On Friday’s The O’Reilly Factor on FNC, as host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace discussed recent comedy directed at President Obama and the First Lady – including a re-dubbed clip of Sesame Street’s Big Bird grilling Michelle Obama from the Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien – Wallace opined that he hopes that there would be more such comedy and that the Obama’s should be treated by comedians like "regular public figures and not as something heaven sent."
He also lambasted the "idiocy" he saw on CNN as the Situation Room recently fact-checked a Saturday Night Live skit that took jabs at President Obama. Wallace: "I mean, here, the idiocy of CNN doing a fact check on Saturday Night Live's send up of Barack Obama, the fact is that is what comedians should do. They should make fun of the people in power."
Later in the show, O’Reilly brought aboard FNC’s Greg Gutfeld -- host of Redeye -- and Juliet Huddy to talk about the "dumbest things of the week," and Gutfeld presented his choice of the CNN fact-check, pointing out CNN’s double standard in its treatment of conservatives: "But they never did this when Will Ferrell went out and did Bush or when Tina Fey did Palin. They never analyzed when Republicans were parodied, but somehow when Barack Obama is parodied, they're shocked. They're incredulous. It's amazing to me."
On Sunday, ABC's George Will uttered an inconvenient truth about Barack Obama that his adoring media have been ignoring since he first threw his hat into the presidential ring in February 2007: his rhetoric is filled with constant references to himself.
To prove the point on the most recent installment of "This Week," Will counted the number of times Mr. and Mrs. Obama used the words "I" and "me" during their speeches in Copenhagen Friday.
The numbers are shocking making it likely in Will's view that the word "vain" is going to eventually attach itself to Obama (video embedded below the fold with transcript):
Those who read the New York Times's coverage of the unsuccessful results of Barack and Michelle Obama's attempt to seal the 2016 Summer Olympics bid for Chicago on Friday afternoon ('For Obama, an Unsuccessful Campaign") might want to read it again.
If it doesn't seem the same, it's because it isn't.
An excerpt of the item's first five paragraphs posted at FreeRepublic at 4:44 Eastern Time on October 2 shows that the article was apparently originally published under the same title with Peter Baker's byline sometime Friday afternoon.
There are even more substantive differences noticed by Weasel Zippers I will get to shortly, but the first five paragraphs alone were obviously worked over, while Jeff Zeleny's name was added to the byline.
After the jump, on the left you will see the original as excerpted at FreeRepublic; on the right are the first five paragraphs currently at the Times web site (saved here at my host for future reference; click here or on the graphic to view a larger side-by-side version in a separate window):
Say what you will about the Obama delegation to the Olympics bid in Denmark, Michelle Obama did not set foot in Europe without Robin Givhan of the Washington Post, frantically running in front of her with baskets of flower petals to scatter lavishly at her diva’s feet.
In the stench of defeat and embarrassment, Givhan on Saturday brought her overbearing pro-Obama spin to both Page One and the front of the Style section. The Style piece was gushier. It was headlined "First Lady's Olympian Effort Falls Short: But Her Impassioned Appeal Earns Plaudits." Let’s start at the story’s end, since its ooze is representative. Each finalist received a "diploma" of appreciation:
The certificate was approximately the size of a large traffic sign and came framed. The only word legible from a distance was "THANKS." President Obama accepted the diploma on behalf of Chicago2016.
The first lady could just as easily have received a gold star.
Urp. Givhan found Michelle outshined her husband and Oprah Winfrey, too:
On Friday, just hours before the International Olympic Committee rejected Barack Obama’s appeal for Chicago to be awarded the 2016 Olympic games, ABC’s Yunji de Nies swore that Michelle Obama and her husband thrilled the crowd. She enthused, "Their work here is done. They are on their way home. The presentation was everything they promised, emotional, heartfelt, energetic."
On Thursday, de Nies prognosticated this about Mrs. Obama’s address to IOC members in Copenhagen: "We're told there won't be a dry eye in the house by the time she's done." Now, video of the First Lady’s address mostly featured shots of Michelle Obama, but there didn’t appear to be any audible wailing and crying in the audience.
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez speculated on the impact of President Obama’s personal appeal for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Chicago: “President Obama arrives in Copenhagen, carrying the torch for Chicago as the best candidate for the 2016 summer Olympics...Will he bring home the gold?” When the announcement came, Chicago was immediately eliminated from contention.
In the report that followed, correspondent Sheila MacVicar declared: “For this Olympic bid, it’s all about celebrity star power and supporters of Chicago’s bid hope President Obama will be the biggest star of all.” An on-screen headline read: “Chicago Hope; Obama Makes Case For 2016 Olympics. ” MacVicar fawned over the first couple’s emotional appeal: “ For Michelle Obama, a very personal story about her own father, who struggled with multiple sclerosis...And from the President, a heartfelt pitch for his adopted hometown.”
MacVicar concluded her report: “And that if Chicago does take it in a very tight race, analysts here say they’ll be calling it the ‘Obama effect.’” Apparently that effect was overrated.
Good Morning America correspondent Yunji de Nies on Thursday touted White House talking points when she highlighted Michelle Obama’s pitch for the 2016 Olympics to be in Chicago. De Nies parroted, "We're told there won't be a dry eye in the house by the time she's done." She was "told" this?
Was she also told that the First Lady would "bring down the house" or that "Michelle will hit a home run?" De Nies was in Copenhagen, covering the lobbying by Mr. and Mrs. Obama and Oprah Winfrey to the International Olympic Committee. De Nies also enthused, "And the President and First Lady will share the stage at that final presentation. We're told that he will focus on the big picture, while she will get very personal. She'll speak from the heart."
NBC's Natalie Morales, on Wednesday's "Today," was bowled over by the First Couple's "tag-teaming" effort to lure the Olympics to their home city of Chicago. Reporting live from Copenhagen, Morales cheered that "it doesn't get any better in terms of PR blitzes than this," and effused the First Lady was "turning on the charm, as only she can."
"Today" co-anchor Matt Lauer introduced the segment touting the "star-studded campaign" led by the Obamas and Oprah Winfrey, as Morales called that combo a "one, two, three punch" that would require "a secret weapon," for the likes of other competing countries, like Brazil and Japan, to counter. Morales ended her report noting "the glitz will be on once again in full," as the First Lady is expected appear at a gala, that Morales giddily wished to attend: "I'm hoping I get a red carpet ticket today, at least, for that event."
The following segment was aired on the October 1, "Today" show:
With First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey now in Copenhagen, CBS anchor Katie Couric on Wednesday night declared “the 'Dream Team' pushing Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympic summer games is nearly complete” and is now just awaiting “the team captain” -- that would be President Barack Obama, who “arrives Friday ahead of the final vote.”
On ABC, reporter Yunji de Nies marveled at her discovery that members of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) are not as impressed by President Obama as are those in the American press corps: “Even the prospect of meeting President Obama on Friday leaves some of them unfazed.” She then showed a clip of herself asking an unidentified man: “So, you're not impressed by the President?” The man, who per a scan of the IOC site's pictures most-resembles Japan's Chiharu Igaya, confirmed: “Never, never.”
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith spoke with Christopher Anderson, author of Barack and Michelle: Portrait of An American Marriage, and wondered: "I’m starting to read this book and there’s a lot of quotation marks....I wonder, sometimes – this one to me feels like it’s on a little thin ice. Why is that?"
The book focused on some difficult moments in the Obama marriage, as Anderson explained: "And I have to say that it’s very interesting because the strains in their marriage, they’ve been very open about. During the period when he was in the Senate, the state Senate, in Illinois, he said it was a dark time in their marriage. He was angry all the time." Smith responded: "But these – here’s what – it’s disconcerting to me because as I started to read this and all these quotation marks, I felt, well, this reads – this looks more like a novel than nonfiction."
In contrast, Smith was not at all skeptical when discussing a tell-all book about President George W. Bush by former press secretary Scott McClellan. On the May 29, 2008 Early Show Smith proclaimed that the memoir, which claimed the Bush administration lied about the Iraq War, "actually confirms what a lot of people have come to believe, though, about the Bush Administration, that truth was secondary to policy and politics."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante highlighted President Obama’s latest media blitz on health care reform and touted a new piece of the PR arsenal: "The President does have a new partner in his nonstop effort to sell health care, it’s the First Lady....Michelle Obama will be more like a stealth weapon in the battle for health care, giving it a softer touch."
Plante further explained the logic behind using the First Lady to promote ObamaCare: "With a favorable rating of around 70%, well above her husband’s, and the background of a hospital executive, Michelle Obama will counter balance her husband’s hard sell." A clip was played of Politico’s Nia-Malika Henderson exclaiming: "They feel like she can give a different voice, because as you can see, a lot of the folks out there are very partisan." Unlike Michelle Obama’s completely non-partisan approach.
Correspondent Richard Quest made a frivolous attempt to tie the bad economy to men’s fashion on CNN’s Newsroom program on Tuesday. Quest proclaimed that pinstriped business suits are “old-fashioned...and out of touch with reality....because they are the pinstripe of bankers.” He continued that if you wore such attire, “you may be mistaken for one of those bankers reaping bonuses.”
Anchor Kyra Phillips introduced the CNN correspondent just before the bottom of the 1 pm Eastern hour, noting that “the global financial crisis has taken a toll everywhere, including men’s suits. That old business stand by, the pinstripe- well, it’s being hit especially hard.” Phillips turned to Quest, who immediately started joking around with his colleague. One might have guessed that Jeanne Moos, the network’s usual purveyor of light reports, was away on a late summer vacation, so they got the British correspondent to stand in for her.
Are you tired of all the focus on what Michelle Obama wears?
Well, the good folks at the "Today" show certainly aren't, for they spent a lot of time this week discussing whether or not the First Lady was dressed appropriately when she got off Air Force One Sunday on her way to the Grand Canyon.
As the nation grapples with such important issues as the ongoing recession and healthcare reform, NBC's morning show actually spent TWO DAYS days talking about Michelle's shorts.
In case you missed it, here are some of the gushing highlights (videos embedded below the fold with full transcripts):
NBC's Matt Lauer, on Wednesday's "Today" show, invited on conservative columnist and author Michelle Malkin to discuss several topics ranging from Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arrest to Malkin's critique of Michelle Obama, but when the subject of only one Republican voting for Sonia Sotomayor in the Senate Judiciary committee came up, Lauer wondered if that would hurt the GOP with Hispanics as he queried: "After the, the last election it was said that the Republicans need to broaden the tent, they need to reach out to minorities. Reach out to Hispanics. Is that, are those six 'no' votes gonna hurt Republicans down the road?"
Lauer also expressed incredulity that Malkin dared to "take on," the First Lady as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about your book. In it -- I mean clearly we know by the co-, we know by the title where it goes – you take on Michelle Obama-
MICHELLE MALKIN: I certainly do.
LAUER: -in this book. You call her the "First Crony."
The Washington Post’s Style section conducted a survey of who could fill the most-trusted void left behind by Walter Cronkite. A series of liberal-media heroes were named: Brian Williams, Bill Moyers, Jim Lehrer, Barbara Walters, Fareed Zakaria, Garrison Keillor, and Jon Stewart. But several people skipped the media stars and selected the Obamas. ABC Nightline correspondent Vicki Mabrey nominated Michelle as a Cronkite replacement: "Rosie the Riveter for our times in a designer gown. You just want to be her best friend forever."
Mabrey rarely covers politics, although she did report on Gov. Sarah Palin’s resignation on July 6, and suggested the governor’s speech was "just plain rambling." Before joining ABC in 2005, she worked for CBS for 13 years. Several media stars were nominated more than once:
Jon Stewart. "He's got no agenda. His agenda is to get to the bottom of everyone's [baloney]. " -- Seth Hurwitz, co-owner of 9:30 club.
She has become one of the Obama administration's most visible surrogates on health care, announcing the release of $851 million in federal financing for health clinics, calling for tougher nutritional standards in the government's school lunch program and urging Democrats to rally around the president's efforts to revamp health care.
The high-profile emissary? Not Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, or Nancy-Ann DeParle, the White House health policy adviser. It is the first lady, Michelle Obama.
The way the Associated Press is fawning over Michelle Obama and her supposed sense of fashion, you would almost think they were talking about Carla Bruni who really does dress quite elegantly and oozes glamor. To add to this absurdity, the AP also went out of its way to paint the Russian First Lady as frumpy. Um, advice to AP personnel; don't expect the Russians to go out of their way to help you in your stories in that country after that gratuitous slam on the wife of their president. First let us watch the AP's Catrina Stewart act dazzled over the "superstar glamor" of Michelle Obama:
MOSCOW (AP) - Michelle Obama brings her superstar glamor to Moscow this weekend as she accompanies her husband on his summit with the Russian president.
But the American first lady, who has wowed publics in the U.S. and Europe with her easy elegance and charm, will perhaps face a bigger challenge in winning over a Russian public that has scant respect for women who grab the limelight from their powerful husbands.
Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz reported Thursday on black females on the Michelle Obama beat, and whether their shared race and gender produces gauzier coverage. "Indeed, most write with enthusiasm, in some cases even admiration, about the first lady as a long-awaited role model for black women." Kurtz found:
"Without a doubt, I identify with her as a brown-skinned African American woman," [Newsweek’s Allison] Samuels says. "Now we have Michelle and see her as a mother, a lawyer, a wife, and she's doing it fabulously." Samuels got to interview Obama during the campaign and "we had a girlfriend-to-girlfriend moment. We did connect."
Post writer Robin Givhan, one of the most syrupy writers on the Michelle beat, tried to suggest "news" wins out:
"We all bring the full depth of our experiences to the facts we emphasize, the questions we ask, the stories that get us excited," says Givhan, who was a year behind Obama at Princeton, although their paths did not cross. "But in the end, news is news."
USA Today’s Maria Puente has proven herself to be a eager member of the Michelle Obama Fawn Club. Wednesday’s Life section advertised again that the First Lady enjoyed a "meteoric rise as a fashion icon." This time, Puente celebrated new books oozing over Michelle. The story began:
A chic sheath dress in a bold color — that is the unmistakable Michelle Obama look, one she has made her own as first lady of the United States, according to two new books celebrating Obama's fashion sense.
Her image is everywhere you look these days: Last week, Obama was given a Board of Directors' Special Tribute Award by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, which noted her "meteoric rise as a fashion icon." Last month, she was in Paris, where she once again shone next to super-chic French first lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy.
ABC's Robin Roberts conducted two fawning interviews with Michelle Obama on Tuesday and repeatedly reminded viewers that the First Lady would be tending to the White House garden as soon as the segment was completed. Roberts breathlessly explained, "I caught up with Michelle Obama for an exclusive interview as she was heading outside to work in the White House garden..."
In a second Good Morning America piece, Roberts reiterated, "Again, I talked to her right before she was about to tend to the White House Garden." After discussing healthy living and childhood obesity, the GMA co-host cheered, "And she was casually dressed because she was literally heading out to the garden there at the White House that she planted with kids from a local elementary school..."
The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan goes all gooey for Michelle Obama again at the top of the Style section on Friday, comparing the First Lady to Clair Huxtable, or as explained by the caption under their pictures: "As portrayed by Phylicia Rashad, Clair Huxtable was an accomplished yet down-to-earth figure. In Michelle Obama, the nation now has another symbol of success and style." Givhan writes with an admiration so dazzled that you worry she’s going to faint:
She serves as a symbol of middle-class progress, feminist achievement, affirmative-action success and individual style. And she has done all this on the world stage...while being black.
Time and again, observers grasp for adjectives to describe Obama's combination of professional accomplishment and soccer-mom maternalism. It's no wonder so many eye her with awe and disbelief. Or why a minority still view her with suspicion. There have been few broad cultural precedents for what she represents.
The CBS Early Show continued its usual fawning over Michelle Obama as co-host Harry Smith declared: "They couldn't come from more diverse backgrounds. One grew up in Chicago. The other grew up with a silver spoon...this new royal odd couple, the First Lady and the Queen."
Correspondent Sheila MacVicar reported on the First Lady’s relationship with the Queen: "It’s a friendship that began in April with this encounter between Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and Mrs. Obama. A meeting so congenial that at a later reception, as they apparently compared their shoes, the two embraced. That meeting ended with a request from Her Majesty that the First Lady keep in touch. And apparently she has, by letter and phone."
MacVicar went on to describe Michelle Obama’s latest visit with the Queen while in Europe last week: "They spent three hours in the palace and its gardens, including the Queen's new vegetable patch. That's one interest both share. And that is forging a new friendship, helping to keep the trans-Atlantic relationship very warm indeed. In fact, a source with excellent royal connections tells CBS News that the Queen has told members of her family that she adores Michelle Obama and that she hopes she gets to see her again soon."
On Wednesday, the Early Show continued its obsession with the Obamas’ recent date nights as co-host Julie Chen exclaimed: "If Barack and Michelle Obama can find time for each other, why can’t you? We’re going to hear why it is a good idea to follow the President’s lead."
Earlier, co-host Maggie Rodriguez similarly declared: "We want to encourage everybody in America to bring back, or start, date night. Because if the Obamas can do it, so can we." Correspondent Hattie Kauffman later reported: "It took a couple of helicopters, a private jet, and a limo, but President Obama recently took the First Lady to dinner and a show in New York. Over the weekend, a rendevous in Paris. They may be the busiest couple in America, but the Obamas still manage to pull off date night."
Kauffman got reaction from one married couple: "The Larsens have been married 50 years and they still go out on dates. They say the Obamas are setting a good example." However, Kauffman did have some criticism: "Sure the Obamas will always have Paris, but have they set the bar too high?" Kauffman concluded her report by declaring: "Air Force One may not be available for your weekend retreat, but it's the time spent together that's priceless."
On Monday, correspondent Richard Roth gave a glowing report on President and Michelle Obama in Paris: "The big tourist treat in Paris this weekend was for the tourists treated to a sight of the Obamas driving by. For the President and First Lady, the treat may have been a European reprise of their date night in New York a week ago."
Reporting for the Early Show, Roth also emphasized the idea that no one in Paris was "inconvenienced" by the Obamas’ visit: "Other tourists at the Eiffel Tower Friday night were surprised when the First Lady and the Obama girls turned up, but not much inconvenienced...And no whining, at least certainly not in public, though what's to complain about when the Pompidou Center’s been opened, especially for a presidential family viewing of modern art and the day's capped with a bit of shopping at a Left Bank children's boutique."
Following Roth’s report, fill-in co-host Debbye Turner Bell showed how impressed she was with the President’s romantic getaway, remarking: "My husband’s got a lot of explaining to do." Co-host Russ Mitchell jokingly added: "If you’re a guy and your name is not Barack Obama, this is not good news. There’s nothing good about this." Bell agreed: "The bar has been raised." Later, weatherman Dave Price concluded: "No, you know what? I think it's great. I said it before. You know, whether it would be President Bush or another president, I think it's great. You know, you try and have some semblance of a – of a relationship or a family life."
The good folks at National Review are absolutely skewering Newsweek's disgraceful Obama fixation with a delicious parody of the magazine including "New, improved, andlonger articles extolling the First Family!" (h/t Hot Air, larger picture below the fold):
This isn’t your father’s business and financial weekly.
Looking for ten successful companies? Then look no further than the main story of the June 1 edition of “Barron’s.” With Michelle Obama splashed on the front cover, “Barron’s” created the “The Michelle Index,” a list of ten companies that “offer superior value.” The list is named in honor of Obama, “whose championing of brands that offer good value reflects a nationwide trend.”
It should come as no surprise that a business publication would display business sense get it’s share of the Michelle Obama love-fest. From the time her husband took office in January to March 10, she appeared on seven magazine covers, and there have been more since then. This was the same person, after all, who became the first person to share a cover on Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, “O”.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen mentioned President Obama taking the First Lady on a date night to New York City over the weekend: "The President and First Lady had a long-planned night out in New York City on Saturday, doing dinner and Greenwich Village and taking in the Broadway show, ‘Joe Turner's Come and Gone’" Co-host Maggie Rodriguez commented on the restaurant the first couple went to: "Blue Hill, down in Greenwich Village. It’s a wonderful restaurant." Co-host Harry Smith added: "Probably impossible to get a reservation now, right?"
Later, Rodriguez explained the "long-planned" excursion: "...this is something that he [Obama] promised her, apparently, when he was on the campaign, ‘I'm going to take you out on a date night in New York City.’" Guest co-host Amanda Holden, judge of the talent show ‘Britain’s Got Talent,’ remarked: "Oh, that’s so sweet." Rodriguez agreed: "I know, it is sweet." Holden went on: " They’re such a good looking couple, aren’t they? Fantastic." Rodriguez again agreed: "They’re beautiful."
Chris Matthews, on Monday's "Hardball," was outraged at the RNC's criticism of the Obamas wasting taxpayer money to go see a Broadway play as he railed that it was a "jealous, pathetic swipe at the First Couple," and remarked "What a jealous, little political party the Republicans have become." Matthews also took a shot at former President George W. Bush as he contrasted Obama's tastes with Bush's as he claimed the problem he and others had with Bush was his, "Utter disdain for any kind of thought or culture. His total lack of curiosity toward anything beyond his own backyard." Matthews then questioned if the GOP attack was made out of "jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism?"
MATTHEWS: Well let's get this straight. President Bush's jaunts to Crawford, Texas were okay by their lights, but President Obama's day trips to New York are cause for outrage? This is the kind of pissant criticism that makes you wonder why Michael Steele still has his job. Is this jealousy or simple nincompoop anti-intellectualism? Whatever it is I like having a president who takes his wife up to Broadway. [audio available here]
The following are all of Matthews' teasers and then his anti-RNC rant as it occurred during the "Sideshow," segment of his June 1, edition of "Hardball":
To a man with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. To a community organizer, every citizen looks like a victim entitled to someone else's money.
The Obama campaign and administration has proved that again and again. But both the president and his wife put a fine point on it with commencement addresses this month. (Joe Biden also gave one, but it's a safe bet that nobody - Joe least of all - knew what he was talking about.) To the Obamas, grads should opt for the virtue of what Michelle has called "helping" careers, and eschew the vice and corruption of the private sector.
NBC's Matt Lauer and Al Roker, on Tuesday's "Today" show, revealed they enjoyed a "nice" evening at the theater last night, in the presence of Michelle Obama, as she "dazzled New York City for a second time," when she visited the Metropolitan Opera House. After an Amy Robach piece that celebrated Mrs. Obama's return to the Big Apple, Roker and Lauer bragged that they too were in attendance at the American Ballet Theater Spring Gala, along with the First Lady, as Roker gushed: "It was fantastic!"
For her part Robach joined in the Obama family myth-making as she cheered, "Everyone takes notice when the First Lady is out on the town here in the Big Apple and Monday was no exception." Robach, in her piece, even included several soundbites from a delighted New York Times' Jodi Kantor who enthused: "You look at the kind of parties that the Met hosts and if you look at the top ballet galas in New York they always have big celebrities there, but Mrs. Obama is a different order of magnitude."