Plugging her new book The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging, Arianna Huffington appeared on the PBS talk show Tavis Smiley on Tuesday night to receive smiles and affirmations from the host. Smiley told Huffington of his personal joy when the Huff-Post is quoted in tainted crown jewel of New York's Old Media:
SMILEY: Speaking of influencing the course of events, I read a number of papers, as do you, every single day before I get moving, and I always smile when I'm reading The New York Times, especially, and I see The New York Times quoting The Huffington Post and I say, "Arianna's having a good day, The New York Times is quoting her." What do you make of the fact that blogs now are the place where news is broken and that the traditional mainstream media outlets end up quoting the blogosphere?
Wednesday’s CBS Early Show worked hard to put as much distance as possible between Barack Obama and disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, as correspondent Chip Reid reported: "Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich have both been leaders in Illinois Democratic politics for years, but long-time observers say that's about as far as the connection goes." Reid later dismissed Republican efforts to question Obama’s connection to the indicted Governor: "...that's not stopping the Republican National Committee from trying to tie the two men together...Despite the occasional photo together, though, linking them could be a tough sell."
In a segment that followed Reid’s report, co-host Harry Smith asked Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet: "Does any of this rub off on Barack Obama?" Sweet replied: "A little bit does. Because these are his -- this brings up the whole -- we're talking about the Senate seat for sale, but the criminal complaint does bring up Tony Rezko, it does bring up questions about the associations-" Smith interjected: "Which the Republicans tried so hard during the campaign to say Barack Obama is a Chicago politician." Sweet dispelled that characterization: "Right. And here's the thing, Obama does not come out of this culture."
CNN's Veronica De La Cruz is looking for biracial Americans planning on attending the Obama inauguration to potentially interview for a documentary project she is working on.
[Update: De La Cruz informed me that the documentary project is separate from her work at CNN]
Posted at her Twitter page a few minutes ago:
Re: Inauguration: If u know anyone who's going -- who is mixed race/ bi-racial and would be interested in being interviewed, pls contact me!
I'm sure De La Cruz won't have trouble finding Obama fans who fit her criteria. If you know of conservative or libertarian critics of Obama who happen to be biracial and plan on attending the inauguration you can let her know on Twitter @VeronicaDLCruz.
Speaking of Twitter, you can follow me there @KenShepherd.
Today's Chicago Tribune boasts an interview with Barack Obama. Carried in both the print and Web editions, the latter version is headlined: "Barack Obama plans to reach out to Muslim world: In exclusive interview, he says he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama"
The article begins:
Barack Obama says his presidency is an opportunity for the U.S. to renovate its relations with the Muslim world, starting the day of his inauguration and continuing with a speech he plans to deliver in an Islamic capital.
And when he takes the oath of office Jan. 20, he plans to be sworn in like every other president, using his full name: Barack Hussein Obama.
The problem with this is it's not accurate. Not every president has taken the oath "using his full name" and the Chicago Tribune should have so informed its readers. Of the last six presidents, three didn't use their full names: Gerald R. Ford,Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan.
The three broadcast networks started their evening newscasts on Tuesday with stories on Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich's arrest and corruption charges. All of the newscasts mentioned Blagojevich's Democratic affiliation, but only in passing. And, only ABC's World News questioned the details about the Illinois Governor's relationship with President-elect Barack Obama, while NBC and CBS brushed over the President-elect's connections with Blagojevich and seemed content to end their investigation of this relationship by reporting on Obama's statement that he was not aware of what was going on.
ABC and NBC both identified Blagojevich as a Democrat early in their reports. NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams's introduction to the report by Lee Cowan described the charge as "that the two-term Democratic governor tried to sell a seat in the US Senate to the highest bidder." Brian Ross, reporting for ABC's "World News," identified the Illinois governor as "the boyish looking Democrat branded a greedy, foul mouth politician who tried to sell a US Senate seat to the highest bidder."
The CBS "Evening News," however, did not identify Blagojevich as a Democrat until the very end of Dean Reynolds's report when an on-screen graphic identified the governor as "(D) Illinois" and Reynolds claimed that "fellow Democrats worry that whoever he might pick could wind up tainted politically and could ultimately cost the party a valuable seat in Congress."
President-elect Barack Obama's decision to keep a distance from his state's governor, who was arrested on corruption charges on Tuesday, should enable him to escape becoming tainted by the scandal, analysts said.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich stands accused of trying to sell the president-elect's vacant U.S. Senate seat for financial and other personal benefits for himself and his wife, among other charges.
And who precisely are these analysts expecting Obama to avoid the connection?
If Gov. Blagojevich does not resign immediately, impeach him.
This is the inescapable conclusion that comes after reading Tuesday’s 76-page criminal complaint against the governor alleging a runaway crime spree of political corruption.
Even if the governor were found not guilty of every accusation against him — and given the apparent weight of the evidence against him, we’re not taking any bets — the criminal charges would cripple his already limited ability to lead Illinois.
The newspaper's editorial conveniently overlooks that Milorad Blagojevich is a Democrat. It also ignores that only two years ago the Chicago Sun-Times endorsed him. Its October 20, 2006 editorial, "Blagojevich for governor," took passing note of ethical problems and decided they were of little consequence:
Much as when then-New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught with a prostitute last March, the arrest Tuesday of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich on allegations he was trying to sell Barack Obama’s vacated U.S. Senate seat raises the issue of whether or not the Big Three networks will forthrightly tag him as a “Democrat.”
Among wire services, the Associated Press has included the “Democrat” label in its round-up, but not in the lead paragraph, while Reuters linked Blagojevich to "fellow Democrat President-elect Barack Obama."
So what would happen if the corruption charges were flung at a Republican Governor of Illinois?
"I don't know why he's attacking Time magazine," a puzzled Seton Motley told "Fox & Friends" host Steve Doocy this morning, referring to the president-elect's former longtime pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. On Sunday the retired minister -- who married the Obamas and baptized their children -- issued a fiery screed against the media -- calling the mainstream media the "gates of hell" -- from the pulpit of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ.
"They [Time magazine] were certainly much nicer to him than a lot of journalistic outlets were, and by nicer I mean hiding him and preventing him from being a bigger player in the presidential race," the MRC director of communications added. "Look, the media's not going to cover this guy in the way that they should because of his 20-year relationship with Barack Obama." [audio available here]
Doocy and Motley also discussed the media's reticence on reporting on Obama's Bill Ayers connection during the campaign. To see the full appearance, click the play button on the embedded video to your right.
In the midst of more self-congratulatory excess over David Gregory becoming moderator of Meet the Press, he and anchor Brian Williams cued up Gregory to discuss Obama's “expectations management.” Gregory echoed that Obama must “lower expectations,” though, Gregory soon trumpeted: “He doesn't want to hit the ground running. He wants to hit the ground signing, signing a stimulus bill in the very early days of his administration because the economy cannot wait.” Williams first told Gregory, who appeared from the Meet the Press set: “Congratulations on your great new job so well deserved and what you know is a great honor.” Gregory agreed: “I do know it's a great honor” to host “a treasured platform in the country.”
Williams posed this tortuous question:
David, you also come to this job from your last position as chief White House correspondent. As such, it changes the way you, I'm sure, have looked a this race and the President-elect including as recently as yesterday's interview with Tom Brokaw. Talk about that, especially in the area so important these days of expectations management.
Looks like Chris Matthews is actually disappointed in Barack Obama, but only in the sense that he's worried Obama isn't moving to the left fast enough. Throughout Monday night's "Hardball," after reciting recent appointments like Robert Gates, Jim Jones and yes even Hillary Clinton, Matthews repeatedly asked his guests questions like: "What happened to the victory of change, and I hate to use the phrase, the Left? Who won this election?" and "Why do we have no lefties in this Cabinet?"
Matthews even invited on two "lefties," Tim Carpenter of Progressive Democrats of America and David Corn of The Nation, to blast Obama for not going left enough and offered them regular spots on his show to "Keep the guy [Obama] where he ought to be."
A little later in the program, Matthews had on Margaret Carlson of Bloomberg news and Roger Simon of the Politico and fretted about his perception that there weren't enough leftists in the cabinet: "Why no lefties? Why nobody that talks like Barack Obama talked when he got elected?"
The following exchanges occurred on the December 8, edition of "Harball":
On his syndicated "Chris Matthews Show" on Sunday, Chris Matthews seemingly sought to do his self-proclaimed "job" of making sure Barack Obama's administration is a success by featuring a panel of guests who praised the incoming team and the President-elect's ability to use his political capital to pass "big packages to avert a depression." There was only twelve seconds of negativity about Obama during the entire hour-long show, and that was when columnist Kathleen Parker noted that some Hispanic organizations are unhappy with Obama because they feel that there is not enough Hispanic representation in his appointments.
The first topic of discussion was the economy and Matthews anxiously wondered whether Obama could "get a big head of steam to save the American economy and keep that head of steam so he can pass all the bills he needs to do the job?"
John Heileman of New York Magazine gave an emphatic "yes" along with four reasons to support his answer including, "I mean, [Obama] won a clear mandate" and "how well [Obama's] done in this transition and the way it's been received by both parties is having been arguably the best transition that anyone in our lifetime has ever seen."
When promises candidate Barack Obama made to voters during the campaign get tossed aside like so much rubbish, will media hold his feet to the fire?
Such is an important question given how many pledges Democrats and their leaders made to garner the public's support in 2006 which ended up being completely irrelevant once the 110th Congress was sworn in.
For the most part, as each campaign commitment was tossed on the trash heep, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, and all their accomplices were given a pass by "journalists" from coast to coast.
With this in mind, Politico on Monday published a list of campaign promises the president-elect has already gone back on -- or appears to be in the process of doing so -- that an honest media, despite their complicity in getting him elected, should be aggressively reporting if getting the policies enacted were more important than getting the person they liked in the White House (h/t Hot Air, photo courtesy AP via Politico):
Media reports on President-elect Barack Obama's selection of retired Army General Eric Shinseki commonly described the pick as a “rebuke” or “repudiation” of the Bush administration for underestimating the number of troops that would be needed to occupy Iraq, but CBS's Dean Reynolds went further as he implied abiding by Shinseki's 2003 recommendation for “several hundred thousand soldiers” would have prevented wounded troops. On Sunday's CBS Evening News, over archive video of Shinseki visiting wounded soldiers -- and leading into a soundbite from Shinseki saying “veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular are confronting severe wounds, some seen, some unseen” -- Reynolds declared:
Now Shinseki will deal with the consequences of a policy that rejected his advice.
Of course, many soldiers and Marines have been wounded in Afghanistan and it's hardly an established fact that more American troops in Iraq in 2003 would have precluded a large number of American casualties which would require services from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
In the midst of a discussion about President-elect Barack Obama's national security team, Washington Week host Gwen Ifill on Friday night's program sought confirmation for her theory that “what people are beginning to say is that this President-elect should be President now” as “people are saying why isn't Barack Obama leading the fight about the auto-makers?”
New York Times reporter Peter Baker agreed: “That's right, exactly.” He proceeded to fret over how “people voted for change and this strange, odd 77-day waiting period that we impose...between our election and our inauguration” just isn't compatible with the “hyperactive 24/7 fast-moving culture that we have today.” Baker admired how “Obama is trying to find some balance between respecting President Bush,” whom Baker conceded is “still in charge,” and “finding a way to assert leadership.”
Appearing on Friday's "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather chided President Bush for not doing enough during his lame duck period and argued for moving Inauguration Day up to December 1. And although Rather didn't explain specifically what Bush wasn't doing enough about (The financial crisis? The terrorist incident in India?), he did hyperbolically fret, "But, we're in possibly, possibly the biggest crisis we've been in since December 7, 1941 and maybe since the time of the Civil War." (As big a calamity as slavery and the dissolution of the Union?)
Addressing the past practice of inaugurating presidents in March, Rather lobbied "Thank heaven, we now swear them in, new presidents, in January. I'd be in favor of moving it up to December 1st."(The former network anchor didn't explain how he would then deal with situations like the protracted 2000 post-election battle.) [Audio available here.]
Unveiling President-elect Barack Obama as her “Most Fascinating Person of 2008,” Barbara Walters wrapped up her Thursday night prime time special by championing how Obama “has redeemed the American promise that an individual can make his own destiny and create a new world.” (Obama hasn't even taken office, yet he's already managed to “create a new world”?) She then presumptuously gushed: “We are all members of that new world now, and that for us makes him the Most Fascinating Person of 2008. Good luck, Mr. President.”
A small county in rural Alabama is making national news for passing a motion declaring that the second Monday in November will be forever recognized as "Barack Obama Day".
Normally small county resolutions that affect a mere 40 of this nation's 301 million residents would not capture a national audience. In this case however the AP has discovered one of those pivotal occasions where they can pursue what should be an obvious national event while at the same time implying the obvious racism of the rest of the state that supported John McCain "largely on strong support from White voters."
MARION, Ala. - In central Alabama's Perry County, government workers already get a day off for President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, and Veteran's Day. In 2009, they'll get one more: "Barack Obama Day."
The rural county, which overwhelmingly supported Obama in last month's presidential election, has approved the second Monday in November as "The Barack Obama Day." Commissioners passed a measure that would close county offices for the new annual holiday and its roughly 40 workers will get a paid day off.
Perry County has 12,000 residents, most of them Black. Voters there backed Obama by over 70 percent in a state that gave 60 percent of the overall vote to Republican John McCain based largely on strong support from White voters. - Save the date: Ala. county passes Obama holiday
On Thursday’s "CBS Early Show," co-host Harry Smith talked discussed the Obama transition with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, who observed: "...a lot of people said this is going to be a very extremist president and all that, that he's a very liberal Democrat, but as we have seen in appointment after appointment, he's hewing to the center. He's picking a bunch of flaming moderates here, when you come right down t it.
"Now some liberal Democrats may not like that, but he's getting praised generally across the board here." Smith agreed: "Yeah, Bob, I would guess that the only people who really feel like they have their feathers ruffled are, maybe, the liberal Democrats."
In reality, Obama’s pick for secretary of state, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, has a lifetime American Conservative Union voting score of 9. Obama’s pick for commerce secretary, New Mexico Governor and former Congressman Bill Richardson, had an ACU score of 18 while in Congress. Obama’s chief of staff, Congressman Rahm Emanuel, has a score of 16.
"Wow!" That was Chris Matthews' immediate reaction to Barack Obama's response to a question from a Fox News reporter about why his pick for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, shaved off his beard. After playing, on Wednesday's "Hardball", a clip from Obama's press conference introducing Richardson, Matthews expressed awe at the "intellectual" way Obama analyzed Richardson's personal grooming habits.
Matthews made the following observation during the "Sideshow," segment of the December 3 edition of "Hardball":
When it comes to building a quota Cabinet that fulfills liberal demands for “diversity,” Barack Obama is far smoother than the “artless” and “calculating” Clintons were back in 1992, NBC’s Andrea Mitchell argued Wednesday afternoon on MSNBC. In contrast to the Clintons, Obama’s approach is “effortless. They’re creating a mosaic, but they’re not doing it by self-consciously creating that mosaic,” Mitchell enthused.
Talking about the naming of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as the new Secretary of Commerce and whether Hispanics would demand other slots in Obama’s Cabinet, Mitchell panned the approach taken by Bill and Hillary sixteen years ago:
They were trying to pick one from column “A” and one from column “B,” and diversity was such an important goal, that there were a number of very, you know, top level Democrats who happened to be white men stashed in hotels in Little Rock waiting and calling reporters like me and saying, ‘Have you heard? Am I getting Transportation? Am I getting Interior? What am I getting,’ you know. But first they had to check off all the other boxes.
Veteran Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein appeared on Wednesday's "Morning Joe" and gushed that Barack Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the State Department will benefit from the "real wisdom" Bill Clinton has "when it comes to foreign policy." Continuing to fawn over the President-elect's cabinet choices, Bernstein enthused, "And the real thing about this appointment, though, is that Obama is assembling a group of people to unite the country."
The author of the Clinton bio "A Woman in Charge" optimistically added, "He [Obama] wants a political consensus so he can do what other presidents haven't been able to do, which is to move the country in the direction he wants without division down the middle." Bernstein didn't explain how the liberal senator, who's lifetime American Conservative Union score is seven, would "unite the country."
Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Weisman (fresh from a stint at the Washington Post) displayed the extremes of mistaking bean-counting for administrative perfection on the paper’s Washington Wire blog on Tuesday:
For the rainbow cabinet of the nation’s first African American president, Mary Beth Maxwell is the perfect labor secretary you’ve probably never heard of: a gay woman, community organizer and labor leader with an adopted African American son. And this founding executive director of American Rights at Work is about to get the full-court press.
How is someone "perfectly" qualified for the cabinet by their sexuality, or by the race of their adopted children? Why doesn’t anyone in the political press have any skepticism about the relevance of race, gender, and sexual orientation in determining every single high government appointment?
On Sunday’s CBS Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer discussed the challenges President-elect Barack Obama will face with liberal authors: "Today we ask the authors of four of the year's most important books to assess the problems the new administration will face." Schieffer asked the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward, author of ‘The War Within: A Secret White House History,’ about Obama picking Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Woodward replied: "It's an amazing national security team that Obama appears to have selected. It's kind of like 'Goldilocks and the Three Bears.' You've got too cool, which might be -- or at least appropriately cool, General Jones as the national security adviser; Gates is kind of just right, in the middle; and Hillary Clinton, hot."
Schieffer later turned to the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, author of ‘The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals,’ and asked: "...your fascinating book, 'The Dark Side,' tells how the current vice president, Richard Cheney, amassed power unknown to any vice president in our history. I'd like to ask you first, how did he do that? And do you see Joe Biden having the kind of power?" Mayer replied: "it takes a president like Bush to have a vice president like Cheney. Obama, so far, seems to be so much more involved in the details and in kind of wanting to command the policies all the way up and down, really -- so I don't see it repeating." Mayer then went on to compare the Bush and Obama administrations:
Another difference that's very important is that both the president coming in and the vice president are lawyers, and one of the things that happened in the last administration was neither of them were. They were not constitutional scholars and they enacted policies that -- including legalizing torture for all purposes -- that really were not constitutional. And I don't think we're going to see that again. This is a -- this is a group of people who -- and the secretary of state is also a lawyer now. These people respect the law, I think.
On Sunday’s Chris Matthews Show, host Matthews led the panel in a discussion over whether conservatives would choose to cooperate with the Obama administration in making "historic changes" to repair the economy, rather than stand in opposition to his programs. The premise of the discussion seemed to be that times are too serious for conservatives to dare dissent from Obama’s plans. At one point, David Ignatius of the Washington Post suggested that "thoughtful" Republicans will work with Obama as he referred to John McCain’s concession speech. Ignatius: "I thought that John McCain set the tone for thoughtful Republicans in his concession speech election night, where he reached out to Obama. He was remarkably generous. One of the best speeches he's ever made, in my book."
As he teased the show, Matthews seemed to wonder if Republicans would try to stand in the way of Obama accomplishing "great things," or if they would see the light and cooperate. Matthews: "Will the mountain of crises our country faces make Barack Obama do great things? And with all the crises, will even Republicans see historic steps are required?"
Following coverage of a Monday morning news conference in which President-elect Barack Obama announced his national security team, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric observed: "...two initially surprising centrist choices for his so-called team of rivals. Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, and of course Bush Defense Secretary Robert Gates." She then asked political analyst Jeff Greenfield: "...in a way, this inoculates President-Elect Obama from criticism that he is somehow soft in the area of foreign policy, doesn't it?" Greenfield replied: "Yeah, I think so."
Greenfield went on to explain: "If he's going to pursue a different course, emphasizing diplomacy and international aid, if you have people like General Jones and Secretary Gates, and Hillary Clinton, who's relatively hawkish for a Democrat, it doesn't sound like a Kumbaya, let's just trust everybody. These are hard-headed realists and I think it helps him pursue that foreign policy." Couric followed up: "What about the confirmation process? Do you think there will be tough questions for Senator Clinton?...any road blocks during that process?" Greenfield responded: "One interesting thing is there are no -- I'll use this term -- fire-breathing conservative Republicans on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Nobody who's looking to make points going after Bill Clinton."
Less than nine months ago, the Obama campaign was slamming Hillary Clinton as utterly unqualified on foreign policy, having had no substantive experience during her husband’s administration and being dreadfully wrong in her judgment as a Senator when it came to “the most critical foreign policy judgment of our generation,” the war in Iraq.
A March 11, 2008 memo by Obama ally (and now incoming White House Counsel) Gregory Craig suggested Clinton (unlike Obama) was using “false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security.” The memo was passed around as Clinton was slamming Obama as not ready to take a “3am phone call” on a national emergency.
Yet today, as President-elect Barack Obama named Hillary Clinton to the top foreign policy post in his administration, none of the three broadcast network anchors chose to disrupt the moment by reminding anyone of Obama’s argument of a few months ago that, when it came to foreign policy, Clinton is an inexperienced phony. [UPDATE at end]
Everything good that happens is because of Barack Obama. Everything bad is attributable to George Bush or Dick Cheney or Sarah Palin or some other Republican. In keeping with these mainstream media-manufactured verities, USA Today's Web site reports "President-elect Obama's actions perk up stock market." The story begins:
President-elect Barack Obama hasn't even moved into the White House yet. But Wall Street is already showering him with praise for injecting confidence into the battered psyche of investors and working quickly to hatch a plan meant to jolt the economy out of its worst funk in decades.
A market that two weeks ago was desperate for political leadership and a clear strategy to repair the economy appears to have found it in Obama, who is fast emerging as a decisive economic commander in chief.
Stocks soared last week after Obama moved aggressively to fill the power vacuum until he's sworn in and demonstrated his commitment to dig the USA out of its economic rut.
File this one under “Deluded Expectations.” During MSNBC’s coverage of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, on Thursday, daytime anchor Alex Witt seemed frustrated that the election of Barack Obama 23 days earlier — and the accompanying “global outpouring of affection, respect, hope” — had not caused an end to terrorist violence.
Talking with correspondent John Yang, who was covering the Obama side of the story, Witt conceded that while “you certainly can’t expect things to change on a dime overnight....There had been such a global outpouring of affection, respect, hope, with the new administration coming in, that precisely these kinds of attacks, it was thought — at least hoped — would be dampered down. But in this case it looks like Barack Obama is getting a preview of things to come.”
If you had any questions about how differently the economy will be covered with Barack Obama in the White House they were answered by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday when he credited the president-elect with causing the recent stock market rally as well as better than expected sales the day after Thanksgiving.
I kid you not.
During the panel discussion of the most recent installment of "This Week," Stephanopoulos said (video available here, relevant section at 11:05):