After another round of attacks from the White House, this time from higher levels of the Obama administration, Brit Hume, a senior political analyst for Fox News, went to bat for his network.
On the Oct. 19 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "Special Report with Bret Baier," Hume gave his best effort to rationalize why White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod used two Sunday morning news show appearances to beat up on the highly rated news channel. According to Hume, it was because they disapproved of the stories his channel broke over the last few months.
"It is a little hard to discern a strategy behind the White House campaign of criticism of Fox News unless it's simply this - an attempt to quarantine Fox and thereby discourage other media outlets from following up stories did originate here," Hume said. "The White House is clearly stung by the revelations about former aid Van Jones. He turned out to have harbored views that were out there where the buses don't run and he was forced to resign. And the White House could not much have cared for the hidden camera expose of ACORN - an organization with which the president had a past association and one whose voter registration drives have benefited the Democratic Party."
Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).
Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."
Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."
Earlier today, my NewsBusters colleague Noel Sheppard posted the disparaging words White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had for the Fox News Channel, a sentiment that Obama Senior Advisor David Axelrod echoed on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."
"Your colleague Anita Dunn told The New York Times this week that Fox News was undertaking a war against the White House, and said the White House would treat Fox the way we would an opponent," Stephanopoulos said.
By Friday, after White House Secretary Robert Gibbs would only say that he still was a part of the administration, it was obvious that Jones's resignation was only a matter of time. The 9/11 truther and other evidence accumulated by Glenn Beck, Gateway Pundit, WorldNetDaily, and others was simply overwhelming.
But it seems to me that it would have been more convenient had the White House waited until early Sunday afternoon to announce Jones's resignation. Given the establishment media's near blackout of his past statements and actions, it's likely that the Sunday morning network talk shows would have avoided Jones completely, or would have given the topic very short shrift. A Sunday afternoon resignation would have been much more invisible -- except for something that came out on Saturday evening.
I believe that Jones's resignation may have been moved up by 12 hours or so. That's because on Saturday evening, Scott Johnson at Powerline presented proof that roughly 40 hours after the 9/11 terrorist attacks occurred, avowed Communist Jones publicly declared that the U.S. deserved what happened. I'm not kidding.
Democrats worried that too many of their liberal allies in the media are being gobbled up by the Obama administration should fret not, as the White House has a plan: replace the departed journalists with new left-leaning cadre.
Take for example Tuesday's revelation that Ethan Axelrod, the son of Obama senior adviser David Axelrod, is going to work for the Huffington Post.
As Big Hollywood's Jason Killian Meath reported Sunday, this is a liberal match made in heaven:
CNN correspondent Suzanne Malveaux made an apparent Freudian slip in response to a sound bite on health care reform from Senator Mitch McConnell on Monday’s American Morning. Malveaux initially labeled McConnell’s remark, in which the Senate Minority Leader cracked that the “only thing bipartisan about the measures so far is the opposition to them,” as a “snippy little phrase there” [audio clip from the segment available here].
The correspondent filed a report just after the beginning of the 6 am Eastern hour about the Obama’s administration and Democratic leaders’ efforts to get their health care “reform” package passed in Congress. Malveaux stated that “obviously, in public, there’s a lot of confidence. You heard Nancy Pelosi. You talk to White House aides....In an e-mail that I got this morning, however, one of the top White House aides was saying, look, this is a time when it’s important that the president look credible- look viable, still in this debate, and that the one thing that they are trying to get across to folks is that he is still a player in this, that he has not lost his political capital, despite the fact that he...did not get what he wanted this time around.”
On today's CNN Newsroom segment at 1:00 PM (ET), anchor Kyra Phillips interviewed White House senior advisor David Axelrod. Phillips asked about the Senate's rejection of an $80 million request from President Obama to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba:
PHILLIPS: All right. Let's push forward, then, and talk about Gitmo. You know, your party voted overwhelmingly not to give the president the money for Gitmo. I mean, 90-6. Is it the bad economy, or is there truly a huge divide in convictions on this?
AXELROD: No, I think that members of the Senate were asking for a plan. We'll give them a plan as to how we're going to move forward. I think the president offered a framework for that today, and we're going to work with the Congress on whatever path that we take here.
At almost the same time NPR's Peter Sagal and White House advisor David Axelrod were disgracefully mocking Carrie Prejean in front of a cheering crowd at George Washington University, NPR's Scott Simon was pointing out to his listeners how Barack Obama shares Miss California's views on same-sex marriage.
Talk about your inconvenient truths.
Potentially even more shocking, Simon exposed how absurd it is that folks have attacked Prejean while giving Obama a pass: "If you point out, as I have to a couple of e-mailers, that the president's opinion on gay marriage is more or less identical, the same people dismiss it as a painful insincerity he is forced to adopt because of people like Miss California."
The audio of this marvelous segment is available here with transcript below the fold (h/t JohnK):
Given what White House senior advisor David Axelrod said in jest about the Obamas considering naming their new dog "Miss California," and judging by the reaction from the audience at George Washington University, one has to think the answer is a resounding "Yes."
It is always interesting to see the Democratic pot calling the Republican kettle black and here we have only the latest example of that with Obama's top advisor attacking former Vice President Dick Cheney for his outspoken position on the failures of the Obama administration's early efforts in office. But, as advisor David Axelrod was attacking Cheney, there doesn't seem to be any memory on the part of CNN or Axelrod of the wild-eyed, fire-breathing attacks made by former Vice President Al Gore on President George W. Bush in the years after the 2000 election.
On CNN's State of the Union with host John King, David Axelrod scolded Dick Cheney for not behaving like a "statesman" over the former vp's statements that the country is becoming less safe because of Obama's policies.
Obama senior adviser David Axelrod made the rounds of the broadcast network evening newscast anchors on Tuesday to discuss President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress, but CBS's Katie Couric, in uniquely offering some balance by matching Axelrod with a segment featuring House Minority Leader John Boehner, only served to expose her impatience toward GOP opposition. With Axelrod, she cued him up to expound on the administration's policies, pressed him about nationalizing banks and empathized with the terrible conditions inherited by Obama's team. In contrast, with Boehner she wondered if Republicans are “out of touch,” suggested they are stuck between having either the country or their base “hate” them and asked:
Do you think the Republicans are digging themselves in a hole by not being more supportive of the President's proposals?
Couric prompted Axelrod to explain how the administration will overcome criticism of the mortgage plan: “How do you explain that this is not going to be helping out somebody's brother-in-law who put down no money, spent too much money on his house and basically cut corners while other families feel like, 'listen, we did everything right.'?” She soon lamented what Bush left behind: “When you were running this campaign did you ever envision inheriting this job at a time when the country is in such deep trouble?”
What a difference an administration makes. During the Bush years, if a spokesman or the president himself attempted to dodge a tough question, the media would go into their Sam Donaldson impressions and pundits would see a conspiracy of silence.
But now that it's Obama, the dodging that was once denounced is suddenly celebrated. Thus, appearing on today's Morning Joe, Larry O'Donnell declared "impressive" Pres.-elect Obama's stiff-arming yesterday of a reporter who dared asked Blago-related questions.
The video clip also includes a gratuitous bit of nastiness from Obama adviser David Axelrod aimed at Mika Brzezinski.
Maybe there's hope for some of those immersed in left-wing media.
Liberal radio host Ed Schultz has been decidedly skeptical about claims emanating from the Obama inner circle about whether contact was made between Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Obama or his surrogates on filling Obama's Senate vacancy.
Schultz hammered away at this on Wednesday's show, focusing on what could be Obama's Achilles' heel in the affair, senior adviser David Axelrod's statement on Nov. 23 that Obama and Blagojevich had spoken about the vacancy (after the scandal broke, Axelrod claimed he "misspoke").
After playing a clip of Axelrod's statement on Nov. 23, Schultz had this to say (audio) --
Well, OK, how can any fair-minded American say, well, that's OK, we're done with that angle of the story. Wait a minute. This is a clear, admitted discrepancy and it makes people wonder what the hell's going on here.
On Sunday’s CBS ‘60 Minutes,’ anchor Steve Kroft abandoned hard-hitting journalism and instead offered a glowing profile of the Obama campaign team: "Like Obama, they were talented, laid back, and idealistic, with limited exposure on the national stage. But with the candidate's help, the team orchestrated one of the most improbable and effective campaigns in American political history." Kroft interviewed Obama advisors David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs, and Anita Dunn about the campaign and later observed: "The only person missing from the brain trust was the candidate himself."
Kroft went on to describe their incredible accomplishment: "They took a little known senator with a foreign sounding name and almost no national experience and got him elected the 44th President of the United States. They did it by recruiting and investing millions of volunteers in the outcome, by raising more money than any campaign in history, and by largely ignoring the fact that their candidate happened to be a black man."
On the issue of race, Kroft later asked: "There were just so many people -- reporters, pundits, everybody -- who said that you're not going to be able to elect a black man President of the United States. It's just not going to happen right now. Obviously that had to be part of your equation in planning this campaign." When Plouffe replied: "No. Honestly, you had to take a leap of faith in the beginning that the people would get by race, and I think the number of meetings we had about race was zero." An incredulous Kroft responded: "What?"
Whoops. It's turning into quite the morning for gaffes on the NBC/MSNBC family of networks. As noted here, during the Today opening, Meredith Vieira stumbled onto the sensitive subject of Matt Lauer's marital history. Then, during Morning Joe's 8 AM hour, Joe Scarborough accidentally dropped an f-bomb, provoking a protracted apolog-a-thon. [H/t reader P.C.]
[Warning: video contains unexpurgated F-bomb 20 seconds in].
During a break, Time's Jay Carney had apparently told a story of some politico who had used the f-word. Back on the air, Scarborough had actually been praising the discipline of the Obama team members. It was in describing them as people who, in contrast with the person Carney had mentioned, were careful with their words and deeds, that Joe's internal edit button went on the fritz.
Update | Hail Halperin: See incredible video at foot. Pressed by Mark Halperin, Robert Gibbs admits Obama continued to associate with Ayers after learning his past.
H/t Melody N. An Obama spokesman adamantly insists that in 1995 Barack Obama was the most clueless man in Chicago. Andrea Mitchell thinks talk of Barack Obama's ties to an unrepentant terrorist is a "distraction." Rudy Giuliani doesn't. Mitchell is happy to take the New York Times's word for the fact that Obama and William Ayers weren't close. Rudy, not so much.
After the former NYC mayor made the case on today's Morning Joe as to why Ayers matters, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs came on, called Giuliani a liar, and flatly denied that—when beginning his political career in his living room—Obama knew Ayers was a terrorist.
On Friday's "Good Morning America," news anchor Chris Cuomo derided John McCain's campaign manager for a "frivolous, childish" ad comparing Barack Obama to a celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Cuomo, who is the son of former New York Democratic Governor Mario Cuomo and the brother of the state's current Democratic attorney general, even tried to goad Davis into pledging to not run any similar ads in the future.
He prompted, "...Your candidate started by saying he wanted to run a different type of campaign. Do you want to put out a pledge? No more ads like this? Let's leave the personal alone. Let's talk about what we'll do for America." He also played a clip of McCain pledging to run a respectful campaign and then complained, "So that's what we expected from John McCain...What's going on here?"
It's rare to hear an MSM figure flatly suggest that a presidential campaign lied, but Joe Scarborough broke out the the l-word today in wondering whether chief Obama strategist David Axelrod did just that when he emphatically denied, on yesterday's show, that there is a concerted "makeover" of Michelle Obama in the works.
Now her husband’s presidential campaign is giving her image a subtle makeover, with a new speech in the works to emphasize her humble roots and a tough new chief of staff. On Wednesday, Mrs. Obama will do a guest turn on “The View,” the daytime talk show on ABC, with an eye toward softening her reputation.
When Axelrod appeared on Morning Joe yesterday at 7:40 AM EDT, Scarborough quizzed him about the matter [dialogue as per closed-caption transcript]. The senior Obama aide's denial of a makeover plan couldn't have been more categorical:
The Iowa caucuses might be a few weeks off, but MSNBC pundits have already cast a resounding "no" vote in a referendum on Hillary's credibility. A bi-partisan consensus of blatherers today rejected the Clinton campaign's denial of involvement in NH co-chair Bill Shaheen's raising of Barack Obama's past involvement with drugs.
Meanwhile, things are getting downright nasty among top consultants to the frontrunners' campaigns . . . and Barack made Hillary regret her latest cackle.