Every time the question about President Barack Obama's faith is brought up, the wizards of smart in the mainstream media get up in arms about "right-wingers" or "tea partiers" perpetuating those allegations. But is it possible that by devoting so much attention to these issues of Obama's faith and his citizenship, the media are creating the very feeding frenzy they're appalled by?
On CNN's Aug. 19 "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer led his program off with at what first glance is a startling chyron: "W.H.: Pres. Obama Isn't Muslim". That graphic was in response to a recent Pew Research Center poll that found 18 percent of respondents thought Obama was Muslim.
Later in the program, Blitzer went to his panel - CNN political analyst James Carville and Washington Times columnist and Heritage Foundation fellow Tony Blankley. Initially Carville said he didn't have a clear explanation.
Video with partial transcript and commentary below fold
Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday spun a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, emphasizing problems for the Republican Party over dour news for Barack Obama. The co-host ignored a finding that likely voters want the GOP to take control of Congress by a margin of 56 to 41.
He did, however, repeat the lower number of registered voters who prefer the Republicans, 51 percent. Stephanopoulos quizzed former McCain strategist Nicolle Wallace and Democrat James Carville on problems for the GOP: "[Voters] don't necessarily want Republicans...On the economy, voters, 42 to 34 still trust Democrats over Republicans on the economy."
On Monday's Good Morning America on ABC, co-host George Stephanopoulos discussed President Obama's response to the Gulf oil spill with Democratic strategist James Carville: "Probably no one has been tougher than you on this White House on this response. The President now going back for his forth trip. He's ratcheted up the rhetoric over the weekend. Is this what you've been waiting for?"
Stephanopoulos was referring to Carville's criticism of Obama on the May 26 broadcast: "And it just looks like he's not involved in this!...We're about to die down here!" During his Monday appearance, the on-screen headline read: "Carville Demands Justice; Gulf 'Abused and Neglected'"
However, on Monday, Carville struck a more complimentary tone toward the President, remarking that Tuesday's prime time Oval Office address on the spill could allow Obama "to hit the reset button." Near the end of the segment, Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic strategist himself, asked Carville: "...put on your strategist hat here, has the President contained the political damage?" Carville reiterated: "I think he can hit this reset button tomorrow night. I think he can not contain the political damage, I think he can eliminate the damage. I actually think done properly, there's political value in this, I think that he can help himself a great deal."
Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria on Sunday worked overtime trying to defend Barack Obama's pathetic response to the Gulf Coast oil spill while chastising his colleagues in the media for having the nerve to criticize the president.
In the opening segment of his "Fareed Zakaria GPS" aired on CNN, Zakaria asked, "Have we all gone crazy?"
He continued, "In dealing with the serious problem involving technical breakdown, engineering malfunctions, environmental fallout, regulatory mishaps, the media has decided to hone in on one central issue above all others: presidential emotion."
With a chyron at the bottom of the screen asking, "What does the media want the President to do," Zakaria told viewers, "The truth is that what's happening in the Gulf is a terrible tragedy, but there is very little the federal government can do in the short-term to actually stop the spill" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Democrat strategist James Carville Thursday had strong words for Fareed Zakaria who in an interview recently published at CNN.com defended President Obama's handling of the Gulf Coast oil spill.
"When I read that I wanted to hit him with a football bat," Carville told CNN's John King on the program bearing his name.
For those not getting the joke, Carville was mocking Zakaria's reference to "offensive linebacker" during the interview; only the defense has such a position in football.
Carville continued, "This guy, there's some kind of a breakdown here, because this is a very smart man, and I don't think that he understands exactly what is going on down here."
The outspoken Democrat later quipped, "[I]f that thing was in Long Island Sound, I guarantee you Fareed Zakaria and all his friends would be going nuts out there" (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t HotAirPundit):
Both Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd were taken aback by Barack Obama delivering a "personal connection moment" in today's press conference when he told reporters that his daughter Malia asked him: "Did you plug the hole yet, daddy?" Of the anecdote Matthews, on Thursday's Hardball, exclaimed "Talk about a sound bite guys!" and declared he delivered "personally there, in a way he rarely does." Matthews went on to say it was remarkable that he'd reveal that private story in front of the press because he "hates" them.For his part, NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd claimed the sharing of his "gut moment" may "calm down" some of the President's critics. [audio available here]
The following exchange was aired on the May 27 Hardball:
ABC political strategist, and prominent Democrat, James Carville appeared on Wednesday's Good Morning America to condemn Barack Obama's response to the oil spill.
A very emotional Carville surprised host George Stephanopoulos, a friend and former colleague in the Clinton White House, by shouting, "And it just looks like he's not involved in this! Man, you have got to get down here and take control of this!" [Audio available here.]
Carville, a resident of Louisiana, attacked, "Put somebody in charge of this and get this thing moving! We're about to die down here!"
Former Democratic aide turned journalist George Stephanopoulos interviewed current Democratic operative James Carville on Monday's Good Morning America. The two good friends agreed that Democrats simply have to pass a health care bill. Stephanopoulos wondered, "Do the Democrats really have a choice here?"
He later spun, "...The Democrats in the White House who are pushing for this strategy, pushing for passage, say that once this does pass, the country will get it. Democrats will be unified. They'll get a huge benefit." [Audio available here.]
Stephanopoulos minimized the negative effects for the party in passing a government-run health care bill by one or two votes and with no Republican support. Former top advisor to George W. Bush Matthew Dowd also appeared and offered this odd suggestion: "Well, if you're a Republican, I think they should try as hard as they can and jam it through and pass the bill. I think as a Republican, that's what you want to see happen because of how unpopular this measure is."
During CNN’s post-State of Union coverage on Wednesday night, three liberal commentators- Paul Begala, James Carville, and Roland Martin- put up an energetic defense of President Obama’s rebuke of the Supreme Court during the address. Begala and Carville took issue with Republican panelist Alex Castellanos’s reproof of the President, while Martin rebuked Justice Samuel Alito’s reaction.
Anchor Wolf Blitzer played a clip of the relevant portion of the President’s speech, where Mr. Obama condemned the Court for its recent decision on campaign finance regulations, and highlighted how Justice Alito shook his head and mouthed “not true” in response. Blitzer then turned to the panel for its take on the moment. His fellow anchor Campbell Brown, who was moderating the panel, first questioned Castellanos on Alito’s reaction: “Was that appropriate, Alex Castellanos, to have that kind of reaction from Alito when he said that?”
Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos on Monday did not go easy on his friend and former colleague James Carville. Discussing the Massachusetts Senate election, he quoted Carville’s words from his 2009 book 40 More Years: "Republicans have no hope of making serious inroads into democratic advantages in 2010 or likely 2012 or 2014 and so on. It's time to call T.O.D., time of death, on the GOP."
Stephanopoulos then challenged, "Care to revise that opinion?" On May 5, 2009, the day before 40 More Years was released, GMA brought Carville on and gave him generous amounts of time to promote his book. So, ABC should be commended for calling the author out on his wildly inaccurate prediction.
The ABC journalist noted the cloudy forecast for Democrats in the 2010 midterms and pressed, "Is the Democratic majority at risk in the House?" Carville bluntly replied, "You have to think unless something is done to change direction, I think everything is at risk." A surprised Stephanopoulos marveled, "Wow!"
Former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos chatted with current Democratic operative, and good friend, James Carville on Thursday’s Good Morning America. This was Carville’s third appearance on the show in nine days. As noted on NewsBusters yesterday, new host Stephanopoulos has conducted all but one of the policy and political interviews since joining the program on December 14.
Wouldn’t Thursday have been the perfect day for ABC to award the segment, which also included Republican strategist Nicolle Wallace, to the other co-host, Robin Roberts? Carville and Stephanopoulos have a long friendship and it certainly sounds like a conflict of interest. On Monday, Carville was featured to welcome Stephanopoulos to the show. He enthused, "I once said, 'If you converted [Stephanopoulos’] IQ to Fahrenheit, you could boil water.'"
On Tuesday's edition of Good Morning America, Elizabeth Vargas was joined by former Bush pollster Matt Dowd and Democrat strategist James Carville. Astonishing though it may seem, Carville was not the left-most member of the panel.
Carville and Dowd were there to provide commentary on the Obama administration's response to the attempted Undi-Bomber attack. Dowd agreed with Carville's assessment of DHS Secretary JanetNapolitano's response - and then, after a bit more discussion, the conversation turned to the political ramifications:
VARGAS: We already have one Republican congressman from Michigan, who is running for Governor of that state, who is saying, trying to make hay out of this. Issued a statement, a fund-raising statement yesterday saying, "it is insulting the Obama administration would claim the system worked. These are the same weak-kneed liberals," he writes, "that tried to bring Guantanamo Bay terrorists to Michigan." Any surprise that members of the opposite party are looking to make hay on this?
Ben Stein made an indirect reference to the ClimateGate e-mail scandal during a face-off with Democratic strategist James Carville on Wednesday’s Situation Room: “The truth is, we’ve now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community who are on the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those requesting their data.”
Stein and Carville appeared on the program’s regular “Strategy Session” segment 46 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, less than an hour before CNN aired a slanted report on the e-mail scandal. Substitute anchor Suzanne Malveaux first raised President Obama’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Change Conference with the Democrat: “Obviously, this is a political issue. This is up to Congress. What can the President do on this issue?”
Carville went on the offensive out of the gate: “Well, unfortunately, I hope I’m wrong, but not very much, and I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby are right that global warming is not a problem and 940 peer-reviewed scientific articles are wrong. That’s about all we can hope for because, right now, I have to tell you, that the pollution lobby and talk radio is winning this battle, and the will in the United States to do something about this is not what where I think it should be. But that’s the reality of the political situation as I see it right now.”
Stein rebuked his opponent for his labeling, and made his first reference to ClimateGate:
How do you know that the White House's anti-Fox News campaign has gone seriously wrong? When CNN, let alone Anderson Cooper, begins to compare the Obama and Nixon administrations (video embedded below the fold, h/t Mediaite's Colby Hall).
On last night's "360," Cooper stated that "this White House is starting to look like another White House and the comparison is not flattering." He showed a clip of Sen. Lamar Alexander, documented yesterday by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, offering a "friendly suggestion" to President Obama.
I have an uneasy feeling only 10 months into the new administration that we're beginning to see the symptoms of this same kind of animus developing in the Obama administration. And as those of use who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you in a lot of trouble... Don't create an enemies list.
What happens when you have James Carville prodding Larry King to ask a "tough" question of outspoken Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann? You get a glimpse of what is really driving the movement questioning the legitimacy of President Barack Obama's birthplace.
On CNN's Oct. 7 "Larry King Live," a persistent Carville would not let it go - that Bachmann was a part of the so-called "birther" movement - a tactic to frame her as "nutty."
"Well, first of all, there are seven Republicans in the House that have ‘birther' legislation before in there," Carville said. "And one of the things that people don't like is that politicians get a simple yes or no question and they try to evade it, just like I heard the Congresswoman do. She's known to be very outspoken."
Appearing on CBS’s Sunday Morning, commentator Ben Stein ripped into CNN political analyst James Carville for claiming anti-Obama protestors were "classless": "the elitist anger of the liberal Democrats is boiling over as some ordinary citizens show they don’t like being pushed around....Contempt for the ordinary citizen is just not American and it does not win elections."
Earlier in his commentary, Stein wondered: "I thought the Democrats were the party of the little guys and those who aren’t classy or well born...So now the Democrats are admitting they’re the party of the rich?" He went on to point out that Democrats have "been getting the lion’s share of very large political gifts for years now. The truth is that the Democrats are the fat cats. I’m impressed that Mr. Carville admitted it. I like him more than ever now."
Stein continued: "I was also interested to see that Mr. Carville, a mere lad of 64, same age as I am, has made fun of the age of the tea party attendees." A clip was played of Carville declaring: " I mean they had every old crank in the country out there." Stein observed: "So now the Democrats don’t think the opinions of senior citizens are worth anything more than ridicule?"
Ann Coulter and James Carville went head-to-head on Good Morning America this morning. Incredibly, James Carville survived.
At least, it sounds incredible until you read the transcript. A total of nine questions were asked of the two pundits, seven of which went to Coulter. Carville, on the other hand, was simply allowed to respond to Coulter without questioning - an unfiltered rebuttal, with free airtime provided by ABC.
This, however, was not the most egregious point of controversy. Carville was allowed, with no challenge from the host, to provide ad-hominem attacks against conservatives – as well as irrelevant, non-sequitur praise for Judge Sonia Sotomayor. The transcript speaks for itself:
James Carville appeared to plug his new book predicting 40 years of Democratic dominance on the Charlie Rose show on PBS Monday night. Since Carville supported Hillary Clinton in the last round of Democratic primaries, he ended up sounding noticeably less enthusiastic than Rose about President Obama’s power to change things. Rose calmly declared that Obama has given the country "Confidence, a sense of esteem, a sense of feeling young again...a sense of feeling that the democratic values the country believed in are intact." He also suggested "this is a centrist government" and Carville agreed.
But first, Carville knocked any "ism" words coming from right-wing talk show hosts:
CHARLIE ROSE: In terms of policy and your sense of the country, is he on the right track?
ABC's "Good Morning America," which has yet to interview talk show host Mark Levin about his New York Times best selling book on conservatism, featured James Carville on Monday to promote "40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation." Co-host Diane Sawyer recited passages from the Democratic operative's tome, "Let me read what you write here. 'Republicans shouldn't be worried. They should be in agony. They should be throwing up.'"
Sawyer continued to read from Carville's book: "Republicans had better get a better policy on prescription drugs and quickly they're going to need a lot more Prozac." An onscreen graphic highlighted past one-party rule and speculated, "Democrats 1932-1968, Republicans 1968-2008, Democrats 2008-2048?"
Sawyer, to her credit, did challenge the thesis of the book, that Democrats will be in power for decades. She skeptically noted, "But, you know, there's people looking at this who say there's a big hole in this argument. And the big hole is the deficit that is building up, the debt that is building up." The GMA co-host added, "In fact, in ten years, per person in America, $2,700 will be spent just to pay the interest on the debt. Not to pay down the debt, but just to pay the interest." Later, she wondered if Democrats are becoming overly confident.
Two months ago, Time magazine trashed Bernard Goldberg’s book on liberal pro-Obama bias (A Slobbering Love Affair) as a book to "toss" instead of read in their mini-book review featured called The Skimmer. In the latest Time, Andrea Sachs praised the newest James Carville book, titled 40 More Years: How the Democrats Will Rule the Next Generation. It drew a "Skim" command instead of a "Read," but the copy was very promotional:
No one does partisanship better than the Ragin' Cajun. In his latest book, the Louisiana-bred campaign strategist, who recently returned to teach political science at Tulane, takes a victory lap celebrating the Democrats' 2008 electoral trifecta. "The myth of Republican competence and fiscal responsibility is shattered," a victim of the strategic and economic missteps of the Bush years, Carville gleefully notes. If Democrats play their cards right, he argues, they can dominate politics for the next four decades. The key? "To rebuild Americans' trust in government as a force of good." His excitability is infectious, if only to those on the same side of the aisle. ("Let's go out and spank the Republicans again and again," he exhorts readers.)
Spreading the WordMedia Research Center Founder and President and NewsBusters.org Publisher Brent Bozell issued the following statement on the meteoric rise in the ratings Rush Limbaugh has enjoyed since the inception of the Obama White House and the Democrats' all-out coordinated attack against him.
As announced yesterday, audience numbers surged for Rush-carrying stations across the country, including in several of the nation's largest markets like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. Since the orchestrated campaign continued into March, ratings could reach even greater heights for this month.
In January, Politico's John F. Harris exposed a liberal cabal involving telephone calls between White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and CNN's Paul Begala and James Carville.
Since then, Americans on both sides of the aisle have wondered just how far-reaching the political influence of these four is on the mainstream media.
More importantly, just how much is the Obama administration, via its press contacts that worked in the White House before, involved in controlling the message being disseminated?
Consider the following sequence of events involving Stephanopoulos that began with a March 13 press release by the Democratic National Committee:
After the attacks were known to all, James Carville told assembled Washington reporters at a hotel conference room breakfast where he and Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg spoke (photo is from the May 20, 2004 Christian Science Monitor) to "Disregard everything we just said! This changes everything!"
The assembled press apparently understood that as something each and every one of them should take to the grave.
I met up with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos at the National Capital chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals’ Annual Professional Night this evening and asked if he had strategy session conference calls with aides in the White House as reported by Politico’s John F. Harris.
Politico's Michael Calderone recently reported that Kerry Smith, ABC News Sr.VP for editorial quality, wrote that Stephanopoulos "speaks to Mr. Emanuel, a friend he has known for nearly two decades, as a source, just as he speaks to countless sources across the political spectrum each and every day. That is his job as an anchor and reporter and one that he does according to the highest standards."
Have you wondered why there have been so many hit pieces lately about Rush Limbaugh?
Well, new revelations suggest that Democrats began a smear campaign against the conservative talk radio host last October, and now it's really caught steam.
Apparently, the Left feared its message would be muted without having George W. Bush to blame for all the world's problems, and Limbaugh made a nice substitute as the object of their disaffection to distract the public from real issues.
Given White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's connections to key media figures such as ABC's George Stephanopoulos as well as CNN's Paul Begala and James Carville, disseminating the hate was a piece of cake.
Back on January 29, we discussed the daily strategy phone call engineered by Obama's Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for friendly TV commentators and "reporters." Politico reported that Emanuel has a daily phone conference call with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, and CNN's James Carville and Paul Begala. With Rush Limbaugh's raucous CPAC address, as he termed it his "first address to the nation," we can see at least one example of what is likely an attack strategy resulting from the Emanuel phone session with a rush to bash Rush the day after the appearance. [Image credit: politico.com]
As soon as the sun rose on the day after Limbaugh's CPAC appearance, three of the four of the phone call participants attacked Limbaugh with the same talking points. It seems obvious that they coordinated their attack together in the Obama secret strategy session. It is amazing that a president's staff can have such power over major media figures without a peep being heard from those that only months ago bashed former presidents over a perceived undue, even "dangerous," control of the media.
Politico reports that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel holds daily chit chat sessions with several Old Media pals every morning to start his day. Apparently Emanuel has for years been involved with daily bull sessions to plan media coverage and ideological strategy with CNN's James Carville and Paul Begala, as well as ABC's George Stephanopoulos, with the occasional participation of pollster Stan Greenberg. But there is one little problem with this daily palling around with mediots these days: Emanuel now works for the White House. [Image credit: politico.com]
As Politico's John Harris notes, "in any given news cycle, it is quite likely that Washington’s prevailing political and media interpretation -- at least on the Democratic side -- is being hatched on these calls." In light of this early morning scheming, one has to wonder where the supposed autonomy of the media is if they are being programed by the Obama White House in off the record, secret and daily conversations? Where is their objectivity if these media mavens are all assisting Emanuel mold and shape the news to further a specific ideological goal?
In last night's post-debate analysis on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, James Carville proclaimed that Barack Obama will be the slam dunk winner of the election in November. However, he followed up by hinting at riots if Obama were to lose. Here is the transcript of the discussion. First David Gergen keeps bringing up the race factor as an excuse for a possible Obama loss (emphasis mine):
On Tuesday's "Good Morning America," co-host Diane Sawyer fondly reminisced with Democratic strategist James Carville about "War Room," the 15-year-old political documentary on the 1992 presidential campaign. Opening the segment with Carville, one of the film's stars, she fawned, "It's become like revisiting a big moment in the Super Bowl. Going back to 1992, when Bill Clinton and a team of strategists in a war room unseated a sitting president."
Later, after playing a clip of Carville as he congratulated the Clinton team for their hard work, Sawyer cooed, "When you look back, can you believe it still? Can you believe it yet?" Oddly, one person who also starred in the film, and is featured on the DVD cover, wasn't cited in the segment. George Stephanopoulos, the former top aide to Bill Clinton-tuned ABC journalist, somehow escaped mention.
Jonathan Alter has had enough of James Carville not being a team player and boosting Sen. Barack Obama and he has a working theory that centers around a cynical, quasi-conspiratorial view of the Carville-Matalin marriage.