The first of just three questions asked of Barack Obama at his December 17 press conference [audio available here]:
CYNTHIA BOWERS, CBS News Chicago correspondent: I have a question. You ran on a platform of transparency. How difficult is all this having to wait to release your inquiry business when the American people expect transparency?
Yes, you read that correctly. Bowers prompts Obama for an answer wherein he can lament having to wait to answer questions about the nature of his interaction with indicted Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-Ill.).
Perhaps the lap dog media are cowering in the corner after Obama yesterday swatted Chicago Tribune's John McCormick on the proverbial nose for his Blagojevich question. Bowers has covered Chicago for CBS News since 1999 and hence seen the president-elect rise from relative obscurity to the highest office in the land.
Time magazine's Jay Carney, who said over the summer that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is "incredibly prone to say the wrong thing," will soon be in charge of ensuring that doesn't happen again.
In July, before Barack Obama picked the senator from Delaware as his running mate, Carney said on MSNBC that "Biden may be the answer" because of his foreign policy credentials. The "downside," Carney said, is that Biden has said the wrong thing "throughout his career. . . . He's smart, but he speaks -- shoots from the hip and sometimes says just wrong thing at the wrong time."
President-elect Barack Obama said Monday a review by his own lawyer shows he had no direct contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the appointment of a Senate replacement, and transition aides did nothing inappropriate.
Obama pledged to make the review public, but said he decided to hold off because prosecutors asked for a delay and "I don't want to interfere with an ongoing investigation." U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald released a statement confirming the request.
By contrast, back in October when Gov. Sarah Palin (R) released her own report denying impropriety in her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, the AP noted that "Palin Pre-Empts State Report, Clears Self in Probe." As e-mail tipster Matt Healy observed in his e-mail:
Time's Washington bureau chief Jay Carney is quitting his magazine post to take the fearsome task of managing the communications problems of incoming vice president Joe Biden.
This hardly comes as a surprise. During his tenure at Time, Carney accrued a reputation for bashing Republicans. In March, he urged President Bush to give a speech on the economy and say that he is "a Republican who actually cares about people that are suffering."
In a November 2007 blog post, Carney slammed the Bush administration for "los[ing] touch with reality" for insisting that the situation in Iraq was improving, despite many indicators that the surge strategy was working.
Less than a week after a new report from the ranking Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee showcased hundreds of scientists who disagree with the United Nations' alarmist take on global climate change, ABC’s World News Sunday featured a report devoted solely to cheering Barack Obama’s new “green team” — the promotional term was embraced by ABC News — and laying the groundwork for radical action on global warming after what ABC termed “censorship” and “stonewalling” by the Bush administration.
The story by ABC’s Bill Blakemore offered a manipulative presentation, asserting that “wildfires, droughts and downpours [are] increasing exactly as predicted for global warming” — but not mentioning that global temperatures are actually lower now than in 1998 — and scolding how the Bush White House allowed “political assistants in their 20s to rewrite the conclusions of leading climate scientists” — as if the liberal political opinions of scientists could not be second-guessed.
The media defense of disgraced Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich and corruption in politics continued Sunday morning as new "Meet the Press" host David Gregory, along with his guests, actually defended Blago's actions as "pay to play" business as usual that's just "part of the system" and "how the world works."
Such seems an astounding about face from the press's disgust and incessant focus on the so-called "Republican culture of corruption" that surrounded the reporting of former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay's travails in 2006, as well as the attention given to Jack Abramoff the same year in order to assist the Democrat takeover of both chambers of Congress that November.
Amazingly, two years later, the corruption in Illinois involving not only a Democrat governor, but also having some links to folks connected to the newly-elected Democrat president-elect, are just "part of the system" and "how the world works" (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 4:20, file photo):
QUIJANO: But, Betty, the question remains, when is it exactly that the president-elect and his team will disclose what contacts there actually were between their camp and people within the governor's office? What is taking so long? The president-elect said yesterday his staff was looking into it and would release that list in the coming days. So we continue to wait for that -- Betty.
I have never spoken to the governor on this subject. I'm confident that no representatives of mine would have any part of any deals related to this seat. I think the materials released by the U.S. attorney reflect that fact.
I've asked my team to gather the facts of any contacts with the governor's office about this vacancy so that we can share them with you over the next few days.
Several mainstream media accounts suggest that about the only thing Barack Obama and Rod Blagojevich have in common is they both live in Illinois. Today at the Washington Post's Web site, for example, we learn that "Obama Worked to Distance Self From Blagojevich Early On." The article begins by noting that the Illinois governor, unlike other major state Democratic politicians, wasn't allowed to address this year's national convention. There was at least one good reason for that, although it wasn't covered by today's Washington Post. Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times explained it last August:
The Obama campaign on Tuesday afternoon released more speakers for the second night of the Democratic convention in Denver, a batch of Democratic governors. Missing from the list: the first governor to back Obama, his homestate Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Blagojevich, who threw a heck of a party in Boston in 2004, has had no profile in the Obama campaign because of the scandals surrounding his administration, notably the Tony Rezko probe.
Because of Rezko, I never, ever expected Blagojevich to be tapped to speak.
You can just see the scene from the Wizard of Oz, where the wizard says ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.'
When it comes to diverting attention from a scandal plagued home state, don't worry Senator Obama, USA Today has your back.
In a bizarre demonstration of spinning numbers with the sole purpose of getting people to look away from the recent Blagojevich scandal, John Fritze and others at USA Today took statistics from the Department of Justice and the U.S. Census Bureau, crunched them in the liberal media calculator, and decided they had proof that North Dakota is actually the most corrupt state in the nation.
ABC was the only network to break into its daytime programming on Thursday with live coverage of Barack Obama’s press conference regarding the Wednesday arrest of Illinois’s Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich. Neither CBS nor NBC interrupted regular programming to cover the press conference, during which Obama also named former Senator Tom Daschle as Health and Human Services secretary.
This lack of coverage is particularly odd because both CBS and NBC featured live coverage of past significant Obama press conferences. Since being elected to the presidency, Obama has held seven press conferences, including Thursday’s. CBS provided live coverage of three of them, Obama’s first on November 7, the announcement of Obama’s economic team on November 24, and the announcement of Obama’s national security team on December 1. Meanwhile, NBC covered five of the seven press conferences, the same as CBS, with the addition of a brief Obama press appearance on November 26 and the announcement of New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson as commerce secretary on December 3. Apparently neither CBS nor NBC felt that Obama addressing a major corruption scandal in his home state was worthy enough to interrupt "The Price is Right" or local news.
On Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, during the show’s regular "Miller Time" segment, comedian Dennis Miller used humor to make a serious point about Barack Obama’s connections to corrupt and questionable characters in Illinois, and whether the President-elect was aware of the darker sides of his colleagues. Miller: "It’s just nice to know that my President-elect went through that entire system – all of these guys – Ayers, Blagojevich, Rezko, the Reverend Wright – and he didn’t notice any of them. At his worst, he is oblivious. At his absolute worst, he is disingenuous. He had to know something about some of these guys. ... We’re told that he’s the smartest guy on the planet on one hand. In the other hand, he never noticed any of this stuff. Come on, get the antenna up there, Barack. You got to wake up."
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