In an article for NBCNews.com's First Readon Monday, Domenico Montanaro eagerly proclaimed to readers: "Mitt Romney has criticized President Obama for his 'you didn't build that' line, when it came to businesses....But in 2002, during his speech at the Opening Ceremonies at the Winter Olympics....Romney made a similar argument about Olympians."
Romney simply told the Olympic athletes – many in their teens and twenties – that they achieved their individual success with help of parents, coaches, and their local communities. However, by Monday night, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, filling in for MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, wildly misconstrued the comment to slam Romney: "Got that, Olympians? You didn't build it....It's like David Axelrod went back in time and put the precise words he needed into Mitt Romney's mouth."
I will give this to Ezra Klein: unlike other liberals in the media -- Michael Tomasky and James Fallows come to mind -- the Washington Post economic and domestic policy columnist is decidedly less histrionic about the Court likely striking down as unconstitutional the ObamaCare "individual mandate" on Thursday. But all the same, Klein is seeking to dismiss the intellectual and legal credibility of the Court's ruling should a majority rule on Thursday that the individual mandate violates the Constitution's limits on federal power.
In a June 26 column, Klein sought to explain how "a radical and discredited reading of the commerce clause" came to be popular with American voters and palatable to a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court, all thanks to conservatives erecting a "permission structure" that overrode previous conservative backing for the idea of a health-care mandate.
Whenever a liberal labels an organization "non partisan," consider yourself duly alerted that it is nothing of the kind.
Here is what said liberal is actually saying if he or she could stomach the candor -- This is an organization that shares my views. I call it "non partisan" in a feeble attempt to provide legitimacy it would otherwise not possess. (video after page break)
Chris Hayes, guest hosting on "The Rachel Maddow Show" Thursday, opened a segment with the words, "From the Department of Shameless Schadenfraude." Department of Feeble Attempts at Moral Equivalence would be more accurate. (video after page break)
The media and liberals tend to portray Americans as selfish Scrooges, only interested in their own gain - why else would taxes be unpopular? But America has shown its generosity time and again, and this Christmas season, new proof of it has emerged. A report from the Charities Aid Foundation America, the World Giving Index 2011, finds that the United States is the most generous country in the world.
The World Giving Index 2011 measures generosity on three levels: giving money as a percentage of income, giving time, and helping strangers. Only the United States ranked in the top 10 nations of the world in each category. Charities Aid Foundation director Richard Harrison praised American charitable giving: "This research confirms that when we look at giving in a rounded way, including the extent to which we volunteer and help strangers, America is the most generous country in the world. America is the only country that ranks in the top ten globally on each of these three perspectives, and this first place ranking should be seen as source of real pride for people across America."
It's always interesting to see how the several thousand readers who voted in the MRC's "public ballot" differed from the 48 media experts who selected our Best Notable Quotables of 2011 (a panel which included talk radio hosts Mark Levin and Neal Boortz, Human Events editor-in-chief Tom Winter and Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby). This year, there were six categories where our readers and the judges disagreed -- although sometimes the margins were extremely close.
Let's start with the biggest disagreement, in the "Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award." By a healthy margin (68 to 53), our judges chose an April 17 quote from CBS's Bob Schieffer, as he was questioning Rep. Paul Ryan on Face the Nation: "Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they’re already rich....Why cut their taxes some more?"
Leftist media critics resent that newspapers have a "Business" section or that PBS used to show "Wall Street Week," as if reporting on business automatically means you're pro-business. The Washington Post on Sunday seemed to be working overtime to publish an Anti-Business section, with two columns endorsing the "Occupy Wall Street" protests, an enormous article by liberal Post wunderkind Ezra Klein on how the Obama "stimulus" was too tiny, and a whole page devoted to the Bloomberg expose of the Koch brothers' shenanigans in Iran.
Steven Pearlstein wrote a column on how "Obama can learn from Wall St. protest." Michelle Singletary's column was titled "Rage, rage against Wall St." and compared the protesters to Rosa Parks fighting racism on the bus.
If there is a standard liberal line on Ronald Reagan today, it is this bizarre notion that Reagan is so far left of the current Republican contenders that they'd rip him to pieces if he were alive.
Today's case in point: Washington Post columnist/blogger Ezra Klein insists Reagan "would have been destroyed" on the stage last night, since he had such a deep pragmatic streak as president. Yes, that's the same president the media often portrayed during his two terms as an ultra-conservative nut. (Not so much Ezra Klein, who was born in 1984.)
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts implied Tuesday that members of Congress who oppose efforts to inject more government spending into the economy, as President Barack Obama proposed recently, are committing an "act of treason."
"Why don't people look at that as an act of treason?" the daytime anchor asked the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, who shrugged off the accusation.
"I don't think what happens is Mitch McConnell and John Boehner retire to their volcano lair and plot how to doom the American economy," replied the liberal blogger.
CNBC's Rick Santelli had to explain the economy to MSNBC contributor Ezra Klein on today's Morning Joe (h/t Hot Air). Klein argued that another recession would "move money around in ways that are unfair."
An exasperated Santelli concisely described what was wrong with Klein's characterization of what recession does to an economy:
Wednesday’s CBS Evening News celebrated the one-year anniversary of ObamaCare by touting its benefits before Katie Couric, who devoted half her newscast to Elizabeth Taylor’s passing, fretted: “What about the legal battles? Could they actually derail health care reform altogether?”
Neither ABC nor NBC touched ObamaCare on Wednesday night but, in contrast to CBS, on FNC’s Special Report Carl Cameron noted “the latest Gallup poll suggests it’s less popular than a year ago” and raised how Obama allies are trying to escape it, citing “requests for over a thousand waivers, half of which went to labor unions letting them and some other organizations and businesses opt out of the plan until at least 2014.”
Couric began by asking Jan Crawford “what changes has the law made in the health care system so far?” Crawford recited:
The Washington Post's Ezra Klein decried an upcoming congressional hearing on the threat of homegrown Islamic terrorism Monday, saying that Christians engage in violence as well but are not investigated by Congress. Klein lambasted the investigation, led by the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), as an attention-grabbing ploy to demonize the American Muslim community.
"We've had school shootings from young Christians," Klein claimed on Monday's "Morning Joe." He added that there are "neo-Nazis who claim they're Christians. Is the Christian community in America so deeply vulnerable to neo-Nazis?"
Klein's point was not that Christians in America deserve an investigation by Congress, but rather that the Muslim community should not be singled out for acts of terrorism, and that they are not so vulnerable to be influenced by extremism from abroad. However, he failed to provide a single instance of violence that was itself motivated by a radical strand of Christianity.
In response to a question from Klein about "the animosity between unions and workplaces" (that is what Klein says he said), Stern made an interesting assertion that most readers probably took at face value:
We grew up in that culture. In the '30s, people didn't want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes . . . we had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. It's not viewed through that light anymore.
Lawrence O'Donnell on Monday made a prediction that most who hadn't heard of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker until a week ago might find astonishing.
On MSNBC's "The Last Word," the host told his perilously liberal guest Ezra Klein that if Walker's budget repair plan goes through, "He would instantaneously become the greatest hero in the Republican Party nationwide, I think would go to the top of Republicans' lists for possible presidential nominees in the upcoming election" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, Washington Post staff writer and Newsweek columnist Ezra Klein defended Obamacare and warned Republicans against attempting to repeal the law as he contended that some provisions are popular with the public. After host Keith Olbermann asked if Democrats should "relish rejoining the fight over health care reform" because it could hurt Republicans, Klein urged Democrats to fight. Klein:
They should be going to war over it. It's an incredibly important achievement for them, and if Democrats cannot defend a deficit-reducing bill that brings health care insurance to 32 million people and allows folks with pre-existing conditions to get any insurance they want, if they can't defend that, frankly, they, on some level, don't really deserve to be a party. If you can't defend the best thing you've done in a generation, then you've got some political problems that are bigger than anything the Republicans are doing to you.
The Washington Post writer eventually predicted that Republicans would be embracing and defending Obamacare by the year 2050. Klein: "In 2050 Republicans will be saying, ‘How dare you cut Obamacare?’"
The congressional Republicans' decision to read the Constitution aloud on the floor of Congress has forced some Constitution-contemptuous liberals further out of the closet, which is an instructive development to behold.
Blogger Ezra Klein of The Washington Post told MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell that the constitutional reading is "a gimmick," and "the issue of the Constitution is not that people don't read the text and think they're following; the issue with the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done."
For the second night in a row, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell exposed a prominent liberal for being totally ignorant about the tax code.
His victim on Wednesday's "The Last Word" was liberal media darling Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), and this time O'Donnell had some assistance from two very unlikely participants (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Lawrence O'Donnell on Tuesday surprisingly exposed how ignorant liberals are of the tax code.
In a sometimes heated discussion with prominent progressives about President Obama's new compromise tax plan, "The Last Word" host aggressively challenged the knowledge of two of his guests (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On this weekend's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton proposed a simple way to clear up much of the murk surrounding JournoList. Let the Washington Post respond to the 20 questions about the matter that MRC head Brent Bozell has posed to the Post's executive editor, Marcus Brauchli, in an open letter.
JournoList was created by lefty blogger Ezra Klein in 2007, who continued to run it after becoming a Post staffer in 2009.
Responding to Pinkerton's proposal, Newsday columnist Ellis Henican, a liberal member of the News Watch panel, swung and missed at Bozell . . .
The Daily Caller released a new JournoList scoop today, and this one's a doozy. It confirms that reporters on the liberal media listserv did in fact collaborate with political operatives and campaign officials to spin media coverage in favor of Barack Obama.
The latest piece further debunks JournoList founder Ezra Klein's claims - also taken on by this humble blogger - that the email list did not include campaign or government officials, and was not used to manufacture talking points.
In fact, two members of the Obama campaign, Jared Bernstein and Jason Furman, were JournoList members during the race. Jeff Hauser reportedly signed a number of JournoList emails "Campaign Manager, Shulman for Congress," while he worked on New Jersey Democratic congressional candidate Dennis Shulman's campaign.
And talking points were a much-discussed issue. "JournoList’s greatest challenge is to make sure an actual win by Obama translates into winning the battle for political impact," Houser stated on one occasion. It doesn't get more explicit than that.
Managing Editor's Note: What follows is an open letter from NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell to Washington Post executive editor Marcus Brauchli about the controversial [now defunct] e-mail listserv JournoList, founded and operated by the Post's Ezra Klein.
The JournoList scandal is getting worse every day and The Washington Post is at the center of it. Blogger Ezra Klein ran the operation and at least three other staffers were members. (Blogger Greg Sargent claims he wasn't a member after he joined the Post.) In addition, at least one member of Slate and two from Newsweek, also owned by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive, were members.
The almost constant revelations of political activism and journalistic conspiracy raise an enormous number of questions about Post policies, professionalism and ethics. As a conservative, and therefore a member of the movement JournoListers sought to demonize, I feel Post readers are owed full disclosure.
Any understanding of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics makes clear this list and the Post's involvement violate a number of ethical guidelines. In fact, much of the code seems to have been ignored. Here are just a few examples from the code.
Tucker Carlson's website The Daily Caller has unearthed a treasure trove of liberal journalists talking (nastily) to themselves in a private e-mail list about how they should use their media power to remake the world in their image.
The funniest thing about this expose of “JournoList” was witnessing journalists say it was unfair to leak these e-mails when reporters had an “expectation of privacy.” More than 90,000 pages of secret documents on Afghanistan have been leaked and journalists are tripping over each other in a mad stampede to cover the story. Everyone should laugh heartily at leak-devouring journalists getting a fistful of their own bitter pills.
The saddest thing about all this is the confirmation (as if it were necessary) that liberal journalists really aren't journalists first. They're political strategists. They pretend to be the Hollywood version of Woodward and Bernstein, the brave sleuths digging out government malfeasance and corruption. But in reality they're the Woodward and Bernstein who plotted how to get Richard Nixon impeached and ready the way for pacifist and socialist “Watergate babies” like Chris Dodd and Henry Waxman to take seats of power. Ethics are only relevant if they’re a weapon.
WaPo conservative columnist and soon-to-be right-wing CNN talk show host Kathleen Parker took time over the weekend to kiss up to WaPo liberal blogger Ezra Klein and anyone who believes the contents of the Journolist ought not go public.
As Parker acknowledges in her column, there were "mean quotes" on Rush Limbaugh, Fox News and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on the Journolist, she dismisses their importance. "Scandalous? Sure, if you want it to be," she writes.
She paints D.C. journalism as an atmosphere in which one day you're hunting, and one day, you're hunted. "Do we resign ourselves to the new reality -- that no one is ever to be trusted -- and keep our thoughts to ourselves?" she asks. "The answer implied by the events here described suggests a country in which few of us would want to live."
NewsBusters posts Friday afternoon provided readers with a list of 65 known participants in the now-infamous Journolist (via Melissa Clouthier) and the special case of Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's Economic Adviser (via Lachian Markey).
(Aside: Does the fact that Biden has his own econ adviser explain why what the Vice President says in public about the economy is so often of sync with the rest of the President's peeps?)
Here's another very special name that could (emphasis: could) be added to the (Journo)List: the soon-departing White House Budget Director Peter Orszag.
The more details emerge about the liberal media listserv JournoList, the more it resembles the cabal of leftist message-coordination many conservatives feared. Though perhaps not the "vast left-wing media conspiracy" Fred Barnes proclaims, evidence points to concerted efforts to coordinate talking points, and now, to direct links between the Obama White House and JournoList members.
Ironically, those are two elements of the listserv of which creator Ezra Klein explicity claimed JournoList was completely devoid. "Is it an ornate temple where liberals get together to work out "talking points?" Of course not," Klein stated last year. He added, "There are no government or campaign employees on the list."
Both of those assertions are provably false (whether or not they were at the time). The former has been contradicted by a number of instances of JournoList members doing just that: coordinating talking points. The second claim is upended by recent revelations that Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's chief economic adviser, and unpaid "surrogate" adviser to the Obama campaign, was a member of JournoList while advising then-candidate Obama on economic issues.
Andrew Breitbart has found a simple remedy to at least some of the problems that ail contemporary journalism: cold, hard cash. Yesterday he offered $100,000 to anyone who will supply him with the full archive of JournoList, the email listserve that brought down Dave Weigel.
"$100,000 is not a lot to spend on the Holy Grail of media bias when there is a country to save, " Breitbart wrote yesterday. Americans "deserve to know who was colluding against them," he added, "so that in the future they can better understand how the once-objective media has come to be so corrupted and despised."
And there's the rub: Breitbart is attempting to out liberal journalists as just that: liberal. His tactics and his objectives have been dubbed by some on the left as "digital McCarthyism," in the words of Michael Roston, "in which any of us could become the next Dave Weigel based not on the public output of our journalism, but based on our private sentiments."
The amateur liberal blogosphere is dead, according to a prominent lefty blogger. Chris Bowers made his proclamation Thursday, on the heels of the New York Times's acquisition of FiveThirtyEight, a prominent liberal polling site run by Nate Silver.
Silver, pictured right, was the latest in a string of moves from the liberal blogosphere to traditional media outlets. The Washington Post has, with much fanfare, beefed up its blogging staff of late, most recently by hiring Dave Weigel to cover the political right.
The trend of professionalization should not be surprising. Traditional media are overwhelming liberal, and new media comprise some of the sharpest journalistic minds the nation has to offer. Traditional media need ways to remain relevant. Why wouldn't they draw talent from the vast pool of bloggers?
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.
"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."
To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.