Showing that Barack Obama is fighting for the common man, on Friday’s CBS Early Show correspondent Jeff Glor reported on the President’s reaction to big bonuses on Wall Street: "For a man who prides himself on being cool, this was a rare flash of anger, if planned. A tongue-lashing directly from the Oval Office, which is indicating now they will look to change the rules if Wall Street doesn't itself."
Glor explained: "...firms gave out $18.4 billion in bonuses to New York-based employees last year, the same year the Dow Jones caved in 33%. And yes, a lot of the bonus money came from T.A.R.P. government bailout funds, taxpayer dollars." There was no mention of the fact that then Senator Obama was a strong supporter of the bailout.
At the top of the show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Target Wall Street. An angry President Obama lashes out at bonuses worth nearly $20 billion." Co-host Harry Smith introduced Glor’s report in a similar fashion: "In our series ‘Red, White, and Greed,’ President Obama chastising Wall Street for paying itself big bonuses while the economy and the banking industry tanked."
The mainstream media hasn't bothered to hide its infatuation with President Obama. They get physical thrills at the sound of his voice. His inauguration caused them to reach for religious imagery. Now that he's in the White House, they want us to know us what a breath of cultural fresh air he is - more informal, healthier and family-centered. Unwittingly, though, they're also showing a man who listens to hateful rap music, scarfs fatty foods and doesn't practice what he preaches on environmental responsibility.
Take for example the fluffy pieces that closed ABC and NBC's Jan. 29 evening news programs. On "Nightly News," Brian Williams gave nearly three minutes to the new White House dress code. "It was an article in this morning's New York Times that told the wider world what folks in Washington were already buzzing about," Williams said, "the change in style surrounding the Obama White House."
Obama has relaxed the "jacket required" policy of President Bush's Oval Office, and has been photographed at his desk in shirtsleeves. The reason? He keeps the Oval Office very warm.
Over on ABC, reporter Jake Tapper also noted the temperature change as part of his larger report on the president's typical day. "America's first Hawaiian-born president keeps the Oval Office warm causing economic advisor Larry Summers to break out in occasional sweat."
After years of agitation over what they saw as President George W. Bush's self-righteous moral certitude, journalists on Thursday night embraced President Barack Obama's vilification of those working for Wall Street firms who got a bonus last year. “Shameful,” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams teased his newscast, “that's how President Obama labels those Wall Street types paying themselves big bonuses while getting billions in tax dollars.” Reporter Chuck Todd referred to how Obama was “channeling his inner populist” as he “got upset about something that the public has been angry about for weeks.”
CBS's Katie Couric led with how “we found out what it takes to get Barack Obama angry,” that “employees of financial companies in New York collected nearly $18.5 billion in bonuses last year” and “the President called it 'shameful.'” Chip Reid related how “the President told advisors the anger rose straight from his gut” before Reid relayed that another liberal politician, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, “said the President's remarks are 'a welcome breath of fresh air.'”
The Radio Equalizer blog just broke the news that “a group of Obamists headed by MoveOn.org are planning an anti-Rush Limbaugh attack radio ad campaign.” The radio spots, “set to begin tomorrow [Friday] on stations nationwide,” are “designed to put pressure on GOP moderates in the U.S. Senate who might be inclined to follow the lead of their House counterparts” who unanimously voted against President Obama's “stimulus” package.
Radio Equalizer's Brian Maloney has the transcript of the attack ad, which ends:
NARRATOR: Now the Obama plan goes to the Senate. And the question is: Will our Senator, (insert name here), side with Rush Limbaugh too?
LIMBAUGH: I HOPE HE FAILS!
NARRATOR: Or, will he reject the partisanship and failed economic policies of the past, and stand up for the people of (state).
Call Senator (insert name here) now at (202) 224-3121. Tell him he represents you, not Rush Limbaugh.
In his daily press briefing earlier today, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at a question by conservative-leaning WCBM Radio host Les Kinsolving as "far afield" from a question posed just a moment earlier on the February 17 nationwide conversion to digital television (DTV).
Other reporters could be heard scoffing Kinsolving as well as the embedded video shows. Relevant transcript below (emphasis mine):
LES KINSOLVING, WCBM Radio: Can I follow that up?
ROBERT GIBBS, White House Press Secretary: Yes sir.
KINSOLVING: Thank you, so much. A number of Democrats in Congress want to restore the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which, before it was repealed applied only to electronic media and not to any print media-
GIBBS: Lester, I thought we were talking about DTV.
Brent Bozell and others have asked if the ascent of President Obama will drain the swamp of hip-hop hate. In an interview with our news hounds at CNSNews.com (complete with video), hip-hop mogul and Obama supporter Russell Simmons suggested that hatred of the police and government continues, and he still doesn't see anything wrong with cop-killer anthems:
"Some people still see the suffering and the ignorance in the communities and the lack of opportunity – educational opportunity – lack of funding for health care and these things," said Simmons, "or if they still feel the police are an occupying force, they make a good song. My favorite song is ‘F--- tha Police.’ Right? Listen, I’m old. I like that song."
Simmons told CNSNews.com: "I don’t think there’s anything wrong with anything they said. They are not saying anything that’s not true."
"What’s worse than the liberal media’s sycophantic coverage of President Barack Obama? ABC’s George Stephanopoulos actively helping design and deliver the Administration’s strategy and message - which he is then charged with reporting."
That was MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell's reaction to Tuesday's report by Politico that the "This Week" anchor has daily strategy and message chats with former Clinton administration alumni: Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's White House chief of staff -- and CNN pundits Paul Begala and James Carville.
“For Stephanopoulos, the line between journalist and liberal strategist would be completely obliterated were it not for the fact that it apparently never existed at all. He didn’t fail in his attempt at transformation from liberal operative to journalist – he never made the effort," Bozell concluded.
Moments later, we got our first clue as the conservative talk radio host was interviewed by CNBC's Erin Burnett and Mark Haines.
UPDATE: Better functioning video now embedded; bonus "Fox & Friends" interview video also added at end of post.
Most fascinating, Burnett, who has come across as left of center and pro-Obama, seemed much more interested in Limbaugh's views on this issue than Haines who not only has always struck me as conservative, but has also been quite hostile to Obama's economic positions as well as all the government spending since the financial crisis began last September (video embedded below the fold, full transcript available here):
While discussing Rush Limbaugh’s opposition to the Obama administration’s massive spending bill on Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked author Ann Coulter: "But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan...So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?" Coulter did not feel "behooved": "I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle."
The segment actually began with co-host Harry Smith trying to offer a fair assessment of Limbaugh’s comments about wanting President Obama to "fail": "I think if you listen to what Rush Limbaugh has said, 'I want him to fail,' he wants big government to fail...He wants certain things that are especially involved in this stimulus package to fail. I don't think he's sitting there saying 'as an American citizen, I want the presidency and the country to fail.’" Coulter agreed: "That's exactly right. In fact, I put it sort of the reverse way. I said, yes, of course, I want him to succeed, but that means he'll govern as a conservative...I sort of admire Rush's verve for switching it around that way." However, co-host Julie Chen wondered: "Oh, you admire that he put it that way? Don't you think it's a little bit irresponsible for him to put it that way?"
Updated (14:17 p.m. EST): Checking back at the site a few minutes ago, the Obama White House now has a press briefings section with the Briefing Room portion of the site. You can find it here.
This morning I discovered that the Obama administration's WhiteHouse.gov is indeed transcribing and maintaining its daily press briefings featuring Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Of course you pretty much have to know where to find them since there's no link to an archive section from either the main page or the "Briefing Room" page.
By entering "press briefing" in the search field, I got a hit for the first Gibbs press briefing on January 22, 2009. The link is as follows:
Shortly after the House on Wednesday passed President Barack Obama's $825 billion “stimulus” package, ABC and CBS commiserated with Obama over his unsuccessful efforts to woo Republican votes. “Not one Republican voted for it,” ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced on World News with “Rescue Plan” as the on-screen heading, “turning a cold shoulder to the President's appeal for bipartisan support.” Reporter Jonathan Karl fretted: “So much for the President's charm offensive. Today it was all partisan rancor and name-calling.”
CBS reporter Chip Reid related how “the White House says this is a victory for the President, but certainly there is also some disappointment that he worked so hard to get bipartisan support and couldn't get a single Republican vote.” Reid soon chafed over how “Republicans relentlessly attacked the bill despite the President's extraordinary efforts to get bipartisan support.” Katie Couric noted how “the President went up to the Hill to personally appeal to Republicans already,” so, she pleaded, “what more can he do?”
NewsBusters and the Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham are not the only critics of the Obama administration for its failure to transcribe, publish and archive the daily press briefings held by press secretary Robert Gibbs.
A Web site called WhiteHousePressCorps.org is running a graphic at the top of its main page which reads, "Waiting on the official release of the 1/22/2009 Press Briefing transcript for" followed by a ticker counting up from January 22. You can also track them on Twiter @whpresscorps.
The site, which features archives of White House press gaggle and briefing transcripts dating back to February 2006, describes itself as "an independent media watchdog source providing information and commentary on the relationship between the press and the White House" that is not affiliated with the White House Correspondents' Association.
Here's how the guys at WHPC reacted to a carefully excerpted press briefing posted to the WhiteHouse.gov site on Monday:
It looks like President Obama hasn't gotten acquainted to his White House surroundings. On the way back to the Oval Office Tuesday, the President approached a paned window, instead of the actual door -- located a few feet to his right.
Doors didn't open automatically for Obama’s predecessor either. While making a hasty exit from a 2005 press conference in Beijing, former President George W. Bush tugged on the handles of a door, only to find it locked.
Bush laughed off the blunder, but the pictures still live on as part of Bush's lame duck legacy. However, there was little note taken of Obama's rookie mistake.
Wednesday’s Good Morning America led into an interview with House Republican Leader John Boehner about the massive Democratic “stimulus” package with a deluge of horror stories about the awful economy: an elderly man who froze to death after failing to pay his power bills; a new report declaring the need for $2 trillion in new infrastructure spending; and an unemployed man who killed his family and himself.
“You know this situation -- you don't need me to tell you about it, we hear about job losses being reported every day,” news anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers, “so the pressure is on lawmakers” to “get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending” and pass the massive spending bill. Making it perfectly obvious which side he’s on, Cuomo declared “a promising signal for all of us” that Boehner seemed to come out of a meeting with President Obama “looking to make a deal.”
But the economic horror stories that ABC pushed prior to showing the interview with Boehner (taped Tuesday afternoon) all contain significant omissions. The “unregulated” power company being blamed for the elderly man’s death is owned by the local government, not some greedy capitalist utility. The new report arguing for massive spending on roads and bridges was released two months early to influence the stimulus vote. And the man who tragically killed his family did not lose his job because of cost-cutting or anything related to the economy, but after being investigated for possible fraud.
At the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer declared: "Hubert Humphrey once said the 1964 Civil Rights Act was America's single most effective foreign policy initiative. It had nothing to do with foreign policy, but it told the world who we wereand what we stood for and that our system was about fairness and equal treatment and that it worked. I thought about that when Barack Obama announced that torture would never be part of our national policy."
Schieffer continued to praise Obama as well as the president’s world view: "With a simple declaration, President Obama told the world our system of government is so strong we don't need to torture people to survive. That is the way of those who would destroy us. But that is not us. We have found a better way. That is what our message to the world must be. More importantly, that is what we want our children to know. When we were admired and respected by others, we are far more secure than any weapon can ever make us."
A Minnesotan who voted in November for Barack Obama recently wrote NewsBusters thanking us for our reporting on how the Obama administration has thus far failed to transcribe, publish, and archive on whitehouse.gov its daily press briefings.
Writes Andrea Dvorak of St. Paul:
My politics are certainly left of center; I voted for Obama and couldn't be happier that he's our president now. (Part of why I started reading the press briefings back in 2002 was to keep tabs on some of the less well publicized actions of former president Bush.) But just because I think I'll like most of Obama's policies doesn't mean I'm comfortable letting his Press office decide what I find out about what the US press is asking his administration. I count on the press to investigate ANY administration and ask tough questions. If I don't know what they're asking, I'm significantly less informed about my government.
Did interviewer Hisham Melhem of al-Arabiya TV offer Barack Obama the Arab version of "Hardball with Chris Matthews"? After the interview was finished, Melhem talked to Jeffrey Goldberg of the Atlantic and crowed about how superior Obama is to George Bush:
A president named Barack Hussein Obama sees the world differently from a president named George W. Bush, in part because of his biography, in part because of intellect. He senses that maybe America is less Western-centric than it used to be. The world is no longer Europe and North America.
Can you construct a sillier straw man than to suggest George Bush doesn’t realize the West needs to engage the Arab world? Goldberg tried to suggest skepticism, that Obama’s Middle East policy resembles Bush’s in some ways, but Melhem wouldn’t agree, boastfully selling the current Obama line that he’s too progressive and Muslim-friendly to be pushed into a Bush mold:
Marveling on Monday's Late Show about how people were lining up during the inauguration “to buy merchandise with any depiction” of President Barack Obama, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams expressed his pleasure at seeing so many people “that excited about our new chief executive after a line of what the ordinary voter would maybe describe as bad choices or choices of evils, for years, generations.”
All the Presidents going back for “generations” before Obama were “evil”? Williams likely meant to say past presidential victors were seen as the “lesser of two evils,” but a greater percent of voters cast their ballot for Ronald Reagan in 1984 (58.7%) -- when plenty of Americans outside the media were excited about re-electing that President -- and George Bush in 1988 (53.7%) than chose Obama (52.8%).
Williams soon insisted “none” of his personal excitement over Obama's presidency “is about a party” since, he quite seriously maintained, “none of us have a party in my line of work. We all try to call balls and strikes down the center.” Yet, Williams proceeded to trumpet how “we have a dazzling family in the White House. I don't think they take a bad picture” and tout how Obama “has an enormous brain. He's a hugely capable man.” Then, the “down the center” Williams endorsed Obama's “stimulus” plan: “If we can rebuild the United States, which everybody agrees it needs doing, and put these people to work, use that trillion dollars to help fellow citizens who are going to have it rough in these coming months and years...”
If you had any questions remaining about the war liberals have launched to end conservative talk radio they should be answered by a petition the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee began "to show Rush Limbaugh and all of the Republicans what they're up against if they start attacking President Obama."
On Monday, the MRC's Brent Bozell warned Americans that Obama's statement to Republican Congressional leaders last Friday advising them to stop listening to Limbaugh was "just an opening salvo from the new administration in the war to stifle conservative talk radio and could soon be followed by a concerted effort to resurrect the so-called Fairness Doctrine."
Bozell was clearly prescient, for hours later the DCCC posted the following at its website (h/t NBer Blazer):
Once again I'm going to live-blog the daily press briefing. I'll be focused on the reporters' questions, not so much Gibbs's answers. I also caution this is a rough transcript and may contain errors. I hope to render as accurate a depiction as possible of the questions asked and who's asking them.
As a little twist, I'll also try Twittering some comments on my Twitter page, @KenShepherd.
The presser was scheduled for 3:45 p.m. ET, but is late getting off the ground. Gibbs entering room at 3:53 p.m. ET
15:54 Gibbs gives announcements including week-ahead schedule "better late than never" he adds.
15:54, female reporter: Did the president come away with any specific reason to think Republicans will support the stimulus? Was there anything he agreed to put in the bill to get Republican support?
15:58, same reporter with followup, says way Gibbs describes it makes it sound like Obama is arguing for the status quo stimulus bill, not getting changes to it.
15:59, Bill Plante: It seems more aspirational. Public comments we hear are more predictable. Republicans accuse Dems of it being too larded up, Democrats say there's too much tax cuts... I don't hear enough from either side that there's compromise in the works.
Catching up on an item from Friday night, the three broadcast evening newscasts aired virtually nothing on January 23 about President Obama’s executive order permitting federal funding of abortions, overturning orders signed by President Bush in his first week in office back in 2001. Both CBS and NBC’s White House reporters squeezed in a single sentence about Obama’s action during stories about the economic stimulus bill, while ABC’s World News said nothing about the orders on Friday.
But on Sunday’s World News, ABC’s Dan Harris highlighted conservative criticism of Obama’s abortion decision, arguing that it showed how “despite his desire to reach out to people who disagree with him, the new President may find that on some issues, it may be impossible to find common ground.” Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi also painted the President -- whom she said hoped “not to provoke” conservatives by banning photographs of the signing -- the victim of a “brutal” reaction from conservatives:
Checking out the official Web page for the Obama administration today, I noticed that the White House has removed the "pool reports" entry from the "Briefing Room" lineup roughly six days after the White House press corps made clear it would not fork over the pool reports to the White House. The page itself, which of course lacks any pool reports, is still accessible here.
As of noon this 27th day of January -- the 7th of the brilliant glory of the Obama era -- the daily press briefings are still lacking on whitehouse.gov. See my January 23 blog post about that here.
Weekly Standard's Mary Katharine Ham added her thoughts in a post to her magazine's blog yesterday, noting that the absence of press briefings is a continuation of the Obama's online communication strategy which was "built for message control, not openness" (emphasis mine):
For 8 years, life was good and easy for the liberal political cartoon community--they had George W. Bush & Dick Cheney to kick around. With hardly a care in the world, they boldly spoke truth to power, at immense personal risk to themselves, and quietly stacked their Pulitzers for being so bold and courageous and funny.
Then along came Barack Obama--the cool, handsome, African-American incarnation of JFK & Abraham Lincoln (no less). What were the professional sketch satirists to do?
"I had all my villains in place for eight years and they've been taken away," lamented Pulitzer Prize winner Pat Oliphant, one of the most widely syndicated cartoonists. "I don't know that I've ever had this experience before, of a president I maybe like. This is an antagonistic art. We're supposed to concentrate on finding things wrong. There's no point in drawing a cartoon that's favorable."
Less than a week after suggesting Republicans had "lost their cojones" after confirming Hillary Clinton for secretary of state, on Monday, MSNBC’s Norah O’Donnell wondered: "Does President Barack Obama finally have the cojones, that some Democrats haven't had in the past, in saying to other Republicans ‘you don't have to listen to Rush Limbaugh?’" Democratic strategist Penny Lee agreed with O’Donnell and replied: "Enough with this politics of personal destruction. Let us get back to business and you don't have to listen to the extremes on either side."
O’Donnell also spoke with Republican strategist Phil Musser and asked: "...what out does it give the Republican Party to have Rush Limbaugh out there saying, who is the voice of many conservatives, that he hopes the president fails. I mean, that's kind of lame, isn't it?" Musser responded: "He is raising some legitimate issues in the context of what some would characterize as maybe impolitic language, but that's his business." However, he later attacked Limbaugh: "...the Republican Party is now the minority party and in a lot of ways, we're back to throwing the bombs from the sidelines... And that's one of the things that I think Rush Limbaugh is stepping up to try to capitalize on."
Later in segment, O’Donnell attempted to portray Obama’s comments about Limbaugh as political savvy:
O’DONNELL: But isn't this exactly the kind of fight that Obama wants to have? Don't fight with the Republicans in the House, don't fight with the Republicans in the Senate, because you have to work with them. But find somebody like a Rush Limbaugh, who they can argue is on the fringe, and fight with him, score points with your base and not lose out with the Republicans that you need?
At the end of Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, commentator Andy Rooney did some of his usual thinking out loud, praising Barack Obama: "I've lived through the election of a lot of American presidents -- more than ten, I think -- and about half the people I knew at the time hated one or the other of the two candidates...Maybe I'm reading the wrong newspapers and listening to the wrong people, but I'm not hearing anyone who hates Barack Obama." Perhaps Rooney should stop listening to his own network’s fawning Obama coverage and consult the 46% of the country that did not vote for the Democratic president.
Rooney touted some of the president’s early decisions: "I think we've got ourselves a really good president with a funny name...Obama has frozen the salaries of people in the White House who are making more than $100,000...Obama has put limits on lobbyists who infest Washington. He reversed Bush's policy of making it hard to get information out of our government through the Freedom of Information Act." Rooney concluded his fawning by declaring: "Obama just looks good every time he does anything."
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the first interview with author and former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg about his brand new book. You'll love the title: "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media."
The book goes on sale Monday, and Goldberg named two journalists as the most embarrassing pro-Obama partisans in the media: MSNBC's eternally thrilled Chris Matthews, and The Washington Post's "chiseled pectorals" correspondent, Eli Saslow.
Here's how Goldberg summed the book up: "This is not a book about the same old media bias. This time journalists cross a very bright line. This time they stopped being witnesses to history and they were intent on helping to shape history. They moved from media bias to media activism. In my whole life I have never seen the media get on board for one candidate the way they did this time around and -- this is very important -- they did it without even a hint of embarrassment."
The George Soros-fundedClinton front-groupThink Progress expressed disappointment Sunday that conservative journalists who attended a dinner party with Barack Obama a few weeks ago haven't abandoned their political principles and become bleeding-heart liberals.
I kid you not.
Readers are forewarned to remove all food and fluids from their computer's proximity, for this is some truly hilarious stuff: