When ABC and NBC interview First Ladies, both the tone and substance of the discussion tend to hinge on whether the husband is an Obama or a Bush.
On Wednesday's ABC "World News" and NBC "Nightly News," network correspondents sat down with Michelle Obama in South Africa for exclusive interviews in which they lobbed softball questions and avoided her husband's policies. But in interviews with Laura Bush in 2007 and 2010, ABC questioned the then-First Lady's Mideast trip and NBC re-litigated President Bush's response in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Isn’t it inspiring? Once again, the Obama family is bringing peace and raising esteem for America in a foreign land by their very presence.
Back on March 21, New York Times reporters Alexei Barrionuevo and Jackie Calmes with Obama gushed “Brazilians who gathered at a plaza trying to catch a glimpse of him said that he had inspired millions in this country because of his African heritage.” Paris correspondent Scott Sayare on September 23, 2010 praised Obama’s magical abilities: “But anti-American sentiment, once pervasive in these neighborhoods, seems to have been all but erased since the election of Mr. Obama, who has proved to be a powerful symbol of hope here and a powerful diplomatic tool.”
ABC and NBC have delivered fawning coverage of First Lady Michelle Obama's visit this week to South Africa and Botswana, oozing over the "celebrity" and "excitement" of the "patented Michelle power" on display. To its credit, CBS has largely taken a pass on the idolatry.
The mainstream media are demonstrating that their fawning coverage isn't limited to President Barack Hussein Obama. The establishment press loves Michelle LaVaughn every bit as much. Today's Washington Post Politics Web site carries the story "Michelle Obama wows Britain with high style, rubs shoulders with new royal Kate Middleton." The article substantiates its claim that Mrs. Obama dazzled the English with support from an impartial, disinterested observer. I know she's impartial because she authored a book titled "“Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style.”
On NPR's Web site, the headline is "Michelle Obama Wows Britain With Her Style." The accompanying Associated Press article begins:
There weren't any hugs, like last time, but U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama shared a warm handshake with the British queen and gained more fans during her state visit to the U.K.
How does the AP know that Mrs. Obama gained fans? Did they take a survey pre- and post-warm handshake?
As NewsBusters has been reporting for months, Obama-loving media are busily depicting every criticism of the Administration as being racially motivated.
On Saturday, Don Lemon brought on a number of guests on "CNN Newsroom" to discuss how the recent controversy surrounding rapper Common's appearance at the White House is all because he's black (video follows with transcript and commentary):
This White House faced strikingly little press criticism during the 2008 presidential campaign and through most of its first two years in office. So seldom is this White House meaningfully criticized in fact, that even the most mild jab apparently inspires backlash against the press.
Just last week it was revealed that a San Francisco Chronicle reporter was booted from the White House press pool for the crime of recording an anti-Obama protest with her smartphone. Then today, the Pleasanton Weekly, a small newspaper in Pleasanton, California, revealed that the White House had asked that the paper remove a passage it felt reflected poorly on First Lady Michelle Obama.
And, amazingly, the paper obliged. It removed the passage, saying it didn't want to make a "fuss." The White House is grateful for the self-censorship, I'm sure.
Delay and indecision are beginning to define the Obama administration. One matter the Obama Justice Department cannot decide is whether to file an appeal to the Supreme Court in the "fleeting profanity" case called Fox vs. FCC. They've filed two extensions to kick the can down the road. Their latest deadline is April 21. Without an appeal, the Second Circuit's evisceration of any limitation on broadcast cursing will stand.
That’s right. All bets will be off. If you think the Idiot Box is foul now, wait until Hollywood is allowed to be as gross as it wants.
Some commentators will obviously apply the expected gravity argument. We're in three wars, have a $1.5 trillion deficit, and really, it's crucial to prevent Paris Hilton from swearing at a televised awards show? But Obama's Justice Department is making small decisions all the time.
The White House announced Monday that this year’s Easter Egg Roll will be “more environmentally friendly,” with eggs made ofwood certified by an environmental activist organization and packaging that will “minimize waste and environmental impact.”
The press release issued by the White House states that the eggs will be produced in the United States from hardwood “certified” by the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization with a presence in 50 countries and a mission “to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.”
One has to wonder if the Rev. Al Sharpton would have invited journalist, publisher, radio host and academic Karen Hunter on his radio show Feb. 24 had he known she would chide first lady Michelle Obama in remarks not far removed from criticism of Mrs. Obama by Rush Limbaugh.
First, here's what Limbaugh said on his radio show three days earlier (audio here) --
NBC's Matt Lauer seemed shocked that Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, during his Super Bowl interview, actually asked Barack Obama about his opponents hating him, as the Today co-anchor, on Wednesday, in an exclusive interview with the First Lady questioned: "Do you think people hate your husband, even on the far right?" Michelle Obama initially deflected the question as she simply responded: "I'm sure that there are some people who don't like my husband" because "You're not gonna please everybody all the time." Lauer, however continued to press the issue as he asked: "There is obviously extreme criticism" and went on to wonder if it had changed the President as he questioned is he "the same guy today as he was two years ago?"
In an interview that touched on a wide range of topics from Egypt to the President's smoking habits and to the First Lady's anti-obesity campaign, Lauer did ask a tough question on the economy, even reading from a viewer's e-mail who asked Mrs. Obama for her advice for job seekers, as he pressed: "If there is someone out there...who is unemployed...do you expect that person to support your husband in 2012?"
The Washington Post can pretty good at forgetting scandals, especially when it comes to Michelle Obama. The front of Wednesday's Style section has a story on Michelle Obama's "fluid staff" turnover: three chiefs of staff, two communications directors, and (soon to be) three social secretaries. But the headline isn't about how the FLOTUS can't be satisfied and keeps firing aides. It's headlined "Legacy in the making: Despite the changing look of her East Wing circle, Michelle Obama keeps her eye on the progress to come." If that doesn't sound penned by the White House, wait -- it gets better.
Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson becomes Nia-Malika Amnesia in this amazing passage of willful memory loss on Michelle: "She has told her staff then that there was little room for mistakes. Two years later, observers are hard-pressed to find any major flubs, and the first lady has staffed up for Michelle Obama 2.0."
Did the obsequious Post forget the Salahis' major security breach at a White House state dinner? That was only a major Post (and TV network) obsession. It caused the departure of social secretary Desiree Rogers. Some lefties wanted "public executions."
Time magazine knows it can't be all serious, so in addition to its cover story on Egypt this week, they have a gushy piece on Michelle Obama's fashions, written by Kate Betts, author of the new book Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style. Michelle's so chic it's historic:
Given her widespread reputation as one of the most stylish women ever to inhabit the White House, you might think Michelle Obama automatically belongs in the Madison-Kennedy lineage. But her background argues differently. No one can claim that Michelle Obama doesn't know what it's like to work or that she entered marriage because she didn't get an education and lacked economic power of her own. It is plain that she has learned as much if not more from the example of Hillary Clinton as from the example of Jackie Kennedy.
What makes Obama exceptional is that she seems so at home in both camps. So at home that the whole debate about style and substance suddenly seems passé, an anachronism of the gender wars, a false dichotomy enforced by narrow-minded men and women at war with themselves. That Michelle Obama does not see style and substance as an either-or choice is a powerful statement that the underlying assumptions about women's roles and images have changed. Embodying the confluence of substance and style, she has helped reconcile the long-standing antagonism between them. She has, in some sense, made them one and the same.
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts conducted yet another fawning interview with Michelle Obama on Friday, offering 11 minutes and two segments to such important topics as whether the First Lady will attend Prince William's wedding.
Not exactly grilling Mrs. Obama, the co-anchor mused, "We understand that Prince William and Kate, they sent out the save the date kind of notifications. Have you received yours?...Would you like to attend the wedding?"
In comparison, when Roberts interviewed Laura Bush on October 22, 2007, she quoted Archbishop Desmond Tutu: "Desmond Tutu went even farther, saying the generosity of Americans, that's what we should export instead of our bombs."
Last Wednesday I wrote about a left-wing anti-Wal-Mart group in Washington, D.C. that published a flyer depicting a crosshairs on the Wal-Mart smiley face icon and called for a "march on the developer's house" in Northwest D.C. after dark on Thursday the 20th.
[That flyer has since been scrubbed from the WalMartFreeDC.org website, but you can see a screen capture of it below the page break]
Only about 25 people showed up at the protest, so it's not precisely front-page news, but a search of Nexis found not even a blurb about the event or the decidedly uncivil and race-baiting rhetoric the group's website espouses in a rap song that warns that Wal-Mart has a "plantation mentality" that "results in black and brown casualties."
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the Gabrielle Giffords shooting blame game has been in full swing since the moment shots were fired in Tucson Saturday.
With this in mind, Howard Kurtz invited conservative talk radio host Steve Malzberg and Mediaite editor-at-large Rachel Sklar on Sunday's "Reliable Sources" to fight over whether all the finger-pointing at right-wing figures like Sarah Palin is justified or another example of media madness (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When will the government stop wasting taxpayer dollars? In a new public service announcement, Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative twists Disney’s classic "Beauty and the Beast" into an animated production telling parents how to have healthy children.
Perhaps the choice of a Disney cartoon is appropriate, since the liberal nanny-state insists on treating Americans as children. The United States Department of Agriculture, along with the Ad Council and the “Let’s Move” initiative managed to waste money telling parents that children should eat vegetables and play outside.
How could anyone oppose big government activism when both Michelle Obama and Elmo the Muppet favor it? It was unfathomable to Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt in his December 26 article 'How did obesity become a partisan fight?'
To a doctrinaire liberal like Hiatt, it's illegitimate to question whether government should be concerned with personal nutrition. Instead, he belittles opposing views with his snarky quips. "Could anyone really object to White House assistant chef Sam Kass trying to interest Elmo in a vegetable-laden burrito? Well, yes, if Michelle Obama is for it, someone will be against it. Someone like Glenn Beck, for example, who was moved to rail against carrot sticks, or Sarah Palin, who warned that Obama wants to deprive us all of dessert."
What Hiatt failed to realize is the real debate over excessive federal intervention where it doesn't belong. After listing some of the first lady's 'Let's Move' initiative, he said 'All of this makes total sense, and historians will marvel (much as they will at climate-change deniers) that anyone could doubt it.' And since global warming is the real cause of the winter blizzard according to the December 25 New York Times so it must be true, right?
In a report at the top of the 8AM ET hour of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, senior White House correspondent Bill Plante ridiculed Sarah Palin for daring to criticize First Lady Michelle Obama's weight loss campaign: "Palin has never been at a loss for an opinion on anything, including taking a pot shot at the First Lady's campaign to eat healthy."
Fill-in news reader Betty Nguyen introduced Plante's report by declaring: "And there's a war over dessert. Yes, a food fight has broken out between the First Lady and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin." Throughout the segment, the headline on screen read: "Palin Food Fight; Dessert War."
When ABC’s Barbara Walters deems Sarah Palin one of the year’s “Most Fascinating People,” it’s a back-handed compliment. Walters knows Palin has an adoring fan base, and she’s definitely not part of it. When the December 2 special began, Walters greeted Palin with, “Many people find the thought of you as president a little scary.”
This is not what Walters asked President Obama in yet another gooey Barack-and-Michelle hour-long ABC interview on Thanksgiving night. Clearly, a large, energized chunk of the American electorate believed – and continues to believe – the idea of Obama as president to be horrifying. Instead, Walters lobbed softballs like this:
“When we come back, we'll hear about family life in the White House, just who slept through the midterm elections, the importance of SpongeBob SquarePants, and the night the Tooth Fairy didn't show up. Stay with us.”
Asking a wife if she loves her husband isn't exactly the most insightful question, but that's one of the softballs that Barbara Walters tossed to Michelle and Barack Obama during an hour long edition of 20/20 on Friday. She also asked the President if he curses and what Lincoln means to him.
At one point, the journalist lauded Michelle Obama as "comfortable" and "outspoken." Walters then cooed, "You love him very much, don't you?" (The First Lady's unsurprising answer? "Yes, I do.")
Digging for answers, the reporter investigated Mr. Obama, "Do you ever curse?...You pray?" Walters also allowed the President the chance to attack the internet, bringing up insinuations that he's a Muslim: "Why do you think it is that so many people think you're a Muslim and why is that confusion?"
The media's adoration of the first family knows no bounds.
Take the Huffington Post for example, which on Monday felt it was newsworthy to inform readers that when the Obamas attended a college basketball game this weekend, they actually wore the same colors as one of the competing teams:
If you thought the media attacks on Sarah Palin and her family were deplorable in 2008, it's clear with the 2012 presidential campaign starting and her name being bandied about, you ain't seen nuttin' yet.
Take the Washington Post's Richard Cohen for example who penned a column Tuesday concluding, "She could not be the president of black America nor of Hispanic America":
After spending much of his week accusing Rush Limbaugh of racism, Ed Schultz on Friday made the same absurd claim about former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
Following in the footsteps of others on his network as well as the liberal blogosphere, the MSNBCer said it was racist for Palin to refer to comments Michelle Obama made in 2008 about never having been proud of her country before her husband started winning primaries.
It was also racist of Palin to mention in her book the Obamas' connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright (video follows with transcript and commentary):
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan last night found themselves just two of the targets in the latest "Media Mash" segment on Fox News Channel's "Hannity" show.
NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the November 11 program to dissect NBC's biased coverage of former President George W. Bush's new memoir, "Decision Points," an ABC News puff piece on Michelle Obama's fashion sense, and MSNBC's Ratigan giving a platform to a leftist calling for violent revolution.
"Matt Lauer is absolutely delusional," opined Bozell, pointing to Lauer's criticism of the former president's defense of his signature tax cut legislation. "The tax cuts caused the recession? The reality is, the Bush tax cuts gave us four million jobs. Those are the facts; you can't go against these facts."
[Video of the segment available after the page break.]
According to Good Morning America, Michelle Obama is the second coming of Jackie Kennedy. Co-host Robin Roberts enthused on Wednesday, "...First Lady Michelle Obama is drawing comparisons to the first first lady of fashion diplomacy. That, of course, being Jackie Kennedy." An ABC graphic lauded the "American icon."
Correspondent Claire Shipman highlighted Michelle Obama's trip to India with her husband and hyped, "It's a charm and style offensive that has all of us reaching for that inevitable comparison. India just as besotted by this glamorous First Lady as it was by that ultimate style icon Jackie Kennedy, almost half a century ago."
Shipman has been reporting on the Obamas since 2007 and has made little attempt to hide her enthusiasm. On January 18, 2007, she rhapsodized about the "fluid poetry" of Barack Obama. On May 6, 2008, she gushed, "...I think it says it all that [Michelle Obama's] Secret Service code name is renaissance."
CNN has been airing a video clip today of the President and First Lady trying out some folk dance moves on their trip to India. The scene isn’t necessarily newsworthy, nor does it stand out. The President should be commended for at least trying to entertain the children and performers at a Mumbai high school. It was a fun moment. But McClatchy reporters went a little over the top with their personal dance review (clip below the jump).
They have dubbed it "the Obama Indian Tango."
It might be better known as "How Barack's Wife Got the President's Groove Back."
One of the biggest questions facing President Barack Obama in the wake of the Democrats' Election Day "shellacking" was whether he'd still have that "Yes We Can" charisma that energized people around the world. Apparently, in India, the answer is yes.
If only he had pulled out these dance moves prior to the election, perhaps the Democratic base would have been equally as energized.
Forced movie references aside, the gushing review doesn’t end there…