Fun (if obvious) medical news emerged on Monday that fist bumps are much healthier than germ-spreading handshakes. But the liberal media couldn’t report it without dragging in the cool factor of Barack Obama.
Take AP’s Mike Stobbe, as posted on The Huffington Post: "So fist bumps — popularized by Barack Obama and others — seem to be the wisest greeting, especially during cold and flu season, said researcher David Whitworth of Aberystwyth University in Wales." CBSNews.com led its story with the "popularized" claim:
Barack and Michelle Obama are quite the diversionary tag-team. He blames everyone else for his problems. She takes credit for progress on his behalf that he doesn't deserve and distracts public attention from his avalanche of failures with endless feel-good photo-ops.
While the shirker in chief golfed and grubbed for money at closed-door celebrity fundraisers this week, his East Wing flak-catcher provided him cunning cover on the still-festering VA scandals.
Despite the continuing fallout from the shoot down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 and Israel's incursion into Gaza, Monday's NBC Today devoted over four minutes of air time to weatherman Al Roker conducting a fawning interview with First Lady Michelle Obama. In what Roker teased as a "revealing conversation," he asked Obama: "Who's the best cook in the family?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Roker had the friendly chat with the First Lady while attending the Kids State Dinner at the White House on Friday, something he promoted during the segment: "The tiniest top chefs from all fifty states with a seat at the White House table, serving recipes they submitted....if you give a kid a meal, they'll eat for one meal. It's the old saying. You teach somebody how to fish or how to make the healthy meal, they eat that way for a lifetime."
Michelle Obama's name must really be mud in the school nutrition community these days.
I had to do a double-take when I read today's coverage of the School Nutrition Association's Annual Conference in Boston by Philip Marcelo at the Associated Press today. What Marcelo hid from the nation is that the SNA didn't want Michelle Obama or anyone else from the White House anywhere near their conference.
In the early 1970s, the press obsessed about President Nixon's alleged "isolation," especially as the Watergate scandal, which in an objective lookback has to be seen as relative child's play compared to what we're seeing now, unfolded. Proof that Nixon's "isolation" had been a constant media theme in previous months is found in an NBC Nightly News report on May 10, 1973, when a White House staff reorganization was characterized by reporter Richard Valeriani as "Nixon moving to end President('s) isolation."
On Fox News's "The Five" on Friday, Democrat Bob Beckel relayed what he said was an anonymous comment by a person in a position to know about how cut off from external advice President Barack Obama is. It seems arguably creepier than any degree of isolation Nixon may have ever had, for reasons which I will explain below. Let's see what Beckel had to say following co-host Andrea Tantaros's comment that Obama has a "Stepford staff just sort of nodding at whatever he says," and Greg Gutfeld's assertion that Obama "doesn't have anybody in his circle" with the nerve or access to intervene (bolds are mine):
If you think Michelle's Well-Toned Arms is a tired cliche, you're not in delirious love like The Washington Post. On the front page of Saturday's Style section was a frothy feature from Post food critic Tom Sietsema. The headline was "Dinner with the first lady, at well-sculpted arm's length: When a food critic is seated near Michelle Obama, more than the meal is reviewed."
It's a publicity coup for the new restaurant Barcelona in downtown Washington, now that the Post says "it's already received Obama buzz." But that was nothing compared to how the Postie poured clumps of clotted-creamy praise all over Mrs. Obama's bod. It began:
In November of 2002, Washington Post reporter-editor Bob Woodward unveiled excerpts of his latest book, "Bush at War," and caused a big stir by revealing that Fox News boss Roger Ailes had sent a confidential memo to the Bush White House after September 11 insisting the president stay tough against the terrorists.
NBC “Meet The Press” host Tim Russert, who revolved into TV news from Mario Cuomo’s office, spoke for his industry when he asserted “I would not recommend that behavior for any practicing journalist.” One can only imagine the furor had Fox News hosts actually entered the White House gates to participate in a Bush administration publicity event designed to promote public policy.
Robin Roberts, the co-host of Good Morning America, is a favorite pick of top Democrats to host fawning, content-free interviews and panel discussions. On Tuesday's GMA, she showcased an exclusive one-on-one interview with Michelle Obama. As though she were reading talking points, the journalist touted, "Now, to the big all-day White House summit on working families. President Obama making a strong pitch for guaranteed paid maternity leave." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
An on-screen graphic promoted the event (which originally aired on C-SPAN) as a "presidential push for working moms." Roberts's questions, such as they were, offered no challenges for the First Lady: "Women are going into the workforce...Is that part of the movement in letting everybody know that it is an issue for everyone in the family?" The host reminded attendees at the Washington D.C. event that Mrs. Obama is a "strong woman, a strong mother, a strong wife."
President and Mrs. Obama granted an interview to Parade magazine to promote their Monday event, “a Working Families summit in Washington, D.C. to discuss the need for affordable childcare and paid family leave, raising minimum wage, and achieving equal pay for all.”
But in writing up the interview for the Sunday newspaper supplement, Parade editor-in-chief Maggie Murphy and former ABC reporter Lynn Sherr mangled the president’s history, leaving out the grandparents in Barack’s “dependent on single mom” story:
Friday's Wall Street Journal editorial page highlighted this week's "meal melee" with Michelle Obama and White House chef Sam Kass arguing across the media that anti-"science" Republicans would "devastate" children's health with an opt-out provision from new federal school-lunch mandates. The Journal insisted "The changes were mandated by a 2010 bill that passed with rare bipartisan support, but their implementation by the first lady and Agriculture Department has become a rolling fiasco."
It sounds like the school-lunch version of Obamacare, what the Journal editorial calls "poorly devised...cuisine central planning":
On Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton led his show bellowing about a "war" against First Lady Michelle Obama's school lunch nutrition efforts as he mocked Republicans for wanting to allow financially struggling school districts to delay implementing nutrition standards.
With the words "GOP's War Against Healthy Children" on screen in the background, Sharpton began:
In an apparent effort to help bolster Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign and her advocacy for revamping the menu of the nation's public school cafeterias, NBC's Today show plugged the first lady's May 29 New York Times op-ed on the subject.
The peacock network hailed Mrs. Obama as one who typically avoids playing politics, but who has courageously decided to step in and make her voice heard on this issue, taking on Republicans who oppose her fight to make America's kids thinner and healthier.
Republicans want America's kids to be fat so they’ll grow up to be Republican voters! At least that's the fatuous argument from the Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky in a May 28 column, "Republicans for More Fat Kids."
Tomasky went on a blistering rant blasting an amendment offered by congressional Republicans which would simply delay the requirements for Michelle Obama’s school lunch program initiative. But this is not solely the concern of Republicans on the Hill. As NewsBusters noted last week, 321 schools from 41 states -- including, yes, states which strongly supported President Obama -- have already opted out of the program.
Wednesday's New Day on CNN played up First Lady Michelle Obama "taking on House Republicans" because of a proposal to allow school districts to delay potentially expensive efforts to improve school lunch nutrition.
Two plugs forwarded the Obama anti-Republican spin, with the first suggesting that the GOP plan "could make your kids sick," and the second plug asking if Republicans are "playing politics with the health of school kids."
At 6:12 a.m., CNN co-anchor Chris Cuomo provocatively teased:
NBC, ABC, and CBS all hailed First Lady Michelle Obama attacking Republicans for trying to make her draconian school lunch mandate more flexible. At the top of Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams proclaimed: "Food fight. Michelle Obama as we've rarely heard her before, returning to her campaign by accusing Republicans in Congress of playing politics with children's health." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
On ABC's World News, anchor Diane Sawyer cheered the First Lady as "an unlikely gladiator" who "entered an arena" after having "carefully stayed out of the fray." Sawyer gushed at how Obama "came out swinging today about an issue close to her heart."
Although the journalists at Good Morning America on Tuesday found no time to discuss what NBC called a "potentially dangerous mistake" by the White House, reporter Jon Karl devoted a report to promoting Michelle Obama's latest efforts on healthy lunches. Co-anchor George Stephanopoulos touted it as a "a rare political move now from First Lady Michelle Obama." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Stephanopoulos hyped the First Lady's "full-scale campaign against the food industry and members of Congress who are trying to roll back the healthy school lunch standard she fought so hard to pass." Karl insisted, "Well, the First Lady believes passionately that school lunches simply have to be healthier and she is prepared to wage a big political fight over this issue." He added, "She is going to be speaking out against this effort for Republicans to roll back standards that were put in place in 2010."
On the May 22 edition of MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, Mitchell spent over 3 minutes interviewing the executive director of the Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, Sam Kass, and blasting House Republicans for attempting to “roll back standards” on the new requirements for school breakfasts and lunches as required by President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.
Without discussing the provision or any of the relevant arguments for allowing schools to opt-out of the new standards, Mitchell and Kass – who, by the way is engaged to MSNBC’s Alex Wagner – spent the segment attempting to delegitimize Republicans as heartless penny savers who will classify pizza and ketchup as vegetables at the expense of the soon-to-be-diabetic children of America. In reality the program has faced significant opposition from schools and students themselves. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]
Barbara Boland at CNSNews.com noticed that Michelle Obama explained in a Monday interview with TV talk show host Michael Strahan that most Sundays, the Obamas are just “lounging and napping” or plotting out the girls’ activities, like rehearsals or birthday parties. Their church attendance is very sparse.
Strahan asked “Easter was yesterday, so how did you spend the day?” After church, "We sat around really full because we ate too much....It was a good Easter. It was successful. We were full."
Parks and Recreation closed out its season last night with a star-studded bang: from musicians most people have probably never heard of before but assume have some cache (here's lookin' at you, Kay Hanley), to Jon Hamm, to THE FLOTUS, Michelle Obama.
As a president, Barack Obama has often been criticized for his celebrity status. Critics argue that political leaders to be refined, dignified and sophisticated, rather than pals with athletes, musicians, and actors. Sophistication commands respect - something the US could clearly use more of on the world stage.
ABC, NBC and CBS routinely offer fawning coverage over Michelle Obama and her role as First Lady. However, a growing protest related to a planned gradation speech in Kansas has been ignored by the networks.
Fox and Friends covered the story on Sunday. Co-anchor Ainsley Earhardt explained, "The five high schools in the district would have a single ceremony, limiting the number of guests that each student can invite." She added, "Students and parents spoke out at a recent school board meeting saying that she might...upstage their big day." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] A Change.org petition has almost 2500 signatures requesting a return to "regular graduation."
Shut up, Joe Scarborough explained. That was the Morning Joe host's advice today to people in Topeka, Kansas who are concerned that First Lady Michelle Obama's visit to the city's joint high school graduation ceremony will limit seating for family members and take the spotlight off the graduates themselves.
The man who makes his living offering his opinions and expressing his concerns instructed Kansans to "keep those concerns to yourself." Adding insult to injury, Scarborough called the Kansans' concerns "asinine." View the video after the jump.
We know that NBC loves to lob softball questions at First Lady Michelle Obama when interviewing her, and apparently they also enjoy it when others do the same. On Saturday’s Today show, co-anchor Lester Holt brought on Nene Sy, a high school girl who recently interviewed the First Lady.
Holt hyped the story, calling Sy, “the young woman who was recently handed a very big assignment – a chance to interview First Lady Michelle Obama.” That’s right, Sy did not seek out this opportunity. She was chosen to do it because Mrs. Obama wanted to be interviewed by someone who, like her, was the first in her family to go to college. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
It’s been nearly a week but it seems that someone in the press finally noticed the lack of American media traveling with Mrs. Obama across China. The Washington Post’s Krissah Thompson, who just yesterday gushed over the first lady’s trip, finally acknowledged in a March 26 piece that American media were shut out from the first lady's press pool.
Despite Thompson’s admission, the Post buried the details on A7 with the awkward title that “In China, first lady lauds free press amid questions about access.” The Post reported recognized that “coverage of the trip has been made more difficult by tight restrictions on reporters and photographers, who have been kept far away from many events and were not allowed to accompany the first lady, her mother and her two daughters on their flight last week from the United States.”
Monday's NBC Nightly News gave a nice shout-out to First Lady Michelle Obama's trip to China without mentioning the controversy that no press contingent was allowed to accompany her and her daughters.
Anchor Brian Williams warmly recapped the Obamas' trip abroad: "They have walked along a section of the Great Wall, they have visited the incredible Terra Cotta army at 6,000 strong. And the First Lady has jumped rope by local invitation."
Ignoring the most important part of the story, CBS This Morning reporter Jan Crawford hyped Michelle Obama for promoting free speech in China. Yet, Crawford never mentioned that American journalists weren't allowed to travel with the First Lady on her trip. With no sense of irony, Crawford touted, "Michelle Obama hit a hot button issue in China by praising freedom of speech in America." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The journalist played a clip of Mrs. Obama trumpeting, "My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens...But we wouldn't trade it for anything in the world." Wouldn't this have been a good point to stop and inform viewers that the First Lady did just that? Crawford even used Michelle Obama to report on Michelle Obama.
National coverage of Michelle Obama’s trip to communist China has been overwhelmingly glowing and shamelessly quiet on Team Obama’s decision to allow no press contingent to follow along, because the trip was apparently “not political.” The networks dutifully repeated that with no protest, despite more than 30 tweets from the First Lady’s account touting her trip.
But NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday deserves some kind of booby prize for burying the story of the press pool-drowning. Anchor Rachel Martin blatantly discussed how the Chinese press was fascinated by the trip, while ignoring the restricted access of American journalists.
First Lady Michelle Obama is wrapping up her tour of China today and even though the American press was shut out from her trip, the First Lady has received glowing coverage of her taxpayer-funded visit.
Despite the already over-the-top praise, NBC’s “Today” had a unique take on the trip. Appearing on Sunday, March 23, CNBC’s Eunice Yoon commented that both Mrs. Obama and the wife of the communist president of China were a “hip fashion icon from a small town who happens to be married to a very powerful man who’s running a country.”
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to students at Peking University in China over the weekend and spoke of the need for China to limit its censorship of information and controlling access to the Internet.
Despite both ABC and NBC hyping Mrs. Obama’s “strong message” about the need for an open Internet in China, both networks skipped the irony of the White House not allowing American press to travel with the First Lady to China. Instead, ABC promoted how Obama decided to tackle “hot-button issues” as “she’s making headlines over what she said about the Internet.”
Friday's CBS Evening News and ABC's World News both glowingly harkened back to a prominent past example of bilateral exchange between the U.S. and China, as they reported on Michelle Obama's trip to the East Asian country. But they continued their blackout on covering the White House's ban of journalists accompanying the First Lady. During a news brief, CBS's Scott Pelley trumpeted how "education is the focus of her [Mrs. Obama's] week-long trip, but there was also time for a little bit of ping-pong diplomacy."
The ABC evening newscast surpassed their competitor, however, with David Muir touting "the images making headlines out of China... the Chinese president unexpectedly coming out to meet her – the whole thing reminiscent of those iconic shots of President Nixon in his groundbreaking trip to China." Jonathan Karl also raised the air of "ping-pong diplomacy," but noted the current First Lady's departure from her predecessors in her approach to the communist regime: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]