama, incorporates all three of those." To that, Meacham replied: "With Obama there's been a kind of resurgence of American credibility. At least the world after several years of kicking us around a good bit, they're giving us a chance, I think, to reassert our leadership." [audio excerpt here]
At the top of Monday’s ABC Good Morning America, co-host Chris Cuomo teased a story on Barack Obama’s Christmas vacation plans: "And Aloha, President-elect Barack Obama says Mele Kalikimaka on a bright Hawaiian holiday. We'll take to you to the $30 million retreat where the future first family is spending Christmas." Later, fill-in co-host Elizabeth Vargas introduced the segment: "Barack Obama and his family arrived in Hawaii over the weekend to a multi-million dollar ocean-front home, where they will spend Christmas." At no point in the story did anyone contrast Obama’s lavish getaway with the tough economic times. In fact, Cuomo seemed to dismiss any such criticism at the end of the segment: "I can already hear the rumblings, ‘who paid for the house? Who paid for the house?’"
The report on the Obama vacation, by correspondent Yunji de Nies, seemed more like an episode of ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ than a news story: "The Obamas are waking up to this, Kailua Beach, with 2 ½ miles of pure white sand. At the end sits the family's vacation paradise...The Obama's, along with close friends, rented three houses, worth more than $30 million. Each, a spaces 5,000 feet, with waterfalls and a lagoon pool that flows throughout." de Nies talked to the owner of the resort, David Zimel, who remarked: "It's a home fit for a king. It's a place where royalty actually gathered. So it's -- I think it's pretty fitting that we'd have our next president spend some time here and try to relax."
Don't get me wrong. I love Christmastime. But in many other respects it can be the most dreaded time of the year for us media watchers. It is, after all, the time when liberal journalists decide to assign their year-ending accolades on everything from movies and music to politicians.
It's doubly dreadful when we're talking about Time magazine's Joe "Anonymous" Klein.
In a December 17 piece doling out his "Teddy awards" -- as in the first President Roosevelt, not the lingerie -- Klein began by cooing sweet nothings over Obama's political courage before giving muted praised for McCain. When all was said and done, Klein even praised Condi Rice, but even that was in service of his left-wing affinity for negotiating with dictators. [for our archive of Klein bias, click here]
While Klein largely disdained the McCain campaign's post-Palin message, he cheered the Arizona Republican for keeping Rev. Jeremiah Wright off-limits: