Leave it to a Washington Post book reviewer to find a way to blame George W. Bush for the Irish Potato Famine. Okay, Peter Behrens didn't do exactly that, but he used the occasion of reviewing two books about the mass starvation of millions of Irish in the 1840s as an opportunity to bash the Bush administration over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina. Oh, I almost forgot, the bogeyman of the "free market" also finds itself in Behren's sights.
In his January 13 Washington Post item, Behrens reviewed two new books on the subject, The Famine Plot: England’s Role in Ireland’s Greatest Tragedy and The Graves are Walking: The Great Famine and the Saga of the Irish People, by Tim Pat Coogan and John Kelly respectively. Behrens favorably accepted Coogan's conclusion that “it was British reluctance to interfere with the supposed workings of the free-market economy that allowed famine to continue in Ireland at a time when the country was producing and exporting tons of food to England.”
We hardly needed more proof of the cesspool that is original programming on the pay cable networks. But just in case: “Game of Thrones” producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have willingly admitted to using a gruesome image of former president George W. Bush’s head impaled on a stake during the HBO drama’s season one finale, “Fire and Blood.”
Bush’s decapitated likeness appeared as one in a row of traitors’ heads on spikes (implication much?) in King’s Landing. When King Joffrey forced his child bride-to-be Sansa to gaze upon her father’s bloody, severed head the camera panned out and revealed a beheaded Bush covered in dirt and draped in long, matted hair.
“Viewers of TV Land will not be able to watch insult comic Don Rickles compare President Barack Obama to a janitor at the recent American Film Institute tribute to Shirley MacLaine,” The Hollywood Reporter revealed. “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks...President Obama is a personal friend of mine,” said Rickles. “He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”
"He is not being censored," a Rickles agent told the paper. "Before all of this started, we knew Don's spot would be cut a bit for time, as would others, including possibly Shirley herself since the show ran over and we knew it was likely that might be edited.”
It's no secret that most campaigns are heavily funded by big checks from lobbyists, PACs, and rich donors, but President Obama's campaign team is turning away from that assertion, instead showcasing the claim that it is 98-percent-funded by grassroots support. Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, said "we did this from the bottom up," pushing the idea that the $86 million fundraising figure released on Wednesday was fueled almost entirely by grassroots organizers.
While 98 percent of the checks may have come from grassroots donors, it doesn't mean that 98 percent of the money did. Many media outlets are taking the bait and are ignoring the two percent of donors whose contributions may turn out to be a far greater portion of Obama's campaign funds than Messina is making them out to be.
For comparison, eight years ago when then-President George W. Bush was ramping up for his re-election campaign, the media magnified a small fraction of extremely wealthy donors to be the image of his campaign.
Hailed for his engagement with the online world and being cutting edge for hosting a Twitter town hall, President Barack Obama made quite the gaffe at his town hall yesterday, calling the internet, "internets," the same mistake for which former President George W. Bush was widely mocked following a 2004 presidential debate.
The flub, which Obama quickly corrected, came while he was discussing the importance of bringing the internet to classrooms, but the president has received little media flack for his slip-up.
Having friends in Washington is one of the quickest and dirtiest paths to success, but when President Barack Obama is the one helping you out by discriminately favoring your company's products over others, very few in the media seem to care.
Flashback to the early 2000s during former President George Bush's first term. The mainstream media pounced on former Vice President Dick Cheney's association with Halliburton, an oil company for which Cheney once served as CEO. The Bush administration supposedly favored Halliburton by rewarding the company with a number of multi-million dollar oil contracts in the Middle East, purportedly only using a bidding process to make the game look fairer.
Today it's a different fuel and a different president, but Obama has an almost identical story: favoring the clean-technology companies of his financial supporters through rewards of federal money. This time around, though, the media is giving his shady dealings a free pass.
A news article written by a reporter at AFP and reproduced at such news sites as Google, Yahoo, NPR, the Dallas Morning News, and others, might qualify as an example of what happens when one allows opinion to seep into reporting. Despite a mission statement involving claims that AFP coverage is balanced, accurate, and includes the other side of the story, this piece makes no secret of where the reporter’s bias lies.
The article features such gems as:
A strong yet hyperbolic opening statement – “President Barack Obama, once a fresh faced prophet of hope…”
Comedy – “Obama will … brandish a record as a genuine reformer…”
Labeling of the President’s opposition – “…a Republican Party dragged right of the crucial political center ground by the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement” – with no labeling of his own liberal policies or base.
Most interesting was the inclusion of this possible 2012 campaign slogan: “Though many of America's problems predated his presidency…”
Here is a short list of American problems since Obama took office:
A man is arrested and detained for months without any charges being brought against him. He is being held in deplorable conditions, forced to endure extreme physical and mental distress. He is exposed to the same ‘torture’ tactics that other enemies of the United States have allegedly suffered through.
So why isn’t the Commander-in-Chief taking heat for this travesty of justice?
Because this isn’t the Bush administration.
Firedoglake blogger, David House, has been detailing a recent visit with Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, at a military prison at the Quantico Marine base in Virginia (h/t Weasel Zippers). Of course, House bemoaned the ‘inhumane’ treatment of Manning, describing the toll that months of solitary confinement have taken on his physical and mental well-being.
AFP ran with the story and made it clear that they had no intention of offering a balanced report. In fact, viewing the headline, one would never know that the story came from an extremely liberal website, reading more as fact than a slanted accusation.
For all of the bluster and glory, for all of the pomp and circumstance and yes, for all of the anticipated hope and the promised change, the whirlwind of hype and expectation surrounding the President a mere two years earlier has virtually dissolved, and Barack Obama has set a course that will leave his legacy as no more than a footnote in American Presidential history.
It appears we have the answer to that age-old question: John Kerry, why the long face?
After a tour of the Boston Medical Center, Kerry blamed Democrat struggles across the nation on the obvious problem - the voters.
The Boston Herald reports that Kerry took his pent-up election anger out on clueless voters (emphasis mine):
"We have an electorate that doesn't always pay that much attention to what's going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth or what's happening."
Kerry made the remarks following questions about the re-election campaign of Barney Frank. Doubling down on the fact-challenged voter assertion, he stated:
"I think a lot of the anger today ... is not directed at the right people. Barney is prepared, as others are, to explain what we're doing. I think when people hear the facts and they see what we're doing, it frankly makes sense."
Be sure to explain it. Very. Slowly.
Looking down on people isn't exactly a new platform for Kerry...
On the heels of a new College Board report that the United States is struggling to compete with other countries when it comes to college completion rates, Vanity Fair's resident straight talker, Henry Rollins, has figured out the problem. The education system isn't struggling because of possible factors contained within the report, such as:
Inadequate funding of preschool programs
Poor college counseling programs for middle and high school aged children
High school dropout rates
A lack of international standardization for curriculum
Skyrocketing costs of education
No, Henry has stumbled onto the real, super secret reason why students are failing to finish their college work: Sarah Palin and George Bush.
To be accurate, it's not so much the direct fault of Palin and Bush - rather, it is those of you who support them, their stupid comments, and their intellectually uninterested ways. Their fans see them as real people and because of that, they feel comfort in an unchallenging environment.
Rollins explains why ‘America doesn't seem to value a college education the way it used to':
Jonathan Alter of Newsweek once again blamed Bush and the Republicans for creating the mess that Obama is now cleaning up, preventing the President from accomplishing his agendas.
Alter, appearing Wednesday on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown,” called the BP oil spill crisis “the perfect metaphor” for Obama’s presidency so far. “It’s been cleaning up a lot of the messes left to him by his predecessors,” he stated.
Alter added that Obama is trying to stop an economic depression “that, you know, began to happen on George Bush’s watch.”
“It is a distraction from Obama’s own agenda,” Alter added about the oil spill, “and in that sense, it irritates him.”
Joe Scarborough continued his open defense of the Obama administration’s response to the BP oil spill, on Wednesday’s “Morning Joe.” Facing off against Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Scarborough called comparisons of the president’s handling of the current crisis with Bush’s handling of Katrina “obscene.”
“Behind the scenes, President Obama from day one was actually very engaged,” Scarborough argued. “[Obama] told his White House staff ‘This is job one,’ ordered all of the agencies to throw the full force of the federal government behind this. I mean...we’ve got the minutes of the meeting from April 22 where he said that.”
Rep. King countered that the administration lacked style in its handling of the crisis, and took eight days to declare it a “matter of national significance.”
Though Scarborough said that President Obama has done everything of “substance” to respond to the spill, King also asked Scarborough what more President Bush could have done to handle the Katrina crisis.
“What could George Bush have done?” Scarborough asked. “A hell of a lot.”
“This is one of the most obscene comparisons, between Katrina and BP,” Scarborough spat out. “I was on the ground from day one. I can tell you the federal government was not there. The state government was not there. The local government was not there.”
“No, you’re wrong, You’re wrong. That is not FEMA’s job,” Rep. King shot back. “That is the job of the mayor and the governor for the first two or three days.”
Huffington Post writer and author of poetry and fiction, Anis Shivani, demonstrated what we have seen in bits and pieces throughout the liberal MSM, though it is rarely seen in such dramatic and sweeping fashion. Shivani harnessed all of the rational thought he could muster, gathered a bevy of intelligent rhetoric, armed himself with a cache of well-reasoned arguments and... quickly dispensed with them prior to writing his recent column.
The gist of the piece? Every major catastrophe to hit America can be traced to one singular event - George Bush and the 2000 Presidential election results.
Shivani starts off by listing examples of American catastrophes - 9/11, Enron, Katrina, Wall Street, the BP spill.
He then explains (emphasis mine throughout):
"It all began with the Florida election theft in 2000 (all of the now-familiar excuses were first used in full force, in total conjugation, for this first disaster). It gave a signal to everyone managing and regulating and overseeing any kind of operation, public or private, that henceforth it was the day of the jackals, that accountability and honesty and certitude were out the door."
For good measure - and in tune with his liberal colleagues - the BP oil spill is singled out as being directly Bush's fault:
Believe it or not, there are some who still fail to grasp the notion that the legacy media are overwhelmingly liberal. They act shocked when the media do what they usually do -- toe the liberal line -- and search in vain for some way to explain the apparent bias.
"Does the Media Care About Unemployment?" asked Kevin Drum, a writer for the liberal Mother Jones. Drum postulated that that "the media focused way more on economic hard luck stories in the early 80s than they do now."
While a liberal noting the double standard is refreshing, Drum went on to attribute it to a litany of possible reasons, all the while ignoring the obvious, and painfully simple answer right before his eyes: as B. Daniel Blatt writes, "Because a Republican’s Not in the White House."
President Obama has extensive ties to Goldman Sachs. Yet even given record-breaking financial contributions and sketchy relationships between Goldman executives and Obama officials at the highest level, the mainstream media will not afford Obama the same scrutiny it gave to George W. Bush during the collapse of Enron.
Obama's inflation-adjusted $1,007,370.85 in contributions from Goldman employees is almost seven times as much as the $151,722.42 (also inflation-adjusted) that Bush received from Enron. Goldman was one of the chief beneficiaries of the TARP bailout package -- supported by then-Senator Obama -- and has been a force for -- not against -- Democratic financial "reform" proposals currently under Senate consideration.
Despite the extensive connections between President Obama and Goldman Sachs, the same media that vaguely alleged unseemly connections between the Bush administration and Enron after its 2001 collapse have barely noticed the Obama administration's prominent ties to Goldman (h/t J.P. Freire).
People Magazine practically slipped over their drool-laden piece yesterday involving First Lady Michelle Obama's decision to recycle ornaments for the White House Christmas tree. The opening statement of this piece is so very complimentary of this novel decision, you'd think it was a decision that qualifies Mrs. Obama as a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize next year. (Cause that's a little ridiculous, no?)
"It used to be that Christmas at the White House dazzled visitors with the glitter of thousands of fairy lights. But not this year. Not in this economy and not with this practical-minded first lady."
Apparently, first ladies of years past had celebrated Christmas in the White House with a total disregard for the economy and the environment.
Not so, however...
Shortly after the opening paragraph's praising of the current White House Christmas tree, the People article takes a swipe at the Clintons and Bushes for not being more like the Obamas:
A liberal Washington Post columnist laments today of the loss of civility in the public discourse. Strange that he is suddenly outraged that Americans would dare call Obama a socialist or a fascist, given that Bush-Hitler comparisons were widespread during the previous administration.
Liberals in the media spent the summer and early fall bemoaning signs at town hall protests and tea party rallies calling Obama a socialist or communist comparing him to Hitler (incidentally, many of these signs were actually created by supporters of uber-leftist Lyndon LaRouche, as reported by Seton Motley here and here). These pundits had no such admonitions for signs at anti-war rallies during the Bush administration comparing him to Hitler and the Devil, and calling the president a fascist.
So the Post's E.J. Dionne's complaints about the loss of civility in the debate over federal politics fit right in with the narrative liberal pundits have been pushing since last year: comparing an American president to a murderous dictator is unacceptable...if that president is a Democrat.
President Obama and other liberals have frequently criticized the previous administration for a lack of transparency. But now it seems the Obama White House is practicing the same things liberals criticized President Bush and Vice President Cheney for.
So on the July 22 edition of “Fox and Friends,” anchor Brian Kilmeade brought to viewer’s attention the Obama administration’s hypocrisy on their usage of the “Presidential Communication Privilege.”
Kilmeade recalled the “outrage” that erupted during the two terms of President Bush when energy executives met in secret with Vice President Dick Cheney and the public questioned their influence on the President’s energy plan. The administration claimed “Presidential Communication Privilege,” and never released the names. Subsequently, “Bush was vilified because of that.”
Hypocritically, President Obama has done the exact same thing with his health care plan. Fourteen different executives involved with the drug, medical, and hospital industries, have gone to the White House to advise the President on the health care reform bill.
Washington Post Food section contributor Bonnie Benwick cooked up just a hint of bias in an otherwise politically unseasoned obituary for Milton Parker, a founding co-owner of the landmark Carnegie Deli in Manhattan.
Noting that Parker sometimes "named sandwiches after the rich and famous," Benwick quoted Parker from 1992 taking a swipe at the elder President Bush after making a sandwich bearing his name and consisting of "tuna, chopped egg and mayonaisse on white bread -- Mr. Parker said: 'No meat. Just like the economy.'"
That aside came four paragraphs into Benwick's 15-paragraph obituary. Of course, Benwick could have added flavor without political comment, particularly since Parker was famous for his dining establishment, not his politics. A look at the deli menu available on the Carnegie Deli Web site shows the featured celebrity-themed sandwich as being "The Woody Allen," consisting of "Lotsa Corned Beef plus Lotsa Pastrami" and setting the diner back $17.95.
Unlike Governor Palin, President Bush did not need to be interviewed in front of a turkey slaughter for the media to attack him over turkeys. As part of an annual tradition at the White House, President Bush pardoned two fortunate turkeys, Pecan and Pumpkin, on Wednesday.
align="right"Catching up with an item from a few days ago: Barry Sonnenfeld, a movie director (Men in Black) and now the Emmy-winning executive producer and director of ABC's dramady Pushing Daisies, predicted on Wednesday's Late Show that amongst the things he's “worried” President Bush will do before leaving office is “go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth.” That was too much for David Letterman, hardly a Bush fan (in June he asked if Bush has “any humanity?”), who responded: “It's just a little bleaker than I would have hoped for -- the idea that he would actually detonate the planet in a moment of despair.”
Sonnenfeld, who speculated about Bush hiding bin Laden, also wondered why Americans wouldn't vote for the “really smart” Barack Obama over John McCain who “finished second to last in his graduating class in college” and Sarah Palin, who “went to five different colleges,” and so “I'm thinking maybe she's got other talents than intelligence.”
With some mix of seriousness and humor you can judge yourself by watching the video clip (though how funny is it to joke about the President as some kind of religious zealot out to murder millions?), Sonnenfeld told Letterman he's “worried since it's October that George Bush will do one of three things: Either find bin Laden, who've they've had somewhere for eight months waiting to bring out” or “let's start a war with Iran. That's always a possibility.” Then:
And here's the third thing -- and I don't know much about the Bible and I'm not a big rapture guy -- but I believe George Bush is and what better way, if your polls are so bad, than to go out by pushing the button and destroying all life on Earth?
CNN’s Web site this morning tracked a developing story involving the stock market opening, by featuring a photo of an Iran anti-war protest.
The photo, provided by our friends at the AP, was simply too perfect to pass up apparently. After all, any photo which includes a man brandishing a banner which reads ‘Jail Bush,’ is something that a biased news organization simply has to take. Pertinence be damned. Seriously, nothing says the economy quite like a placard reading ‘No attack on Iran.’
CNN probably could have found a photo that actually applied to the topic of a sliding stock market. Was a stock photo of a line graph with a red arrow pointing down not available at the most trusted name in news? No picture of someone ringing the opening bell?
The story itself was titled ‘Wall Street Drops at Open,’ and to its credit, did not include the photo within the article. Oddly enough however, there was no mention of 'Iran' in the article that the above photo linked to either. Nor was there any mention of the word 'war.' Or 'protest.'
What does it say about Reuters' environmental coverage when the news organization can't even get a basic “factbox” correct?
This March 31 Reuters “factbox” was supposed to explain “What is the Kyoto Protocol?” Instead, the media conglomerate pushed a biased eco-agenda and omitted anything that cast a negative light on the treaty or revealed problems. There was no mention of Kyoto participants failing to meet their targets or Japan trying to renegotiate because Kyoto is harming its economy. Reuters failed to report that greenhouse gas emissions are rising in the European Union and in many Kyoto-participating countries, such as Canada. Some, like Austria and Great Britain, are actually doing worse than the US in emissions growth. By skewing the data included in this factbox, Reuters massaged data to fit an agenda and crossed into advocacy journalism.
Reuters began by framing the US as the bad guy (all bold mine):
Earlier this week, NewsBusters' Tim Graham noted the downbeat mood in many of the nominated movies at Sunday's Oscars, as originally written up by a Washington Post staff writer. NB's Matt Sheffield addressed the Feature Documentary award winner, "Taxi to the Dark Side," and the dearth of libertarian or conservative representation in the list of that category's nominees.
Taxi to the Dark Side? Never heard of it. Did not even know it existed. They wonder why no one watches the Oscars.
Voodoodaddy is far from alone, and his comment begs a bigger question: Why, as I believe is the case, would a company make a film knowing full well that almost no one will see it?
That's certainly not a question anyone in Old Media is asking. Two of the five nominees in the Feature Documentary category ("War/Dance" - $57,640; Operation Homecoming" - either $4,516 or $6,795) did barely noticeable business in 2007.
Grunge and hippie-folk rocker Neil Young, who opposes President Bush's war in Iraq and released an album last year "Living with War" with a song called "Let's Impeach the President," nonetheless came to Bush's defense recently, saying he's a "leader" with perseverance. As Reuters reported (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080213/ap_en_mu/film_neil_young), in a conversation at the Sundance Film Festival, former band mate David Crosby said there should be a law that persons who can't pronounce the word "nuclear" shouldn't have control over nuclear weapons. Neil Young promptly disagreed. As reported: "A lot of people have problems pronouncing words and spelling things correctly. It doesn't mean that they're not intelligent," Young tells Crosby. "You've got to give the guy credit. Do I agree with him? No. Do I think he's stupid? No. Do I think he's a leader? Yes. He led. He took this country where he wanted to take it. And he steadfastly stuck with it all the way."
Exactly 20 years ago tonight, January 25, 1988, millions of Americans saw one newsman’s liberal agenda laid bare, as CBS anchor Dan Rather attempted to ambush then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, in a live TV interview on his CBS Evening News. But Bush held his own during the on-air confrontation, and the lasting effect was to reveal how Rather was driven by his personal biases, at one point lecturing the Vice President: “You’ve made us hypocrites in the face of the world.”
Instead of pounding President Bush with the usual media focus on failures in Iraq, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, in his Tuesday interview at Camp David with President and Mrs. Bush, actually pointed out how many doubted the surge strategy and wondered if he wanted to “crow?” Gibson inquired in an excerpt aired on World News: “You took a lot of doubting and rather skeptical questions about the surge. I'll give you a chance to crow. Do you want to say I told you so?” Bush demurred from the opportunity. Indeed, a January MRC report documented the media hostility toward Bush's plan: “TV's Pre-Emptive War Against Iraq 'Surge'; Before Iraq Plan Unveiled, Reporters Said It Was Unpopular, Wouldn't Work & War Was 'Lost Cause.'”(See text below)
Prompted by Bush's satisfaction that Iraqis are “beginning to see enough security so that reconciliation is taking place, as well as the economy's beginning to move,” Gibson pressed the President on problems with “reconciliation.” Leading to a correction from Bush, Gibson had earlier referred to “a lot of bellicose rhetoric that has been aimed at Iran” and cited how “you yourself at a news conference recently raised the specter of World War III.” Bush clarified: “I said if you want to avoid World War III.”
A very interesting article appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal titled, "The Insanity of Bush Hatred." Author Peter Berkowitz stated that even many normally rational members of the left are completely overcome by their absolute hatred of Bush to such an extent that it borders on insanity:
...But Bush hatred is different. It's not that this time members of the intellectual class have been swept away by passion and become votaries of anger and loathing. Alas, intellectuals have always been prone to employ their learning and fine words to whip up resentment and demonize the competition. Bush hatred, however, is distinguished by the pride intellectuals have taken in their hatred, openly endorsing it as a virtue and enthusiastically proclaiming that their hatred is not only a rational response to the president and his administration but a mark of good moral hygiene.