The Washington Post headline on a Friday story on over-the-counter abortifacients ("morning after" pills) for middle-schoolers was "Administration's Plan B move draws strong and mixed reaction." That's a terrible headline, because reporters Anne Kornblut and N.B. Aizenman only sought out liberal reaction, and then provided a Team Obama defense. Conservative reaction was omitted. (Why would conservatives read The Washington Post? Certainly not to read about themselves.) Worse yet, the Post routinely labeled feminist defenders of "morning after" pills for sexually active sixth graders as "women's rights advocates" -- when they're fighting for the sexual opportunities of sixth-graders.
There was real comedy in the story, from ultraliberal Senator Patty Murray, suddenly in the tank for Big Pharmaceuticals: "Pharmaceutical companies here in this country make some very expensive decisions, and they need to know the FDA is going to make a decision based on science."
The "White House is constantly grabbing for more power, seeking to drive the people's branch of government to the sidelines," Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.V.) thundered in June 2007 following a report on President Bush's use of "signing statements."
Now three years later, congressional Republicans are concerned President Obama may do just that as regards a law Obama will sign which prohibits transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay stateside for trial.
The Washington Post has the story, but placed it at the bottom of page A8. What's more, writers Peter Finn and Anne Kornblut failed to mention that then-Senator Obama was critical of President George W. Bush for his alleged misuse of signing statements (emphasis mine):
While most media outlets obsessed over the liberal theme that Republicans keep "suicidally" nominating "ultra-conservatives," Washington Post reporter Anne Kornblut, who authored a book earlier this year called Notes from the Cracked Ceiling, noticed a different trend. Her story was headlined "GOP gains the lead in female politicians' steps forward." Tuesday's victories of Palin-endorsed GOP women Christine O'Donnell and Kelly Ayotte underline an emerging Year of the Republican Woman. Too bad the Post buried it on Page A-6 of the paper, and it hasn't been linked on the Post's homepage today, either. Kornblut began:
Democrats used to own the field of women running for higher office. Not anymore.
Nearly two years after an anticipated gender bounce - with predictions that women in both parties would rush into politics inspired by Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin -- it turns out that the momentum is on the Republican side. If there is a Palin effect, it is not being matched by any Clinton effect at the other end of the ideological spectrum.
Washington Post staff writer Anne Kornblut used her question at a White House press conference on Friday to worry that, despite Barack Obama making it a "priority," anti-Muslim "suspicion" still existed in America.
She queried the President, "Nine years after the September 11th attacks, why do you think it is that we are now seeing such an increase in suspicion and outright resentment of Islam, especially given that it has been one of your priorities to improve relations with the Muslim world?" [MP3 audio here.]
Obama's response seemed to echo his infamous 2008 comment about Americans being "bitter" and "clinging" to their guns. He proclaimed, "You know, I think that at a time when the country is anxious generally and going through a tough time, then, you know, fears can surface, suspicions, divisions can surface in a society. And, so, I think that plays a role in it."
Washington Post reporter Anne Kornblut issued a gushy article on Janet Napolitano on Tuesday, headlined "The crisis management expert: Homeland security secretary reemerges strong after the Christmas Day bombing." Kornblut quotes only Napolitano-praisers in her story, including aides and her colleagues at the White House. Kornblut praises her "encylopedic knowledge of pop culture" and tells of her always thinking of others, stopping to buy "an assistant of 11 years" a blue scarf in Madrid, complete with her security detail. Hyperbolic praise is the point of the piece:
Senior administration officials describe her as one of the most astute members of the national security team, some in hyperbolic terms. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, in a recent interview, declared himself as "head over heels for her," which doesn't happen often. White House terrorism adviser John O. Brennan hails her as "passionate" and "formidable."
How Napolitano, 52, won over hard-to-please heavyweights while managing the most unwieldy department in Washington is a testament to her relentless persona. The tough and stocky former prosecutor once climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and even delivered her speech at the 2000 Democratic convention three weeks after a mastectomy.
On Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, during a discussion of how the Obama administration might change course after the Democratic party’s loss of the Massachusetts Senate race, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham argued that President Obama has so far pursued “centrist” policies, even claiming that the bailouts could be described as “center right.” After the Washington Post’s Anne Kornblut argued that, at the White House, they are not yet sure which ideological direction they will head next, prompting host Charlie Rose to ask whether they would move “to the center,” Meacham seemed to bristle as he insisted that President Obama is already “in the center,” and scoffed at Tea Party activists:
The front page of Monday's Washington Post featured an adulatory tribute to President Barack Obama's brilliance in gathering information so he can take care of the little people, a tribute enabled by sycophantic assessments from friends and those on Obama's payroll which reporters Anne Kornblut and Michael Fletcher eagerly advanced. “The seeker as problem-solver,” read the front page headline which carried this sub-head: “In his decision-making, Obama turns to both the famous and the unknown.” (Online headline: “In Obama's decision-making, a wide range of influences.”) Headline across the top of the jump page: “In his decision-making, a diversity of inspiration.”
A “president who persists in seeking his own information, beyond what is offered to him,” the Post's reporting duo noted, “has created an impression that Obama is cool and detached.” But, “it is an image his advisers and friends reject” as “they paint” a “portrait of a president who is deeply moved by the struggles of average citizens who stand up at town hall meetings or write thousands of letters to the White House -- 10 of which he reads each day.” And, the “reporters” gushed:
When he turns to solving problems through policy, he reveres facts, calling for data and then more data. He looks for historical analogues and reads voraciously.
In fact, his brain-power is on Einstein's level: “'This is someone who in law school worked with [Harvard professor] Larry Tribe on a paper on the legal implications of Einstein's theory of relativity,' said senior adviser David M. Axelrod. 'He does have an incisive mind; that mind is always put to use in pursuit of tangible things that are going to improve people's lives.'” How inspirational.
In a report time-stamped January 2, the Associated Press's Philip Elliott relayed what was supposedly important news:
Obama cites apparent al-Qaida link in bomb plot
An al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently ordered the Christmas Day plot against a U.S. airliner, training and arming the 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the failed bombing, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
You don't say?
The story was on the front page of Sunday's Cincinnati Enquirer, and likely many other papers across the nation.
UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010:This post at BizzyBlog shows that the there was recognition of likely Al Qaeda involvement in two separate press reports based on sources in a position to know on Christmas evening. Thus, the administration's delay in acknowledging that reality was actually three full days.
In their initial December 26 report ("Passengers’ Quick Action Halted Attack") on the attempted terrorist attack on Flight 253, New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Eric Lipton told readers that the "episode .... riveted the attention of President Obama on vacation in Hawaii."
In an article later that day ("Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen"), Lipton and Eric Schmitt reported that:
.... officials said the suspect (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) told them he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda.
The authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection .... But a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said on Saturday that the suspect’s account was “plausible,” and that he saw “no reason to discount it.”
Any reasonable person would say that this second report establishes "reason to believe that there is some linkage" between the suspect and Al Qaeda, and that a "riveted" president would have known that there was "some linkage" by Saturday night. That's why the following opener to a Washington Post item by Anne E. Kornblut dated yesterday is especially hard to take:
A week after calling Barack Obama "Carteresque," Chris "Tingles Up My Leg" Matthews said the former object of his affection is "Too much Chamberlain and not enough Churchill."
I'm honestly not sure which is worse -- being compared to Jimmy Carter or World War II appeaser Neville Chamberlain.
Regardless, I guess Matthews really has lost that lovin' feeling.
As the discussion about the President's upcoming speech on Afghanistan wound down on this weekend's "The Chris Matthews Show," the host asked his guests if the "long deliberation" concerning strategy will make Obama "look smart and deliberate for having taken all this time, or will the dithering shot still being cast in by people like former Vice President Dick Cheney" hurt him?
What ensued will raise many eyebrows on both sides of the aisle (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
On Monday’s Morning Meeting, MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan and his journalist guests expressed frustration that the ACORN scandal hasn’t gone away. Politico correspondent Mike Allen lobbied, “...It's time to move on." Ratigan highlighted other groups and offered moral equivalence: “And are all of these organizers ultimately guilty of some sort of shady activity or another?”
Following a reading of the organization’s questionable accounting, the cable host spun, “Does it add up to the fall of ACORN or is it just something fun to talk about?” Allen, who used to write for the Washington Post, bizarrely tried to suggest the media have been covering ACORN too much: “Well, Dylan, this is classic for the press, driving from one side of the road to the other. We were flat-footed. We were slow to cover it. Now, we won't give it up.”
Try to keep a straight face when you hear this: President Barack Obama isn't getting enough media love.
That's the world view of MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews - at least when it comes to the economy. According to Matthews, there has been a plethora of positive economic news - from a stock market that has shrugged off the threat of bad liberal policy, i.e. cap-and-trade or ObamaCare, to the actions of newly reappointed Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke of pumping liquidity into the economy.
"What do you make of this whole thing about the good economic news out there the president gets no credit for?" Matthews said on his Aug. 25 show. "I'm in the stock market. I have suffered like others before and I have seen this comeback - back up to almost 10,000 now. He gets nothing for this. The fact that consumer confidence, which was once closer to the bone, is way up. The fact that the Fed chair has done such a good job in pumping up the money supply and pumping back the economy, and averting a Great Depression - no credit."
As Americans flood to town hall meetings and Tea Parties to express their opposition to ObamaCare, media members find it somewhat hypocritical that these same people might have looked upon anti-Bush protests with contempt.
This seeming contradiction was addressed on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday when host Howard Kurtz asked his guests, "[H]asn't Fox, in fact, flipped -- some Fox hosts, I should say -- from slamming liberal protesters to defending these anti-Obama protesters?"
This question arose when Kurtz brought up last week's exchange between Fox News's Bill O'Reilly and Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 8:45):
As a search of whitehouse.gov caches through the site archive.org shows, the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations often featured transcripts of their daily press briefings easily accessible on the Web site. In the case of the Bush administration, this writer can attest that transcripts of daily briefings often appeared within a few hours after having concluded.
But, as the Obama White House page declares, "Change Has Come to America," with the new administration failing to have a place on the White House Web page for daily press briefings.
The redesigned Web home for the Obama administration went live at noon on Tuesday, and contains a "Briefing Room" page that contains seven sections, including a blog, a weekly video address archive, and an archive for press pool reports, but no section for the daily press briefings.
What's more, the press pool reports section as of Friday at 10:45 a.m. ET remains empty and may ultimately end up being scrapped. As Washington Post's Anne Kornblut reported yesterday on the paper's Web site, the White House press corps is rather possessive of its pool reports and won't make them available to the White House for publication:
Caroline Kennedy’s nebulous withdrawal from her bid to be appointed to the U.S. Senate by the virtue of her genes drew an odd front-page story in Friday’s Washington Post: "Does a Glass Ceiling Persist in Politics? Kennedy’s Withdrawal Illustrates a Double Standard, Some Say." Reporter Anne Kornblut’s "some" were Democratic women like Dee Dee Myers and Donna Brazile, and she complained that other Senate appointments (Bennet, Burris, Kaufman) have all been male. She began:
With her abrupt exit this week from consideration for the Senate, Caroline Kennedy added her name to a growing list: women who have sought the nation's highest offices only to face insurmountable hurdles.
Like Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sarah Palin before her, Kennedy illustrated what some say is an enduring double standard in the handling of ambitious female office-seekers. Even as more women step forward as contenders for premier political jobs, observers say, few seem able to get there.
It's times like this that make me wonder whether I inhabit a universe different from that occupied by the MSM. This morning, discussing Pres. Bush's reaction to the flying shoe incident, I wrote:
Short of going full Ninja hero and snatching the shoes in mid-air, it's hard to see how Pres. Bush could have been any cooler in his handling of the Hush Puppy Hurler.
But on MSNBC this afternoon, host Tamron Hall claimed that in discussing the matter with the press, the president looked "unnerved" and embarrassed. Here's a clip of Pres. Bush discussing the incident with ABC's Martha Raddatz just after it happened. Does this look like an "unnerved" man to you?
If you needed any more evidence that the media meme regarding Sarah Palin not being qualified for vice president is nothing but liberal propaganda from America's Obama-loving press you got it on Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show."
After the panel of New York magazine's John Heilemann, the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut, NBC's Andrea Mitchell, and the Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page unanimously concluded that Palin was a horrible choice as John McCain's runningmate due to her lack of qualifications, they all agreed that she will be a serious candidate for president in 2012 if Obama wins this November.
Interesting hypocrisy, wouldn't you agree?
Readers are strongly encouraged to strap themselves in before proceeding to the following partial transcript of this astonishingly revealing segment (video embedded upper-right):
Has the media's love affair with Barack Obama gone too far?
CNN's Howard Kurtz seems to think so, for on Sunday's "Reliable Sources," the Washington Post columnist strongly took issue with how press outlets reported last week's news that the Democrat presidential nominee was going back on a campaign promise to accept public funds:
And all these liberal commentators who have always supported campaign finance reform, getting big money out of politics, many of them are defending Obama. And I have to think the press is cutting him a break here.
Better still, as the following partial transcript demonstrates, getting guests Lola Ogunnaike of CNN, Julie Mason of the Houston Chronicle, and Anne Kornblut of the Washington Post to agree with him was like pulling teeth (file photo right):
In Friday's Post Politics Hour on washingtonpost.com, Anne Kornblut, the Post political reporter deployed to travel with Hillary, suggested that now that the Clinton-juggernaut image has been junked, it's funny that Hillary didn't make any verbal mistakes, that the mistakes could be attributed more to Bill and her staff. (Her ice-queen personality and wooden vocal delivery and persistently high negatives had nothing to do with it?)
McLean, Va.: Anne: We were told by any number of reporters and pundits (including -- ahem -- you, I believe) that the Clintons had this awe-inspiring, flawless political machine set to roll through the primaries. Given that they've blown their lead (not to mention their aura of inevitability), care to re-evaluate?
Radar Online reported Tuesday that before being signed as a contributor by Newsweek magazine, Rove was first shopped to Time, but that didn’t happen because "They think Karl is essentially an unindicted coconspirator in a whole string of felonies."
Wow, what a liberal smell Time puts out. For older media-watchers, this recalls the Washington bureau of Time sitting around on C-SPAN on the verge of the first Iraq war in 1991 dismissing John McCain and his "superpatriots" who marched around in "brown shirts." Radar media critic Charles Kaiser reported:
For its part, Time magazine said nothing publicly about Rove's arrival at Newsweek, but a well-placed source told me that Bob Barnett (every Washington literati's favorite lawyer, including Bill Clinton) had traveled to the Time-Life building on Sixth Avenue to offer Rove's services before Newsweek snared them. Time's editors apparently felt the cost/benefit analysis wouldn't be in their favor if they embraced the man who has done more than anyone to keep the spirit of Joe McCarthy alive and well in American politics. (Read Joshua Green's definitive profile from the Atlantic in 2004.) "Time thought this wouldn't be like hiring George Stephanopoulos," my source explained. "They think Karl is essentially like an unindicted coconspirator in a whole string of felonies."
Besides the obvious shock value, there was another reason Rove's arrival in the fourth estate was inevitable. In public, Rove is one of dozens of conservatives who assiduously bash the press. Last summer, channeling Agnew, Rove told Rush Limbaugh that "the people I see criticizing [Bush] are sort of elite effete snobs." But at the same time, Rove was constantly massaging big-time Washington journalists over long lunches at the Hay Adams Hotel.
Michael Crowley's takedown on Hillary and the media in The New Republic is fascinating -- and in some cases, overdoes the hostility between the two forces. But liberals should note that even The New Republic forwards the notion that David Brock's Media Matters collective is a transparent proxy for Team Hillary, and brings numbers to the table:
Many reporters also suspect the Clinton camp of employing outside proxies to attack troublemakers in the media....Many in Washington believe the campaign feeds material to Brock's site, as when Media Matters went after New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut last July after Kornblut misrendered a quote that led to an erroneous story claiming Hillary had criticized fellow Democrats. Not only did Clinton aides fume to the paper's editors, but Media Matters pummeled Kornblut and the Times for several days. (A count of Media Matters stories from October found 39 headlines defending Clinton, compared to 15 for Obama and just one for John Edwards. A Media Matters spokesman strongly denied favoritism.)
Crowley goes on to recount how Hillary likes to intimidate reporters on her beat like Kornblut, now with the WashPost:
At the top center spot of Wednesday's front page -- above those debating Republicans -- The Washington Post spotlights its interview with Hillary Rodham Clinton. The headline is "Clinton Cites Lessons of Partisanship: Senator Says She's Best Equipped to Unite America." (Washingtonpost.com changed its header to "Clinton Cites Her Resilience.")
Since when has Hillary been either a uniter, or a centrist? Post reporters Anne Kornblut and Dan Balz offered little skepticism (and no account of her consistently liberal voting record) in their account of her remarks, summed up with this: "I intend to win in November 2008, and then I intend to build a centrist coalition in this country that is like what I remember when I was growing up."
The other day, CNN’s "Reliable Sources" show sought to explore Hillary’s Sunday morning interview blitz of September 23. Why do the media pine for her so? Michelle Cottle of the New Republic gave the typical liberal answer: "She's a celebrity. She and Bill have passed some point where they're no longer just politicians. They're rock stars."
There is absolutely no doubt that liberals really do think of the Clintons in rock-star terms, and the "objective" media have not merely treated them that way with a long-running assembly line of dazzled profiles and shoe-polishing interviews. Their royal treatment of the Clintons sends a signal to the rest of the political world: you cannot hope to contain these deeply impressive world leaders.