ABC Channel 7 in Chicago aired a "Special Report" on Sunday night, November 16, in which they gushed that Michelle Obama was going to "break down barriers" for America's black women. Reporter Cheryl Burton waxed poetic, moon-eyed over the fact that a black woman was soon take her place as first lady of the United States, wife to the president. But, that's just it... wife to the president. Not to belittle the important role that a wife has in a marriage (or a husband has for that matter), and not to diminish the importance of traditional marriage, but a wife is not an elected position. It is not one with the sort of power to be "transformational." On top of that, the role of first lady should not be considered a role with power or one capable of transformation!
To be sure, we have to be honest about the triumphalism on Obama’s behalf and realize that it truly is expected, even healthy. Obama marks the final piece of the puzzle of repairing American race relations. Blacks really have gone from the lowest of chattel slavery to seeing one of their own elected to run the country and we should all marvel at and be grateful for that fact. No one should try to belittle this achievement. But, one must be careful not to make of it more than it is. Obama is not the first piece, but the last. We should not celebrate as if he’s the only good break blacks have ever gotten in the US. To do so belittles all the many examples of progress that came before him. And his wife has no formal part in it at all. She was not elected to first lady and she does not hold an office in government.
Right before the 9:35am segment, on Monday's "Today" show, a commercial from NBC News was aired announcing a special DVD on Barack Obama's life story was for sale on its Web site. What is particularly odd is that a news organization would actually use Obama's own campaign slogan to title the DVD, and if memory serves there was no special DVD offered for George W. Bush's inauguration. The question has to be asked how much time will the DVD devote to such gaffes as Barack's "bitter" quote or Michelle's "For the first time...I'm proud to be an American," quote as well as any Jeremiah Wright/Bill Ayers mentions compared to any time given to NBC's own Chris Matthews and Lee Cowan "thrill" moments.
The following ad was aired during the November 10th, "Today" show:
ANNOUNCER: NBC News Presents, "Yes We Can! The Barack Obama Story!" A DVD of his life and road to the White House. Pre-order now at NBCSTORE.COM.
"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Friday asked the author of a new biography on Michelle Obama how the candidate's wife deals with her husband being "lusted after by all of these women out there" on the campaign trail. While talking to "Michelle" author Liz Mundy, Shipman cooed, "And, of course, it's wonderful, but not always easy when your husband becomes a political rock star overnight."
As though the ABC correspondent were reading from a press release, she opened the segment by fawning: "And over the years, Michelle Obama in her personal journey has achieved a remarkable feat. She's carved a role for herself a path that both embraces and transcends race." Later, Shipman insisted, "An incredible journey that even more than her husband's is emblematic of the country's racial transformation." At no point, did Shipman, who once rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of the presidential candidate, discuss any of Michelle Obama's gaffes during the 2008 campaign, such as her famous comment in February that "for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."
New York Times reporter Patrick Healy profiled Michelle Obama in Akron, Ohio, speaking and making calls to undecided voters, in Tuesday's "New to Campaigning, but No Longer a Novice." The sycophantic Healy is quick to put Michelle Obama's "proud of America" gaffe in context and suggest it's a discredited charge.
And the photo caption over a picture of three adoring fans in Akron listening to her speak reads like a "dinner theatre" review from a local free paper:
In a raucous rally at a school gym in Akron, the would-be first lady had the audience laughing and cheering throughout.
It is no surprise that Barack Obama receives much better treatment in the media than John McCain, but the non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs actually conducted a study that concluded just that. The Center’s evaluation found that since both candidates were formally nominated "Senator Obama on the network evening news shows have been 65% positive, compared to only 36% positive about John McCain."
While the networks ignored the study, the October 20 edition of "Fox and Friends" interviewed CMPA’s founder Robert Lichter. Lichter noted that Obama fits the media’s template of a "fresh face," "some sort of special dimensions," and "charismatic quality." He did note that the media eventually sours on such candidates, but curiously have not done so for Senator Obama.
So far this story about Michelle Obama's temper tantrum when she called African Press International (API) hasn't been reported by the mainstream media but it is a very hot topic in the Blogosphere. Your humble correspondent checked on the credentials of API and it has been in existence for a little over two years and has filed numerous stories in that period. Additionally, this story has been posted at World Net Daily. If the MSM wants to verify this story they can contact API directly to investigate its veracity. Perhaps they don't want to check out this story because Michelle Obama comes off with an extreme case of bad temper.
Michelle Obama was interviewed on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday night, and while no one expects King to offer a hard-hitting interview, he seemed eager to underline Republican meanness.The theme was "how can you not be mad yet?"
Network TV producers just plucked out Michelle's above-the-fray Clintonesque quote about people not liking the bickering in these hard times, but some Web sites noticed she said she was not offended by John McCain saying "that one" – which is kind of funny, since it was heavily promoted by the Obama campaign.
Obviously, when the Ayers question came up, King wanted to know if the one he called "the extraordinary Michelle Obama" was mad, and let her simply dissolve the inquiry with the line "I don't know anyone in Chicago who's heavily involved in education policy who doesn't know Bill Ayers." Take a look:
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith declared: "The McCain campaign sharpens its attacks on Barack Obama using one of its biggest guns." The "big gun" Smith was referring to was Cindy McCain, who criticized Obama on Wednesday for voting against Iraq troop funding. Smith followed by claiming: "But Obama strikes back with his own secret weapon," referencing Michelle Obama on CNN’s Larry King Live on Wednesday commenting that: "The folks out there right now are scared...They don't care about the sort of back and forth between the candidates."
Smith introduced the later segment by proclaiming: "With less than a month to go before election day, the campaign, especially McCain campaign, has turning -- has been turning up its attack on Barack Obama's character." In the report that followed, correspondent Jeff Glor described how: "John McCain's wife Cindy is usually camera shy but with polls showing the McCain campaign in rough waters it's all hands on deck. For the first time on the stump, Cindy McCain targeted Barack Obama...It's another escalation in the attacks of recent days as the McCain campaign questions Obama's commitment to country and his contacts." On Tuesday, Glor downplayed one of Obama’s "contacts," referring to domestic terrorist Bill Ayers as merely a: "once radical anti-war advocate."
The mainstream media is going through another one of their meltdown moments as they rush to defend Barack Obama from his relationship with American terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. (plural)
John Stephenson of Newsbusters detailed CNN's supposed fact check that came in response to a speech that Sarah Palin gave. In that speech Palin did the job the mainstream media refuses to do by mentioning the words terrorists, relationships and Barack Obama in a single sentence while referring to the former Weather Underground leaders.
In rushing to Barack Obama's defense CNN slipped the following into the end of their fact check:
The McCain campaign did not respond Saturday to a request for elaboration on Palin's use of the plural "terrorists."
Well excuse me, but why should they? If CNN doesn't know that Bernardine Dohrn was a leader of the Weather Underground while they were bombing federal buildings and police stations why should the McCain campaign give CNN the legitimacy of a real news organization by providing a response?
Not long ago, many in the mainstream media were bemoaning the deterioration of public discourse in this year's presidential campaign. Stories of lipsticks and pigs and other nongermane matters were irrelevant and time-wasters, they tut-tutted. Let's get back to the real issues.
So the September 29, 2008 Newsweek strikes a blow for substantive journalism and giving voters information they really need to know. "All the Candidates’ Cars" begins:
When you have seven homes, that's a lot of garages to fill. After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one.
On Friday's CBS "Early Show," Laura Schwartz, a former Clinton administration official and adviser to Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, appeared for a segment on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's fashion style and the clothes she wore during her speech at the Republican National Convention. While Scwartz and co-host Harry Smith talked about the popularity of "Palin paraphernalia," they also attached a high price tag to Palin's outfit as well as the outfit and jewelry Cindy McCain wore during her appearance at the Republican convention.
Schwartz also appeared on the Early Show on August 26, the day after Michelle Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention, to talk about the way the potential First Lady dressed for her speech, but did not put a price tag on it. Instead, Schwartz stated, "I thought she was very simple, very understated last night, which might be a good idea, Harry, because in this era of attack ads, the McCain people are really saying, `Hey, the Obamas are elitist. They're caught up in celebrity.' If she came out in a real fancy dress, that would just be more fodder for them."
While FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor this week has been featuring portions of Bill O’Reilly’s interview with Barack Obama which stands out as being more challenging to the Democratic candidate than those interviews conducted by the more liberal mainstream media, it is noteworthy that on Tuesday’s show, during the "Pinheads and Patriots" segment, O’Reilly awarded Michelle Obama the "Patriot" distinction because she danced with Ellen Degeneres during a Monday appearance on her show Ellen. But, by contrast, he then suggested that conservative Elisabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of ABC’s The View, may deserve the "Pinhead" dishonor because Hasselbeck recently criticized Michelle Obama for having a list of demands when she appeared on The View, as Hasselbeck spoke at an event praising Cindy McCain. O’Reilly: "I say [Obama and Degeneres are] both patriots because we need all the dancing we can get in America. It lightens the mood. On the pinhead front, I'm not sure about this, so you can decide if View host Elisabeth Hasselbeck was out of bounds at a fundraiser honoring Cindy McCain." Notably, last February, O'Reilly seemed to suggest that conservatives were acting like a "lynching party" for their attacks on Michelle Obama's declaration that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."
Is an implicitly mild anti-Michelle Obama comment worse than an overt anti-Catholic remark? According to the CNN Headline News show "Showbiz Tonight" on Monday September 8, they apparently are. While they ignored Joy Behar’s inflammatory remarks comparing the saints to mental patients, they were all over Elisabeth Hasselbeck for revealing that Michelle Obama provided a list of forbidden questions. For the record, Hasselbeck said "unlike the wife of a political candidate who shall remain nameless, she didn't come with a list of topics we weren't allowed to touch."
Reliable Obama supporter and CNN contributor Roland Martin alleged Hasselbeck "gets her information from Sean ‘Little Bowl of Hate Hannity" and drinks "Hatorade." To provide some balance one guest said "she shouldn’t be shot." The one caller, Deborah from Georgia, pleaded for Hasselbeck's firing. Everyone’s complaint with "The View" co-host involved revealing what occurred behind the scenes with Michelle Obama.
Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," speculated that Republicans were playing the race card, when they made fun of Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer, even going as far to say they're using the phrase like a "bullwhip." In a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd and pollster Stuart Rothenberg, Matthews suspiciously noted that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, at last week's GOP convention, were "giggling" over the "community organizer" title as he pondered: "Is this the new 'welfare queen?'"
Then a little later in the program, in a segment with the Financial Times' Chrystia Freeland and the Independent Women's Forum's Michelle Bernard, Matthews returned to the subject as he declared: "It seems to me that the use of the word, 'community organizer,' is almost like a bullwhip."
The following exchanges occurred on the September 8 edition of "Hardball" [audio excerpts available here]:
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
According to U.S. News and World Report's Web site, Robert Schlesinger is the magazine's deputy editor and oversees all opinion editorial content. Schlesinger blogs from the Republican National Convention on "Cindy McCain's $300,000 Outfit:"
ST. PAUL—Remember Pat Nixon's "respectable Republican cloth coat?" It's come a long way, baby.
To wit: According to Vanity Fair, Laura Bush's outfit cost between $3,400 and $4,300. But of course that's chump-change compared to the roughly $300,000 that Cindy McCain's cost (the biggest line-item being $280,000 for three-karat diamond earrings).
For those of you keeping track at home, Cindy McCain's outfit could pay for a four bedroom, three bath, 3,400 square feet house in Wasilla.
Schlesinger cites Vanity Fair, but he doesn't provide complete information. The Vanity Fair piece concludes:
(All prices except Laura’s shoes and Cindy’s watch are estimates, and the jewelry prices are based on the assumption that the pieces are real.)
In the last 48 hours, the establishment media’s bias against Republican Sarah Palin has become a full-fledged feeding frenzy. This morning on FNC’s Fox & Friends, the anchors noted how the pop culture mag Us Weekly is now bashing Palin with a harsh cover story, “Babies, Lies, and Scandal,” when just a couple of months ago the same magazine ran a sappy cover piece featuring Barack and Michelle Obama: “Why Barack Loves Her.”
Co-host Steve Doocy cited NewsBusters’ recent “Quick Study” study of cable news as providing proof of the incredible double standard against Palin: “The Media Research Center did a study of the two hours of prime time after Joe Biden was announced as a Vice President and after Sarah Palin was announced, and overwhelmingly it was so against the Republican.”
The Obama-infatuated media knows a quote to ignore when it hears one.
That Barack Obama and the Democratic Party is in trouble on abortion is inarguable. Obama has been caught red-handed lying about his past positions and votes on Illinois' Born Alive Infant Protection Act laws, appearing indifferent as to when anyone wishing to eliminate their baby completes the task. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has generated outrage from Catholic bishops and practitioners with her ignorant comments about the history of the Church's opposition to abortion. John McCain's nomination of prolife walk-the-walker Sarah Palin has made the contrast between the two parties' positions as obvious as I've ever seen it.
Fanning the flames by reporting yet another controversial comment from Michelle Obama would add dangerous fuel to an already-burning fire.
That likely explains why you're not hearing about this comment Ms. Obama made at the Women’s Caucus of the Democratic National Convention on Thursday about her husband (bold is mine):
"NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams conducted an embarrassingly fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Wednesday's program regarding the subject of nasty Republicans and just how exciting the Democratic campaign is. At one point, he sympathetically questioned the politician's wife, "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you, you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
More of the gushing interview aired on Thursday's "Today" show. During that segment, Williams cooed, "How often do you allow yourself to sit back and say, 'I can't believe this is happening? I can't believe we're doing this?'" Neither piece featured any tough questions. More representative were softballs about whether Mrs. Obama knows her husband will win or simply thinks it might happen.
On Tuesday night, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff offered Michelle Obama the kind of cozy interview she has typically offered to Democratic wives at convention time. Her sharpest question dealt with her unfavorables in the polls, and Mrs. Obama strongly asserted that she wouldn't lose sleep over conservatives mischaracterizing her, and knows that the Obama family narratives are deeply compelling to voters:
WOODRUFF: Now your speech was also view by some as an effort to repair what some polls I guess had shown were negative impressions that had accumulated about you – your values, your view of the country. How concerned were you about that going in and do you have any concerns about that now?
MICHELLE OBAMA: You know, this is politics. And I’ve always felt that when people hear my story and they hear the truth of my story, then they’ll understand who I am. You know, I try not to lose sleep over how Barack’s opponents have mischaracterized who I am.
Tuesday’s CBS Early Show praised Michelle Obama for meeting and surpassing high expectations with her Monday night speech at the Democratic convention, as co-host Julie Chen asked co-host Harry Smith: “...do you get the feeling that Michelle Obama accomplished what she set out to do? Because I definitely -- I definitely do, after watching from television -- you know, on television last night.” Smith replied: “Yeah, I think the bar was set pretty high and I think she went over that bar and probably then some.”
At the top of the show, Chen and co-host Maggie Rodriguez fawned over the speech, using the terms “compelling,” “impressive,” and “inspiring.” After Smith established that Obama had exceeded a “high bar,” Rodriguez mentioned Ted Kennedy’s speech as well and concluded that overall, “It was a special night for them. I think the Democrats should be very happy.”
Later, Smith discussed Obama’s speech with political analyst Jeff Greenfield and asked: “Talk about a bar set high for her to get over in terms of reintroducing herself to the American public.” Greenfield gave a glowing review of the speech: “So all of those stories -- this was a speech, that, if it were a painting, Norman Rockwell would have painted it. This is the American dream. This is what the American spirit is all about.”
On Tuesday's “Today” show, co-host Matt Lauer practically dared John McCain spokesperson Nicole Wallace to challenge the narrative created by Michelle Obama in her speech during the previous night of the Democratic National Convention. Lauer cited Mrs. Obama's goal as trying to “put to rest some of the stories that have been going around, and a lot of them being talked about on conservative talk radio, about her lack of patriotism.”
The NBC host then challenged Ms. Wallace, “So, let me ask you on the record, how she did, and does the McCain campaign doubt her love of country?” Of course, Lauer offered no specifics as to what he meant by “some of the stories that have been going around,” nor did he mention the now famous quote of Michelle Obama asserting that “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country,” thus making it sound as though conservatives were just making things up about the candidate's wife.
During MSNBC's live coverage of the Democratic National Convention, on Monday night, Newsweek's Howard Fineman pronounced that Michelle Obama, in her opening night speech, had "dug herself, beautifully and completely, out of the hole she put herself in...when she said her husband's success was the first time she was proud of her country."
Fineman made the following declaration at 12:03am [EDT] on the Monday, August 25 (to Tuesday morning August 26) coverage of the Democratic Convention:
After Michelle Obama's Monday night speech at the Democratic National Convention, ABC and NBC mentioned her “for the first time in my adult lifetime I'm proud of my country” previous slap at the United States, but in the context of how she resolved any doubts. ABC's George Stephanopoulos declared:
“Tonight, there was no doubt. The money line in this speech was that line when she said, 'that is why I love this country,' and she lingered.” Noting how “we heard the word 'America' or 'American' or 'Americans' 12 times,” NBC's Chuck Todd decided “this is definitely a response in some ways to that whole kerfuffle that she created for herself, six or eight months ago, about being proud to be an American.”
CBS didn't touch on the topic during its prime time hour, though during an interview with Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, Katie Couric described Mrs. Obama not as controversial, but as “slightly controversial.” In a taped session later with Craig Robinson, Michelle's older brother, Couric wondered: “What one word would you like viewers all across the country to use to describe your sister?” When he suggested “sincere,” Couric agreed: “That's a good word.”
On the ideological labeling front, Ted Kennedy's appearance the hour before, highlights of which led all three broadcast networks at 10 PM EDT, failed to prompt a single liberal label on ABC or CBS, but NBC applied the tag three times, two of those to describe Kennedy as a “liberal lion.” (CNN and MSNBC provided scattered liberal labeling.)
How unbalanced was MSNBC's tag team tonight? When Keith Olbermann felt himself getting verklempt over Michelle Obama's speech, he threw it, for some fair-n-balanced commentary, to . . . Chris Matthews. At the conclusion of Mrs. Obama's appearance, Olbermann almost seemed ready to call the election off and just hand the presidency to Obama by acclamation.
KEITH OLBERMANN: Ye-a-h-h-h. Case closed.
Matthews responded with a very guttural "uh-h-h-h."
OLBERMANN: That could not have done better for them. That could not have done better for them. Right to the point of the little girls taking the mikes away and suddenly turning out to be hams. It's wonderful. It really was terrific. And notice, did you notice throughout that, especially as it built towards its conclusion, the woman in that convention hall--the ones we saw at least--we can't say every one--but there were tears throughout among the women. And it was not a maudlin speech, it was not a salesmanship speech. There was just a -- I know, I'm beginning to sound borderline sycophantic on this. So I'll stop. You start.
Live from Denver, Colorado, on Monday, Brian Williams hosted the 1 p.m. hour of MSNBC's "News Live" and featured guests Gwen Ifill of PBS and Michele Norris of NPR to talk about Michelle Obama’s upcoming primetime speech at the Democratic National Convention. The segment turned out to be a love-fest of Michelle Obama and her humble roots.
Williams started off the segment by asking the typical question of "what does Michelle Obama have to do tonight in this hall?" Ifill immediately went into gushing mode, first about Senator Ted Kennedy and then about Obama:
Michelle Obama has to find a way to bemore amazing and more emotional than Ted Kennedy. If it looks like Ted Kennedy actually walks across that stage tonight and appears in some fashion in person and speaks, it’s gonna be an emotional highpoint. Michelle Obama, however, also has to deal with preconceptions about who she is. A lot of people have never seen anything that looks like a Michelle Obama before. She’s educated, she’s beautiful, she’s tall, she tells you what she thinks and they hope that she can tell a story about Barack Obama and about herself.
In preparation for Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic convention, Monday’s CBS Early Show continued it’s fawning over the wife of the presidential candidate as co-host Harry Smith declared: "Michelle Obama steps out tonight to address the nation. Is she Barack's best asset?" The show featured three segments on Michelle Obama, two of which were complete fluff.
In the first segment, Bianca Solorzano looked at five things that people might not know about Michelle Obama: "Michelle Obama is known for her fashion-forward style, but when it comes to her style of eating, she likes good old-fashioned comfort food. We asked close friend and family confidant Valerie Jarrett to give us the inside scoop, beginning with Michelle's favorite food." Jarrett replied: "Oh, that's easy, French fries." Jarrett is of course an Obama campaign worker, in addition to being a "family confidant." It was also revealed that Michelle Obama exercises daily, her favorite singer is Stevie Wonder, and she watched the ‘Dick Van Dyke Show’ as a child. In June, the Early Show did a similar segment on Barack Obama and informed viewers that he "loves to play scrabble" but "does not like ice cream."
Solorzano went on to highlight how outspoken Michelle Obama is: "Another thing close to Michelle's heart -- honest views." A clip was played of Obama appearing on ABC’s The View claiming that: "People aren't used to strong women."