A week ago, National Journal's Michael Hirsh quoted an unnamed State Department official who claimed that "The war on terror is over. Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an opportunity for a legitimate Islamism." If it's so over, then why were government officials referenced in Kimberly Dozier's Associated Press report this evening about the state of Al Qaida a year after Osama Bin Laden's death "on condition of anonymity because they say publicly identifying themselves could make them a target of the terrorist group"?
Dozier is a noteworthy exception to the usually dreadful reporting at the wire service, and has a personal reason for having her eyes open. While she was with CBS News in May 2006, she was critically injured by an IED in Iraq. After nine months, she returned to work. According to Wikipedia she joined the AP in the spring of 2010.
Newsweek, recently sold for one dollar by the Washington Post Company but still in its hands, ranked the United States 11th, just behind Denmark, in this week’s “The Best Countries in the World” cover story which put Finland at #1, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. There’s hope for improvement, however, thanks to George W. Bush’s departure from the White House and Barack Obama’s arrival. Michael Hirsh explained the beyond the top ten rank:
America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public...he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush.
The August 23 & 30 two-week edition cover story package certainly reflected Obama’s policy agenda. A sidebar (apparently not online) on the nations with the best health care, which put Japan at the top, touted fourth-best Spain where “universal coverage is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses aside from some prescription drugs.” The U.S. wasn’t even one of the top ten countries listed (the full list online has the U.S. at #26 in health, tied with the Czech Republic and Chile and behind Slovenia.)
In a two-page spread on particular bests for a bunch of nations, Newsweek’s Karen Fragala Smith, who tagged the Czech Republic as the “Best Place for Sex” and Belgium as the “Best Place to Be a Dog Owner,” declared France the “Best Place to Have a Baby,” trumpeting “low-cost health care” and nanny state services:
Maman is sitting pretty, with as much as seven months’ paid leave, low-cost health care, and a baby nurse who makes house calls. If she’s sick, the government sends someone to do the family’s laundry.
Newsweek will go to some pretty silly lengths to paint Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama as no liberal hippies on foreign policy. Their cover story promoted Hillary as "Obama's Bad Cop" and a "steely messenger." The cover story by Michael Hirsh went further, comparing Hillary and Obama to the 1970s TV buddy cops "Starsky and Hutch."
Hirsh began at the Copenhagen global-warming summit, which most people saw as accomplishing little. But Hirsh was scripting for Hollywood: "It was almost like one of those moments in a buddy-cop movie when the two partners who dislike each other at the beginning finally bond while taking on the bad guys."
The bad guys were the Chinese, but not because they were communists, but because they weren't bending to the world on carbon reduction targets. Hillary and Obama barged in on premier Wen Jiabao: "The former political rivals suddenly morphed into a diplomatic version of Starsky and Hutch."
Newsweek's Liz White took to her magazine's The Gaggle blog today to decry how conservatives critical of the Democratic health care bill have slapped it with "the ominous-sounding term ‘Obamacare.'"
You see, most mainstream media sources only use the term when quoting opponents of the bill or when "carefully placed in quotations or alongside an explanation that Obamacare is how opposition refers to the bill."
This prompted me to investigate how Newsweek dealt with the term "Reaganomics" during the Gipper's early presidency compared to how Newsweek's print pages have used the term "ObamaCare" thus far. The results are telling.
A Nexis search yielded only one reference to ObamaCare from January 20, 2009 through March 25, 2010: a Michael Hirsh article that said that in 1994, "as now, the Republicans were trying to exploit a backlash against big government. It was Hillarycare in '94; now it's Obamacare."
By contrast, a Nexis search for "Reaganomics" from January 20, 1981 through March 25, 1982 yielded 65 hits, many of which had the term Reaganomics used by a Newsweek staffer himself and in a manner to cast the term in a negative light.
I've included some examples below, including some by journalists who are still working in the media today and actively cheering on ObamaCare:
On the November 14 Saturday Early Show on CBS, as substitute co-anchor Debbye Turner Bell hosted Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh for a discussion of Sarah Palin’s soon-to-be released book, Going Rogue: An American Life, Turner Bell suggested that there was "a little bit of revisionist history" in the book -- a book which, according to her, is "already stirring controversy." She also contended that one of Palin’s quotes praising her husband Todd’s good looks "doesn’t sound very presidential," and suggested that Palin showed "naivete" by complaining about vicious attacks made against her early on in the campaign by some liberals.
For his part, Hirsh agreed with Turner Bell’s suggestion about "revisionist history," and called it "somewhat disturbing" that Palin responded to some of the criticism against her, calling it a "streak of vindictiveness toward her political enemies."
Two days after the death of G.O.P. icon Jack Kemp, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh posted a classless obituary on Monday, "The Dangers of Amateurism," calling the football player, politician, and self-taught economist Kemp an "amateur econo-cultist."
One does not want to be disrespectful of the dead, and Jack Kemp was an admirable man in many ways. If the Republican Party had only followed his advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass -- and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics -- the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Kemp, a consummate professional as a football player, was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues....Kemp was such an economic purist -- i.e., amateur -- that he argued with Reagan himself a number of times when the president decided that perhaps he'd cut taxes enough.
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:
It's time to wave the white flag and surrender to "post-partisan" unity.
Yes, it's time for conservatives to abandon core principles and just allow the Pelosi/Reid/Obama pork-a-palooza, also known as the stimulus or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009, to pass into law. At least that's what one Newsweek columnist would have conservatives do.
Now is not the time for political bickering in this "post-partisan" era, said Newsweek columnist Michael Hirsh in a Web exclusive piece for Newsweek dated Feb. 4. Hirsh reflected on how Obama has lost grip on the "agenda in Washington," and complained how the debate on the stimulus has proceeded, "nitpicking over efficiency" instead of debating the size.
How much do reporters hate George Bush? Newsweek correspondent Michael Hirsh appeared on the left-wing Young Turks radio show and cheered on the Iraqi journalist who chucked his shoes at Bush. "They have reason to be upset with the author of this, and a shoe aimed at Bush’s head is not such a terrible expression of some of that frustration." He suggested the Bush era was a time of "mass hallucination" and Obama’s rise put an end to the madness. Hirsh wished Bush good riddance: "This guy’s about gone, and we can stop pretending that there was any kind of, you know, rational strategic motivation behind this act of war that he committed." Hirsh said Bush and his team have "blood on their hands," but will never admit they were wrong. "Bush is not going to end up in The Hague obviously, there’s not going to be any charges against him, and so, you know, a shoe shied at him by an Iraqi journalist might be the one small measure of justice that was achieved."
I wasn't aware that Michael Hirsh of Newsweek magazine was a writer of such biting satire but after reading his latest titled, "Why Isn't Al Gore Running?," I found myself marveling at his wit... or sad for his intellectual incuriosity should he be serious for an Al Gore candidacy for president in 2008. Unfortunately, my hope that he was displaying a Swiftian penchant for satire is easily overcome by the impression he is, indeed, seriously touting another Gore run for the White House. You Lilliputians be damned because Hirsh's Goreliver stands astride the country -- nay the world -- like a colossus of Brobdingnagian proportions. And that is really, really big you should know. Not bad on Goreliver's part for a drop out of divinity school, eh?
In a “Web-exclusive” commentary posted Thursday, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh ridiculed President George W. Bush's warning that a precipitous pull-out from Iraq could lead to the humanitarian horrors that followed the American pull-out from Vietnam. Recalling a trip he made to Vietnam in 1991, Hirsh reported that he found a nation looking to the West and capitalism, adding that “today Vietnam remains” only “nominally communist.” He then snidely asserted: “This was the 'harsh' aftermath that George W. Bush attempted to describe this week when he warned against pulling out of Iraq as we did in Vietnam.” James Taranto, in his Friday “Best of the Web Today” posting for OpinionJournal.com, asked: “Could that last sentence be any more disingenuous? To Hirsh, the 'aftermath' of America's withdrawal from Vietnam didn't begin until 1991, more than 16 years after Saigon fell. About events between 1975 and 1991, he has only this to say: 'Yes, a lot of Vietnamese boat people died on the high seas; but many others have returned to visit in the ensuing years.'”
To that, Taranto astutely observed: “Never mind Vietnam's and Laos's 're-education' camps; never mind Cambodia's killing fields. It is as if one visited West Germany in 1960, found a prosperous democracy, and reached positive conclusions about the 'aftermath' of Nazi rule. It misses the point by a light-year.”
One of the chief reasons that Republicans in general and Conservatives in particular were always wary of John "the maverick" McCain is the slobbering love that the MSM so constantly lavished upon him. The MSM is so distrusted that their love for McCain relayed to the country that there must be something wrong with him. As his campaign descends into ever lower depths of disarray, we may begin to see the MSM fall to the floor in abject lamentations over his demise. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth now that their favorite Republican looks to be a goner, at least if Michael Hirsh of Newsweek is any indication. In "Why McCain’s Collapse Matters", Hirsh not only laments McCain's diminishment of influence, but blames the American people for not listening to military "heroes" on how evil this war is. Hirsh also uses his piece as an excuse to repeatedly bash Fred Thompson using the media's "He's just an actor" mantra. Naturally, Hirsh learns all the wrong lessons from his review of history and displays it in this little tsk tsking tirade aimed at the American people for their gall in not fawning over McCain like the MSM does.