In his "The Fix" blog yesterday, Washington Post political reporter Chris Cillizza uncritically furthered a faulty Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) that argues that President Obama has actually received more negative news coverage this political season than the Republican presidential primary contenders. This morning, Post print edition editors excerpted Cillizza's item on page A4, the "Campaign 2012" news page.
While Cillizza noted in his blog post that there are "mitigating factors" in the survey data -- that langauge was cut from the print edition excerpt -- he confidently asserted that "for all the chatter about Obama’s preferential treatment by the media, the data tells a very different story. And the data doesn’t lie." But as my colleague Rich Noyes explained on Monday, the data examined by the study are fundamentally flawed and hence worthless to arrive at a conclusion about the media's judgments of the candidates (emphases mine):
Washington Post political writer Chris Cillizza definitively declared on Tuesday's Hardball that for the 2012 race, Barack Obama is "cool" and Mitt Romney is "not cool." Host Chris Matthews, trying to prove his hipness, wondered aloud, "Can you dig it?"
Fellow Post writer Nia-Malika Henderson then attempted to explain what the "kids" these days are saying. After a clip of Obama on the Jimmy Fallon show, Cillizza proclaimed, "The one thing that I would point out that I think is fascinating about this race...[Obama] is cool. Mitt Romney is not cool."
On MSNBC, the disrespect one is allowed to show to a conservative and/or his family knows no bounds.
On Wednesday's Hardball, host Chris Matthews and his guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and John Harwood of the New York Times actually laughed at Mitt Romney's sons (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's The Daily Rundown on MSNBC, host Chuck Todd posed this question to guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and Jonathan Martin of Politico: "Is this the single best week in the Obama re-election effort?"
Todd elaborated on his hyperbolic question by announcing: "The argument I've already heard from team Obama is yesterday that they were giddy that the first line of attack from team Romney [against Newt Gingrich] was Paul Ryan." Todd explained: "So they're sitting there going this is great because Romney is moving to the right to try to stop Newt. And so, even if he becomes the nominee, he's got like a longer path back."
Andrea Mitchell's attempt to imply Rick Perry was being racially insensitive, for calling fellow GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain "brother," during Tuesday's Republican debate, was so lame even her NBC colleague Chuck Todd wasn't buying it. Mitchell, on Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, dredged up the N-Head controversy on Perry as she scolded: "If I were Rick Perry and had that sign or the, the stone that used to be on that, that property I'm not sure I would've gone with the 'brother' stuff, over and over again."
Todd then tried to rein in his NBC colleague as he admonished: "Just very quickly on the 'brother' thing. That's a Southern cultural thing," and reminded her that their "late friend Mr. [Tim] Russert" was also fond of using that term in a friendly way, "He loved to refer to all of us as brother." Even the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza came to Perry's defense as he agreed with Todd and offered: "It sounded to me more like Hulk Hogan saying, 'brother.'" [video after the jump]
Give Gene Sperling credit--he managed to keep a straight face. Sent out onto the White House lawn to explain away the horrendous jobs report showing that the economy created no new jobs in August, the director of the White House National Economic Council actually resorted to blaming the economy inherited from George W. Bush, then making the mind-boggling boast that the failed Obama stimulus program somehow made an 11-million job difference.
Sperling was speaking with Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, guest hosting for Chuck Todd on MSNBC's Daily Rundown. View video after the jump.
Yesterday on "The Fix", a politics blog of the Washington Post, Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake wrote "Five Members to watch in the House debt ceiling vote." One of the five is Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT). He's described as a potential "yes" vote for Speaker John Boehner's (R-OH) debt ceiling bill:
Matheson, a Democrat, has managed to keep his Republican-leaning Utah seat by voting very conservatively since being elected in 2000.
So let's see what The Fix considers voting not just conservatively, but very conservatively. Project Vote Smart collects ratings given by a wide variety of special-interest organizations. Matheson's record shows that for 2010 the American Conservative Union gave him a grade of 17 percent. The National Taxpayers Union assigned him a 39 percent and Citizens Against Government Waste awarded him an 11 percent. He did substantially better with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, which gave him an 80 percent rating. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People determined he voted in their interests 75 percent of the time for the period 2009-2010, and the American Civil Liberties Union rated him at 56 percent for the same period.
Imagine if the Bush 43 administration had decided to exclude a newspaper's reporters from full access to presidential events--regardless of the ostensible reason. Does anyone believe that the New York Times or Associated Press would have ignored the story?
Well, in a thoroughly predictable but nonetheless sad development, that is what has happened since the Boston Herald's Hillary Chabot reported that "The White House Press Office has refused to give the Boston Herald full access to President Obama’s Boston fund-raiser today, in e-mails objecting to the newspaper’s front page placement of a Mitt Romney op-ed, saying pool reporters are chosen based on whether they cover the news 'fairly.'" Lachlan Markay relayed Chabot's item at NewsBusters yesterday, and also chronicled several previous examples of White House mistreatment, maltreatment, and abuse of disfavored media members.
A search of the Associated Press's main site late this morning on "Boston Herald" (without quotes) returned nothing relevant, as seen after the jump:
Liberal Democrats in the past few weeks have been pounding the message that massive infusions of "secret" money into independently-run political advertising have a detrimental effect on Democrats democracy. The media have done their level best to amplify that complaint.
But is knowing the identity of political advertising donors really a huge issue to swing voters?
Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's Hardball, not so cryptically compared the actions of Republican volunteers to that of Nazi-style tactics from the 1930s as he claimed the restraining of a MoveOn.org activist by a Rand Paul supporter reminded him of what "we saw from hoodlums in the thirties in another country I will not mention" and added: "I mean it isn't far from what we saw in the thirties, where all of a sudden, political parties started showing up in uniform." Matthews, who was joined by Salon's Joan Walsh and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, even went on to claim physical attacks against political opponents was something that existed exclusively on one ideological side as he asserted that it was "right wing by its very nature."
This was the second night in a row Matthews advanced this theory and he didn't bother to mention the other side of the story, that a Jack Conway volunteer perhaps had acted violently at the Paul rally as well. The Post's Cillizza, to his credit, actually tried to talk Matthews down as he told the MSNBC host: "I don't think it is right wing by its nature. I would say at the end of campaigns, passions get very inflamed...I do not think it is a right wing thing, I do not think it is a left wing thing." However Cillizza failed in his effort to bring reason to the Hardball host as Matthews challenged Cillizza to "Name the last liberal progressive candidate who hired a private army, the last one that was stomping his political, her political opponents in the street?" before getting on his liberal high horse: "Well we see different kinds of passion here, don't we? We see one passion being reporters trying to get stories in Alaska so they could undercover skull-duggery. We have the passion of a woman who shows up to demonstrate with a wig on and a placard and then we see the passion of the other side, which is to hire armies of paramilitaries and stomp people."
Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd tag-teamed against Alaskan Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller, on Thursday's Hardball, as Todd claimed Miller was "running a terrible campaign" and warned that "it may be popular among conservatives to bash the media" but Miller is "turning off" voters when he does it. For his part Matthews called Miller "unlikable" going as far to compare him to the negative depiction of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the movie "The Social Network" as Matthews pined: "He seems about as likable as that guy...Joe Miller seems like that guy." Of the Tea Party conservative Matthews also added: "He seems like a misanthrope," and predicted: "I don't think people are gonna like this guy." (video included)
The following exchange was aired on the October 14 edition of Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Go to Alaska, you brought that up a minute ago.
CHUCK TODD, NBC NEWS: Yeah.
MATTHEWS: Could a Democrat be elected Senator from Alaska against two Republicans?
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday took on CBS's Bob Schieffer for challenging unsubstantiated allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign dollars into Republican campaigns.
As NewsBusters previously reported, the "Face the Nation" host mocked White House senior adviser David Axelrod Sunday for advancing this unfounded premise that even the New York Times has discredited.
Yet that didn't concern the "Hardball" host who rather than presenting the facts as Schieffer and the Times did exclusively offered the Democrat view as he scolded his colleague from another television network (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In my beloved home state of Maryland, this year's governor's race is a rematch of the contest four years ago, and most polls show a close race, with current Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) up a few points over former Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R), but at or below the crucial 50 percent mark.
Enter the Washington Post, which two days ago released a poll that shows O'Malley up by 11 points, breaking the 50 percent mark. As might be expected, Post journalists are hyping the results, casting the race as possibly starting to break decisively in O'Malley's direction.
In an online chat, the Post's Chris Cillizza vouched for the poll by stating that pollster "Jon Cohen is the best in the business, so yes," O'Malley has indeed opened up a wide lead over Ehrlich. Today, the Post's Mike DeBonis penned a column about how O'Malley is "right now, in a place where a lot of his fellow Democrats around the country sure wish they were."
Eh, not so fast, veteran Maryland political observer Blair Lee argues in an October 1 article for Gazette.net.
The Post poll oversamples demographic groups that are O'Malley-friendly and doesn't take into account the heightened energy among Maryland Republicans and depressed primary turnout from Democrats this year, Lee argues (emphasis mine):
Well you have to give Chris Matthews credit for admitting the obvious. On Monday's Hardball, as he overlooked the bad environment for Democrats this midterm season, Matthews appeared grateful he didn't make his much rumored run for Pennsylvania's Senate seat, as he asked one of his guests: "Do you think it could be the year where guys...like me were smart not to make the run?" [audio available here]
The admission came during a segment in which Matthews, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza and local radio talk show host, Dan Gaffney of WGMD, were breaking down the prospects for Christine O'Donnell to upset Republican Mike Castle and go on to win the general election for the Deleware Senate seat with Gaffney explaining that it was a distinct possibility since there is "a lot of anti-establishment, anti-incumbent sentiment" in that state, calling that race "a crap-shoot." This caused Matthews to wonder, if in fact, that attitude extended to Pennsylvania as he asked Gaffney the following question:
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's Hardball, broke down video of a tea party protester, allegedly spitting on Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, like it was the Zapruder film as he and his guest John Heilemann of the New York magazine both claimed it reminded them of the integration of Little Rock Central High School, as Matthews blurted: "You know I just saw one of those pictures the other day, a woman down in...Little Rock back in '57 when they were integrating Little Rock Central High School with that wicked look of anger. I mean contorted face. Look at this guy!" [audio available here]
As Matthews dissected the video to determine whether or not the protestor landed a loogey on the congressman, one couldn't help but reminded of the classic Seinfeld scene that parodied Oliver Stone's crackpot conspiracy theory movie JFK as Jerry analyzes whether or not Kramer and Newman were hit by a "second-spitter."
The following exchange was aired on the March 30 edition of Hardball:
Since the announcement of his resignation from the Senate the common label (from CNN to MSNBC) of Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh seems to be that of a "centrist." On Monday's Hardball both Chris Matthews and his guest panelist NBC News' Chuck Todd called Bayh a "centrist," which is an inaccurate label for someone who, as NB's Matthew Balan pointed out, has a lifetime ACU rating of 20 and ADA of 70.
During the 5pm Olympics-shortened edition of Hardball, Matthews and Todd spinned that Bayh is leaving the Senate because "there's no room for centrists." [audio available here]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay let's talk turkey here. Let's go to Chuck Todd on the big picture here. Just a year or so ago, Arlen Specter of my state quit the Republican Party saying, there's no room in it for centrist politicians like himself. Is this a sign that there's no room in the Democratic Party for centrist politicians like Evan Bayh? He seemed to be saying that today.
Chris Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, admonished one of his panelists, April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, for using the term "homeland," because "it sounds like Russia," and worried that use of that term could lead to calling the United States "motherland," and "fatherland," and "that's when we are getting imperial."
The discussion with Ryan and Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, began with Matthews rationalizing President Obama's decision to send more troops into Afghanistan because "his administration is so stacked with people who are more hawkish than he is."
The following exchange was aired on the December 3, Hardball:
Barack Obama is President, Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House, Harry Reid is Senate Majority Leader, Bill Clinton is doing the television circuit to revive his reputation, most journalists are still hopelessly in the tank for the current White House resident, and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza is concerned that the Democrats don't have a voice to counter Republican talking points.
This is almost as silly as a New Yorker losing sleep over the Yankees not having enough money to field an allstar team next year.
Regardless of the apparent absurdity, such was Cillizza's point in a blog posting at WaPo's The Fix (h/t Jennifer Rubin):
Chris Matthews, on Tuesday's "Hardball," invited on California Senator Barbara Boxer to dismiss the increasing number of townhall protestors opposed to Obama's liberal agenda as the "angry, and "noisy," "well-dressed middle-class people in pinks and limes...Brooks Brothers Brigade." After playing brief clips from the townhall protests Matthews devoted the first half of his show to knocking down their legitimacy, something Boxer actually instructed Matthews to do, as she urged the MSNBC host: "You, you in the media have to take a look at what's going on here. This is all planned. It's to hurt our president and it's to change the Congress." To which Matthews suggested the grassroots revolt should be ignored, as he depicted the protestors as stooges of the health care industry.
MATTHEWS: Do you think the health insurance companies that have made money for years on health care are the bad guys here? Do you think they're behind these so-called Astroturf demonstrations? That they're not really grassroots. These Brooks Brothers attacks on these congressional meetings?[audio available here]
Before the Boxer interview, Matthews invited on the Politico's Jeanne Cummings who also pooh-poohed the demonstrators:
The Washington Post has published a glowing article about likely incoming AFL-CIO president, Richard Trumka (photo), titled "Trumka Hopes to Mend the AFL-CIO." Writer Chris Cillizza asks in the very first sentence of his Monday Fix story, "Can Richard Trumka reunite the labor movement?"
Cillizza portrays Trumka as genuinely puzzled over the reason for the big split in the labor movement:
With Trumka's election virtually ensured, the central question is whether he can heal the rift that occurred four years ago when the Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters (among others) left the AFL-CIO to form a new labor coalition known as Change to Win.
Trumka, in a recent interview with the Fix, was puzzled over the reasons behind the fracture. "First they said it was because we did too much political action [and] that obviously wasn't the case since everyone spent a lot of time on political action," he said. "Then they said we didn't spent enough time on organizing."
Regardless of the reasons for the split, Trumka says his background prepares him well for the task of reunification. Elected as the head of the United Mine Workers in the early 1980s, Trumka helped unite warring factions within the group and bring it under the AFL-CIO umbrella. "Over the years, I've had a fairly successful record of bringing people together," he said.
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
The election is over, but quite clearly the Palin Derangement Syndrome suffered by many in the mainstream media isn't. This morning's CNN Reliable Sources was typical. Joining host Howard Kurtz to discuss Sarah Palin were Beth Fouhy, an Associated Press political reporter, Baltimore Sun TV critic David Zurawik, and Julie Mason, the Washington Examiner's White House correspondent. Mason opined: "I don't think she helped herself at all this past week. I think she actually probably made it worse." To Zurawik, the Alaska governor's recent interview with NBC's Matt Lauer "shows you how in a way, deviously clever Palin is in trying to repair her image." Then it was the AP reporter's time to take a few shots:
FOUHY: Well, I think what we learned is that she is extremely ambitious. I guess we already knew that, but she's as ambitious as ever despite the brutal campaign that she herself described that she went through. But she's also pretty unprepared.
As media outlets across the fruited plain float the notion that Sarah Palin hurt John McCain's chances of winning the White House, the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza will break with the herd on Sunday to dispel this nonsense.
As the last of his "5 Myths About an Election of Mythic Proportions" slated for Sunday's print edition but already available at the paper's website, Cillizza parted with his fellow journalists who believe "McCain made a huge mistake in picking Sarah Palin":
Say what you will about President George W. Bush, but I don't recall him ever mocking an elderly widow in his pronouncements. But Barack Obama couldn't get through his first press conference as president-elect without doing just that.
Answering a question from Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times as to the presidents he has consulted during the transition, Obama took a gratuitous jab at Nancy Reagan, who was recently released from the hospital after breaking her pelvis in a fall.
BARACK OBAMA: In terms of speaking to former presidents, I've spoken to all of them that are living, obviously President Clinton--I didn't want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any séances.
Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post's "The Fix" blog executed an example of political gymnastics so amazing for its twisting of reality that it boggles the mind. He actually turned comments by Barack Obama from a dissing of "small town" America to one highlighting how mean Republicans are. You heard me right. Obama's comments had absolutely nothing to do with the GOP, yet Cillizza was somehow able to take his derogatory comments against the American heartland and turn it all into a discussion on how Republicans will attack the Democrat candidate! Talk about a bending over backwards to use an Obama gaff to attack Republicans, this one takes the cake and shows how in the tank for Obama Chris Cillizza seems to be.
So, as you may be aware by now, at an appearance in San Francisco where Obama was talking to some far left-wing California donors, he basically said that small town Americans are racist, gun-nuts who are religious fanatics and who just don't get it.
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.
"CNN's 'Reliable Sources' is one of television's only regular programs to examine how journalists do their jobs and how the media affect the stories they cover." -- from CNN's "Reliable Sources" website [emphasis added].
When it comes to "how journalists do their job," the story of the week was Wolf Blitzer's spectacular failure to do his. Going into Thursday's debate, the big question was how Hillary was going to deal with the inevitable grilling over her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. But when Blitzer finally got around to the issue, well into the debate, he didn't bother to ask a single follow-up question to Hillary's terse "no" answer.
So surely Reliable Sources's host Howard Kurtz would put that question squarely on the table on today's show, right? Wrong.
Chris Matthews can't get enough of John Edwards' brutal-but-funny anti-Hillary ad, playing it twice during this evening's "Hardball." Set to the Blue Danube Waltz and based on clips from last week's debate, the theme is Hillary's double-talk on Iraq, Social Security and immigration [her triple-toe loop on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants].
But in the three-cushion game that is presidential billiards, two of Chris's guests surmised that the ad, in taking down Hillary, would likely redound to Barack Obama's benefit.
Looking to sample the political opinions of regular Americans? What better cross-section than the denizens of MSM newsrooms! That seems to be Mike Barnicle's attitude, at least. The former Boston Globe columnist-turned-MSNBC contributor is guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball."
Chatting with guests Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post and Holly Bailey of Newsweek, talk turned to the topic of Americans' desire for political change. At one point Barnicle made this observation:
MIKE BARNICLE: The force for change that's out there, if you talk to regular people, people like me, people like you, the idea that they want a change is a very powerful force.