I don't want to go overboard here, but most of the print establishment press deserves a bit of grudging credit in the Arne Duncan "white suburban moms" controvery.
Most of them aren't characterizing the gutless attempt by Barack Obama's education secretary to back away from his spiteful, condescending, bigoted comment Friday as an apology — because it wasn't. In a Monday post at the Department of Educations's Homeroom blog (how courageous — not), Duncan only admitted that "I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret," and that "I singled out one group of parents when my aim was to say that we need to communicate better to all groups," while repeating many of the tired lies which have accompanied Common Core's imposition from its inception. There was no admission of wrongdoing, and nothing resembling an "I'm sorry." Predictably, Stephanie Simon at the Politico was among those who considered Duncan's dumbness an apology (links are in original; bolds are mine throughout this post):
Today at a press conference, President Barack Obama said that "we’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government ..."
Later, in a cleanup attempt, in what the press is claiming is a walkback, Obama really didn't walk it back: "Listen, it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine. That's the reason I had the press conference. ... what I've been saying consistently over the last year, we've actually seen some good momentum in the private sector. We've seen 4.3 million jobs created -- 800,000 this year alone -- record corporate profits. And so that has not been the biggest drag on the economy." He never pulled back from saying that "the private sector is doing fine." The abject panic at the Associated Press is evident in tonight's report by Ken Thomas and Philip Elliott (HT to a NewsBusters tipster; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
In their recast of reality, it's Mitt Romney whose presidential campaign has been focused on gay rights, not Barack Obama, his administration, his campaign, and the lapdog establishment press which have been obsessed with it for days. As to the 5,400-word hit piece prepared by Jason Horowitz and published in the Washington Post on early Thursday which portrayed an incident Romney says he does not recall during which he allegedly forcibly cut a classmate's hair against his will with the assistance of others -- It's "a news report" about which there are no stated doubts (there are lots of' em). Samples of the AP pair's misdirection and opportunism follow (bolds are mine):
Anyone who saw what the Associated Press wrote when former Bush 43 press secretary Tony Snow died in 2008 (original AP article; related NewsBusters post) knew that the wire service would do what it could to subtly distort Andrew Breitbart's considerable accomplishments in exposing leftist hatred, duplicity, and criminality. The only question was what form(s) it would take.
Not surprisingly, reporters/distorters Philip Elliott and Sue Manning misrepresented or omitted key elements of the three episodes for which Breitbart will be best remembered -- the James O'Keefe-led ACORN stings; Shirley Sherrod, Pigford lawsuit opportunist; and his exposure (so to speak) of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner's sleazy online escapades. The 11:44 a.m. version of their report (saved here for future reference, fair use and discussion purporses) was bad enough. In their 1:56 p.m. revision (saved here), perhaps egged on by the vitriol which has been posted all day at leftist sites, they descended into cheap-shot name-calling adjectives which would rarely if ever be used to describe activist leftists. In his opening hour today, Rush Limbaugh covered some of what happened during the three key episodes; I will expand on them later in the post:
A frequent emailer who happens to be a retired and now-disgusted journalist sent me a link to an Associated Press item by Philip Elliott and which is so over-the-top that you hope that Phil is on the White House payroll. At least then he'd have a justification for a hit piece which might as well have been written by David Axelrod (well, maybe it really was).
By the time I got to "FACT CHECK: GOP field flubs, big and small," Elliott's excretion was far longer. I did find the original elsewhere and want to point to the statement which got my emailer appropriately exercised:
Herman Cain's victory in Saturday's GOP straw poll in Florida didn't become headline news at the Associated Press until after the candidate's Monday morning "Today Show" interview. Earlier today at NewsBusters, Kyle Drennen noted how "Today's" Ann Curry tried to frame the result as some kind of "protest vote."
Having delayed dedicating a story to Cain's victory for roughly 36 hours, the headline in AP's unbylined story this morning was: "GOP's Cain says win in Fla. straw poll not a fluke." In other words, it didn't become news at the wire service until someone else in the media put the candidate on the defensive about the significance of his win, thus avoiding giving him any moment of unvarnished recognition for the good old-fashioned butt-kicking he delivered (37% Cain, 15% Perry, 14% Romney, 11% Santorum, all others under 10%). How convenient.
Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll tonight, winning the votes of 37% of those who participated. No other candidate came within 20 points of Cain.
As of 8:20 p.m., roughly two hours after the result was announced, the Associated Press's Philip Elliott and Kasie Hunt had a blatantly obvious contradiction in their 6:51 p.m. story ("Perry works to show he's strongest GOP contender"; saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes), as seen in this comparison of Paragraph 2 to Paragraphs 12-14 (bolds are mine throughout this post):
The National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association held their annual convention this weekend in Philadelphia, and the keynote speakers were CNN's Don Lemon and NBC's Ann Curry. Their pictures were featured under the motto "Creating a Revolution." The group says it's "working from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues." (That often means censoring conservative views, not just correcting errors.) Comcast, the majority owner of NBC Universal, is a top financial backer of the convention.
The plan was for Curry to be interviewed by Javier Morgado on "How does she see network news evolving?" And "does she believe in the ‘greater good’ of the work that journalists do?" Morgado, a gay activist, spent 11 years at NBC, including five years as Senior Producer at the Today show, and he managed the network's political coverage for the 2004 presidential election and the 2006 midterm elections as Senior Political Editor.
Philip Elliott at the Obama White House's state-compliant wire service reports, and distorts (bolds are mine):
Barbour says Obama cheers for higher gas prices
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a potential presidential contender, accused the Obama administration Wednesday of favoring a run-up in gas prices to prod consumers to buy more fuel-efficient cars.
Barbour cited 2008 comments from Steven Chu, now President Barack Obama's energy secretary, that a gradual increase in gasoline taxes could coax consumers into dumping their gas-guzzlers and finding homes closer to where they work.
At about 3 p.m. Saturday, one version of the reportage from the Associated Press's Philip Elliott concerning the "One Nation" rally in Washington opened as follows (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
Tapping into the same anger that fuels the tea party movement, a coalition of progressive and civil rights groups marched Saturday on the Lincoln Memorial and pledged to support Democrats struggling to keep power on Capitol Hill.
Elliott must have realized he had gone way over the top with that one, as he watered it down a bit an hour later (also saved at host): "Tapping into anger as the tea party movement has done ..."
There are so many problematic items in the establishment press's treatment of yesterday's "One Nation" rally in Washington that it's difficult to know where to begin.
So let's start at the very beginning. Among the many howlers in the coverage is a claim the Associated Press's Philip Elliott pass without response towards the end of his 12:21 p.m Saturday report (saved here at my web host for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes; bold is mine):
One Nation organizers said that they began planning their event before learning about Beck's rally and that their march is not in reaction to it.
It would appear that either Elliott felt that this statement would easily withstand scrutiny, and thus performed none himself, or that he knew better, and let it get into his report anyway.
Given the fact that so-called progressives have been continually monitoring Beck's activities and pronouncements for several years, One Nation's organizers would have to prove that they began substantively "planning their event" before November 21, 2009. Good luck with that.
This goes back eleven days, but the entertainment value is too good to let it slide by without notice.
On the Thursday after Christine O'Donnell defeated Mike Castle in the GOP primary for Delaware's open U.S. Senate seat, the Associated Press's Philip Elliott apparently felt the need to seek out an one-time Republican (or at least that's what he said) -- one of only a very few Republicans whose positions were or have been to the left of Castle's.
That would of course be former Rhode Island senator Lincoln Chafee (pictured at top right). To pick just one example to demonstrate Chafee's liberalism, during 2006 and 2005, his final two years as a Senator, his grades from the Club for Growth came in at 27% and 26%, respectively. Castle's grades in the House during those same two years were 48% and 43%.
Gosh, Phil, was there any doubt over how Chafee would feel about Castle's defeat and O'Donnell's win? Is this news?
Here are a few paragraphs from Elliott's brief report, including a Chafee prediction that may be disproven in 5-1/2 weeks:
In a report time-stamped January 2, the Associated Press's Philip Elliott relayed what was supposedly important news:
Obama cites apparent al-Qaida link in bomb plot
An al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen apparently ordered the Christmas Day plot against a U.S. airliner, training and arming the 23-year-old Nigerian man accused in the failed bombing, President Barack Obama said Saturday.
You don't say?
The story was on the front page of Sunday's Cincinnati Enquirer, and likely many other papers across the nation.
UPDATE, Jan. 1, 2010:This post at BizzyBlog shows that the there was recognition of likely Al Qaeda involvement in two separate press reports based on sources in a position to know on Christmas evening. Thus, the administration's delay in acknowledging that reality was actually three full days.
In their initial December 26 report ("Passengers’ Quick Action Halted Attack") on the attempted terrorist attack on Flight 253, New York Times reporters Scott Shane and Eric Lipton told readers that the "episode .... riveted the attention of President Obama on vacation in Hawaii."
In an article later that day ("Officials Point to Suspect’s Claim of Qaeda Ties in Yemen"), Lipton and Eric Schmitt reported that:
.... officials said the suspect (Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab) told them he had obtained explosive chemicals and a syringe that were sewn into his underwear from a bomb expert in Yemen associated with Al Qaeda.
The authorities have not independently corroborated the Yemen connection .... But a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation said on Saturday that the suspect’s account was “plausible,” and that he saw “no reason to discount it.”
Any reasonable person would say that this second report establishes "reason to believe that there is some linkage" between the suspect and Al Qaeda, and that a "riveted" president would have known that there was "some linkage" by Saturday night. That's why the following opener to a Washington Post item by Anne E. Kornblut dated yesterday is especially hard to take:
The Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times trumpeted the legacy of Ted Kennedy on Wednesday by running headlines which used quotes from notables about the deceased senator without quotation marks. The AP’s report by Glen Johnson and Philip Elliott heralded the President’s superlative about Kennedy without stating it was Mr. Obama’s words: “Obama mourns Kennedy, greatest senator of our time.”
Ari B. Bloomekatz’s entry on the blog of the LA Times highlighted the statement from the Catholic archbishop of the City of Angels: “Cardinal Mahony calls Kennedy a champion of the powerless” (an odd statement from the Cardinal, as Kennedy was a staunch defender of “abortion rights,” and who is more “powerless” than a baby in the womb?)
Reporters and editors at the Washington Post are defensive about new health-care ads mocking President Obama's vacation. In Monday's Washington Post, after disposing with the official line that no news will be made during the time off, reporter Michael D. Shear insisted Obama's vacation was brief, next to those lazy Bushes:
Past presidents have been queasy about time away from the White House, fearing the image of a checked-out president. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs expressed none of that concern last week, saying, "I don't think the American people begrudge a president taking some time with his family that's well earned and well deserved, for a few days to see and spend time with them."
Obama is taking a week off from his day job, far less than some of his predecessors. Former president George H.W. Bush spent weeks at Kennebunkport, Maine. Son George W. Bush did the same at his ranch in Crawford, Tex.
Associated Press reporter Philip Elliott has a new honorific title for President Obama: "Fact-Checker-in-Chief." In a Thursday filing, Elliott suggested Obama apparently has all the facts, and his conservative opponents are the constant myth-spreaders.
On the defensive, Obama is embracing a new role of fact checker-in-chief, trying to correct untrue claims such as that the proposals would provide health care for illegal immigrants, create "death panels" or pay for abortions with taxpayer dollars. Aides say the situation has left Obama exasperated.
This isn’t the first time Elliott has used that flattering lingo. On August 12, he also insisted the president favored facts and his opponents were falsifiers:
Obama assailed "wild misrepresentations" of his health care plan Tuesday during a town hall-style meeting in Portsmouth, N.H., taking on the role of fact-checker-in-chief for his top domestic priority.
The hosannas have already been sung in numerous stories of this variety from earlier in the campaign, but for some reason Babington thought fit to chronicle the cries of adulation from the Illinois senator's faithful followers (emphases mine; h/t e-mail tipster Joe Loiacono):
Only a fraction of the thousands of people who attend Obama's larger rallies manage to touch him. They arrive hours early, stand and cheer during his speech, and then scream, jump and sometimes cry out in joy when he uses both hands to briefly press their arms, hands, fingers.