While NBC, ABC, and CBS have censored coverage of the ongoing IRS scandal for weeks – even as new revelations have moved it higher up the rungs of the Obama administration – on Wednesday and Thursday, the networks all eagerly hyped 40-year-old tapes of President Richard Nixon discussing the Watergate scandal. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps the most infuriating was NBC, which hasn't touched the IRS story in 56 days, sending correspondent Peter Alexander to the lawn of the Obama White House to report on the decades-old Nixon recordings for Thursday's Today: "39 years have now passed since President Nixon abruptly resigned. Still, his life fuels our fascination. And these tapes, more than 340 hours worth, give us an unparalleled window into an unprecedented time of presidential turmoil." If only there was some current "presidential turmoil" Alexander could cover.
Not surprisingly, conservative columnist Pat Buchanan is not pleased with Republicans talking about agreeing to an immigration reform bill that ends up being another amnesty without closing the border.
On the Laura Ingraham Show Tuesday, Buchanan equated it to Neville Chamberlain giving Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler.
Woody Harrelson, during an interview with Details magazine, admitted to being "an absolute moron" during his carefree Cheers days; this came after telling his questioner that Barack Obama is like Richard Nixon because Nixon escalated the Vietnam War:
How worried should President Obama be when he loses the likes of Al Hunt?
On today's Morning Joe, discussing the James Rosen outrage, Hunt called President Obama "no better than Richard Nixon" when it comes to the press. He then strongly suggested that Attorney General Eric Holder should go. View the video after the jump.
Sometimes it's what they neglect to mention that's more revealing than that was.
Disgraced former CBS anchorman Dan Rather, now broadcasting from obscure AXS TV on the high triple-digit end of the cable dial, told Rachel Maddow of an incident back when he was a reporter devoted to hounding Richard Nixon. (Video after page break).
Thursday's CBS This Morning did its best to shift blame away from President Obama on the IRS, Justice Department, and Benghazi scandals currently surrounding his administration. Bob Schieffer shot down comparisons to the Watergate scandal that led to former President Richard Nixon's resignation: "This is not the Nixon administration, where you had burglars and people talking about blowing up the Brookings Institution. This is more of a case – is anybody home?" [audio available here; video below the jump]
Anchor Charlie Rose seconded Schieffer's assessment, asserting that the President "seems like a bystander in his own government." He later stated that "the President has to take control of his own government."
"President Barack H. Obama’s outrageous seizure of the Associated Press’s phone records, allegedly to discover sources of leaks, should surprise no one...He is fast becoming the worst national security press president ever, and it may not get any better."
So wrote James Goodale Tuesday, the attorney who defended the New York Times against President Richard Nixon in the famous Pentagon Papers trial.
When it comes to investigative reporters, how do you change a bulldog into a lapdog? Easy: change the occupant of the Oval Office from a Republican into a Democrat.
Witness Carl Bernstein's pitiful performance on today's Morning Joe. The man who teamed with Bob Woodward to bring down Richard Nixon now credulously claims that he "can't imagine" that President Obama is possibly involved in the IRS targeting of conservative groups. Bernstein instead blames the "hyper-partisanship" in Washington. Yeah, cause politics were so kumbaya in 1972, Carl. View the video after the jump.
That's right -- not just Nixon ... Nixon and Bush. Can vilification from the left get much worse than that?
Cornel West continues to demonstrate why parents might want to think better of sending their children to Princeton, where West purportedly teaches when he isn't gushing over hip-hop and engaging in arcane rants over the airwaves. (audio clips after page break)
When George McGovern died at 90 over the weekend, liberals were guaranteed to remember him as if 1972 were yesterday. Slate’s Ron Rosenbaum wrote an article titled "George McGovern was a winner: His 1972 campaign was the most lopsided loss in presidential history. But this man was no loser.”
Rosenbaum wants to run through the potentialities that could have led to a glorious McGovern victory in ’72. Rosenbaum says McGovern talked of "the role of the media, which basically took over presidential politics that year with the advent of the self-regarding 'Boys on the Bus' campaigning mode." Rosenbaum was on that press bus:
Mitt Romney recently told CBS’s Scott Pelley that a leader would “say which of those things that you should take out of the budget that are no longer essential,” and when pressed to be specific, Romney nominated "the subsidy for PBS,” and subsidies for Amtrak, the NEA, and the NEH. This raises one obvious question. In moderating tonight's first general election debate of 2012, can longtime PBS star Jim Lehrer be fair to a candidate who wants to zero out the subsidy for PBS?
In his 1992 memoir A Bus of My Own, Lehrer confesses he could sound like a “PBS superpatriot” in lauding his own newscast. For his own career at PBS, Lehrer professed he loved how Watergate “crumbled” Nixon’s plans to “crumble us” in liberal taxpayer-funded broadcasting:
Appearing as a guest on the Wednesday, June 20, Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN, when asked about his political views, musician Billy Corgan - founder of the Smashing Pumpkins group - declared that he does not have a preference for either party.
When host Morgan asked if he was an "Obama man," Corgan took a jab at liberals as he explained his exposure to liberalism as a child:
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, after a report in which it was noted that the Obama administration has invoked executive privilege over the investigation into the Fast and Furious scandal, anchor Scott Pelley related the history of other Presidents taking similar measures.
After tying in George Washington, Pelley ended up informing viewers that Bill Clinton had used similar tactics 14 times - more than twice the number of Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. Pelley:
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Wednesday outrageously compared Dorothy Sandusky standing by her alleged child rapist husband, Jerry, to Pat Nixon supporting Richard Nixon. The liberal cable anchor was discussing the molestation case and shockingly inserted a political comparison.
After legal guest Kendall Coffey tried to explain how Mrs. Sandusky could be a helpful witness to her disgraced husband, Matthews linked the 52 counts of sexual abuse to America's 37th president: "This is the new story of our life: The wife who stands by their man, as if they were Pat Nixon standing up there putting up with the ignominy that their husband's 100 percent responsible for and yet being loyal." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
The Nixon-hating legends at The Washington Post are furious with author Jeff Himmelman for pulling the curtains back on their own machinations. You can see the damage in Pat Buchanan’s latest column on how Watergate was over-inflated in the history books.
In a taped interview in 1990, revealed now in "Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee," the former Washington Post executive editor himself dynamites the myth: "Watergate ... (has) achieved a place in history ... that it really doesn't deserve. ... The crime itself was really not a great deal. Had it not been for the Nixon resignation, it really would have been a blip in history." Buchanan enjoyed how Bob Woodward was put on the other side of the microscope:
Despite most media outlets gushing and fawning over the Occupy Wall Street protests, MSNBC's Chris Matthews and the Huffington Post's Howard Fineman see risks to President Obama and the Democrats supporting the movement.
The host of The Chris Matthews Show is even concerned this could be a return to 1968 when riots outside the Democratic National Convention in Chicago played a huge role in Richard Nixon's victory that November (video follows with transcript and commentary):
How sad indeed when liberals turn on one another, their nastiness quickly achieving critical mass.
Radio host and columnist David Sirota wasn't expecting a call from fellow liberal and MSNBC loose-cannon Ed Schultz on his radio show yesterday, broadcast out of AM 760 in Denver.
When word filtered back to Schultz that Sirota was badmouthing him for Schultz's criticism of "intellectual liberal hand-wringing" over the manner of bin Laden's death, Schultz decided to give Sirota a call.
The result, lasting barely more than two minutes, was decidedly unpretty (audio clip below page break) --
On Thursday's Parker-Spitzer, CNN's Kathleen Parker acted as an apologist for Rep. Steve Cohen's uncivil comparison between Republicans and Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels: "He was talking about the saying that if you repeat a lie over and over and over again, it becomes the truth. I don't think he was necessarily saying Republicans are Nazis- come on!" (audio available here)
Parker and co-host Eliot Spitzer devoted the first full segment of their 8 pm Eastern hour program to "zeroing in on a couple of examples of where it's [political rhetoric] gone wrong," and brought on Tea Party critic and CNN contributor John Avlon for an extended version of his "wingnuts" segments from American Morning. Before even getting to Cohen's remark, the three spent most of the 10-minute segment critiquing Rush Limbaugh's recent stereotyping of the Chinese language and Alabama Governor Robert Bentley's inaugural address where he stated that non-Christians weren't his "brothers and sisters," as if those two examples were somehow on the same plane as the Tennessee Democrat's invective.
Unsurprisingly, Avlon blamed Limbaugh and other talk show hosts for the heated political rhetoric, and the two CNN hosts concurred:
It's clear that the Times hates the idea that corporations may have a say, however indirectly, in democracy. But one would at least think that a journalist comparing the perfectly legal corporation donation tactics of today to illegal fundraising by past political campaigns would look for the most recent examples. Perhaps the Clinton administration’s corrupt 1996 fundraising from China, or the indelible image of Al Gore raising money in a Buddhist temple.
Instead, Abramson traveled all the way back to 1972 to link the anonymous corporate donations of 2010 to that quintessential example of Republican corruption, Richard Nixon.
Even as Abramson briefly admits today’s allegedly Nixon-style fundraising is legal, she strained to set up a parallel between this pro-Republican election cycle and the illegal donations of 1972, specifically the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CREEP), and handily exploited a single loose link from the past to the present, one Fred Malek. Abramson began with Nixon:
To old political hands, wise to the ways of candidates and money, 1972 was a watershed year. Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign was awash in cash, secretly donated by corporations and individuals.
CNN's Rick Sanchez thinks that Ronald Reagan wouldn't even be conservative enough for certain members of the Tea Party.
Sanchez discussed Tuesday's Republican Senate Primary in Delaware on his Monday news hour. He criticized the Tea Party's opposition to GOP establishment candidate Congressman Mike Castle as over-the-top, and claimed Castle is "respectable" and "conservative enough" for the region. Castle has a lifetime ACU rating of 52.
Tea Party members in Delaware have largely supported the more conservative Christine O'Donnell. Sanchez believes O'Donnell gives the GOP less of a chance to win in the general election.
"But you know what's interesting about this," Sanchez continued, "I mean if you put this in perspective, Ronald Reagan would be taken out of the mix by some of these more far-Right Tea Party folks. Richard Nixon would never have become the President of the United States."
Charles Krauthammer on Friday made a truly wonderful observation about how differently the media handle leaks of classified information depending on whether there's a Democrat or a Republican in the White House.
As the discussion on PBS's "Inside Washington" moved to the Wikileaks affair, the Washington Post's Colby King said, "I don't see it as such a difficult issue at all for the Pentagon. It's, you know, it's our material, it's not [Wikileaks']."
This led Krauthammer to ask, "How come in the Bush years and the Nixon years, when you leaked stuff that's our material, classified material, you end up with a Pulitzer Prize, and now if you have a Democratic administration, you end up being condemned from left and right?"
He continued, "I'm not sure I understand" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Rick Sanchez stumbled again on-air on his CNN program on Monday, getting the year of the famous Kennedy-Nixon television debate wrong by a margin of two years. Sanchez, who was trying to describe South Carolina Democratic senatorial candidate Alvin Greene's first public speech as the "converse" of the debate, initially guessed 1962 as the year of the debate, but then broadened his answer to "early '60s" [audio available here].
The anchor, who misidentified the Galapagos Islands as Hawaii during CNN's live coverage of the February 27, 2010 Chilean earthquake, and "joked" that it was too cold in Iceland for volcanoes on April 15, brought on correspondent Jessica Yellin to discuss Greene's speech. Twenty-one minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour, Yellin mentioned how she had "talked to the audience [at the speech] beforehand....Every single person I spoke to was a skeptic before, and almost all of them said they'd vote for him afterwards or support him."
The Library of Congress' new exhibit on Herbert Block (often known as "Herblock") completely avoids labeling the famous cartoonist as a liberal, instead portraying him as an "independent spirit." The retrospective features 81 poster-sized drawings by the late Washington Post artist and never once identifies Block's politics.
The exhibit, which opened on October 13, 2009, and can be found in Washington, D.C., pretends that the cartoonist was a bold truth-teller. Taking in the display on Saturday, I was struck by how often this myth was touted. One section gushed over Block, who worked for the Post from 1946 to his death in 2001, for practicing his art "with fearless independence." Yet, he was really just a liberal journalist, something the exhibits celebrate, even if the L-word isn’t used.
Visitors are told that "Reagan appalled Block in a way that only Joseph McCarthy and Richard Nixon had done before." One cartoon showed Ronald Reagan driving by the homeless, ignoring their plight. (In the comic, the President quipped, "Strange how some choose to live like that, instead of choosing to be rich like us.")
A top Republican Senator who used to work for President Richard Nixon has warned the Obama administration to not create an "enemies list" like that of his former employer.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) in his speech on the Senate floor Wednesday listed a number of recent events that uncomfortably remind him of how the Nixon White House treated everyone in America that didn't agree with it:
If the President and his top aides treat people with different views as enemies instead of listening to what they have to say, they're likely to end up with a narrow view and a feeling that the whole world is out to get them. And as those of us who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you into a lot of trouble.
Amongst other things, Alexander mentioned the Administration's attacks on Fox News (video embedded below the fold with transcribed highlights):
Is Barack Obama turning into Spiro Agnew? The White House's attacks on the Fox News smack of the distaste for media opposition espoused by Nixon's vice president almost 40 years ago but are being met with a decidedly different reaction today by the elite media.
Pundits have wondered aloud since last week why the White House would pursue a strategy that seems to be boosting the ratings of a purported 'opposition' news network. MSNBC's Joe Scarborough posited today that the White House's attacks on Fox News are designed to prevent the mainstream media from picking up on stories damaging to the administration (video embedded below the fold, h/t to NB reader Kirk W.).
Every time Fox breaks a story on the radical connections of a White House advisor or appointee, the news is potentially damaging to the administration. But damage is only really done if the rest of the media picks up on the story, reports it, and turns it into a national news sensation, a la Van Jones.