Continuing her network's anti-Limbaugh drumbeat today, MSNBC's Tamron Hall interviewed a little-known feminist activist by the name of Shaunna Thomas of the equally unfamiliar group UltraViolet, which is campaigning to deprive Rush Limbaugh of all of his sponsors. UltraViolet, apparently, is famous for pushing the specious and ultimately discredited claims about a supposed anti-abortion clinic bias by the iPhone 4S's speech recognition software.
To her credit, Hall noted that liberals like Bill Maher have said equally if not more offensive things than Limbaugh and not been called out on it, citing a tweet by none other than former White House aide Austan Goolsbee. "What do you make of this back and forth of, well he did it, but so did he?"
Is the luster finally wearing off the love affair between the White House press corps and President Barack Obama? It is, if CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid's analysis of President Barack Obama's latest Wall Street proposals is anything to go by.
"Well, you know, it's really the same as it's all been," Reid said. "That there's some unease about both of them, but the President has been satisfied with the jobs they've done. Behind the scenes, they both still have a lot of control. They lost this battle to Volcker, but now they're on board on this new plan for Wall Street, although it really sounds more like politics than a real plan because it's hard to believe it would get through."
Three weeks ago, Time magazine published a gooey profile of "brash and brilliant" Larry Summers, the chief economic guru to President Obama. Newsweek followed suit in this week’s edition, calling Summer "lucid" and "dazzling," a man who stands out on "a team of Harvard and Yale types whose SAT scores have not been equaled since the Kennedy administration."
Michael Hirsh and Evan Thomas probably didn’t undertake an investigative survey of the SAT scores of the cabinet officers of Reagan or Bush or Nixon or even Bill Clinton. They’re guessing, but are trying hard to spin readers into thinking a wave of intellect has swept over Washington. But are Summers and Company "lucid" because they’re liberal, or are they liberal because they’re "lucid"? Here’s the passage where the praise flows like syrup:
When Time magazine likes a liberal, they really, really like them.
Time’s profile of Obama’s "economic wise man" Larry Summers boils over with superlatives. The February 9 edition’s Table of Contents is brief, but gooey: "The brilliant, slightly bumbling man who may save our butt." His photo carried the caption: "Big brain: Summers is planning nothing short of a complete overhaul of the U.S. economy." The headline was "It’s Now or Never For Larry Summers: Obama’s brash and brilliant economic adviser has attained vast power and a chop on nearly every issue. Can the former Treasury boss sort out the financial mess before it gets worse?" The online headline was blunter: "Can Larry Summers Save the Economy?"
Turn the page, and former Time editor Strobe Talbott pays tribute in a bold-faced pull quote: "To have an argument with Larry Summers is a little like being run over by a tank with a Lotus engine." Liberals are touted for their brilliance. Smart conservatives are painted as Uncle Scrooge on Time’s cover (recall Newt Gingrich at the end of 1994).
The actual story on the National Economic Council chair, by Time’s Michael Scherer and Massimo Calabresi, includes one paragraph about his verbal gaffes (including a sentence about his dismissal from the top job at Harvard for suggesting women have displayed less scientific acumen), but it’s described as the fault of his "raw brainpower." The profile began with the adjective "wunderkind":
Joe Conason's column should be as chilling to conservatives as it is meant to be comforting to liberals. His message: don't be distracted by the centrist-seeming appointments Pres.-elect Obama has made to his economic team. He remains as committed as ever to his radical agenda.
Conason's commentary appears this morning at Rasmussen Reports. Key lines [emphasis added]:
[W]hen liberals point to Summers and other members of the Obama team, crying betrayal, they misunderstand the strategy behind those appointments. The most important thing to remember about the president-elect as he prepares to govern is that he takes the long view -- and that he knows how to make a reasonable case for radical change. He has not taken one step back from the commitments he articulated during his campaign.
The major broadcast networks have so far lavished praise on President-elect Barack Obama for his Cabinet choices, in contrast to the airing of complaints from liberals over President Bush’s choice of John Ashcroft as Attorney General eight years ago. But an exception came on Sunday as the CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell informed viewers that "not everyone is happy about some of Mr. Obama’s picks." But rather than examining whether conservatives will be unhappy with the liberal views of Obama’s Cabinet members, CBS’s Randall Pinkston instead focused on liberals who believe the President-elect is not delivering on his campaign promise of "change," even playing a clip of political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson claiming that Obama had chosen a number of "Clintonesque, moderate, centrist Democrats."