The Washington Post responded to yesterday's retirement announcement by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) today with not one but two well-placed positive stories. "Longtime lawmaker brokered critical deals as skilled negotiator," gushed the subheader to Paul Kane's 20-paragraph page A1 article.
New York Times editorial board member, and former Times reporter, David Firestone is filling in for Andrew Rosenthal this week at the paper’s opinion blog The Loyal Opposition. He has apparently been tasked to make Rosenthal seem balanced by comparison, judging by his Monday posting with the laugh-line headline “Barney Frank, Moderate.”
Firestone was paying tribute to liberal Democrat Rep. Barney Frank, who has represented the Fourth District in southern Massachusetts for the past 30 years and is retiring now, unwilling to stomach the challenge of running in a redrawn district. Firestone termed Frank, who has earned a lifetime rating of 4 out of a possible 100 from the American Conservative Union, a “centrist.” But if Barney Frank isn’t a liberal, than who in Congress is?
“The first line in Barney Frank’s political epitaph,” The Weekly Standard’s Stephen Hayes predicted on Monday’s FNC Special Report upon news the longtime liberal Democratic Congressman won’t seek re-election, will “be the housing crisis.” But that isn’t what those who decide the first draft of history considered relevant.
ABC, CBS and NBC didn’t mention Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac as they instead touted him as “one of the most familiar, powerful and colorful characters on Capitol Hill” (ABC), as “the Congressman who co-authored the overhaul of financial regulations after the crash” (CBS) and all noted his sexual orientation. NBC’s Brian Williams: “Among his legacies – besides his legendary sharp tongue – he was the first Member of Congress to publically acknowledge he was gay back in 1987.”
Congressman Barney Frank has been a liberal media darling for decades. But one of the most memorable media pitches for gay marriage came on December 31, 1992, when liberals were still hopeful after the election of Bill Clinton.
ABC's Prime Time Live ended its last program of the year with a song -- celebrities singing "Winter Wonderland." At the part where the song gets to Parson Brown and asking if can marry someone, ABC recruited Barney Frank and his then-partner Herb Moses to chime in. (Moses is the one that Frank recommended for hiring at Fannie Mae.) Video follows:
Reporting on Monday morning that Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was not seeking re-election, CNN's political team whitewashed his controversial tenure in office with some fond words like "titan," "larger-than-life," and "teacher at heart."
CNN's Joe Johns lauded Frank's skills as a teacher -- especially as the first openly-gay congressman. "He's taught this country so much about the gay community in the United States and what it means to be an openly gay member of Congress. A leader, in fact, on Capitol Hill," Johns gushed.
Political editor Mark Preston praised Frank as a "titan" of financial sector matters in Congress while saying nothing of the failure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under his oversight. While noting that Frank was tough to deal with, Preston added that he was "one of the best debaters in Congress" and "always the smartest person in the room." [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
If you only read Thursday's coverage of Bank of America's decision to impose a $5 monthly debit card fee by Associated Press Personal Finance Writer Candice Choi, you would have no idea that last year's "Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act" triggered BofA's decision. The legislation gave the Federal Reserve the power to limit debit card interchange fees. The Fed's limit -- 21 cents plus 0.5% of each purchase transaction -- basically cut the banks' fees by about half from their pre-Dodd-Frank level. CardHub.com estimates that the cap will reduce banks' fee income by $9.4 billion annually.
Ms. Choi only cited the existence of "a new rule" in her opening paragraph. She then waited until the ninth paragraph to vaguely cite the existence of "a regulation." It hardly seems accidental that most news consumers who didn't follow the fee fight a year ago will probably have the impression that banks are driving the fee increases, as the following excerpt will demonstrate (bolds are mine):
While Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) was calling for troop withdrawal in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for that military spending to go to deficit reduction, CNN's Piers Morgan would not press him about U.S. military action in Libya – a decision authorized by Democrat President Obama.
Frank has been a champion of cutting the defense budget and continued his screed Tuesday night, calling for a $200 billion-a-year cut on military spending. He even criticized Obama's decision to leave troops in Iraq. However, he was not asked about Libya, and did not comment on it.
Ever-garrulous curmudgeon Barney Frank was memorably expressive during an appearance on MSNBC last night.
The high-ranking House Democrat was talking with Rachel Maddow about Standard & Poor's downgrade of US credit, with Frank criticizing rating agencies for claiming mortgage-backed securities were "wonderful stuff" prior to the financial collapse in 2008 when the investments were "crap." (video clip after page break)
Both House Democrats and Republicans opposed the debt ceiling compromise, but CNN's Don Lemon gave softball interviews to three Democrat congressmen who voted against the bill, while scrutinizing Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) for his opposition.
"Why the change of heart, Congressman?" the CNN host asked Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) Tuesday on his decision to switch his vote to no. Lemon let him explain his vote and even asked if Frank's colleagues had read the bill before supporting it. "She [Pelosi] came out and supported it. But do you think your colleagues actually read the bill?" he asked Frank.
Barney Frank has to be the biggest sourpuss in Congress. The liberal representative from Massachusetts has made an art form out of ripping out his ear piece and abruptly ending an interview. This testy feller could pick a fight in a phone booth.
So Frank would be the last person you'd expect, in commenting on the debt ceiling deal, to break out a classic line from comedian Henny Youngman. Yet that's exactly what Barney did on Morning Joe today, in explaining why he was supporting a bill that contains much he doesn't like.
Frank dismissed questions about the “potential ethical conflict,” of regulating Fannie Mae while Herb Moses, whom Frank has called his “spouse,” worked there from 1991 through 1998.
The New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgensen was the first to report Frank’s role in helping Moses get the job at Fannie Mae, according to the Herald. The Boston paper also reported that in a May 24, radio interview on WBUR’s “Fresh Air,” Morgensen said Fannie Mae “rolled out the red carpet” for Moses to “curry favor with Frank and other members of the Financial Services Committee."
If you need any more evidence of the blatant animus that a mainstream newspaper like the Boston Globe can have for conservative Republicans, here you go. Compare the following:
Sean Bielat was the Republican challenger to Rep. Barney Frank in the 4th Congressional District in Massachusetts last November. While spending ten months to run for the seat, he paid himself a salary of $10,000.
Mac D’Alessandro, a self-identified "progressive Democrat," was a primary challenger in the 9th District. The Globe heartily endorsed D'Alessandro, a "public-interest attorney," "community activist," and political director for the SIEU. Even though his campaign barely lasted five months (he lost the primary), he collected stipends totaling nearly $27,000.
In the Bush years, liberals worried out loud about how our war on terrorism was destroying our reputation among our noble socialist allies in Europe. But in the Obama years, they are showing their old colors. The Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel delighted in Barney Frank's idea that our NATO alliance with Europe is strategically worthless and our spending on it should be slashed:
"These kind of restrictions on domestic spending with unlimited spending for the war -- and you always have to talk about both -- is a great mistake," Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) told The Huffington Post last week. "And the liberal community's got to focus more on Afghanistan, Iraq, NATO. NATO is a great drain on our treasury and serves no strategic purpose."
Chris Matthews called it "the quote of the night," so let's see how our NewsBusters readers respond. Here was Barney Frank, reacting to the assertion by a young Marine that they are a macho bunch whereas gays are "girlie":
"I will confess that I left my purse at home."
Later, MSNBC political analyst Michelle Bernard, in a stunning non sequitur, was incapable of understanding how John McCain could oppose DADT repeal while having some years ago apologized for initially opposing the creation of Martin Luther King Day. Huh? For good measure, Bernard called McCain "the male Palin" and accused the entire state of Arizona of being "anti-immigrant."
It appears we have the answer to that age-old question: John Kerry, why the long face?
After a tour of the Boston Medical Center, Kerry blamed Democrat struggles across the nation on the obvious problem - the voters.
The Boston Herald reports that Kerry took his pent-up election anger out on clueless voters (emphasis mine):
"We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening."
Kerry made the remarks following questions about the re-election campaign of Barney Frank. Doubling down on the fact-challenged voter assertion, he stated:
"I think a lot of the anger today ... is not directed at the right people. Barney is prepared, as others are, to explain what we're doing. I think when people hear the facts and they see what we're doing, it frankly makes sense."
Be sure to explain it. Very. Slowly.
Looking down on people isn't exactly a new platform for Kerry...
A new video chronicling how Americans feel and what they should do about it in November is out today. However, this video doesn't come from any large organization but, instead, it comes from a small business owner and conservative activist.
It seems that not even the truth can possibly overturn the narrative that President Obama and the Democrats in Congress have brought transparency to Washington.
Last Wednesday I wrote about how the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory bill Obama signed into law last month contains a provision exempting the Securities and Exchange Commission from Freedom of Information Act requests. Such an exemption would surely have been grounds for a media outcry during the Bush administration, yet apart from The Wall Street Journal and CNN, only blogs have been following the developments. The latter opted simply to parrot the administration's claims without challenge.
Other media ouetlets, such as National Public Radio and MSNBC, completely ignored the controversy, in stark contrast to their extensive coverage of the Bush administration's attempts to curtail the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. NPR's Don Gonyea said "When conflicts arise over what should or should not be open, the administration does not hesitate to invoke the memory of 9/11. And while it's true that 9/11 changed the security landscape, it's also true that the administration was tightening the control of information much earlier . . ."
As left-wing comedian Kathy Griffin appeared on Thursday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, she injected "I love it" as host Behar recounted that Griffin "got in some trouble ... over something you said on a recent episode of My Life on the D List." Griffin rationalized that the infamous joke she made about Republican Senator Scott Brown’s daughters being "prostitutes" was based on Senator Brown’s acceptance speech. Griffin: "The genesis of the joke, like, does anybody remember that the night he was elected, he made a joke – he was clearly making a joke – saying, ‘By the way, my daughters are available.’ And then, the Washington press beat up on him saying he was pimping out his daughters."
After later discussing the criticism that Democratic Congressman Barney Frank had also aimed at her over the incident, she declared that "whenever a statement is issued against me, I'm in heaven, I feel my next special is half written for me."
After asserting that "people got their panties in a bunch" over the "prostitutes" joke, leading Behar to add that Congressman Frank had also complained about her jab at Senator Brown’s daughters, Griffin poked fun at Frank in spite of her being an avid liberal and supporter of gay rights who had "admired" the openly gay liberal Congressman. Griffin: "Barney Frank got his panties in a bunch, which takes a lot because, apparently, when he and the boyfriend go to P-Town, there's a lot of panties in a bunch."
She went on to suggest that she was surprised that Congressman Frank was not a fan of hers: "And so I met with Barney Frank – who, of course, I admired – an openly gay Congressman, I'm thinking, ‘Oh, this is fantastic and he sat down with me for My Life on the D List,’ and spent half the interview telling me he'd never seen it, he didn't want to do it, his boyfriend likes me, that's why – I'm like, yeah, I've heard this all a million times before."
"I think that we're going to have a problem if we want to start talking about founding fathers, the founding documents, what the origins of our country because the mainstream media is not going to like what you have to say, and so I volunteered myself," Breitbart said. "And on day one, I had to contend with the fact that you guys were called ‘teabaggers.' And I had to deal with the fact an unfortunately named sister, by the name of Contessa Brewer on MSNBC, before you even spoke, told you what your grievances were to the country and our dissent his patriotic presidency. This person took a photo and cut off the head of a black man, and asked is the tea party nation - are the people who are protesting Barack Obama racist? The person was black."
Did Frank Rich read Charles Blow's column and sub-consciously subsume it? Rich's NY Times opus of March 27 is a virtual echo of Blow's item of March 26.
Coincidence or not, the two Timesmen are very much on the same wavelength. Their shared theory: conservative opposition to Obamacare is fueled not so much by the substance of PBO's plans as it is by the racism, homophobia and sexism of people who can't bear to witness America's changing demographics.
Compare the eerie similarities in the two columns [emphasis added].
Good Morning America on Thursday worried about the possible violence Sarah Palin's Twitter page could cause to Democrats who voted for the health care bill. Guest host Bill Weir interviewed Barney Frank and fretted, "Some on the left have also been pointing to Sarah Palin's Twitter message encouraging her followers to 'Do not retreat. Instead, reload.'"
He ominously explained to viewers, "And her Facebook page has a map with cross-hairs on 20 Democrats who voted for the bill." Reporter Pierre Thomas also rehashed Democratic fears that"a toxic political environment is a catalyst for ugliness."
He touted complaints by Democratic Congressman Steve Driehaus that Republican Minority Leader John Boehner said he would be a political "dead man" if he voted for the bill. Thomas intoned, "The fears that all this angry talk could push a deranged person over the edge."
On Monday’s Morning Joe show on MSNBC, during a discussion of President Obama’s recent suggestions that he would be willing to talk with Republicans about health care reform, co-host Mika Brzezinski recounted Obama’s initial refusal to include the GOP, and claimed that Republicans "ARE the ones, you could argue, who wrecked the economy," which set off co-host Joe Scarborough. After Brzezinski claimed that "The last administration put us in the position that we are in," Scarborough denounced Democrats for pushing Republicans to support lending more money to people who could not pay back their mortgages.
He also brought up campaign contributions President Obama received from mortgage companies. Scarborough: "And, by the way, while I was being critical of the Republican party for allowing people to get mortgages they couldn't afford to repay, Democrats were calling Republicans racists. Barney Frank calling them racists for not giving even more mortgages they couldn't afford to pay. ... Barack Obama, the guy that got more money from Fannie and Freddie executives than anybody else on Capitol Hill doesn't exactly have clean hands here."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, February 8, Morning Joe, on MSNBC, from about 8:09 a.m., with critical portions in bold:
At this point, there should be little doubt that there is a concerted attempt underway to use the war in Afghanistan as a justification for punitively taxing high earners.
Last weekend (noted at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), the New York Times discovered that wars cost money. It cited Wisconsin Democratic Congressman David Obey's concern that funding the Afghanistan effort at the level requested months ago by General Stanley A. McChrystal would "devour virtually any other priorities that the president or anyone in Congress had."
Thursday, as reported by AFP (noted last night at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), House Democratic heavy-hitters Barney Frank, John Murtha, and (no surprise) Obey announced the "Share The Sacrifice Act of 2010," an income-tax surcharge that overwhelmingly targets high-income earners.
Now Michigan Democratic Senator Carl Levin has weighed in. Bloomberg dutifully carried his water, as seen in this graphic containing the first four paragraphs of the report:
You've got to hand it to the propagandists at the AFP. When heavy-hitting members of the party they favor announce an idea whose main purpose is, as the New York Times suddenly "discovered" last weekend, to remind people that wars cost money and distract from supposedly more important priorities, the wire service leaps into action.
Even AFP acknowledges that the tax proposal by several top-tier Democrats has no chance of becoming law. But again, that's not the point. Their proposal's purpose is to remind people that spending money on wars supposedly takes money out of the mouths of children and other living things, even those in non-existent congressional districts, and to attempt to make the climate for increasing taxes in the near future more favorable.
Disclaimer: we're talking politics here, not personal stuff . . .
If there's a bigger sourpuss in Congress than Barney Frank, I wouldn't want to meet him. On MSNBC this evening, the dyspeptic Member from Massachusetts got into it with, of all people, Ed Schultz. You might think the two libs would make beautiful progressive music together, but what made this spat especially entertaining was that Barney found himself being attacked . . . from the left.
The topic was the billions in bonuses awarded by Wall Street firms that had received TARP money. Schultz's beef was that Congress blew it by awarding TARP dough without obtaining advance agreement limiting bonus payouts.
Kudlow, referring to the Oct. 26 broadcast of MSNBC's "The Ed Show," which featured Rep. Barney Frank, perennial presidential candidate Ralph Nader and the host Ed Schultz, noted all the participants were left-of-center. And in the appearance, Frank made a pitch for the expanded role of government and argued the only reason people opposed it was because they were disillusioned by the government for its failures during the Bush administration, specifically dealing with Hurricane Katrina.
Is it possible for a sitting president to ignore a war his own country is waging?
According to the Boston Globe, it depends on who that president is.
The war in Afghanistan has presented a rare look at two different presidents faced with the same situation in the same theatre.
Following initial Allied success, 2003 saw the Taliban regroup for a long-term fight, and by late 2007 Bush had begun to draw up plans for a troop surge. Two years later, generals on the ground say our presence is still not enough.
Now, with President Obama in charge, those in the mainstream media portray his leadership in a starkly different light than that of former President Bush.
The Boston Globe is a prime example of the double standard (continued).
Interviewing Barney Frank this morning on proposals to regulate the financial markets, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan seemed set on appeasing the notoriously rude representative. Ratigan had surely seen the video of Mark Haines' CNBC interview of Frank back in June, and was determined not to suffer the same fate, in which Frank ripped off his earpiece and ended the segment short.
Even before posing his first question to Frank, Ratigan began by laying a sop at the great man's feet: "I know you're working very hard on this legislation. And before we begin, I had a lot of folks come to me and say listen, make sure you thank the representative for his efforts to try to deal with this. You are dealing with an incredibly complicated problem with a variety of issues. So I wanted to pass along the appreciation of your efforts before we begin this conversation."
His tribute to Frank didn't spare Ratigan a reprimand when later on he dared to get in a word edgewise. So Ratigan naturally concluded the interview . . . by apologizing to Frank for having interrupted him.