With fresh media polls showing Sarah Palin causing a sizable percent of women to shift to support John McCain from Barack Obama, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night devoted full stories to fact check examinations to discredit her, specifically on the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere,” even though all the newscasts have already run stories on how she was for the bridge earmark during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign. Introducing a “Reality Check,” CBS anchor Katie Couric asserted:
There's also controversy over the way Governor Palin is trying to attract voters by portraying herself as a reformer opposed to government earmarks. And the example she continues to cite is her opposition to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But she doesn't quite tell the entire story...
Wyatt Andrews concluded: “By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that Governor Palin confronted a Congress recklessly wasting money. The record shows, she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.” Over on NBC, anchor Brian Williams recalled how Palin's convention speech had “several memorable applause lines. It's how a lot of people came to know her.” But, he asked, “how do they all match up against the truth? Our senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers takes a closer look.”
As everyone knows, conservatives are a distinctly disagreeable bunch. Mean-spirited knuckle-draggers, pretty much. It's therefore a shock to come across one who's actually likeable. At least if you're Chris Matthews.
Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker, a guest on this evening's Hardball, observed that the Obama campaign hasn't quite decided how to go after Sarah Palin. The first line of attack was on the experience issue, but "now they're saying, OK, let's define her as a right-winger. You know, we'll talk about her views on creationism and some of these other extreme views." That elicited this from the Hardball host.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: She's got a lot of--they are pretty far over. For a person that seems very likeable and mellow, she doesn't look like a political zealot.
As NewsBusters reported on September 5, the celebrity gossip magazine "Us Weekly" got inundated by angry subscribers demanding their subscriptions be cancelled after the slick published an issue bashing McCain VP pick Governor Sarah Palin, her family and litle baby Trig.
Well, now it looks like "Us Weekly" is desperate to stem the tide of angry cancellations by offering free issues to anyone upset over the Palin-Bashing issue. Michelle Malkin is reporting that the magazine is sending subscribers an email begging them not to cancel and offering a groveling apology.
ABC reporter Lisa Fletcher interviewed friends of Sarah Palin for a segment on Monday's "Nightline" and grilled them on whether a "small town mom" will be able to "sit down with Putin and deal with foreign issues?" Fletcher, who herself was a small town reporter before joining ABC in December of 2007, mostly avoided friendly queries and instead grilled the Alaskan friends of the Republican vice presidential candidate.
At one point she asked pal Sandy Hoest, "She's spent less than two years as the governor of Alaska. Why should Americans have any confidence whatsoever that this woman can fulfill the duties of vice president of the United States?" Later on, the journalist challenged, "Is it possible to be pro-choice and vote for Sarah Palin?" When a few of Palin's friends identified themselves as pro-choice, Fletcher pounced, "Does that put a strain on your friendship with Sarah?"
Five days after Alaska Governor Sarah Palin was picked as the Republican vice presidential nominee, NBC's David Gregory falsely disputed the idea that the media had crossed a line by suggesting Palin's family life conflicted with her candidacy. Referring to an earlier interview, Gregory argued on Today: "Rudy Giuliani said questions have been asked about whether she can balance this with her kids. That question has not been brought up by the media."
Gregory was wrong — that precise question was posed repeatedly on ABC, CBS and NBC as the networks invaded every nook and cranny of Palin's family life. From August 29 through September 4, the Big Three network morning and evening shows ran a total of 59 stories mentioning Palin's family, or about eight per day. Nearly two-thirds of those (37) brought up the pregnancy of Palin's teenaged daughter; another ten questioned whether she could balance her family obligations with a campaign — the exact suggestion Gregory claimed was never "brought up by the media."
As the Sarah Palin smears continue in the media, Judge Judy joined the debate spreading an internet rumor about the Alaska governor. Appearing on the September 9 edition of "The View," arguably America’s most famous judge when prodded by Barbara Walters to express her concerns about Palin, Judy expressed discomfort with "the teaching of creationism in public schools."
The judge has nothing to fear because Governor Palin does not want to push creationism in Alaska’s public schools as the non-partisan site FactCheck.org explains in its debunkment.
"Palin has not pushed for teaching creationism in Alaska's schools. She has said that students should be allowed to ‘debate both sides’ of the evolution question, but she also said creationism ‘doesn't have to be part of the curriculum.’"
[Update, 3:05 pm: Transcript of Toobin's remarks added below.]
For two straight days, CNN repeated liberal rumors about Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s political record – rumors that had already been debunked by their own correspondents, as well as the respected FactCheck.org, a group led by former CNN reporter Brooks Jackson.
During Monday evening’s Election Center program, CNN’s senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin claimed that Palin "wants to ban all abortions," despite a September 2 report by his own network which included a quote from the Alaska governor that she is "pro-life... [w]ith the exception of a doctor's determination that the mother's life would end if the pregnancy continued." Toobin also claimed that Palin "wants to treat -- to have creationism taught in public schools." This isn’t the entire story. A FactCheck.org report released on Monday, which aimed to refute "dubious Internet postings and mass e-mail messages making claims about McCain's running mate," clarified that Palin "supports teaching creationism alongside evolution, though she has not actively pursued such a policy as governor."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer about John McCain taking the lead in recent polls following the Republican convention and the selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate: "Sarah Palin is his Geritol...That's – I mean it really has -- because I wrote in my notes this morning, she not only energized the base,she seems to have energized him." While seemingly a compliment, such a statement conveniently reminded viewers of McCain's age.
In addition, the segment featured a total of four references to the "social conservative" base of the party that Palin has attracted. Schieffer observed: "But, you know, the interesting thing about this is that John McCain, the maverick that he is, has never been popular with one part of the Republican Party, especially the social conservatives...Now the people who were against him in the Republican Party seem to like him just fine." Smith added: "These are the Rove-cultivated religious right, so important to George Bush." Schieffer concluded: "Evangelicals, social conservatives. Now, John McCain has suddenly become their favorite and he was never that before. That can only be good for him in a political sense...And I think what we've seen here, she has gotten those social conservatives in the Republican Party who were never for him. How are independents going to feel on this down the road?"
The media's ham-handed attempts at grasping and accurately reporting religious belief are have only been magnified recently in light of the MSM's obsession with Gov. Sarah Palin's prior attendance at Pentecostal churches.
Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" -- a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.
"Our basic belief is that God is God and he knows where history is going and he has a purposeful plan and within the middle of that plan we live in an environment in our world where certain events would take place," says McGraw. "Sarah wasn't taught to look for one particular sign -- a cataclysmic sign. She knew as every Christian does ... that God is sovereign and he is in control."
The language above seems to paint Pentecostals as on the fringe of Christianity, and Kaye's use of dismissive quote marks for "faith healing" and "end times" helps to communicate that to the reader. But the concept of the end times is not a wacky, outside-the-mainstream of Christianity belief. It's essential to the eschatology of all orthodox Christian denominations and rooted in Christian Scripture (from Theopedia.com):
But Lola Ogunnaike, entertainment reporter for CNN’s American Morning, seems to believe the image is authentic. Yesterday she told Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz that Palin should maybe avoid posing with guns like this, because it might come back to bite her in the ass:
I mean, McCain has been really good about painting Obama as this lightweight, using the word “celebrity” as a pejorative. They don’t want to have a boomerang effect. They don’t want that to come back on Sarah Palin, and people say, yes, she looks good in a bikini clutching an AK-47, but is she equipped to run the country?
Oh well, CNN isn’t known for doing any actual fact-checking. They leave that to us bloggers. But, they could at least keep updated on the stuff we debunk.
This one was all over the net yesterday. Apparently, a poster at the radical nutroot site, DemocraticUnderground, created a fake listing for someone pretending to sell baby Trig on ebay. The faux listing read "Baby used prop newborn boy 3-6 months special needs," and included a description that called Governor Palin a "pushy social climber, unwilling to let pregnancy and children stand in the way of ambition." It also listed baby's Trig's father as "unknown."
Originally appearing on the DemocraticUnderground at around 1PM on September 4, by DU poster Bob Weaver, the thread was soon locked by DU moderators and the image scrubbed from the site. But not before a screen shot was taken...
The liberal campaign to seek to diminish Sarah Palin by sexualizing her continues. Yesterday, I described how Frank Rich used a number of sexualized terms in reference to Palin's relationship with McCain: "shotgun marriage," "speed-dating" and "embrace." Chris Matthews employed a similar tactic this evening, claiming that Palin is running "somewhere between a VP and a First Lady."
During the first segment of this evening's Hardball, Matthews tried out his theory, with no particular success, on pollster Stu Rothenberg and NBC News Political Director Chuck Todd. For the record, Matthews did stop short of telling Palin to iron McCain's shirt:
Chris Matthews, on Monday night's "Hardball," speculated that Republicans were playing the race card, when they made fun of Barack Obama's experience as a community organizer, even going as far to say they're using the phrase like a "bullwhip." In a segment with NBC's Chuck Todd and pollster Stuart Rothenberg, Matthews suspiciously noted that Republicans like Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, at last week's GOP convention, were "giggling" over the "community organizer" title as he pondered: "Is this the new 'welfare queen?'"
Then a little later in the program, in a segment with the Financial Times' Chrystia Freeland and the Independent Women's Forum's Michelle Bernard, Matthews returned to the subject as he declared: "It seems to me that the use of the word, 'community organizer,' is almost like a bullwhip."
The following exchanges occurred on the September 8 edition of "Hardball" [audio excerpts available here]:
CNN’s State Department correspondent Zain Verjee insisted that Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin "just won't be able to handle" foreign crises like the conflict between Russia and Georgia during an interview with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice which aired on Monday’s American Morning.
At the beginning of the short interview, Rice complimented the Alaska governor for her "terrific speech" at the Republican convention. Verjee then asked, "Does she have enough experience to handle the kind of things that you need to have?" When the Secretary brushed aside the question, Verjee pressed her on the experience question: "But, a lot of Republicans are also saying that she just lacks the experience. I mean, you can dispatch Vice President Cheney to deal with the Ukraine and Georgia. But Sarah Palin just won't be able to handle it."
Check out this [emphasis added] excerpt from an LA Weekly report on Michelle Obama's appearance at a private fundraiser last Wednesday in the ritzy LA neighborhood of Holmby Hills. Mrs. Obama was addressing a crowd that reporter Patrick Range McDonald described "heavily entertainment-industry."
Obama then moved on to politics, where she first brought up her husband’s vice-presidential choice. “I think it was a really good pick—Senator Joe Biden,” she said, and later added, “People say they have amazing chemistry, and it’s true.”
Obama continued with talk about Biden when she said, “What you learn about Barack from his choice is that he’s not afraid of smart people.” The crowd softly chuckled.
Last week was a fabulous one for all those fighting liberal media bias.
On Wednesday, the crowd at the Republican National Convention spontaneously chanted "NBC, NBC" when vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin complained about how she was being portrayed by the press.
Days later, while recording "The Chris Matthews Show" to be aired on Sunday, NBC's Andrea Mitchell changed her mind about the Palin pick, and declared it an A-plus decision by Republican presidential nominee John McCain.
Sunday morning interviews with Barack Obama and Joe Biden on ABC's "This Week" and NBC's "Meet the Press" respectively were uncharacteristically hard-hitting and fact-based as opposed to the sycophancy the nation has been witnessing for many months.
And finally, on Sunday evening, it was announced that MSNBC was replacing election coverage co-anchors Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann with David Gregory. This raises an important question:
Movie star Jon Voight described to "The View’s" Elisabeth Hasselbeck his thoughts on fellow Hollywood conservatives. On the September 8 "View," Hasselbeck offered a behind the scenes look at the Republican Convention. Whe show’s sole Republican asked one of the few outspoken Hollywood conservatives why many actors who "lean toward the right" remain in the closet, Voight replied that Hollywood conservatives are "thoughtful" because "they have to make a decision to be conservative in Hollywood" and "they have some guts."
The previous Friday, Elisabeth Hasselbeck also made pre-recorded appearance on "Hannity and Colmes." Sean Hannity inquired as to "where the other girls stand." After acknowledging Joy Behar is "on the hard left" (talk about stating the obvious) "The View" co-host opined that Whoopi, Sherri and Joy just might come around because "there’s potential for them to now see something on this side of the ticket that maybe they were not seeing before."
"Palin's Church Promotes Conversion of Gays," blares the headline for a September 7 Associated Press article noting that the Alaska governor's home church is supporting Focus on the Family's "Love Won Out" conference.
Of course as with much of the media's reporting on religion, AP's article is weighed in the balance and found lacking. It's downright misleading and factually inaccurate, betraying a complete ignorance of evangelical Christian theology (emphasis mine):
Gov. Sarah Palin's church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.
"You'll be encouraged by the power of God's love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years.
Let's back up a minute. That quote in the Wasilla Bible Church bulletin is taken from the Web site for Focus on the Family's Love Won Out conferences. But does the conference really "[promise] to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer"? Far from it.
Thanks to Sarah Palin, the culture war has become a civil war—on the left. Mika Brzezinski bravely opened a new front in the conflict during today's "Morning Joe," repeatedly going after two female MSMers for suggesting Palin is taking the working-mom thing too far.
And, mirabile dictu, Mika even admitted to sensing MSM unfairness to Republicans.
"This is an argument Joe and I have about fairness and whether or not there are some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here," Brzezinski said referring to a Wall Street Journal op-ed by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Full text and commentary after the jump. View video here.
Associated Press writer Jake Coyle offered a TV reviewer's take on MTV host Russell Brand's Bush-bashing on Sunday night. He called it "candor" and mocked the idea that a host should steer clear of suggesting the president's retarded. He thought the "import was a welcome change." Is he really a change? Brand seems to epitomize MTV, which glorifies every excess:
After all, Brand has built his image on his candor and edginess. He's well-known across the pond as a standup comic, TV show host and radio DJ — but more so as an outlandish and hedonistic figure who speaks unabashedly about his prior drug and sex addictions.
Brand was especially "unabashed" about mocking teen stars who've taken a stand for abstinence before marriage:
Again and again, Brand — a confessed former sex addict — poked fun at young sex and abstinence. Speaking of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter's boyfriend and would-be father, Levi Johnston, Brand sympathized with him: "That is the safe sex message of all time. Use a condom or become a Republican!"
If any pundit should celebrate Sarah Palin, you might think it would be Judith Warner. The author of "Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety" is the Times' resident expert on the challenges women face in balancing career and family. But think again. Politics trumps female solidarity. Warner's column on Palin is perhaps the most vitriolic and condescending I've read. The Mirrored Ceiling is a few days old, but Warner's fury still rings fresh.
Excerpts [emphasis added]:
It turns out there was something more nauseating than the nomination of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate this past week. It was the tone of the acclaim that followed her acceptance speech.
Palin sounded, at times, like she was speaking a foreign language as she gave voice to the beautifully crafted words that had been prepared for her . . . But that wasn’t held against her. Thanks to the level of general esteem that greeted her ascent to the podium, it seems we’ve all got to celebrate the fact that America’s Hottest Governor (Princess of the Fur Rendezvous 1983, Miss Wasilla 1984) could speak at all.
What's in a name? Well, if you'll excuse my Shakespeare, what's in a name is a certain level of respect. And in the pursuit of straight news a person's name should be presented without sarcastic manipulation as well as with proper titles affixed. For instance, Hillary Clinton is properly either Mrs. Clinton or Senator Clinton. On the other hand, calling Hillary "Her Thighness" is not appropriate in a straight news story. It may be funny, of course, but it is not proper nor does it show the respect due the woman. (I know, I'm a killjoy) So, why does the New York Times and the L.A. Times both so often call Governor Sarah Palin Ms. all the time?
Could it be that they wish to subtly bestow as much disrespect as possible in their news stories on McCain's VP pick without going as far as calling her a name like the sarcastic jab "Her Thighness" might serve for Hillary? Could it be these supposedly serious news sources wish to attack Governor Palin and they don't think anyone will notice the slight of her marriage by the misuse of the title Ms.?
UPDATE at end of post: McCain leads by ten amongst likely voters.
New polling numbers just released by Gallup show John McCain and Sarah Palin getting a huge bump in support following the Republican National Convention.
As media outlets seemed fascinated with Gallup's September 2 survey finding Barack Obama taking an eight point lead after his Party's convention in Denver -- a LexisNexis search identified over 100 reports on that poll, including eleven on television and radio -- we should expect similar press exposure for this one.
After all, McCain/Palin have now gotten an eleven point bounce since, and this poll still includes numbers taken before the convention concluded:
You can now count NBC's Andrea Mitchell among the increasing group of people that believe Sarah Palin was a good choice to be John McCain's running mate.
On Sunday's "The Chris Matthews Show," Mitchell, who last week felt Palin was not a good choice, told Matthews and his panel that the Alaska Governor gave an "A-plus" speech on Wednesday night, under extreme pressure, and that has led her to now view this decision by McCain as a good "tactical move for this campaign in broadening its appeal, reaching out to women, reaching out to men, and reaching out to average, middle class swing voters."
This from a woman who in the past couple of months has oftentimes looked just as in the tank for Barack Obama as her colleagues at MSNBC. Yet, Obama-sycophancy wasn't her modus operandi Sunday as the money interaction between Mitchell and Matthews demonstrated:
Frank Rich expends his 1,500-words today ripping into Sarah Palin. Into John McCain for picking Sarah Palin. Into any members of the press who might not rip into Sarah Palin. What's got Rich so riled up? Cut to Frank's final line: "they just might pull it off." With props to the late Robert Palmer, Frank's got a bad case of not-loving Sarah Palin—but he's badly worried America will find her simply irresistible.
We've had fun with this kind of thing before, so let's ring up the curtain on Rich, Fisked: Act II.
Rich's headline is "Palin and McCain’s Shotgun Marriage." He later describes McCain's process of picking Palin as "speed-dating" and writes of his "embrace" of her. My, my. Sexualizing a woman politician in order to diminish her? Isn't that just the kind of thing that would normally be condemned by, say, a liberal columnist of the NY Times?