On the April 30 edition of "BBC World," Justin Webb reported on rising fuel costs and how the increase in prices affect the American public. According to Mr. Webb, many Americans drive cars nearly the size of big rigs, and will need to spend their tax rebate on fuel, thereby doing little for the economy at large. After all, if a big rig tank takes over a thousand dollars to fill, many American cars must face similar costs. [Audio available here] Transcript below:
“Many Americans drive private cars not much smaller than this truck, and the risk is that they use their tax rebate simply to buy fuel, boosting the profits of the oil companies but doing little or nothing for the wider American economy.
ABC reporter Claire Shipman filed a report from Rome on Friday in which she breathlessly informed viewers that "many Catholics are rethinking their views of [Pope] Benedict XVI." According to Shipman, "most [U.S.] Catholics" thought, at the time of his selection, that Benedict "might clash with American values." Throughout the segment, which aired on "Good Morning America," Shipman appeared shocked at how well the pontiff's April trip to the United States went. [audio available here]
Shipman even trotted out the media's favorite insulting epithet for the Pope. She derided, "Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as the pontiff used to be known, was considered a stern hard-liner, nicknamed 'God's rottweiler.'" After mentioning Benedict's visit to a U.S. synagogue, his meeting with victims of sexual abuse by priests, the journalist marveled, "Could this Pope so many had written off as a tough guy be a teddy bear in disguise?" Wouldn't it be more honest to admit that the "many" and "most" Shipman kept referring to are actually members of the media? After all, most Catholics hadn't heard of Joseph Ratzinger when he was chosen to be pope in April of 2005. ABC reporters, on the other hand, quickly made their thoughts on the selection clear.
Hillary Clinton's recent appearance on "The O'Reilly Factor" was a play for superdelegate support at the Democratic Convention, MRC President Brent Bozell argued on the May 2 "Fox & Friends" in a segment joined by liberal talk show host Mike Papantonio. [audio available here]
Asked about the media and if it will follow up any more on the Rev. Wright controversy, the NewsBusters publisher quipped that, "[u]nless Jeremiah Wright sends a cruise missile back in their direction, no, the networks aren't going to touch this, and the New York Times is going to leave this alone. That's the end of the story, that's the way it goes."
Below is a transcript of some remarks from Bozell's appearance on the May 2 "Fox & Friends":
What legitimate journalistic purpose did this serve?
In a segment narrated by Pete Williams on the apparent suicide of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called DC Madam, this morning's Today played the tape of the 911 phone call made by Pelfrey's 76-year old mother, who had discovered her daughter's body.
Of all the 911 calls I've heard, this was the most anguished and heart-rending.
Though she leavened it with considerable levity, there's no escaping the bottom line: Mika Brzezinski sees Pat Buchanan as a nut. An affable one, to be sure. Even one with interesting things to say. But at heart, a nut. A "crazy uncle" fit for the same crate of cracked pots as the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The prelude was Mika's reading of an excerpt from a brilliant essay by Charles Krauthammer in today's WaPo. Writing of Obama's recent attempt to definitively hurl Rev. Wright under the Greyhound, Krauthammer observed:
It's hard to think of an act more blatantly expedient than renouncing Wright when his show, once done from the press club instead of the pulpit, could no longer be "contextualized" as something whites could not understand and only Obama could explain in all its complexity.
Turns out the Wright show was not that complex after all. Everyone understands it now. Even Obama.
How did the CBS Evening News explain away the much-smaller size of pro-immigration rallies around the country today? Fear and intimidation on the part of prospective participants. But fear of what? Physical threats or illegal reprisals? No. Of simple enforcement of US law. CBS singled out for praise one marcher who wouldn't be "intimidated."
CBS correspondent Sandra Hughes narrated the segment, which included these morsels.
After Jimmy Carter and Joy Behar, CNN’s Larry King had a prominent liberal guest on his show for the third night in a row on Wednesday, this time Michael Moore. After King played a clip from Bill O’Reilly’s interview of Hillary Clinton which concerned the issue of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Moore pulled out the "black rage" card, as well as the stereotypical rich white liberal guilt. "[Y]ou have to ask yourself, Larry, what's it like to be black in America? And what kind of rage would you feel? And if you did feel that rage, what kind of things would you say that, at times, would be outrageous, crazy even, because you've had to live through this for so long. And I do not believe, as a white guy, that I am in any position to judge a black man who has had to live through that." [audio clip here]
Moore appeared as a guest on "Larry King Live" for the entire hour of the program. His comments on Wright came twenty minutes into the program. Besides explaining away Wright’s many polarizing and outlandish statements, he also attacked Hillary Clinton for her actions in the campaign, as well as his more usual targets of George W. Bush and John McCain.
At the April 29 Rose Garden press conference, Ryan asked President Bush the following question about the economy:
I talked to [Rep.] James Clyburn [D-S.C.] before this press conference. He said, "As a man thinketh, so are we." And Americans believe we are in a recession. What will it take for you to say those words, that we are in a recession?
Of course the following day, data from the federal government show the U.S. economy in slow economic growth, but far from the six months of negative growth needed for a recession. No matter to Ryan, who today went from applying the "as a man thinketh" logic to a 5-year old liberal media meme about the war in Iraq. Appearing shortly after 11:30 a.m. EDT on MSNBC to discuss the 2008 presidential race, Ryan parroted liberal talking points on the Iraq war:
It's turning out to be a red-letter day for Hoosiers. This morning, Joe Scarborough tricked Mika Brzezinski into agreeing that the famous coach of the Indiana basketball team was Bear Bryant, of all people, rather than Bobby Knight. This afternoon on MSNBC, when Howard Wolfson questioned the Hoosier bona fides of a superdelegate who today announced he was switching from Clinton to Obama, Andrea Mitchell turned the Clinton aide's gambit back on Hillary with a vengeance.
Superdelegate Joe Andrew, who in the 90s was elevated to DNC chairman with the backing of Bill Clinton, and who had earlier endorsed Hillary, today announced that he was switching his support to Obama. The timing is critical since it comes just days before the Indiana primary, and Andrew hails from the Hoosier state.
Mitchell, hosting her regular 1 PM ET politics show on MSNBC, mentioned that fact to Wolfson. When Wolfson tried to undercut Andrew's Indiana affiliation, Mitchell riposted in spades, citing the multiple states to which Hillary has claimed connection. Andrew later appeared himself, setting the record straight.
Aren't southern gentlemen supposedly chivalrous? Yet Joe Scarborough, son of the Florida Panhandle, today exploited Mika Brzezinski's less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of sports to lure his Morning Joe colleague into agreeing that the famous former coach of the Indiana University basketball team was none other than . . . Bear Bryant.
The jumping-off point was Joe's wearing of a red sweater today, which as a running gag he claimed was in solidarity with the workers of the world on this, May Day. But when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Hillary supporter, came on toward the end of the show, Scarborough pressed the sweater into double duty.
Would it have been any better for Barack Obama to have said people "rely" on bigotry rather than "cling" to it? I don't think so, but apparently he does . . .
This morning's "Today" aired an extended clip from an interview Meredith Vieira recently conducted of Barack and Michelle Obama. The full interview will be shown Saturday on MSNBC. While I didn't detect any blockbuster moments, there were a few notable nuggets.
On the issue of why he didn't distance himself from Rev. Wright sooner, Obama says: "When those first snippets came out, I thought it was important to give him the benefit of the doubt." That would suggest Obama actually had some doubt as to where Rev. Wright stood. Is that credible, after 20 years in the angry pastor's pews?
Dittoheads, you've been dissed. Chris Matthews has dismissed you as "manipulable"— mind-numbed robots, you might say. CNBC's John Harwood seconded the snub. It happened on this evening's Hardball as Matthews mused about the potential impact of Operation Chaos on the upcoming primaries.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How much of a move do you hear, John Harwood, the so-called Operation Chaos is going to play next Tuesday in Indianapolis [sic], the effort by Rush Limbaugh, the lovable Rush Limbaugh, I must say, to encourage Republicans, registered Republicans, to go vote for Hillary just to cause chaos and perhaps get her the nomination? How big a role will that be?
JOHN HARWOOD: My suspicion, Chris, is that's a lot more talk than action. I think there aren't that many voters who can be manipulated in that way to go make trouble in a primary election. And one of the things that's striking--
MATTHEWS: Butwhen you call yourself a "dittohead," it seems to me you've already defined yourself as someone who is, uh, let's put it this way—manipulable.
Jeremiah Wright is on the Republican "payroll" according to View co-host Joy Behar. Discussing the Reverend Wright controversy, Behar offered her conspiracy theory of a Republican dirty trick: "I think Reverend Wright might be being paid by the Republicans. That's what I think." She emphasized: "He's on the payroll!" This is not the first time Behar has hypothesized on the evil genius of the right. The daytime diva accused Republicans of causing Democratic Senator Tim Johnson's stroke and wondered if the "right-wing" planted the bogus McCain/Iseman story. [audio excerpt available here]
Whoopi then chastised Hasselbeck and those who criticize Obama for his Wright connection: "To sabotage the first black president is outrageous." Behar expressed no such concern over her own smear of African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
ABC reporter David Wright, a well known fan of Barack Obama, filed a report on Wednesday's "Good Morning America" in which he urged viewers to sympathize with how difficult it must have been for the senator to finally break with his controversial pastor. The journalist mournfully announced, "For Obama, whose own father abandoned him as a child, this must have been another painful break."
Rather than wonder why Obama repeatedly stood by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a man who absurdly claimed that the United States created the AIDS virus, (reporter) Wright lobbied for Americans to realize what a "big deal" the break was for the Obama campaign. He justified, "Imagine having to publicly denounce the minister who married you, who baptized your kids, who prayed with you the day you announced your candidacy for president."
Was Barack Obama's denunciation of Rev. Wright yesterday just some ginned-up anger, a show for the cameras—and the voters? You might think so, to judge by Andrea Mitchell's surprising revelation on today's Morning Joe . . .
JOE SCARBOROUGH: What do you think of the Obama statement yesterday? Was it enough to finally put this behind him?
ANDREA MITCHELL: Perhaps, yes. He had to do it. This thing had been a nagging, you know, problem, an open wound really. This was a very public divorce. I should point out, though, that quite to my surprise when he was out on the stump last night, once again Obama was kind of trivializing it, saying "well, my opponents are making fun of me, and trying to define me, and saying I don't put my hand over my heart, and they talk about my former pastor's crazy statements." So he was trying to blame it on McCain, Hillary, whoever, rather than on what he earlier said in a very specific and dramatic way.
MRC President and NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell appeared on both the April 29 "Hannity & Colmes" and the April 30 "Fox & Friends" to discuss media treatment of the ongoing Barack Obama/Rev. Jeremiah Wright saga. Bozell discussed a taxpayer-funded "puff piece" interview by PBS's Bill Moyers on "Hannity & Colmes." The next morning on "Fox & Friends," in addition to addressing Moyers's bias, Bozell discussed reports that Hillary Clinton backer the Rev. Dr. Barbara Reynolds was the person responsible for arranging Rev. Jeremiah Wright's April 27 National Press Club event.
While Reynolds has a political agenda in view, Bozell noted, he doubted there was a direct link to Hillary Clinton herself. [Audio excerpt here]
An excerpt from the "Fox & Friends" segment:
GRETCHEN CARLSON, co-host: Well how did Rev. Jeremiah Wright end up as a keynote speaker at the National Press Club? And what role Barbara Reynolds, openly a Clinton supporter, what role did she play in arranging Rev. Wright's appearance? More details coming out this morning now.
BRIAN KILMEADE, co-host: Yeah, Brent Bozell, you have a theory here. And we know now thanks to one of the reports that she had brought up Rev. Wright's name two years ago as a speaker and he has spoken before at 2007. But when they needed Rev. Wright, they had to go to Reynolds who does know him personally.
Remember how the MSM swooned over Barack Obama's Philly speech on race after the Rev. Wright tapes pushed the story to the front pages? I expected the same kind of rapturous reaction to Obama's press conference of yesterday in which he definitively ditched the conspiracy-mongering minister.
But, surprisingly, that was not the case at all on CBS's Early Show this morning. To the contrary, the tone was set by the opening graphic shown here, which skeptically asked: "too little, too late?" And when Bob Schieffer and Juan Williams appeared a bit later, they were similarly cynical. Then again, there was one bit of perhaps unintentional candor on host Harry Smith's part, of which more later.
I'm beginning to see Joe Scarborough's skirmishes with Mika Brzezinski on Morning Joe as mere batting practice for the much more serious battles he undertakes in the evening with Rachel Maddow on Race for the White House.
As Noel Sheppard documented, Maddow and Scarborough tangled on April 17th, with Joe possibly having exited the set in the end. The pair were back at it on this evening's "Race," the Air America host this time accusing Scarborough of "tying Barack Obama to Hitler."
Maddow's theme throughout the show was that the media has devoted too much coverage to the Rev. Wright matter. David Shuster, subbing for host David Gregory, lit the fuse.
Appearing on the April 29 edition of "The View," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich proved his intellectual superiority to Joy Behar punching holes in her very shallow debate points. Also, in discussing the ongoing Reverend Wright controversy, Whoopi Goldberg placed Billy Graham in league with Wright and Louis Farrakhan. [audio version of embedded video available here]
In challenging Newt Gingrich’s assertion that there’s a sympathy on the far left for America haters such as William Ayers, Behar inquired, "there’s no romance going on between the hard right of this country and Saudi Arabia let’s say?" Gingrich swiftly answered "the hard right in this country deeply dislikes Saudi Arabia as the source of Wahabbist funding."
During a segment on Monday’s "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer and CNN justice correspondent Kelli Arena framed the Supreme Court decision upholding Indiana’s "strict" voter ID law according to the liberal view (a law so "strict" that it calls for the voter show photo ID before voting). Arena’s report offered three critics of the decision to only one supporter, who happened to be Indiana’s Secretary of State. One of the three critics was a quadriplegic who apparently "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was" before getting an ID in Indiana. After Arena’s report, Blitzer tried to spin this as a decision by Republican-appointed justices, despite the fact it was John Paul Stevens, one of the Court’s most liberal members, who wrote the opinion. [audio available here]
Blitzer introduced Arena’s report by describing the decision as having "an enormous impact," and asked Arena to describe "the enormity of what the U.S. Supreme Court has decided." She then first harkened back to the Bush v. Gore decision in 2000. "The 2000 presidential race raised questions about election integrity. And Democrats say today's Supreme Court ruling may raise even more."
Arena then played three sound bites in a row of critics of the voter ID law. In the first sound bite, Donna Brazile charged that the "voter ID scam is a suppression tactic used by many people to undermine the right to vote in this country." In the second, Melissa Madill, identified as an "Indiana voting rights advocate," stated that it was "infuriating that people who really need to impact the system the most are being denied the right to do so." In the last sound bite, Karen Vaughn, who Arena introduced as "a quadriplegic who doesn't have a driver's license or a passport," and who "had to pay more than $100 to get documentation to prove who she was," accused the supporters of the law of not caring about people like her.
My bottom line analysis (11:25): The two R's of bias from this Rose Garden presser: Martha Raddatz on Syria and numerous reporters on the dreaded R-word, recession. Of course a recession is two consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE economic growth, and we've yet to see one quarter of negative growth, much less two. But all the same, NY Times's Stolberg made it sound like Q1 numbers on GDP tomorrow will show a recession.
The questions below will be posted in reverse chronological order:
With Barack Obama drowning in Rev. Wright's waves, all Hillary really needs to do is keep her head down and show up on time to be endorsed today by NC Gov. Mike Easley. The last thing Clinton needs is to make a gaffe of her own.
Now let's grant that the one we're about to discuss ranks rather low on the Gaffe-o-meter. If Sniper-gate was a 6.2, this might be a 2.1. But this particular misstep does have the demerit of undercutting a major Clinton campaign theme. Hillary's strategy nowadays consists of appealing to middle- and lower-income voters. Call it the Beer-and-a-shot Shtick. She's a Gal of the People. Not snobby like those Obamas. You know, like Michelle, who complained to a group of women in a struggling area of Ohio about her difficulties in spending $10,000 a year for various lessons for her kids while paying off student loans for her sojourns at Princeton and Harvard.
But that's exactly the kind of mistake Hillary has made. Today's Good Morning America played a clip [date and place unidentified, but presumably from the IN or NC campaign trail] of Hillary saying this to a crowd:
HILLARY CLINTON: Some people say, "oh she is tough." Well, if you'd had my life, you'd be tough too.
One small step for David Axelrod, one giant leap for Barack Obama away from Jeremiah Wright . . .
When chief Obama strategist Axelrod appeared at the end of this evening's Hardball, I expected him to dodge the current Rev. Wright controversy with some bromide about the reverend's right to express his opinions. But—in evidence of just how badly Wright's current comments are hurting Obama—Axelrod surprised me by acknowledging that he wished Wright hadn't piped up and suggesting that the good reverend's out for Numero Uno. Axelrod did manage to work in a blame-the-media angle.
View video here. [Note: Axelrod comments come after Matthews takes shot at Bill Kristol.]
High food prices may be affecting middle-income families, but an anecdotal report on CBS's "The Early Show" April 28 made the situation seem as if one family's use of a food bank was "the new face of hunger."
CBS reporter Priya David highlighted Pablo and Ada Melecio, a couple who recently lost their jobs and have elected to use a food bank to make ends meet. Ada Melecio said their "mortgage payments started falling behind and all the interest on that plus all the credit cards" were making their situation even worse.
Later in the segment on CNN’s "Newsroom" between Tony Harris, David Gergen, and Roland Martin after the Reverend Jeremiah Wright speech at the National Press Club (which Mark Finkelstein blogged about earlier), Gergen suggested that "it’s time for him [Rev. Wright] to get off the stage, and frankly, for the media, I suggest, to move on." He also twice characterized the whole affair as a "sideshow" [audio available here].
Shortly after a commercial break which came in the middle of the discussion, Gergen, in response to a question from "Newsroom" co-host Tony Harris, said of Rev. Wright, "Every time he appears, he just gives legitimacy and a hunger by those who oppose Barack Obama to re-run those tapes, to keep him at the center of controversy, to let this overhang and define Barack Obama, when it has, you know -- it has very, very little to do -- it's a very marginal piece of who Barack Obama is and what he stands for."
Gergen then talked about how the Rev. Wright issue was a distraction, and how the preacher should have handled himself after the controversy broke, all the while heaping praise on him, and at the end, making his "move on" suggestion.
On a day when Senator Barack Obama's controversial pastor would be speaking to the National Press Club in Washington, "Good Morning America" guest host Barbara Walters chose to question DNC Chairman Howard exclusively on how soon the Democratic presidential contest can be ended. At one point during Monday's segment, she even hectored Dean about his responsibility to bring unity to the Democrats. [audio available here]
Walters lectured, "But that's also your job, Dr. Dean, to get one of them to say in order to fight John McCain, in order to really win this election, one of you has got to back down and be gracious. Is that a big part of your job?" To get an idea of the overriding subject that appeared to be occupying the ABC journalist's mind, here is a sampling of her worried questions to the Democratic National Committee chairman:
How bad was Reverend Wright's appearance before the National Press Club this morning? Bad enough that even CNN contributor Roland Martin—who yesterday enthused about Wright's address to the Detroit NAACP, who gave Wright's chat with Bill Moyers an 'A'—flunked it with an 'F.' Bad enough that David Gergen condemned it as "narcissistic almost beyond belief." Bad enough that, introducing a panel discussion of the speech, the palpably distressed CNN Newsroom host Tony Harris let out an audible groan of "ah, boy," and later wondered how much damage had been done.
Were they commenting on the same speech? Rev. Jeremiah Wright goes before the Detroit NAACP, claims that black and white children learn with different parts of their brain, and offers a simpering, unflattering imitation of the way white pastors speak. CNN's Soledad O'Brien gushes that the speech was a "home run" and "really funny." But over at Morning Joe, Wright's words prompted a panel member to rip the reverend as a "mediocrity" and a "buffoon."
Soledad O'Brien was in the hall when Wright spoke. She reported on the speech at the top of CNN's 6 AM ET hour.
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: The whole thing, frankly, was really funny. I think a lot of people have seen Rev. Wright defined as controversial, defined as angry, defined as anti-American: not in that speech. Not in that speech at all. He was funny, he was witty. This is a guy who's got two masters and his doctorate in divinity. Here is a guy who speaks five languages, they took pains in his introduction to point out all his accomplishments.
This week's Fox News Watch was a mix of the candid, the intriguing and the downright comical. Let's start with the humor. Well-intentioned liberal panel member Jane Hall, wringing her hands over the fact that the Wright matter has injected race into the campaign, got off this bit of unintentional comedy.
JANE HALL: Unfortunately, this is going to be what's going to be associated [with Obama]. I mean, it's like Willie Horton, except that Obama knew Reverend Wright,* and on Fox and other networks he is visually linked, it gives one more excuse to run this incendiary footage. I really regret that race, which Obama tried to transcend, is now going to become a very ugly subject in this race.
So it's unfair to pin this Wright stuff on Obama, except for the fact that, well, it's . . . fair. Moreover, whose fault is it that race has been injected into the race? If Obama were really the kind of person to transcend race, he wouldn't have been hanging around with Rev. Wright for 20 years.