CNN/Opinion Research Corporation’s poll on President Obama’s health care speech to Congress on Wednesday significantly oversampled Democrats. The pollsters interviewed 427 Americans before and after their speech- only 18% were Republicans, while 45% were Democrats. Due to this skewing, CNN didn’t really play up the poll’s results on air, but they tried to do that on their CNN.com website.
The joint poll asked two questions before and after the speech. The polled were asked, “Do you think the policies being proposed by Barack Obama will move the country in the right direction or the wrong direction?” During the pre-speech period between September 5 and 8, 60% answered “right direction,” and 35% answered “wrong direction.” Immediately after the speech, the pollsters found that the “right direction” statistic went up to 70%, while the “wrong direction” number went down to 27%.
Three of CNN’s political analysts- Jeffrey Toobin, David Gergen, and Gloria Borger- all gave President Obama B’s or B-pluses on the economy and overall job performance during the network’s special “The National Report Card: The Second 100 Days” on Thursday. These grades from these “non-partisan” analysts lined-up with the A’s and B’s that Democrats Paul Begala and Donna Brazile gave the president.
CNN conducted a non-scientific poll by phone and on the Internet of how the American people graded the President mainly on several issues, and others such as Hillary Clinton, Vice President Biden, and the news media in general at the 200-day mark of Obama’s presidency. As Wolf Blitzer and his so-called Best Political Team on Television presented the polling results, anchor Campbell Brown polled the “front panel” of Toobin, Gergen, and Borger, as well as the “back panel” of Begala and Brazile, and Republicans Alex Castellanos and Bill Bennett, for their personal grades of the subject in question. All of the participants held up placards with their grade, and explained how they came to that conclusion.
Just after the beginning of the 8 pm Eastern hour, Brown turned to the CNN analysts’ panel for their grade on President Obama’s handling of the economy. Senior legal analyst Toobin unsurprisingly replied, “I’m giving him a B. You know- he’s off to a decent start. He got a stimulus package planned. It passed. It seems like it’s having some impact, but the economy stinks and he’s the president and the buck stops there.”
CNN has displayed a double standard in its coverage of the difficulties involving the extended family of Sarah Palin versus that of President Barack Obama. Two programs on the network on Thursday evening used multiple soap opera references to describe recent occurrences in the “Palin family saga.” This contrasts with two incidents involving the aunt and half-brother of the president, which have received minimal coverage from the network.
Anchor Roland Martin began the soap opera imagery in his promo for a segment about Palin on the No Bias, No Bull program: “Folks, talk about ‘The Young and the Restless’ -- these days Governor Sarah Palin must be feeling like she’s living in a soap opera. It’s everything from her daughter’s unplanned pregnancy, to a family member ending up behind bars, and it’s not over yet. We’ll catch you up with all the real-life Palin family drama.” After a commercial break, a CNN graphic referenced another daytime TV title at the beginning of the segment: “Palin: The Days of Her Lives.” The anchor also used a similar line, speaking of the “days of the Palin lives.”
CNN latched onto two separate poll results on Monday that indicated that about half of Americans view the Islamic world negatively or don’t trust Muslim allies as much as other allies, and indicated that President Obama and others in authority need to be “educators” for the public about Islam. The network brought up the polls’ results on seven different occasions during their programming that day.
During the 8 am Eastern hour of American Morning, chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour first brought up a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll which found that 55 percent of Americans “concede that they lack a good basic understanding of Islam” and that 48 percent “hold an unfavorable opinion of Islam.” After she read these results, substitute anchor Carol Costello responded, “I think the difference is that many Americans see Islam as an ideology instead of a religion, and maybe, President Obama has to kind of -- kind of put a definition on it from the American standpoint in Turkey.”
Later, near the end of the noon hour of the Newsroom program, Amanpour appeared again, this time with anchor Tony Harris. He asked the correspondent to “talk us through some recent polling in The Washington Post that suggests that the president is going to have to play the role of educator-in-chief when it comes to explaining Islam to many in America, even as he works for better relations with the Islamic world.” Amanpour first answered that President Obama was “trying to smooth...over and correct” the “terrible rupture” between the U.S. and the Islamic world over the past eight years.
[See update below for how Toobin did the same thing later in the evening.]
CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin brushed aside the issues of Barack Obama’s affiliation with left-wing terrorist William Ayers and the liberal group ACORN during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday’s Situation Room program: "Who cares about ACORN? Who cares about Bill Ayers? I mean, I just don't get this. What is the point of raising that?" When CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger countered by trying to show the relevance of these affiliations, that "he has given lots of different stories on Ayers, and that his affiliation with ACORN, as a group that they think now has been discredited," Toobin went further: "But he doesn't have an affiliation with ACORN." When both Borger and host Wolf Blitzer both affirmed that he did have ties to the organization, Toobin backtracked: "...I stand corrected on that, but I just don't see why that is going to move voters?"
Toobin must not be watching his own network, for CNN investigative correspondent Drew Griffin outlined on October 6 how "the relationship between Obama and Ayers went much deeper, ran much longer, and was much more political than Obama said," including how the two worked together on the board of the Annenberg Challenge Project and the Woods Foundation, and how Obama’s political career began during a meeting at Ayers’s house. While the network omitted ACORN’s name from an October 9 news brief about a raid on the organization’s Las Vegas office, the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s story about the raid acknowledged how ACORN "has a liberal political agenda and ties to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama."
On Sunday’s Reliable Sources, CNN host Howard Kurtz seemed to question whether the media are unfairly hyping inflammatory words from audience members at John McCain rallies that are of the kind one would expect to sometimes see at political rallies to make them fit into the narrative of the McCain campaign fueling anger at Barack Obama. Kurtz: "I've gone to a lot of rallies where a lot of crazy things have been said. Why are the media this week pumping up this story about McCain’s and Palin's crowds as if it is their fault if there's a bit of ugliness that breaks out?" Speaking to Politico.com’s Roger Simon, he later added: "It seems that the press has kind of adopted this theme that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger."
Simon responded with his view that McCain was indeed "stoking the anger." Simon: "Well, it may be that McCain and Palin are stoking the anger. It seems to me that John McCain is riding a tiger, and he's trying not to fall off that tiger and get eaten by it. When your vice presidential running mate goes around the country saying Barack Obama is ‘palling around with terrorists,’ and when you run ads that say, you know, he's a liar, he's not telling the truth about this unrepentant terrorist, and then you wonder why people in the crowd shout out ‘terrorist’ when you mention the name Barack Obama. This anger is coming from somewhere. It is being ginned up by a campaign, and it is logical, I think, to assume that these people are only responding to what they have heard from the candidate's mouth. And it's fair game, and it's, in fact, responsible for us to report how the crowds are reacting."
Do you think the recent stock market collapse or troubles in the banking system are good news?
Well, according to CNN's Candy Crowley, the Obama campaign does.
On Monday's "Anderson Cooper 360," after CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said "what happened over the weekend with the economy and the bottom falling out of the financial markets...is the opportunity for Obama to seize the momentum back on his side," Crowley actually said, "[J]ust as foreclosures were showing up on B-17, or in the real estate section, along comes this horrific headline out of Wall Street...I mean, this is what they wanted."
I kid you not. The transcript of this disgraceful exchange follows (video embedded right, h/t Steve Malzberg):
Last night the Reverend Rick Warren questioned Barack Obama and John McCain at California's Saddleback Church. Post forum coverage at CNN was hosted by network chief national correspondent John King.
He began by asking CNN senior political analyst Candy Crowley and network congressional correspondent Dana Bash for their impressions. Crowley found McCain to have been "very direct" while Bash observed the GOP candidate addressed the audience rather than Warren. Both stated that Obama was "nuanced" in his answers.
When King asked Bill Schneider, another CNN senior political analyst, for his take on the event, the word of the day shifted from nuanced to thoughtful:
In a statement reminiscent of Howard Dean’s controversial statement from 2005 about the RNC and "people of color," Time magazine columnist Joe Klein blasted Karl Rove’s recent slam of Barack Obama on Monday’s "Election Center" program on CNN. "I just think that the image is kind of hilarious when you think about it: Barack Obama at a country club sipping a martini. It's kind of a parody of the Republican view of the world. Everybody belongs to -- since when [did] we start letting people like Barack Obama into Republican country clubs?"
"People like Barack Obama"? That sounds like Dean’s "You think the RNC could get this many people of color into a single room?... Maybe if they got the hotel staff in there."
"Election Center" substitute host Wolf Blitzer read Rove’s quote earlier in the segment, which began 22 minutes into the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program: "Even if you never met him, you know this guy. He's the guy at the country club with the beautiful date, holding a martini and a cigarette that stands against the wall, and makes snide comments about everyone who passes by."
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, during a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," must have thought it was a foregone conclusion that Barack Obama would give up on his pledge that he would accept public financing for his presidential campaign. "If you raised more than a quarter billion dollars in the primary season, would you limit yourself to $85 million in the fall campaign? Duh!" While she did point out Obama’s previous statements affirming his dedication to public financing, both she and Wolf Blitzer used subdued language to describe this broken promise, and tried to spin how this might be a potential issue in the campaign.
[Update, 10:30 am EDT Thursday: Martin's title at CNN is now political analyst, not contributor, according to an e-mail we received earlier this morning. This must be a very recent development, as Mr. Martin was referred to as "contributor" as late as June 17.]
CNN contributor Roland Martin, when asked on Tuesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360" if Michelle Obama was being held to a different standard than other presidential candidates’ wives, unequivocally placed the blame on conservative men. "No, I think what you have is you've got some weak men on the conservative side who, frankly, don't like strong women. I mean, we saw the exact same thing take place for Hillary Clinton back in 1992.... All of a sudden... Michelle Obama is this angry black woman, when in fact, she's an accomplished woman, a mother, a wife. And so, they are trying to define her in that way, because they don't want to deal with the reality."
CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum’s recent Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton during a segment on Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum’s article, that it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton had called Purdum a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."
CNN’s Jon Klein, in an internal memo obtained by the TVNewser blog, bragged about the strong ratings the network won during its recent debates and primary coverage, and spun the reason for this success. "CNN is proving that with innovation, execution, and passion, the sky's the limit. Our deep-seated commitment to independent coverage that is unbiased — without an agenda — is more powerful and popular than the partisan rants that permeate the airwaves." Klein might have had Keith Olbermann in mind when he referred to "partisan rants," but one would only need to look at the past three months to disprove such an outrageous claim by Klein.
CNN’s "American Morning" co-host John Roberts and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley gushed over the "historic" nature of the Obama and Clinton race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Roberts seemed almost giddy over the coming primaries on Super Tuesday. "Yeah, it is going to be a transformational primary here on the Democratic side of things. Do you get a sense that people are recognizing this idea of the grandeur of history involved here?"
Roberts echoed his colleague at CNN Wolf Blitzer, who began the debate Thursday night by declaring, "This is truly an historic moment for the Democratic Party. It's the first time that we will see a woman and an African-American vying for the Democratic presidential nomination."
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in a report on Thursday’s "Newsroom" program about college student participation in the Iowa caucuses, featured two supporters of Democratic presidential candidates, one for Barack Obama, and the other a supporter of Hillary Clinton. While host Kyra Philips, in her introduction to the report, highlighted how "all presidential supporters want all the support they can get, and that includes the under-30 crowd," the report did not feature any young supporters of Republican candidates.
Crowley’s report, which aired 16 mintues into the 1 pm Eastern hour, focused on the Obama campaign’s outreach to the "under-30 crowd," and described him in glowing terms. "Barack Obama is a hit on college campuses. He's young. He's new. He campaigns against status quo politics."
On CNN’s The Situation Room on Monday, CNN political reporter Candy Crowley publicized a new website started by the Hillary Clinton campaign at the address www.thehillaryIknow.com, designed to warm up Hillary’s cold, calculating image. Crowley touted how a combination of personal friends and New York constituents and "some names you would recognize" like Wesley Clark would spin for the candidate’s personal warmth.
Some of it was low on the relevance meter: "Today, we heard from a longtime – one of her closest friends in elementary school, who told us Clinton was captain of the crossing guards in elementary school." But go on the actual website, and on the front page is Jim Blair, described only as "A very close friend of Hillary’s whose wife passed from cancer in 2000." Political junkies should know that name: Jim Blair is the Tyson Foods lawyer who mysteriously set rules aside and massaged Hillary’s $1,000 investment into a $100,000 bonanza in the cattle futures market over nine months in 1978 and 1979.
Blair’s video testimonial is summarized underneath his video screen: "I’d like to tell the story of the last of Diane’s life...Hillary was in a Senate race in New York. Hillary called Diane every day for the last 90 days of Diane’s life...Hillary gave her comfort and the strength to keep going." Blair also tells of Hillary standing up for the couple as their politically correct "best person" at their 1979 wedding, but says nothing, obviously, about the quick six-figure commodities miracle.
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in an early birthday gift of a report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," reported that Hillary Clinton’s 2007 was a "so far, so great career year" and was "dedicated to flexing her foreign policy muscle, while reshaping her public image from humorless, wild-eyed liberal to a approachable, reasoned politician." This "wild-eyed liberal" line is an example of the mainstream media only resorting to use the "dreaded ‘L’ word" to reject the reality of her consistently liberal record.
In addition to the obligatory Hillary file footage and sound bites, Doug Hattaway, the campaign spokesman for Gore/Lieberman in 2000 gushed "I think this really long campaign season has really benefitted Senator Clinton. It's given voters a chance to see her for who she really is, not some caricature created by the right-wing attack machine." Hattaway continued, "In the debates, she's been commanding. On the trail, she's been very personable. And that's a really powerful combination."
On the September 27 edition of The Situation Room, at the end of an interview with Democratic presidential contender John Edwards on his decision to accept federal matching funds for his campaign, CNN reporter Candy Crowley asked if Edwards agreed with "a lot of people" who think Bush is the worst president ever. That's hardly a tough question, unless you worry about disagreeing publicly with Helen Thomas:
CROWLEY: Has George Bush accomplished anything in office that you approve of?
EDWARDS: That takes a little thinking.
He has raised the amount of money that America is contributing to the global fight on AIDS. He has talked -- in fact, he did it at the United Nations a few days ago -- talked about global poverty. I don't think he has done nearly enough, but he has raised it as a serious issue.
I think those are the two things that come to mind. I mean, I think he has been devastating to America and the world as a president, unprecedented. And I think it is very hard to find good things in a bad batch of bad things.
CROWLEY: A lot of people have said he's the worst president in history. Do you agree?
Candy Crowley, CNN’s senior political correspondent and an award winner for "excellence in journalism," might want to do a little more research on what science really says about the cause of homosexuality. In a report on the Logo/Human Right Campaign presidential candidates’ forum on "gay rights," Crowley claimed that "science has long-held that homosexuality is biological."
Come again? That claim would come to a surprise to even the homosexual-friendly American Psychological Association, whose web page on homosexuality states that "there are probably many reasons for a person's sexual orientation and the reasons may be different for different people."