Lefty talk show host Ed Schultz was delighted by Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama, but not all his listeners were so enthused. This led to an eyebrow-raiser of a remark by Schultz during his Oct. 20 broadcast:
Now many of you have sent emails saying, oh Ed, who cares about this, (Powell) went in front of the UN and said there were no WMD. Well, that was an administration's, he was, you know, doing his job and he could have said no to it, that's true, but at the time they thought they had 'em. (emphasis added) And he was the mouthpiece for the administration and the country's position on WMD at that time. Look, it was a mistake, we've all learned a lot since then.
Operative word highlighted above -- "they." (MP3 Audio Here)
Back in 1964, Lyndon Johnson and his hatchet man Bill Moyers made the infamous "Daisy" ad charging Barry Goldwater would cause a nuclear war, and it became a massive media story. Reportedly the ad ran only once and yet everyone came to know about it, thanks to the press. In 1976 and again in 1980 the Democrats worked overtime suggesting the election of Ronald Reagan would trigger a military calamity, so much so that in their 1980 debate, Reagan joked that Jimmy Carter was cartooning him as a "mad bomber." The media couldn’t get enough of that narrative, either.
So what happens when a vice presidential candidate makes the gaffe to end all gaffes and declares that his own running mate will trigger an international crisis? In the Year of The One, it’s yet another controversy that is virtually ignored by a national press corps that has become an institutional embarrassment.
After seven weeks of the news media deriding Sarah Palin, Brian Williams and Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday night seemed to delight in emphasizing how, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll which led the NBC Nightly News, Palin is hurting McCain as Obama surges ahead. And Williams touted Colin Powell's Sunday endorsement of Barack Obama as “the shot heard 'round the world.” After reciting how the survey of registered voters put Obama up by ten points, 52 to 42 percent, Williams asserted: “Perhaps more dangerous for the GOP ticket, most of those polled do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be President, by a margin of 55 percent to 40 percent.”
However, take a look at the PDF of the full poll, which did not pose the same question about Obama, and you learn that despite the media's pounding the public perception of her qualifications has been remarkably consistent across three NBC/WSJ surveys (see question 29d) with more considering her unqualified than qualified not anything new: 40 percent called her “qualified” in the September 19-22 poll, 41 percent replied qualified in the poll conducted October 4-5 and she returned to 40 percent in this new survey. Meanwhile, “not qualified” grew only slightly, from 49 to 50 to the current 55 percent which Williams treated as big news.
CNN contributor Roland Martin used an unoriginal line to attack Rush Limbaugh on Monday’s Election Center program. Host Campbell Brown wanted Martin, a Barack Obama supporter, to comment on something the talk radio host had said about Colin Powell’s endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate: "Rush Limbaugh said today, this is about race. That's all it's about." Martin’s response: "I think I will quote Al Franken when talking about Rush Limbaugh -- is a stupid, fat idiot."
Martin made the comment during a panel discussion with Brown, CNN senior political analyst Gloria Borger, and Kevin Madden, the former spokesman for the Mitt Romney presidential campaign, in which the four of them discussed the Powell endorsement of Obama. After his cliched attack, the CNN contributor accused Limbaugh, as well as Pat Buchanan and George Will, of disregarding Powell’s record and simplifying his endorsement to a matter of skin color: "Colin Powell gave one of the most thoughtful, meticulous endorsements of any candidate, and laid it all out very methodically, and it is an insult for people like Rush Limbaugh and Buchanan and Will and others to somehow say, oh, it's only because he's black."
As NewsBusters previously reported, the same broadcast networks that two years ago could not get enough of the Mark Foley scandal, are offering little to no coverage of Foley’s successor, Tim Mahoney, now embroiled in a sex scandal of his own. The networks on October 21 completely ignored the news that Congressman Mahoney’s wife is now filing for divorce. Fox News’ "Fox and Friends" only provided a brief news read. After co-host Brian Kilmeade read the brief, Steve Doocy editorialized "I think [the Foley] scandal got more ink, didn’t it?"
In related news, Mark Foley himself recently announced his endorsement for Barack Obama. Though Obama won over another Republican, it’s a safe assumption it will not receive the same news coverage as Colin Powell.
Update: Mark Foley issued a statement denying his support for Obama:
When at the beginning of the current financial mess John McCain declared that "the fundamentals of the economy are strong," he was roundly lambasted by the MSM, while the Obama campaign called his statement "an enormous mistake."
So, should we expect the liberal media and the Obama campaign to go after Barney Frank . . . now that he has said something remarkably similar? Discussing the markets with Maria Bartiromo on CNBC this afternoon, Frank declared: "I think it's clear that the fundamentals are better than the psychology."
On Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer talked to Washington Post reporter Dan Balz about Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama and Balz argued: "Well I think it's obviously significant. I don't think endorsements ultimately mean that much, but there are two, I think, important things that happened with his endorsement of Senator Obama...the criticism of McCain for picking Governor Palin as his running mate, he said explicitly he did not think she was ready. This is something that is beginning to become almost a chorus in some parts of the Republican Party."
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, Schieffer offered almost identical analysis of Powell’s endorsement: "Well, I've never thought endorsements are game-changers but this just adds to the good news that Barack Obama's been getting lately...what Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive."
"Good Morning America" journalists celebrated the endorsement of Senator Barack Obama by former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Monday's program. An ABC graphic for reporter John Berman's segment did not hold back. It asked, "Obama's Best Weekend Ever? Powell and Donors Boost Obama." Co-host Diane Sawyer teased the story by announcing, "This morning, Senator Obama's banner weekend: Record breaking crowds, cash and the endorsement heard around the world." [audio excerpt here]
Introducing Berman, Sawyer called Powell's endorsement, which occurred on Sunday's "Meet the Press," a "booster rocket." Berman also highlighted the fact that Obama's campaign has a "bank account that swelled by a record-shattering $150 million." Of course there was no mention of the influence of money in politics or the Democratic presidential candidate's now broken pledge to take public financing.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "To hear Colin Powell say that he's not sure John McCain can handle the economy, he's not sure if Sarah Palin is qualified, he doesn't like the nasty tone of this campaign, how significant was that, Bob?" Schieffer replied: "...this just adds to the good news that Barack Obama's been getting lately. Things seem to be breaking his way. This just adds to the momentum."
Rodriguez then followed up by wondering: "What do you think privately the McCain campaign is making of this endorsement?" At that point, Schieffer proclaimed: "Well, I'm sure they don't like it but, you know, this is -- what Colin Powell said yesterday and why it was so riveting to hear him, he was saying aloud what a lot of Republicans are saying privately, I think, or at least what I've heard some Republicans tell me. They think the pick of Sarah Palin reflects on John McCain's judgment, they think the campaign has turned too nasty and is not inclusive. I think Colin Powell said aloud yesterday what some Republicans, at least, are saying privately." [audio excerpt here]
When a black republican like General Colin Powell endorses a major liberal figure like Barack Obama, it is amazing to see racial vitriol stop at a lefty website like Daily Kos:
Powell didn't just decimate the McCain campaign rationale, however. Powell also offered up an endorsement of Barack Obama in the strongest possible terms, saying that Obama would be an "exceptional president" and that he had the capacity to be "transformational."
The amazing part of all this is that Powell still considers himself a Republican. While there will never be an excuse for his role in supporting the Iraq war, one thing does seem clear: Powell's endorsement today will be a boost for Barack Obama's campaign, and therefore a good thing for this country.
How sweet of Daily Kos. Back in April of 2004 Daily Kos's love did not extend at all for General Powell. In fact, it was downright nasty:
Uncle Tom Powell Stumps for Massah Bush
Yes suh! Yes suh! Right away suh!
Mr. Powell sir, you are a liar and an apologist for a crooked regime known as the George W. Bush administration.
Charges of "RINO", "limp-wristed republican", "Rockefeller republican", and "squish" are likely among the names to be thrown at Powell from the conservative base, but John McCain has been receiving that treatment from the conservative establishment too.
Journalists on TV Sunday heralded the importance and impact of Colin Powell's long-expected endorsement of Barack Obama which he made on Meet the Press. Later in that show, NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell touted Powell's endorsement and critique of the McCain campaign as “a very powerful political statement.” On the same panel with Mitchell, Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham declared that “having Colin Powell endorse the Democratic nominee for President is like having the seal of approval from the most important military figure of the age.”
MSNBC was so excited by the news the channel produced a special Sunday Hardball devoted entirely to Powell's news. Chris Matthews teased: “Colin Powell, right in the kisser. Barack Obama gets the endorsement of the year. Let's play Hardball.” Cuing up a Meet the Press re-play at the end of the 5 pm EDT hour, Matthews celebrated: “This is history in the making, on Meet the Press, right now.”
NFL football bumped the EDT/CDT CBS Evening News, but both ABC and NBC made Powell their lead. With “Major Endorsement” as it's on-screen heading, ABC anchor Dan Harris teased, “Tonight on World News: On a roll. Obama wins a major endorsement from a major Republican.” CNN's 10 PM EDT Newsroom, which dedicated its first 30 minutes to Powell, plastered “Big-Time Endorsement” on screen before anchor Don Lemon wondered: “I know it is important, but just how important is this?”
CNN's Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, appearing on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, declared the announced support of Barack Obama by former Secretary of State Colin Powell "the most important endorsement of the campaign so far."
Judging by other media reaction, it is a metaphysical certitude Gergen will not be alone in his Powell-loving assessment.
Is this announcement really the bombshell press members that have been in the tank for the junior senator from Illinois since he first announced his candidacy are making it out to be?
Consider how left-leaning many of the statements Powell made on Sunday's "Meet the Press" were, and how unlikely they will do anything to sway Independent, Conservative, and undecided voters (full transcript available here, file photo):
Whether it's an example of the host's bias or incompetence, potentially one of the most amazing aspects of Colin Powell's endorsement of Barack Obama on Sunday's "Meet the Press" was that Tom Brokaw didn't ask the former Secretary of State about the success of the surge in Iraq or the Democrat presidential candidate's opposition to this winning military strategy.
Given Powell's critical position in garnering support for the Iraq War, as well as his involvement in Desert Storm many years ago, it should have been essential to any interview dealing with his endorsement of either candidate how he feels the 2007 increase in troops has worked, and what the Senatorial vote on this strategy by his candidate of choice says about that person's foreign policy acumen.
Despite this logic, a full examination of the transcript and video of this almost 30-minute interview identified absolutely no reference to the surge whatsoever, and no questions posed to the former Secretary of State concerning the wisdom of Sen. Obama's position on it.
The absence of this subject was made even more absurd given the following exchange between Brokaw and Powell (photo courtesy MSNBC.com):
You might know Barack Obama as the most liberal member of the Senate, a hyper-partisan who toed the Harry Reid line an amazing 97% of the time. But Andrea Mitchell sees in Obama a bipartisan president in the making. Appearing on Morning Joe today, Mitchell came close to speaking of an Obama presidency as a given, just managing to curb her enthusiasm. And wait till you see the people she cited as evidence of Obama's bipartisan proclivity.
On Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, the day after he labeled Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice as "showcase appointments," Chris Matthews retracted his comment, chalking it up to a bad choice of words, as he contended that he should have called Powell and Rice "high-profile" appointments, rather than "showcase" appointments. Matthews: "I should have said 'high-level, high-profile' appointments. They were genuine appointments. They were not tokens." And, although Matthews did seem to demean Rice on Thursday by referring to her position of Secretary of State as a "nice title," Matthews on Friday used a different tone: "Nobody on Earth believes that Condoleezza Rice is not this President's chief foreign policy advisor. Or nobody challenges their ability. Personally, I love the guy, although I wish he'd had opposed the war, General Powell. So I used the wrong word. I should have said 'high-level, high-profile,' not 'showcase,' because some people took that as 'token.' And damn it, I certainly didn’t mean that."
Contrasting how Barack Obama won the nomination of the Democratic Party to how Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell achieved their successes, Chris Matthews insulted the aforementioned as "showcase appointments."
The following excerpt from Matthews occurred about 9:30 PM EDT during MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, August 28:
Again he [Barack Obama] carries with him the history of tonight. And it's important to point out, as we have not so far, Barack Obama was not given this nomination, he won it. He was not offered a nice title like Secretary of State, like Condoleezza Rice got from the Republicans. He was not offered the title of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs as Colin Powell was, or Secretary of State. He won the nomination of a Democratic Party voting together. He defeated all other opponents and took the prize and took the leadership. He is the chosen leader of the Democratic Party.
He is not some popular appointment or a showcase appointment. He is the victor here tonight. That's why he dictates the agenda. That's why he says, personally, what the Democratic Party will do if he's elected President. He is the leader of the party. He may be the leader of the country through a democratic process. It is so vital to understand the history being made here tonight. This is not something cute or wonderful. It is something compelling and powerful. This country has changed its history.
On NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday, during a roundtable discussion of Barack Obama's running mate possibilities, correspondent Andrea Mitchell argued that one of the "minuses" for Obama choosing former Democratic Senator Sam Nunn would be that Nunn is "anathema to the gay and lesbian community" as she seemed to portray the "young Bill Clinton" as a victim who had the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military "shoved down his throat" by Nunn and then-Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell in 1993. Mitchell: "Minuses: He is anathema to the gay and lesbian community because of 'Don't ask, don't tell.' He's tried to moderate his position, but it was he and Colin Powell who shoved that down the young Bill Clinton's throat in 1993, as a new President. So there are large Democratic interest groups who would rebel at the convention if Sam Nunn were the nominee." (Transcript follows)
Another journalist has gone on-the-record equating conservative concerns about the liberal Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with racism. In a May 5 blog post on the Chicago Tribune’s “The Swamp” blog, writer Frank James expressed his concern about racist white people. James wondered, “How much of Sen. Barack Obama's supposed patriotism deficit among voters has to do with his being African-American?”
Why does James think that whites view African-Americans as less patriotic? According to James’s post, it’s because there is “an assumption on the part of white Americans that a racial group whose ancestors were slaves and which still complains about racial inequalities and injustice must by definition be less patriotic.”
Mort Kondracke got one thing right: Rush Limbaugh would go Krakatoa . . .
The resident moderate of The Beltway Boys has counseled John McCain to offer the VP slot to Christie Todd Whitman. Mort made his move during last evening's show-ending "Buzz" segment.
MORTON KONDRACKE: Two new McCain Veep ideas: first, he should offer the Vice-Presidency to Colin Powell, who may well not take it. If not Powell, then Christie Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey. Rush Limbaugh would go Krakatoa but independents will like it, women will like it, and so will African-Americans, the whole package.