On Friday, Glenn Kessler at the Washington Post (HT Hot Air) gave "Four Pinocchios" (i.e., a "Whopper") to a statement President Barack Obama made about Senate Republicans' filibuster track record on Wednesday in a speech at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee dinner in Los Angeles.
In the process, Kessler essentially delivered a rebuke to reporters who cover Obama. Every one of them should have recognized that his DCCC claim that "since 2007, they (Republicans) have filibustered about 500 pieces of legislation that would help the middle class" is false. For it to be true, GOP senators would have had to average 68 filibusters per year only of middle-class relevant bills for the past 7-1/3 years. With the Senate being in session an average of just under 112 days per year during the time involved, that' an impossible frequency of more than one every other day. Excerpts from Kessler's critique follow the jump (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Just when it seemed that NBC's Meet the Press couldn't sink any lower, ratings for the last three months of 2013 for the Sunday morning news/interview show fell to its lowest level since the third quarter of 1992. That development has added to the speculation that liberal David Gregory might be on his way out as host.
From October through December, NBC's program came in third place for total viewers -- behind CBS's Face the Nation and ABC's This Week -- and the numbers among viewers in the important demographic from 25 to 54 years of age collapsed to their lowest level in the program's history.
Joe Scarborough is frequently panned in these parts for his propensity to pummel his presumably fellow Republicans. So it's noteworthy when the Morning Joe host goes after the left for a change.
It happened on today's show, when Scarborough defended voter ID laws, saying most Americans don't think it's racist to require a photo ID when you show up to vote. and scalding the left for trying fit to politicians in North Carolina and Texas with symbolic KKK hoods. Scarborough even forced a clearly reluctant Mike Allen of Politico to ultimately acknowledge his point. View the video after the jump.
Imagine that FDR, in his first inaugural, instead of rallying Americans with the notion that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself," had stoked the nation's unease by harping on how bad the Depression was. If Mike Allen had been around in 1933, perhaps he would have defended FDR by writing "there was plenty of unease before the speech, so it's hard to blame the President."
For that is the same approach that the Politico's Allen took in his Playbook this morning in defending President Obama's divisive remarks of yesterday on Trayvon Martin and the Zimmerman trial. Wrote Allen [emphasis added]: "Many conservatives are complaining that the remarks will stoke division and dissension. But there was plenty of that before, so it's hard to blame POTUS." Some might accuse Allen of the soft bigotry of low expectations. More after the jump.
News organizations gotta pay the bills. Nothing's more normal than a newspaper, magazine or website—NewsBusters included—selling advertising, including ads by political or issue-advocacy groups.
But somehow it felt different to have opened my morning email from Mike Allen's "Politico Playbook" and find this message [screencap after jump] at the very top: "POLITICO Playbook, presented by the Rights and Responsibilities Tour by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly." Allen's column often features ads from issue-advocacy groups, ranging across the issue spectrum. But to so identify the column with sponsorship by one side of a controversial political issue would seem to raise serious journalistic issues. More after the jump.
A panel of reporters from the Washington tabloid ganged up on Michele Bachmann on Thursday’s Morning Joe, blasting the Minnesota congresswoman as a “celebrity politician” who will become “irrelevant to politics the moment she steps out of public office.”
Imagine that. Politico has a very negative story on our second-term president.
After over five years during which the online publication has engaged in virtual non-stop fawning over the wonders of Barack Obama -- going all the way back to shortly after its founding in January 2007, when Ben Smith found someone who described him as "frighteningly coherent" -- Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei tonight employed adjectives and described personality traits of their beloved "44" and those surrounding hime which just about anyone with eyes, meaning everyone except all too many members of the establishment press and those who have been deceived by them, has recognized for a long, long time (bolds are mine):
My alternate headline for this item: “NBC’s Today Show on Benghazi: ‘There Are So Many Issues the Country Faces. This Is One of Them.’” That dismissive attitude came from ABC News veteran Mark Halperin, now MSNBC’s senior political analyst who also toils for Time magazine, putting the burden on Republican to make an issue of Obama administration dishonesty on Benghazi.
Failing to see any role for the news media after months of malfeasance, Halperin put the burden on a political party: “I think the events of this week mean Republicans now have a chance to make the case to the American people. There are so many issues the country faces. This is one of them.”
On a day largely devoted to remembering Margaret Thatcher, one of the 20th century's greatest conservatives, would it really have been too much for Morning Joe to have had on at least one conservative guest to discuss her legacy? Apparently, yes.
Morning Joe's lineup of political guests today leaned 100% left: Jon Meacham, Al Hunt, Cokie Roberts, Sen. Tim Kaine, former Obama aides Robert Gibbs and Melody Barnes, Tony Blair, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mayor Michael Nutter, Eugene Robinson, Maureen Orth and Joe Klein. Joe Scarborough sometimes like to boast in such circumstances that his presence more than counterbalances the liberal avalanche. But on the major political issue of the day, gun control, Scarborough was just one more voice among many ripping Republicans for their opposition to President Obama's proposals. More after the jump.
Their disingenuous complaint: The Obama administration supposedly has insurmountable technological and resource edges over the establishment press attempting to cover it. Because of those advantages, VandeHei and Allen claim, in essence (my words, except for the internal quote), "It's not our fault that President Obama is 'a master at limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.' So if you dumb skeptics and conservatives think the problem is media bias, you're wrong. We're powerless against the puppet master." The first four paragraphs of the pair's insufferable dreck, which I believe is all that readers will be able to tolerate, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The mainstream media are attempting to create a self-fulfilling prophecy that Hurricane Sandy has saved Barack Obama's re-election chances.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Thursday, Politico's Mike Allen said, "You're already hearing Republicans hint that if Mitt Romney loses, that he'll blame the storm" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You don't know whether to laugh or cry upon reading the Sunday night shots campaign Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen at Politico took at Mitt Romney and his campaign.
Maybe these guys really believe that the Romney campaign is the one which still desperately needs a "last chance to move the needle in any significant way in the swing states that will decide the election," and that "Obama is slightly better positioned in the states that will dictate the outcome." If they do, my take is that the Romney campaign is playing possum, and the Politico pair, infused with Beltway naiveté and skewed polling data, are gullibly buying it. Several paragraphs from their effort follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Let's see. Who has the bigger problem with Libya and the Middle East? Is it the guy who's in charge with a foreign policy in disarray who has described the first murder of a U.S. ambassador in 33 years a "bump in the road"? Or his presidential campaign challenger Mitt Romney?
If we're to believe Mike Allen, Jim Vandehei, and Politico, it's Romney, where "Romney advisers at odds over Libya" was the only thing visible on my computer screen when I went to the web site's home page at 10 p.m. ET. You have to go almost all the way to the bottom of the home page to see stories about how "at odds" Obama administration advisers have been and still are about the U.S. positions on Libya, terrorism, Israel, and the Middle East during the past several weeks. Several paragraphs from the Romney story, wherein one learns that there really isn't much in the way of conflict, accompanied by yet another round of "the polls say Romney's doomed," follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The gang at Politico is under fire from liberal friends for a piece by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei alleging major newspapers have a pro-Obama, anti-Romney bias. For example, Devin Gordon, a former Newsweek writer who's now a "senior editor" at GQ, lamented "The house position of Politico, as evidenced by this piece, is that they are fair and their chief competition is not. It's a thinly disguised, fundamentally craven argument for Politico's superiority in the world of political coverage."
Unsurprisingly, the newspapers claimed they were fair and balanced in the Dylan Byers followup:
If between now and Election Day unemployment numbers improve, particularly if they dip below the 8% barrier, you know President Obama, with an MSM assist, will be out there pounding his chest about the number of jobs "he created."
But when the unemployment numbers remain weak? Well, that's not Obama's fault. Just ask Mike Allen of Politico. On today's Morning Joe, trying to explain Obama's early campaign stumbles, Allen declared that certain factors, including the bleak job numbers, were "beyond the control" of Obama. View the video after the jump.
With not one Republican primary vote cast yet, we're getting way ahead of ourselves by speculating about whom Mitt Romney might pick as his vice-presidential running mate. But Willie Geist did invite Politico's Mike Allen to make his "bold predictions" for 2012. And Allen delivered, prognosticating that Romney would pick Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman as his ticket-mate.
Mark Halperin strongly seconded Allen's assertion. View the video after the jump.
"Memories, light the corners of my mind. Misty watercolor memories of the way we were." -- Barbra Streisand, The Way We Were
Sober political analysis, or merely an MSMer pining for the good old days of Speaker Pelosi? On Morning Joe today, touting a Politico Pelosi puff piece about her "golden touch,"Mike Allen claimed it was "very possible" that Democrats would retake the House majority in 2012. Video after the jump.
"This is the biggest single Twitter controversy of the campaign. 48,000 mentions!"
That was Mike Allen doing his best "look--a squirrel!" dodge on today's Morning Joe. Pressed by Joe Scarborough as to whether Politico had any more details beyond its story's vague allegation that Herman Cain had made gestures "that were not overtly sexual but that made women uncomfortable," Allen's telling first instinct was to point to the story's popularity on a social networking site. Video after the jump.
Mike Allen of Politico has provided a text-book illustration of how the liberal media can spin a positive into a negative for a Republican. Instead of focusing on the political pluses of Chris Christie's endorsement of Mitt Romney, Allen has twisted the event into a negative that reveals the "very ruthless" efficiency of the Romney campaign. Moreover, if there's a politician around today who thinks for himself, it's Christie. Yet Allen alleges that rather than making a reasoned decision, Christie was "roped" into endorsing Romney.
Allen made his sour-grape remarks on today's Morning Joe. Video after the jump.
One more data point demonstrating the leftward tilt of the purportedly non-partisan Politico:
In his Playbook of today, Politico's chief White House correspondent Mike Allen depicts a "grand bargain" on the credit ceiling, which inevitably would include huge tax increases, as an "historic achievement" for which President Obama and House speaker John Boehner would "rightly get credit."
In contrast, Allen suggests that Republican leaders Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy are refusing a grand bargain out of petty political ambition.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez is expected to be a Democratic contender in the Texas 2012 Senate race. However, when Politico's Mike Allen brought news of his probable candidacy to MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Monday, he omitted the fact that Sanchez commanded the U.S. ground forces in Iraq while the infamous abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison took place.
Sanchez, when he retired from the Army in November of 2006, told a local paper that the Abu Ghraib scandal was "the sole reason" he was forced to retire. The scandal occurred in the summer and fall of 2003, and involved humiliations, beatings, and sexual abuse of prisoners at the hands of U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Sanchez was the commander of coalition forces in Iraq during that time.
MSNBC suspended Keith Olbermann indefinitely … after news broke that he had given the maximum allowable contribution to three Democrats without disclosing it to his employers.
With Olbermann out, MSNBC needed a fill-in, so in steps Chris Hayes, editor of the liberal magazine, The Nation. MSNBC pegged Hayes to fill in for the suspended Countdown host on Friday. His gig was short-lived however.
Several hours after the announcement, Hayes had been dropped. (h/t Weasel Zippers)
For a series of donations to Democratic campaigns in recent years.
Politico's Mike Allen on Monday told Laura Ingraham the only way to do a piece about what Washington insiders are really thinking is to get anonymous opinions from unnamed sources unwilling to go on the record.
Less than 24 hours later, New York Times columnist David Brooks showed Allen how wrong he is in an article about what Republicans are feeling heading into Tuesday's midterm elections complete with the names of those offering opinions:
Politico published another Sarah Palin hit piece on Sunday evening, and much like the last one, authors Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei couldn't find one disparaging source to actually go on the record with his or her negative opinions.
Grabbing the article hot off the presses, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren and her guest Palin trashed "all these brave" faceless people as well as the so-called journalists willing to write hit pieces without any named sources (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Mediaite):
Although it's not clear if Sidney Harman made the best offer of the suitors vying to purchase Newsweek magazine, there is one reason that was made clear by Donald E. Graham, chairman of The Washington Post Co. (NYSE:WPO).
According to Mike Allen at Politico, Harman's bid was accepted by Graham partly because he felt comfortable with Harman's politics.
"Graham felt comfortable with Harman's centrist politics, and was comforted by the idea of selling to a stalwart of the Washington establishment," Allen wrote. "Harman is expected to preserve the serious-minded, essentially New-Democratic tone [outgoing Newsweek editor Jon] Meacham set for the magazine."
But a closer look at Harman's political donations implies there is hardly anything "centrist" about his politics. According to The Center for Responsive Politics' website OpenSecrets.org, the husband of Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., has given generously to Democratic candidates - over $130,000 dating back to 1992.
Mika Brzezinski wants to "cut the crap" when it comes to building speculation as to whether Sarah Palin will run for president in 2012. According to Mika, Palin's candidacy is a done deal, and the press is letting itself be sucked into a phony build-up.
Mika is so sure that Sarah is running that on today's Morning Joe she was willing to wager a dubious Jonathan Capehart $1,000. Brzezinski's comments came in response to Politico's report, highlighted by Mike Allen, that Palin has raised significant money and built a nascent campaign staff.
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: Are we going to go through like months and months of "will she or won't she, oh my gosh, might she?" Come on, can we please cut to the chase? Cut the crap . . . The bottom line is, let's just cut to the chase here: she is . . It's just silly. Are we really going to do this fake build-up like LeBron? . . . You guys have all been in TV too long and you're so used to the fake build-up you don't even know when you've been sucked into it.
During Wednesday's 10AM EST hour on MSNBC, Politico's Mike Allen shared his thoughts on Tuesday's electoral results: "Stop the steamroller. The idea the Republicans were automatically going to be in control going into November, now not true....a Democrat winning the only Democrat-Republican showdown of yesterday in a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. The Republicans should have won."
That despite the fact that the seat has been by Democrats for decades and that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in the district. Allen touted how "the White House is saying this shows that if you fight district by district that you can win. Democrats can win in a tough district if they have a local message."
Anchor Alex Witt then asked Allen about the victory of Rand Paul in the Kentucky senate Republican primary. Allen continued to spin the news as bad for the GOP: "if he makes it to Washington...He's not going to do what the Republican leaders tell him to do, they fought against him."
Allen even claimed the Paul campaign was modeled after that of Barack Obama: "this is a continuation of the trend that we saw with Barack Obama in 2008. He wasn't the establishment candidate....That's what we're seeing in both parties now."
Enraged voters, too dumb to appreciate the purveyors of pork . . .
That was Mike Allen's take on Morning Joe today. Politico's chief political correspondent labelled "absurd" the decision of Utah and Nevada voters not to re-elect Bob Bennett [done deal] and Harry Reid [likely goner]. And why is it such a bad mistake? Because Bennett and Reid are proven pork providers for their states.
Allen offered his analysis in response to Mike Barnicle's suggestion that in the current political climate, bringing home the bacon might actually backfire on politicians.
An earlier version of this blog post incorrectly stated that John Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declined to ask former vice president Al Gore about controversial emails from climate scientists who support the idea of anthropogenic global warming after knowledge of those emails was publicly disclosed.
In fact, the interview with Gore occurred before the emails were public knowledge, therefore Messrs. Harris and Allen could not have asked Gore about them. NewsBusters regrets the error.