This isn't something you see every day: a member of the media scolding colleagues for criticizing conservative talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin.
Yet, that's exactly what Howard Kurtz did on CNN's "Reliable Sources" Sunday as he took on all the recent carping and whining about the message being relayed over the airwaves by the Right's strongest voices.
Kurtz even went after the so-called conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks (video embedded below the fold, relevant section at 36:50):
However, will they be so eager to echo the sentiment of David Brooks in the wake of President Barack Obama's Nobel Prize announcement? On PBS's Oct. 9 "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," the Times columnist had some disparaging words for Obama's award - despite a sentiment from some liberals that those who question it were somehow un-American.
"Well, my first reaction is he should have won all the prizes because he has given speeches about peace, but also he's give economic speeches. He wrote a book - that's literature. He has biological elements within his body. He could win that prize. He could have swept the whole prizes," Brooks said tongue-in-cheek before delivering the knock-out blow. "Now - it's sort of a joke."
CNBC's Joe Kernen on Friday took New York Times columnist David Brooks to task for statements made in his recent column.
As my colleague P.J. Gladnick previously reported, Brooks accused conservative talk radio hosts Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity of hurting the Republican Party:
The Republican Party is unpopular because it’s more interested in pleasing Rush’s ghosts than actual people. The party is leaderless right now because nobody has the guts to step outside the rigid parameters enforced by the radio jocks and create a new party identity. The party is losing because it has adopted a radio entertainer’s niche-building strategy, while abandoning the politician’s coalition-building strategy.
Hours after Brooks's piece was published, Kernen went off on the Times columnist (video embedded below the fold, h/t TVNewser):
If you want to become a house "conservative" for the New York Times, the prime rule is that you must treat Rush Limbaugh as well as other talk radio conservatives with utter disdain. In fact it is pretty much a job requirement at the Times as the other house "conservative" there, the conspicuously inconspicuous Ross (Whothat?) Douthat, knows full well when he slammed Limbaugh at the Atlantic magazine a few months before enduring obscurity at the Gray Whale.
The main house "conservative" at the Times, David Brooks, took time from from his "bromantic" stares at Barack Obama's finely creased pant leg, to slam Limbaugh today:
Let us take a trip back into history. Not ancient history. Recent history. It is the winter of 2007. The presidential primaries are approaching. The talk jocks like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and the rest are over the moon about Fred Thompson. They’re weak at the knees at the thought of Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, they are hurling torrents of abuse at the unreliable deviationists: John McCain and Mike Huckabee.
Something truly shocking happened on Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show": three out of four of his guests said the current anti-government sentiment sweeping the nation is not because Barack Obama is black, and that the news media are actually responsible for exacerbating the suggestion that protesters are racist.
There was even some consensus that the same kind of dissent would be happening if Hillary Clinton was president.
On the flipside, and not at all surprising, Matthews not only didn't agree, but seemed rather disappointed by this viewpoint being expressed (video available here, partial transcript below the fold):
In the first few moments after Barack Obama's speech to Congress on Wednesday night, PBS anchor Jim Lehrer turned to his allegedly liberal vs. conservative duo of pundits, Mark Shields and David Brooks. Shields said the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Brooks said....the speech was terrific, the best speech of his presidency. Without a Bob Dole flourish about deficits, a viewer would scarcely know there was any difference in opinion.
Shields hailed how Obama had put down the "the slanders and libels" about ObamaCare, and the first words out of the mouth of Brooks? "I agree with Mark." He may not have agreed with the "libels" line, but he never objected to it. He found Obama's exploitation of Ted Kennedy "moving" and then said the center was Obama's "natural milieu." It's too bad conservatives don't seem to have a spokesman on the tax-funded network:
LEHRER: Now we have some reaction to what the president said from Mark Shields and David Brooks. Mark? First, your overview.
This is a love story that has inspired a paean. In fact, to call it mere "love" does not do justice to it. It is a special political love so intense that The New Republic has called it a "bromance" in a story titled, "The Courtship: The story behind the Obama-Brooks bromance" by Gabriel Sherman. Watch how the hot sparks instantly fly at their first meeting:
In the spring of 2005, New York Times columnist David Brooks arrived at then-Senator Barack Obama’s office for a chat. Brooks, a conservative writer who joined the Times in 2003 from The Weekly Standard, had never met Obama before. But, as they chewed over the finer points of Edmund Burke, it didn’t take long for the two men to click. “I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging,” Brooks recently told me, “but usually when I talk to senators, while they may know a policy area better than me, they generally don’t know political philosophy better than me. I got the sense he knew both better than me.”
That first encounter is still vivid in Brooks’s mind. “I remember distinctly an image of--we were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant,” Brooks says, “and I’m thinking, a) he’s going to be president and b) he’ll be a very good president.” In the fall of 2006, two days after Obama’s The Audacity of Hope hit bookstores, Brooks published a glowing Times column. The headline was “Run, Barack, Run.”
Almost every week at the New York Times, house "conservative" David Brooks and liberal columnist Gail Collins have a public conversation. This week Brooks made a startling admission in The Conversation which really wasn't so surprising when one actually reads his columns. Here is the money quote:
At the moment, I feel politically closer to Barack Obama than to House Minority Leader John Boehner (and that’s even while being greatly exercised about the current health care bills).
In today's "That's WAY Too Much Information" segment, New York Times columnist David Brooks claims that while he was dining with a Republican senator, the guy had his hand on Brooks's inner thigh the whole time.
Now, isn't that special?
Requiring no further setup, the following REALLY strange discussion occurred on MSNBC Friday (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
New York Times Book editor Barry Gewen selected Simon Schama's big-think book, "The American Future -- A History" for review in his "Books of the Times" piece on Tuesday, and took condescending aim at Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin in the process.
Columnist David Brooks had some fun with the British-born Schama in his May 24 review, consigning Schama's book to a long line of self-consciously "Brilliant Books" whose authors as a group Brooks satirized:
Along the way, his writing will outstrip his reportage. And as his inability to come up with anything new to say about this country builds, his prose will grow more complex, emotive, gothic, desperate, overheated and nebulous until finally, about two-thirds of the way through, there will be a prose-poem of pure meaninglessness as his brilliance finally breaks loose from the tethers of observation and oozes across the page in a great, gopping goo of pure pretension.
Gewen saw Schama as celebrating a new kind of patriotism "in the age of Barack Obama," far superior to the "belligerent...chauvinism" of Dick Cheney or the "ostentatious flag lapel pin" of Sarah Palin.
Imagine if you had read a column written by a victim of Bernard Madoff's ponzi scheme mocking people who had also fallen prey to the same financier. That was the feeling your humble correspondent had while reading the column of the New York Times "house conservative" David Brooks making fun of how the Obama Administration arm twists corporations to go along with his economic plans. So let us now watch how Obama's prime journalistic victim has himself a good ol' time laughing at how the administration uses "enhanced negotiating techniques" on corporate victims:
Let us give the Barack Obama administration credit. They have run a "professional, smoothly running operation" in setting David Brooks' mind right. Back in early March, Brooks demonstrated a bit of independence from the liberal party line in his role as "house conservative" for the New York Times with this outburst:
Those of us who consider ourselves moderates — moderate-conservative, in my case — are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. His words are responsible; his character is inspiring. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget “contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal’s dream of a new New Deal.”
As a result, the Obama administration dispatched four handlers to work on Brooks to get him back into line. It worked beautifully as you can see in his next column:
CBS Face the Nation anchor Bob Schieffer held his fifth Schieffer symposium at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth on Wednesday, and his panel was completely chosen from the set of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: anchor Gwen Ifill and columnists David Brooks and Mark Shields. Associated Press covered it, but not so much on the issue of liberal bias. The headline was "Media panel says constant Obama coverage warranted."
Are the news media biased toward President Barack Obama?
David Brooks, a conservative columnist for The New York Times, said yes before a sold-out crowd of about 700 Wednesday at Texas Christian University. Mark Shields, a nationally syndicated liberal columnist, said no.
Brooks said : "I think the press is pro-Obama. Most of my colleagues are extremely committed to the craft of journalism. So I think most of the bias is unconscious — in framing the issues and what gets paid attention to."
There’s a huge hole in all of the public discussion about the reimposition of a "Fairness Doctrine" or a return to "localism" on the talk-radio format: What about National Public Radio? Liberals would like to "crush Rush" and his conservative compatriots by demanding each station balance its lineup ideologically. But since when has NPR ever felt any pressure to be balanced, even when a majority of taxpayers being forced to subsidize it are center-right?
Why no Fairness Doctrine attention to NPR? It is because those preaching "fairness" on the radio are hypocrites.
Conservatives argue that the media’s liberal bias drives people to talk radio for an opposing viewpoint. Limbaugh jokes: "I am the balance." But new numbers from NPR suggest its ratings may be nearly as imposing as Limbaugh’s: The cumulative audience for its daily news programs – "Morning Edition" and its evening counterpart, "All Things Considered" – has risen to 20.9 million per week.
It has been only ten days since the New York Times house conservative, David Brooks, suddenly discovered that "Barack Obama is not who we thought he was." As a result, the White House sent out a special team of four high level officials to get Brooks' "mind right." They sure did a terrific job because Brooks, after declaring himself ready to lead a "moderate" army to oppose Obama, performed a sudden U-Turn. The earlier urge to challenge the Obama administration was replaced by strange new respect, especially since David was given his very own talisman chart by his overseers which predicts events long after the President is gone from office:
The White House has produced a chart showing nondefense discretionary spending as a share of G.D.P. That’s spending for education, welfare and all the stuff that Democrats love. Since 1985, this spending has hovered around 3.7 percent of G.D.P. This year, it’s about 4.6 percent. The White House claims that it is going to reduce this spending to 3.1 percent by 2019, lower than at any time in any recent Republican administration. I was invited to hang this chart on my wall and judge them by how well they meet these targets. (I have.)
So either the four overseers of the White House were masters of manipulation or they had extremely pliable material to work with in the form of the "moderate" mind of David Brooks. I suspect the latter. And now we see the final stage in the "re-education" of David Brooks. Outright declarations of love for The One. If you think this is an exaggeration on the part of your humble correspondent, I invite you to read this Brooks love ballad in the form of a column in which David gushes over his new beloved:
"General" David Brooks, the very compliant house conservative of the New York Times, after just three days of bravely volunteering to lead a mighty "moderate" army against the "ideological outrages" of the Barack Obama administration, has now called a hasty retreat with a column that borders on outright apology for daring to oppose the very liberal budget. First let us take trip down memory lane to three days in the past to take a look the battle plan presented by General Brooks following his astounding revelation that most of the non-house conservatives discovered long, long ago:
Perhaps it is time to award the New York Times house conservative, David Brooks, a kewpie doll for having at long last a very brief moment of mental clarity. Brooks, who has been making a habit lately of bashing conservative Republicans such as Sarah Palin, emerged ever so slightly from his comfortable conventional wisdom cocoon, and discovered that (gasp) "Barack Obama is not who we thought he was." If Brooks had been listening to Rush Limbaugh, whom he continues to detest, on a regular basis he would have made this "astounding discovery" long ago. Brooks begins his op-ed "discovery" by announcing his proud moderateness to the world:
You wouldn’t know it some days, but there are moderates in this country — moderate conservatives, moderate liberals, just plain moderates. We sympathize with a lot of the things that President Obama is trying to do. We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.
On Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN’s Rick Sanchez referenced New York Times columnist David Brooks and The Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan as “conservatives” during a short segment about Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s response to President Obama’s address before a joint session of Congress. Both men are known for their less-than-conservative stance on social issues, particularly on the issue of homosexual “marriage;” their sharp criticism of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin during her bid for the vice presidency last year; and their sympathy for Obama.
The anchor cited the two writers a quarter of an hour into the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program as examples of how Governor Jindal “hasn’t exactly been getting accolades from members of his own party” for his handling of the official Republican response to President Obama’s speech. Sanchez referred to Brooks as the “heralded conservative columnist for The New York Times,” and read a quote where he criticized the governor’s attack on big government: “It’s just a disaster for the Republican party. In a moment when only the federal government is actually big enough to do stuff, to say government is the problem -- it’s just a form of nihilism.” He then read an apparently sarcastic quote from “noted conservative” Sullivan: “This guy [Jindal] is supposed to be the smart one.”
The George Soros-fundedClinton front-groupThink Progress expressed disappointment Sunday that conservative journalists who attended a dinner party with Barack Obama a few weeks ago haven't abandoned their political principles and become bleeding-heart liberals.
I kid you not.
Readers are forewarned to remove all food and fluids from their computer's proximity, for this is some truly hilarious stuff:
"This is Larry Kudlow - one of the folks invited to a conservative fest with the president-elect last night," Dobbs said. "I'd like to just share, everybody - what a Larry Kudlow-conservative person does after meeting with the president-elect."
Dobbs cited a few lines from Kudlow's appearance on CNBC's Jan. 14 "The Call" - "He is charming, he is terribly smart, bright, well informed. He has a great sense of humor." Then Dobbs skipped moments in Kudlow's exchange with "The Call" co-host Melissa Francis and added - "He's so well informed and he loves to deal with both sides of an issue."
In today's "You've Got To Be Kidding Me" moment, PBS's Jim Lehrer actually defended the corrupt actions of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich Friday asking his guests, "What's the big deal here?"
I kid you not.
During his discussion with regulars Mark Shields and David Brooks on Friday's "News Hour" the subject of Blago arose, and Lehrer took what has to be considered an absurd position on this issue (video available here with relevant section at 6:00, partial transcript follows, h/t Mike Francesa via NB reader John F.):
The impending nomination of Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State has caused a complete mental breakdown among the usually punctilious ethicists in the media. Suddenly, there is no conflict of interest worth investigating, especially Bill Clinton’s multiplicitous foreign connections through the Clinton Global Initiative. Listen to the bow-to-our-king tone coming from NPR "news analyst" Daniel Schorr on Weekend Edition Saturday:
SCOTT SIMON, host: Does Bill Clinton become a complicating factor? Because he not only has financial interests all over the world one way or another, but in some ways, he's been conducting his own foreign policy campaign.
SCHORR: Well, somewhat. Well, he could be a problem but apparently he has satisfied Mr. Obama that he will not be a problem. He has surfaced everything that he got in the way of money from Arab and other countries for his library and for himself. He apparently has given promise that in the future, he will not do anything in his own travels around the world that will interfere with his wife as secretary of state. And if the president-elect is satisfied, I suppose we must all be.
I'm guessing that Paul Krugman and David Brooks don't hang out that much together. So when both turn up on the New York Times op-ed page this morning with columns calling for massive government spending, I'm assuming they came to their conclusions independently. My working hypothesis: if Krugman and Brooks agree on something this important, they must be wrong.
Here's Krugman's prescription, which comes in response to news that consumer spending has dropped sharply [emphasis added throughout]:
[W]hat the economy needs now is something to take the place of retrenching consumers. That means a major fiscal stimulus. And this time the stimulus should take the form of actual government spending rather than rebate checks that consumers probably wouldn’t spend.
Let’s hope, then, that Congress gets to work on a package to rescue the economy as soon as the election is behind us.
Financial Times reporter Edward Luce has found another sign of trouble for the McCain campaign: he's turning up the noses of the "cocktail party circuit" inside Washington, D.C., which is "swelling with disaffected Republicans."
The more trouble John McCain's campaign encounters, the more it highlights the cultural divide between the "real America" the Republican candidate says he represents and the Washington "cocktail party circuit" that largely disdains it.
That circuit is swelling with disaffected Republicans. Some complain about Mr McCain's selection of Sarah Palin, whose appeal to "Joe Six-Pack" may have been dented by revelations this week that she has spent more than $150,000 (€117,000, £93,000) of other people's money on her wardrobe. Others are upset at the negative tone of the campaign.
David Brooks, the "House Conservative" of the New York Times, should seriously consider putting his self-description as "conservative" in quotes at all times in order to comply with truth in packaging. I mean how conservative can you be when liberal sources are quoting you favorably, especially when you sound like, without quite saying so, you are endorsing Barack Obama? The liberal New Republic cites Brooks favorably for his almost endorsement of The One:
Has David Brooks Endorsed Obama?
Not in so many words, but please continue:
Well, not exactly. After all, he has one paragraph in his column in Friday's Times in which he speculates that Obama might be reticent, stand-offish, ineffectual.
To put more evidence on the bone of contention that PBS was really slanted after the debate last night, I have fuller transcripts of what transpired. On the Jim Lehrer post-debate show, as the candidates were still on stage waving goodbye, anchorman Jim Lehrer asked David Brooks "Did McCain do what he had to do?"
As the candidates and their spouses waved from the Hofstra stage, Brooks was digging McCain’s campaign a grave: "I guess I think not. I thought he landed some blows but underlying theme of this whole campaign, Obama mentions it’s been 20 months, has been Obama’s temperament. The man is calm. The man is unflappable. It’s like the redwood forest. You can lob some cannonballs into it and McCain lobbed some balls into it, and I thought he scored some points, but it doesn't seem to affect the forest. And for a country that is looking for reassurance, something change but something presidential, Obama delivered that again. I think he elides tough issues, but he doesn't change. And I think that's the fundamental source of comfort for people who are looking for a candidate."
Lehrer turned to Mark Shields: "Do you see the same thing, Mark?"
During Wednesday’s Newsroom program, CNN anchor Rick Sanchez tried to portray that there were many so-called conservatives who were "defecting," in his words, from John McCain over his selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. His list of conservatives, which he read prior to an interview of National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru, included homosexual activist Andrew Sullivan, New York Times columnist David Brooks, and satirist Christopher Buckley, who recently left National Review over his endorsement of Barack Obama. Sanchez later backtracked from this labeling after Ponnuru pointed out that "a lot of those people who are critical of Palin are not defecting from McCain:" "I'll take it back. Let's take out the word ‘defection,’ and just say Republicans who have been critical of John McCain. Is that more fair?"
The Huffington Post reported that New York Times columnist David Brooks, the man PBS’s "NewsHour" unit selected to represent in some way "conservative" opinion in America, has condemned Gov. Sarah Palin as "a fatal cancer to the Republican Party."
Brooks claimed some conservatives not only scorn liberal ideas, but "scorn ideas entirely," including Palin and President Bush. He also lauded Barack Obama’s intellect, recounting a conversation he had with Obama about the intellectual Reinhold Niebuhr: "I was dazzled, I felt the tingle up my knee as Chris Matthews would say."
Many conservative and Republican taxpayers might ask: why are our tax dollars going to Washington to fund PBS, while they select "conservatives" to represent us who hate the politicians we support, and blithely sit around with liberals at pricey restaurants like Le Cirque and complain that those hicks from Texas and Alaska aren’t reading enough Niebuhr? Are we going to go to the polls to elect a commander in chief, or a senior fellow in Niebuhr studies?
A week-and-half before he'll moderate the third and final presidential debate, CBS's Bob Schieffer opened Sunday's Face the Nation by calling a foul on one team as he took sides and denounced Sarah Palin's daring to say, that “our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country,” as a sign of “a campaign that's turned down and dirty,” as well as “nasty,” thanks to John McCain's “new attack dog” who “took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate.” In the Washington press corps, a comparison to Agnew is no compliment.
Later in the program, he fretted to New York Times columnist David Brooks: “Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said.” Brooks, whom Schieffer labeled as a “conservative columnist,” assured Schieffer it would be an ineffective tactic since “Republicans have been using this attack -- too dangerous, too liberal” for “too long” and “you can't win that way anymore.”
Sunday night, ABC reporter David Wright described Palin's reference to Bill Ayers as “incendiary” as he asserted on World News: “Today, in San Francisco, Sarah Palin defended her incendiary comments that Barack Obama has been 'palling around' with terrorists.” Earlier in the day, ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos had scolded guest Tim Pawlenty about Palin's charge: “When Governor Palin says of Obama 'this is not a man who sees America as you do,' it sure does sound like she is questioning Senator Obama's patriotism.”