On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, correspondent Michael Isikoff claimed a prank phone call on Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker "provided his critics with evidence that his real motivation is what they've been saying all along, to crush public unions." On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill declared the "embarrassing" call revealed Walker's "plan for putting pressure on the big unions."
Isikoff suggested that Walker's private phone conversation with Ian Murphy of the left-wing Buffalo Beast website (who was pretending to be billionaire donor David Koch) ran counter to the Wisconsin Governor's public statements on his budget-cutting proposal: "Publicly, Governor Scott Walker has insisted the standoff over union rights in Wisconsin is all about saving money." On the Early Show, correspondent Dean Reynolds proclaimed: "Walker is heard discussing strategy to force Democratic senators to return to Wisconsin and vote. In another exchange, he tells of plans to punish state workers with layoffs."
Chris Matthews has a new obsession for 2011 and her name is Michele Bachmann. Matthews has gone after Bachmann with the same fervor he used to reserve for Dick Cheney and on Thursday's Hardball he mocked the Minnesota Republican Congresswoman's new appointment to the House Intelligence committee as he snidely observed: "This is great irony here, on the Intelligence committee. I wonder what the rules are for getting on that committee? I guess they're pretty lenient."
Matthews also questioned Bachman's motives for getting involved in public service as he asked The Daily Beast's Shushannah Walshe about a profile she wrote about Bachmann that touched on her religious beliefs:
MATTHEWS: Well what is the religious piece here because I don't want to push it too hard, but is there a kind of Joan of Arc thing going on here? The way you write that piece makes it sounds like she's on a kind of crusade. I'm serious. Almost a Messianic goal here, which goes beyond what we normally consider politics in America.
Thursday's NBC Nightly News led, yes led, with a lame attempt to advance the desperate Democratic spin about the “secret fortune” going into campaign ads leading to “a return to the days before Watergate, Wild West days,” a story anchor Brian Williams touted as containing “exclusive new information,” but which merely passed along stale and vague generalities suggesting some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy in efforts to dare exercise the same unfettered free speech rights practiced by NBC News.
“Tonight, we have exclusive new information about the enormous amount of money, a kind of secret fortune that has been flowing into congressional campaigns in these mid-term elections,” Williams ominously announced at the top of his newscast. Reporter Michael Isikoff, fresh from Newsweek, intoned:
In the last couple of weeks, Brian, money, special interest money has been pouring into a network of outside political groups that are really at really unprecedented levels. This is a network, the primary network is being run by Karl Rove....They are expecting to raise $250 million to flood the airwaves in these last few weeks of the election....And here's what's significant, Brian. Most of this money is coming from big fat cat donors, wealthy donors, and it's not being disclosed. Secret money pouring into American elections.
Appearing as a guest on Friday’s Countdown show, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe – formerly of Newsweek – referred to the debunked story that was retracted by Newsweek in May 2005 which had incorrectly claimed that American interrogators at Guantanamo Bay had flushed a Koran down a toilet to intimidate Muslim prisoners. But Wolffe did not inform viewers that the story was untrue as he accused conservatives of a double standard for criticizing Newsweek’s inaccurate Koran desecration story from 2005 while not being aggressive enough in condemning Pastor Terry Jones’s declaration that he would burn the Koran on September 11. Wolffe:
I'm struck all the time with this story about the experience of those of us who worked in Newsweek – not the least of whom is Mike Isikoff now at NBC News who wrote a story about the abuse of the Koran in Guantanamo Bay, and there were riots and people died and the overwhelming torrent of abuse from conservative, the echo chamber, more than elected officials I think, certainly from conservative media, was that Newsweek had lied and people died. That's what they said.
Newsweek’s erroneous story inspired riots and a significant number of deaths in 2005 before it was retracted by the magazine, although, as previously documented by the MRC, Newsweek buried its retraction.
Isikoff pitted supporters of gun rights, particularly the National Rifle Association (NRA) against "security-minded" legislators worried about gun use in terrorist attacks on the nation's railways:
Just how much clout does the gun lobby have on Capitol Hill? This week may prove to be a crucial test: A House-Senate conference committee is about to take up a massive transportation-funding bill that is pitting advocates of gun rights against security-minded members worried about the threat of terrorist attacks on Amtrak trains. Tucked into the measure is a controversial National Rifle Association-backed amendment that would cut off $1.5 billion in subsidies to Amtrak unless the federally backed national passenger-train company reverses its post-9/11 security policies and permits train passengers to travel with handguns and other firearms as part of their checked luggage.
In today's "You're Not Going to Believe This" segment, Barack Obama has gone back on his promise of creating an open and transparent administration, and the good folks at Newsweek not only noticed it, but reported it.
Yes, the magazine that seems to have Obama on its cover every week actually exposed the object of their affection for not only going back on a campaign promise, but also for contradicting his own highly-publicized decree made the first full day he was in office.
Maybe even better, the author, Michael Isikoff, was the same reporter who was about to break the Monica Lewinsky story in January 1998, but was stopped by Newsweek higher-ups.
Readers are advised to tighten their seatbelts and prepare themselves for an alternate media reality:
Language always gives us away, George Carlin once observed. And it's blowing the cover from liberals unhinged by former vice president Dick Cheney getting the better of an off-balance President Obama.
Two recent examples -- the first, Rachel Maddow's MSNBC cable show on May 20 with Newsweek investigative reporter Michael Isikoff as one of her guests. Isikoff described an "off the record" meeting that day between Obama and his senior officials and representatives of civil liberties and human rights groups --
There has been very little attention paid in the MSM to a meeting on Wednesday between President Obama and various leftwing "human rights" groups except for a brief mention at the CBS News Political Hotsheet. However, according to a detailed report provided by Newsweek's Michael Isikoff on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show, Obama has revealed that there won't be any prosecutions of Bush administration for so-called torture. Perhaps this was the reason for so little MSM coverage on this meeting. They don't want to disappoint their audience, many of whom are still holding out hope for such prosecutions. However, the leftwing sites on the web are very vocal in their disappointment with Obama's decision including Talking Points Memo:
Yesterday morning President Obama met with representatives of several human rights and civil liberties groups in the White House's cabinet room. Joining him were his chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser David Axelrod, as well as Attorney General Eric Holder. They sat down with representatives of the ACLU, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Human Rights Watch, among others.
Last night on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow reported that one of the attendees warned the President he was letting George Bush's policies become his own--and that Obama was not pleased by that characterization.
...On at least one issue, though, Obama seems to have made up his mind. Isikoff reports that Obama announced his opposition to torture prosecutions--an unsurprising admission, perhaps, but one that must have disappointed many in attendance. Previously he had said that the question of investigation and prosecuting Bush administration officials was one for Holder to answer. But with Holder sitting right beside him, there's no doubt he's feeling pressure to, as they say, look forward, not backward.
Oh, the Navy's gone and done it. They've made the pirates angrier, and hence more dangerous.
Newsweek's Mark Hosenball and Michael Isikoff predicted in their April 15 piece that the future of pirate encounters off the Horn of Africa will only result in more "Blood in the Water," because it will "radicalize the [Somali] population" according to some insurance and shipping experts.
Before the demise of three of the Maersk Alabama pirates, the Somali pirates were downright nice bad guys, aside from hijacking unarmed civilian shipping vessels and yachts:
Newsweek Magazine, referred to frequently by yours truly as "Newsweak," is deliberately shrinking its circulation base by half, in effect giving up on its formerly mass audience, and going through a top-to-bottom redesign.
As is the case with its fellow declining competitor Time, it never occurs to these people that their legacy of bias, double standards, and inexplicable sloppiness have chased away so many readers that whatever business model they adopt won't work without an accompanying fundamental philosophical shift towards fairness, balance, and due diligence that is nowhere on the horizon. In Newsweak's case, all you need to remember is the "Quran flush" debacle of 2005 and Drudge's trumping Michael Isikoff on Monica Lewinsky in 1998 (with plenty of other examples in between and ever since, as you can see by typing "newsweek" at the Media Research Center's search page).
Here are excerpts from a New York Times puff piece on the magazine's plans (the picture at the top right is from that story), including a bizarre new "feature" straight from the "Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department (in bold at the end):
During the recently completed presidential campaign, Newsweek's Michael Isikoff was all excited over his "web exclusive" piece on staffers with the McCain campaign that had connections with past lobbying efforts. Back in those days Newsweek was all about the evils of those darn lobbyists. For their part, Obama supporters at the time ballyhooed the pledges that Barack Obama had made stating that his was going to be a kinder, gentler campaign, one that chased those evil lobbyists away. Phooey on those lobbyists, became the popular mantra. But, now that The One has made a successful and historic run for the Oval Office, Newsweek has suddenly discovered a newfound respect for that most venerable and important institution of lobbying.
That's right, folks. Now lobbyists are "democracy in action" and as American as apple pie, dashikis and bailouts. According to Newsweek's Robert J. Samuelson, if you are down on lobbyists, why, heck, you're down on America itself!
This is, of course, quite a different attitude than Newsweek took when using its pages to beat down John McCain. In September, connections with lobbyists were enough to bring down a presidential candidate, yet by December they are the epitome of "democracy in action." That is quite a head-spinning turn around, wouldn't you say?
Last night, Larry King had four guests on his show to discuss the nomination of Eric Holder to become Attorney General. Even though Holder's role in the pardon of fugitive Marc Rich by Bill Clinton was highly controversial, not one of the guests had any real problem with that. Somehow Larry King couldn't find a single guest who would offer arguments against the appointment of Eric Holder. To get you up to speed on Holder's role in the Marc Rich pardon, here is an Associated Press story on this subject from last June:
The last time Washington attorney Eric Holder participated in a high-profile vetting, it was for fugitive financier Marc Rich.
The episode in 2001 became the final scandal of the Clinton administration and landed Holder, at the time the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in the middle of a congressional investigation.
Now Holder, a co-chairman of Barack Obama's campaign, is one of three big names who will lead the search for a potential running mate for the presumed Democratic presidential nominee.
...In the Clinton pardon scandal, Holder was deputy attorney general when his duties intersected with the efforts of Rich's lawyer, Jack Quinn, who had been White House counsel earlier in the Clinton administration.
The entire matter was handled in an unorthodox manner - on a straight line from Rich's lawyer to the White House, with a consulting role for Holder.
When a McCain campaign representative told David Shuster today that the source of much of Barack Obama's fund-raising is unknown, the MSNBC host scoffed, claiming only "right-wing" blogs could believe that and challenging the spokesman to cite a credible source.
Instead of fulminating about the conservative blogosphere, David might want to pick up a copy of Newsweek, which last time I looked had a news-sharing arrangement with . . . MSNBC. None other than Newsweek's Michael Isikoff reported those very facts about Obama's fund-raising last week.
McCain spokesman Ben Porritt was Shuster's guest during MSNBC's 4 PM EDT hour today.
Earlier, I noted how the New York Times barely touched on adultery rumors about John Kerry four years ago, and how the morning shows lurched into McCain-in-crisis mode at the first shaky Times "romantic relationship" story on Vicki Iseman. The same pattern followed on network TV coverage of the Kerry rumor. It barely surfaced, and never for more than a sentence or two. All three networks heavily suggested to viewers it was bunk, not a crisis. This shows either (a) the trust of the networks in the New York Times or (b) the lust of the networks for Republican dirt or (c) both. Here's how a quick check of the Nexis data-retrieval system looked.
ABC. Peter Jennings was first in raising it and dismissing it on the February 13, 2004 World News Tonight. "Just one other note about Senator Kerry, several times today, including on a national radio program, the Senator was asked whether rumors about him and a young woman had any substance. The Senator denied it categorically. There is nothing, he said, to report."