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…
According to MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell, Michelle Obama "never said that she had not been proud of her country." The cable host on Friday spun for the First Lady while reporting on a speech Sarah Palin gave in California.
In fact, on February 18, 2008, Mrs. Obama addressed a crowd in Wisconsin and announced, "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I'm really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change." [See video. MP3 audio here.]
On Thursday, Palin wondered, "You know, when I hear people say or had said during the campaign, that they had never been proud of America until, until that time, I think haven't they met anybody in uniform yet?" This prompted O'Donnell, during a supposedly straight news report, to chide, "Of course, Mrs. Obama never said that. She never said that she had not been proud of her country."
“Star power: Three megawatt political giants hit the campaign trail,” Diane Sawyer touted at the top of Tuesday’s World News, focusing on “First Lady Michelle Obama now joining former President Bill Clinton and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the power hitters on the campaign trail.” Yet, ABC advanced the hope Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton offer Democratic election prospects, while treating Sarah Palin as an after-thought and painting her as just a self-promoter, all before a giddy Sawyer turned to George Stephanopoulos to expound on Bill Clinton’s brilliance: “Let's talk about former President Clinton's advice to President Obama – is he going to take it?”
Jonathan Karl relayed “we learn on a day that the White House also announced that the First Lady is about to hit the campaign trail. The White House calls her the ‘Closer.’ And with time running out for congressional Democrats, they're sending her in.” Plus, “former President Bill Clinton is out on the campaign trail, too, and now he's offering the President some free advice” to ask voters to give Democrats two more years and only vote them out in 2012 if they fail to deliver.
It's tough being the wife of the most powerful man in the world, just ask Michelle Obama. Carla Bruni, who seemed to reveal her distaste for the First Lady in previous pictures, reveals Michelle's whiny comments in her recent book [Aside: why is a sitting world leader's spouse writing a tell-all? What tawdriness.]
Washington Post fashion reporter Robin Givhan, best known to many as Michelle Obama's worshipful accessory to fashion, lectured Sunday to the dumpy masses of America. As most U.S. citizens have "blighted" the landscape in horrid summer clothes, they should really honor the First Lady for knowing how to dress on vacation -- even if Mrs. Obama is wearing a French-designer top that most likely cost upwards of $500 as she took taxpayers for a ride with a fancy Spanish vacation.
First lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House last week after spending her summer vacation walking the fine fashion line between comfortably casual and utterly camera-ready. Her travel attire served as a wake-up call to all those American tourists who have blighted the national landscape with their ill-fitting shorts, sad-sack T-shirts and aggressively revealing tank tops: You can do better.
Is Ed Schultz determined to make his mark as the dumbest man in media? Hardly a day passes without the lib radio host and MSNBC action hero providing more fodder for the premise.
On his radio show Monday, Schultz rushed to the defense of first lady Michelle Obama for criticism of her winging off to an opulent Spanish resort hotel during -- as Schultz and other liberals oft remind us -- the worst economy since the Great Depression.
Here's Schultz defending Mrs. Obama after first talking about a campaign ad that mocks House Minority Leader John Boehner as an out-of-touch elitist golfer (click here for audio) --
The press won't go there because, well, they love President Barack Obama and this story, accurately reported, is painful. I haven't gone there because I don't really care what's going on between President Obama and his wife. President Clinton defiling the Oval office concerned me because his actions were a big f-u to the American people and showed blatant disrespect to the office and the country. Michelle being pissed off at Barack Obama? Eh, who isn't? Also, Michelle being a petty, selfish woman? Also not news. If reports are to be believed, Michelle Obama is the reason America has the shining tower of intelligence Joe Biden instead of Hillary Clinton. Petty. They're two of a kind.
Still and all, this story has become more newsworthy as the scope and cost of Michelle's trip to Europe has dribbled out. Mickey Kaus says:
So Michelle Obama vacations in Spain with her daughter and a huge posse, leaving her husband alone on his birthday and undermining his party's political chances (bad recession ‘optics'). This is the sort of story on which I suspect there are three levels of perception:
"Uncomfortable" was the word of the day at Morning Joe when it came to discussing Michelle Obama's decision to go on a luxurious Spanish vacation in the midst of a recession—and to miss celebrating her husband's birthday with him to boot.
Chuck Todd didn't go into details, but NBC's clearly ill-at-ease political director suggested: that this was a "private decision" by the First Lady; that it wouldn't have made any difference what Pres. Obama's political advisors would have said; and that "you get the sense here that there was something more to this" than pure politics.
Joe Scarborough reinforced Todd's message: "this is part of a bigger narrative, isn't it, about Michelle Obama?"
In contrast, Mark Halperin seemed eager to get off the touchy topic. When Scarborough asked him about it, Halperin parried with a question to Todd about the positive cards the White House has to play.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: the First Lady is spending beaucoup bucks on lavish vacations while the country is mired in what her husband calls the worst economic slowdown since the Great Depression!
Michelle Obama today faced a fresh wave of attacks over her lavish break in Spain with 40 friends, which could easily cost U.S. taxpayers a staggering £50,000 a day. The First Lady has been lambasted for her extravagance at a time when the economy is still struggling. One blogger went so far as to brand her a modern-day Marie Antoinette. And her critics will be further annoyed when they learn that the president's wife had a Spanish beach closed off today so that she, her daughter and their entourage could go for a swim.
Conservative talk-show host and The Obama Diaries author Laura Ingraham appeared to promote her book Wednesday night on The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Fake-conservative Stephen Colbert suggested the Republicans didn’t have a visible agenda. But he really went after Ingraham in claiming it was somehow one of “the most hideous, hackneyed racial stereotypes” to joke that Michelle Obama ate baby back ribs.
What? All those Chili’s “I want my baby back, baby back, baby back” ads were only designed for black customers? Obviously, there are more hackneyed culinary stereotypes than that. Ingraham was clearly trying to mock how Eat Right Michelle (if you’re not lost in one of those “food deserts”) probably pigs out on less healthy food in private. Colbert ripped the author’s “diaries” as horribly written (Video below the cut):
COLBERT: What are the odds that Barack Obama’s private musings would completely and perfectly match up with the narrative the right is trying to push about him?
Appearing on The View, the president explained to Barbara Walters that he chose to come on the program because it's a show Michelle actually watches. According to PBO, the First Lady is "like eh" about news shows, grabbing the clicker [see screencap after jump] and turning away from them.
Was it really necessary for the President to dis his wife's interest in current events to explain his presence on the show? Somehow I sense that a Republican president saying something similar would come in for a heap of feminist criticism. Transcript after the jump.
Willie Geist introduced the segment on today's Morning Joe.
Almost from the moment Barack Obama declared he would run for president in 2007, our enraptured media elite has been accusing anyone who would stand in Obama’s way with racism. The question was never whether Obama was ready to govern the country, but whether the country was ready for the historic awesomeness of Obama.
Pity the NAACP. We now have a black president, and they must convince (racist) America that there still exists the need for a national association to advance “colored people” in our society. How to do it? Identify and condemn as “racists” anyone or any group opposed to Barack Obama.
Apparently you cannot sincerely oppose a crushing tax burden, a useless “stimulus” bill, ObamaCare, or any other element of his socialist agenda without being tagged as a bigot.
Jeffrey Zaslow of The Wall Street Journal reported on political gaffes on Wednesday, and as an expert he brought on Obama-loving former Republican Michael Smerconish. Unsurprisingly, Smerconish bashed Ann Coulter and forgave Michelle Obama as he discussed his "Muzzle Meter" and the severity of scandalous words:
We've become a culture that is unforgiving when it comes to poor word choice, says syndicated radio host Michael Smerconish. "We're far too thin-skinned, starting federal investigations every time someone says something stupid." He blames political partisanship and a 24/7 media looking for "gotcha" moments. Web sites such as TMZ.com, Politico.com, Gawker.com and TheSuperficial.com traffic in verbal gaffes.
Mr. Smerconish, a lifelong Republican who this year announced he is now an independent, has developed a "Muzzle Meter," asking listeners to help him measure, on a scale of 1 to 10, whether poor word choices are innocent mistakes (a 1 or a 2) or were said with malice (a 9 or a 10).
One of the most popular stories at Yahoo! News on Monday featured Daisy Cuevas, the Peruvian girl who told Michelle Obama her mother was an illegal immigrant. In a story with no space for border-enforcers, AP reporter Carla Salazar relayed that the girl is famous in Peru, and Peru's president sounds just like Mexico's president in lecturing Arizona:
Daisy, meanwhile, has become a celebrity in Peru. "I'm really proud that a young girl of Peruvian origin is highlighting the enormous problem with Latin American immigration in the United States," President Alan Garcia told reporters last week.
He said it would be scandalous if her parents were deported. "Do you know how much President Obama and Mrs. Michelle Obama would stand to lose?" he said. Garcia called the Arizona law a "completely irrational response" to the illegal-immigration question, and said he would express his thoughts on the matter to President Obama during his visit to Washington.
The Federal Communications Commission is assigned the duty of enforcing broadcast decency provisions of the Communications Act of 1934. But Barack Obama’s FCC seems to think the indecency-discouraging mission of the FCC is as outdated as Glenn Miller, even as the airwaves sound more like Ozzy Osbourne.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is an aggressive regulator, thumbing his nose at a recent court decision that underlined he has no statutory authority for his power lust to rein in Internet service providers. Feeling no need to wait for a Democratic Congress to grant him that authority, Genachowski is planning to reclassify broadband providers as telecommunications companies, so he can gain new powers to “protect consumers” and “save” the World Wide Web.
Meanwhile, indecency on the broader band of broadcast TV – which Genachowski is bound by law to enforce – is being utterly ignored. Seth MacFarlane, the super-wealthy spoiled man-child of Fox Entertainment, has clearly read the tea leaves, and is flaunting the FCC directly.
Never missing a chance to highlight events that make Team Obama seem to be loveable characters, ABC and NBC on Thursday night showcased endearing and cuddly moments with Joe Biden and First Dog Bo. You can decide which one is endearing and which one is cuddly.
ABC’s Diane Sawyer took time to marvel at how “we heard on The View today that it was the President who told” Joe Biden “we heard” Biden calling “the health care reform a big you know what deal” when “of course he didn't know that his microphone was so sensitive,” and NBC’s Brian Williams showed video of Bo barking at First Lady Michelle Obama:
If you're a dog owner, then you know there are times when they want your attention and they do not like that you're talking to other people or doing something else. It only means that you are not loving them at that given moment. Well, that's pretty much what happened today with the Obama's dog Bo while the First Lady was talking about her life and her job with some visiting students.
(Later, Williams featured a full story on Google's “earth-friendly lawn care” solution -- goats -- as Anne Thompson gushed “this is one time speed doesn't matter at Google as it opts for an animal footprint instead of a carbon one.”)
MSNBC's Savannah Guthrie on Thursday conducted a sycophantic interview with Michelle Obama, urging the First Lady to complain about the "uglier side" of the health care debate. The Daily Rundown co-host sympathetically asked, "There was a lot of vitriol, some pretty hateful things said. And I wondered what your feeling was about that?" [Audio available here.]
Guthrie continued, "Was it hard to stand by and listen to some of that?" Offering the First Lady another softball, she reiterated, "Hearing some of the uglier side of it, did that make you angry?"
The questions didn't get any tougher. Discussing Barack Obama's coming Supreme Court nomination, Guthrie prompted, "You're a Harvard-educated lawyer. Do you think there should be more gender balance, gender equity on the court?" Many of the queries were so vague as to barely qualify as questions: "Do you feel like you have to avoid controversy? Do you feel like you have to edit yourself?"
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night managed to contain to a brief item their enthusiasm for First Lady Michelle Obama planting her garden for the season, but not CBS which dedicated a full story to how the hula-hooping First Lady “is enjoying the kind of popularity her husband would jump through hoops for.”
Employing some creative puns playing off the gardening theme, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric plugged the upcoming topic: “The First Lady planting a garden and harvesting a bumper crop of good will.” And on CBSNews.com: “Michelle Obama Blooms in the White House; Back in the White House Garden, the First Lady's Popularity is Already Growing by the Bushel.” On air, Couric set up the story:
It is spring and Michelle Obama was back in her White House garden today. Nancy Cordes tells us one thing that is already growing is the First Lady's popularity.
Cordes recounted how “her approval ratings stand at 78 percent, higher than her recent predecessors at similar points in their husband's presidencies. She has settled on a signature issue: childhood obesity,” used “her clout to chide grocery manufacturers” and even partook in “hula-hooping to show children how easy it is to get exercise.”
It's gooey enough that Newsweek awarded Michelle Obama its cover story this week, titled "Feed Your Children Well: My Fight Against Childhood Obesity." On Wednesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams added to the popularity-boosting effort by determining that she is not anti-Twinkie:
BRIAN WILLIAMS: On the same subject, first lady Michelle Obama today continued her campaign against childhood obesity in this country. She's on the cover of Newsweek this week, as you may know. And today the magazine's editor Jon Meacham asked her, in fighting the obesity epidemic, would she go so far as to put warning labels on products like Twinkies and Froot Loops?
MICHELLE OBAMA: That strikes me as extreme because, you know, a Twinkie is not a cigarette. You know? And what, you know, what parents need is just information about what's in the Twinkie and, `How much of this can we eat?' It's not that we can't have a Twinkie, you know? And our kids would be pretty upset.