In the magazine world, Vanity Fair may be known as a glossy, trendy magazine for the rich and the aspiring rich. But conservatives know it as a hopeless, scandalous, left-wing Democratic rag with no journalistic principles -- it's Vanity Unfair. Exhibit A: Vanity Fair's website now hosts a supposedly "Authoritative Trig Palin Conspiracy Timeline," complete with "research" thanks to the Daily Kosmonauts at the bottom. What a triumph for the noble "Fight the Smears" Obama campaign! Or it's simply a Vanity Fart. The blog post with graphics, authored corporately by "Vanity Fair," playfully offered:
The McCain campaign won’t countenance it, and Barack Obama has even declared it off-limits, but the question of Trig Palin’s parentage—whether his real mom is Sarah Palin or her five-months pregnant, 17-year-old daughter Bristol—has transfixed the blogosphere. To settle the matter once and for all, VF.com presents this handy timeline juxtaposing both the official narrative and the wingnut conspiracy theories. Vote for the most likely scenario after the jump.
At posting time, with 7,000 votes logged, 69 percent checked the tinfoil-hat box and said Sarah Palin faked her pregnancy.
A major media denigration of Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin as a “wacko right-winger” didn't come on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN or even MSNBC, but on FNC from a regular contributor to the network: Morton Kondrake, who was hostile all last week to Palin in his appearances on Special Report with Brit Hume. Wrapping up the “Ups and Downs” segment on FNC's Beltway Boys this weekend with an “Up” for Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's performance during Hurricane Gustav, Kondracke inserted the gratuitous insult into his agreement with co-host Fred Barnes that Hurricane Katrina would have turned out better if Jindal were in charge three years ago:
If Jindal had been Governor of Louisiana in 2005, everything would have been different and he would be John McCain's running mate instead of this wacko right-winger.
Apparently the media wants to get even for the Swift-Boaters successful torpedoing of John Kerry in 2004 because they are by the dozens every day promulgating lies about the career and life of Governor Sarah Palin. I recently posted a piece on the lies, exaggerations and misbegotten assumptions of a Baltimore Sun columnist and it got me to thinking to try and gather one thread rebutting the media's ever evolving negative memes against this strong woman. From unproven claims of infidelity, to claims she is a book banner and a negligent Mother, the media have been smearing this woman daily since she stepped out onto the national stage. One recent Politico attack on Palin was made up solely of the claim that she was once mean to someone... yes, Politico actually was trying to say that their report was serious.
In any case, I'd like to present and knock down some of the swift-skirt attacks the media is launching. So, in no particular order...
Since Sarah Palin was tapped as John McCain’s running mate, everything from her family to her hair to her glasses has been scrutinized. Today, CNN targeted her phonetics.
The network pointed out the word “nuclear” was spelled phonetically as “new-clear” in the text of her convention speech. While a camera shot caught the text of Palin’s speech in the prompter, CNN says the script handed out to the press still had the phonetically spelled out word in it.
It is not uncommon for broadcast writers to script words phonetically for talent. In fact, news personalities are known to get angry at writers and producers who do not phonetically spell out words which are easy to fumble when reading a prompter during a live broadcast. However, CNN portrayed the phonetically scripted word “new-clear” as a way Palin would spell the word herself.
Seemingly anxious to connect the Alaskan governor’s pronunciation of the word to President Bush’s famously mocked pronunciation, CNN’s Jeanne Moos showed how Palin could not pronounce “nuclear” correctly either without a phonetic guide. Anyone who reads a teleprompter needs a little help now and then. Just ask Larry King.
Just how much are liberal bloggers driving the mainstream media attacks on Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin?
According to a report in Saturday's Politico, postings by the Netroots Friday concerning a friend and former business partner of the Palins trying to have his divorce records sealed created a media feeding frenzy in Alaska.
This was to be the smoking gun tying this individual to a National Enquirer piece last week that alleged Palin had an extramarital affair some years ago, which according to Politico's Kenneth P. Vogel, sent mainstream press members scurrying like rats to a small courthouse thousands of miles from their nests (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):
On Friday evening, HBO's Bill Maher announced to the world what certainly won't come as a shock to many: "You know who's putting country first? I am by supporting Obama."
With this coming a week after he chastised "guys" at MSNBC -- likely Chris Matthews and Chris Olbermann -- for being ready to have sex with the Democrat presidential nominee, it appears Maher no longer thinks it's wrong for media members to gush all over the junior senator from Illinois.
Having previously insinuated that Trig Palin was not Sarah's child (as pointed out by my colleague Brent Baker), Maher concluded Friday's "Real Time" by devoting all five of his "New Rules" to attacking the Alaska governor, as well as John McCain, Fred Thompson, and all Republicans (video embedded right, lowlights that include mild vulgarity follow, h/t MsUnderestimated):
That will be followed by observations of commenter "Tom W" (not yours truly) at Pajamas Media.
If they indeed reflect what is happening on the ground, you won't hear about it from the Associated Press, or read it in the New York Times, or see it on the Big Three Networks news or cable shows -- which is why it's so necessary to post items like this here. In fact, it's fair to say that if you were going to see commentary and commenting such as that which follows, it would have occurred already.
Susan Reimer, columnist for the Baltimore Sun, is shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that people took exception to her tactless bashing of Governor Sarah Palin in her September 1 column, "A woman -- but why this woman?" In fact, Reimer is so upset that people where exercised enough to drop her a note, give her a call, or write an email about her baseless smearing of Palin that she says in her September 5 column that she feels "frightened." Do you want some cheese and crackers to go with that whine, Reimer?
On Monday, I wrote a column criticizing the McCain campaign for what I saw as a cynical attempt to gather in unhappy women voters by naming Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin his vice presidential candidate and for exploiting the poignant story of her youngest child to appease the Republican Party's pro-life base... And then the storm began.
Reimer was shocked to find that her substance free, lie filled attack on John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin generated "More than 8,200 comments were posted to the column on The Baltimore Sun's Web site. I received more than 700 personal e-mails and about 50 phone calls."
What a difference a few hours make. It is almost like Sally Quinn, the Washington Post faith columnist, was blinded by the light of truth on the road to Damascus. On CNN's "American Morning" on Friday, Quinn repeated her doubts as to whether Sarah Palin could "put country first" due to her family reponsibilities as a mother:
Everyone woman I know practically is a working mother. We have conflicts and guilts that men simply don't have. And, basically the burden of raising children falls on the mother, no matter what kind of a job she has. So, I think that to, you know, we're so far beyond the feminist argument here. This is not about feminism, it's not about sexism, it's simply about can you do the job?
Want to know why John McCain and Sarah Palin are laughing in the picture to the right?
Numbers just released by Nielsen Media Research show the average per night viewership of the just concluded Republican National Convention set a record this week topping the audience for the previous week's Democratic National Convention by more than 4 million viewers each evening.
This is quite different than the media meme that Americans are disinterested in politics, in particular Republicans, wouldn't you agree?
As reported by the Associated Press Friday (emphasis added, photo courtesy AP):
Declaring “I'm not that convinced that that's her baby,” far-left comedian Bill Maher, Friday night on his HBO show Real Time, forwarded left-wing blog rumors about how Trig Palin, born in April, is really the son of Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol who is now pregnant. Maher raised his theory during a one-on-one interview with CNN's Jeffrey Toobin, who didn't accept Maher's belief in such deceit, leading Maher to concede “it could be her baby,” but he still insisted “it is a little suspicious” because “the daughter -- who we know is fertile because she's knocked up again, or maybe for the first time” had taken:
...a five-month leave from high school because she had [uses fingers to make quote marks] “mononucleosis” right around the time the baby was being born. And the mother, the so-called, you know, okay, maybe it is the mother, but, you know, she was back to work three days later. You don't smell something?
Toobin remained unconvinced: “You know what, I don't.” Maher then turned to the old left-wing stand-by argument: all Republicans and conservatives are liars. To applause and laughter from the audience, Maher quipped: “Yeah, but look who we're talking about....it's not like they're not willing to lie about everything else.”
Audio: MP3 clip which matches the video above (1:55, 650 Kb)
How low will journalists go to mock Gov. Sarah Palin? TV critic Ken Tucker compared her to the updated new version of 90210 -- a series that debuted with an oral-sex scene. In his new culture column, Brent Bozell explored how the flailing, failing folks at the CW will go anywhere to sell sex:
For months, the CW network has been pushing its reworking of the old teen soap "Beverly Hills 90210." When it finally debuted, Entertainment Weekly magazine joked: "‘90210' is the Sarah Palin of TV shows – it's new, it's pretty, few people have seen it in advance...and its main purpose is to remind you of a trusty old product while adding some new vigor and soap opera to the cultural discourse."
Put aside that nasty insult aimed at the new star on the political scene. It’s the "new vigor" phrase that’s salient. The lame, recycled "90210" opened with – an oral sex scene.
Does the liberal senior editor of State, Dahlia Lithwick, secretly want the Democrat ticket to lose this year? You have to come to that conclusion when you read the complex mosaic of debate "tips" that she provides to Joe Biden including, get this, imitate the perpetually annoying Campbell Brown. This is just one part of an array of tips Lithwick provides in a Slate article condescendingly titled, "How To Debate a Girl, and Win." Lithwick starts out by sneering at Sarah Palin (emphasis mine):
After hearing Palin speak, I'm afraid she's going to take McCain someplace he doesn't really want to go.
During her debut, Palin electrified the Republicans, but she also shook up every registered voter in the 'hood.
Besides mocking the historic breakthrough of Barack Obama emerging as the Democrats' nominee, Palin was relentless in her use of language that reinforces divisions among black and white voters -- particularly pitting small-town people against the rest of us.
Mitchell doesn't provide examples of the governor's relentless use of divisive language, so we're expected to just accept her assertion. Moreover, the columnist doesn't mention how the "small-town people against the rest of us" sentiment may have been initiated. The Washington Post reported on August 30:
Friday's "American Morning" featured a segment dedicated to fact checking Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's speech to the Republican National Convention. In introducing the reporter who did the fact checking, co-host Kiran Chetry claimed, "CNN's Deborah Feyerick is here to fact check Palin's speech and I'm sure whenever politics is involved we have to fact check these."
Apparently, though, "American Morning" only feels the need to fact check speeches given by Republican candidates because the morning show did not provide the same fact checking analysis of the Democratic National Convention speeches given by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden or Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They did, however, fact check former president Bill Clinton's speech to the Democratic National Convention and argued that some of his more conservative policies helped to usher in the "mortgage crisis."
On Friday's "Today" show, reporter David Gregory and other NBC personalities offered a sour and largely negative reaction to John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention. Deriding the Bush years, Gregory asserted that after McCain's nomination, the party faced a "daunting challenge," How will the candidate "overcome the record of Republican rule over much of the past eight years?"
The network journalist also featured footage of former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson knocking the speech as "typical for a Republican" and "pretty disappointing." He criticized the candidate for not doing enough outreach to moderates. A theme repeated throughout the show was attacking McCain for not going out of his way to play up differences with the Republican delegates in the Minneapolis convention center. Gregory chided, "Yet in front the party faithful, the Arizona senator declined to mention his signature stands that most angered his party: campaign finance and immigration reform, as well as climate change."
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked to a panel of working moms about the media questioning Sarah Palin’s duel role as a mother and a vice presidential candidate: "Why is it that every time a woman starts ascending up a certain part of the food chain, we have this conversation all over again?...Now, if Sarah Palin's husband were in her spot, would we have asked that question in one second?...Fair or unfair, all this -- this whole conversation, and do you still feel there's a double standard?"
Compare those questions by Smith to comments by co-host Maggie Rodriguez on Wednesday, during an interview with Rudy Giuliani. The former New York City mayor and McCain supporter criticized the questions of Palin’s parenting: "They're asking can she be vice president and be a mother. Come on." Rodriguez replied: "I think they're fair questions. It's a lot to juggle." Also on Wednesday, Rodriguez led a panel discussion on Palin by asking: "The question, can a mother of five, including an infant with Downs Syndrome, be an effective vice president?"
During Friday’s segment, one of the members of the panel, Lisa Witter, observed: "Well, I personally think that if Sarah Palin were Joe Palin, we wouldn't be having this conversation." Smith replied to that with: "Amen."
JUNEAU, Alaska — When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin sought to illustrate her frugality and flair to delegates at the GOP convention Wednesday, she described how she disposed of a corporate jet acquired by her unpopular predecessor.
"That luxury jet was over the top," Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, said to loud cheers. "I put it on eBay."
Palin's statement implied the plane was sold through the online auction site revered for empowering millions of small entrepreneurs, and Palin's spokeswoman insisted Thursday that the transaction occurred. But the plane failed to sell on eBay.
Instead, the 23-year-old 10-seat Westwind II was sold in August 2007 for $2.1 million to a Valdez, Alaska, entrepreneur; that's about $300,000 less than a broker's asking price, according to news accounts.
One week ago, former Clinton campaign spinner George Stephanopoulos found nothing to criticize when he reviewed Barack Obama’s speech and the overall Democratic convention for Good Morning America. But on Friday, the ABC host relayed the Obama campaign’s negative take on McCain and stressed how voters don’t think Sarah Palin has as much experience as Joe Biden, and that she doesn’t help her ticket as much as Biden helps the Democrats.
“Go beneath those numbers a little more,” Stephanopoulos instructed. “Joe Biden helps Barack Obama a little bit more than Sarah Palin helps John McCain.”
But ABC’s poll, conducted Thursday after a week of battering coverage of the GOP vice presidential candidate, showed Palin had only a slightly lower overall favorability than Democratic candidate Joe Biden, a difference nearly entirely accounted for by her low approval among Democratic voters. Republican voters are more enthusiastic about Palin (85% support) than Democrats are for Biden (77%).
Appearing on Friday's "American Morning," Washington Post faith columnist Sally Quinn again attacked the choice of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain's vice presidential pick. During her interview with co-host Kiran Chetry, Quinn suggested Palin would not be able to balance her five children along with the duties of the vice presidency and potentially the presidency.
Chetry first asked Quinn if the questions she has raised about Palin, including her ability to be both a mother and a leader, would be questions that she would ask of a man. After firmly answering "yes," Quinn claimed that the "burden of raising children falls on the mother" and said that her questions about Palin are not sexist, they are about whether or not Palin can "do the job."
After bringing up the "country first" theme of the Republican National Convention, Quinn took a jab at McCain's age as well as Palin's ability to put country first as commander in chief: "And I think if you're talking about the commander in chief, and that is what she is likely to be given his age and his health, will she put her country first, or will she put her family first?"
Hard to believe, but Meredith Vieira is apparently not a regular NewsBusters reader. The Today co-anchor would otherwise have avoided an embarrassing lapse. On Today this morning, Vieira claimed that it was only "blogs" that went after Sarah Palin's family matters. That left her vulnerable to McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt's zinger, pointing out that one of her own network's anchors had questioned Palin's ability to serve as vice-president while attending to her children' needs.
Courtney Hazlett over at MSNBC's "The Scoop" is reporting that thousands of "Us Weekly" subscribers have not only called the magazine to cancel their subscriptions -- some reports say up to 10,000 cancellations have occurred -- but have also contacted advertisers and expressed their outrage that they are advertising with the celebrity news magazine that would so blatantly try to destroy Governor Palin.
Hazlett is hearing that the editorial board of "Us Weekly" had thought they pegged it right that media pressure and attacks would see Palin pulled from the McCain ticket even before her debut speech. Because the media had so quickly swarmed to destroy her, they thought she was toast before she even had the chance to accept the nomination.
Apparently Ted Anthony of the Associated Press thinks it is somehow "contradictory" of the GOP to show VP candidate Governor Sarah Palin's kids at the GOP convention on TV. He seems to imagine that, since the GOP objected to the media attempting to use the kids against Governor Palin, that the GOP shouldn't be allowed to have the kids attend the convention to see their Mother accept her nomination.
Anthony's "analysis" hit the nets on September 3, the day after Palin's wonderful acceptance speech on night 3 of the proceedings. Naturally, the AP trolls our left leaning universities to find some "expert" to back up its claim that it is all wrong to show the proud faces of Palin's children looking up at their Mother as she speaks to the convention.
CBS's Bob Schieffer on Thursday night praised John McCain's acceptance speech at the Republican convention, especially compared to VP nominee Sarah Palin's address from the night before. He was pleased that McCain appealed to “our better angels” with a speech that was “much more inclusive” than what Palin delivered:
I thought this was a fine speech tonight that appeals to our better angels, really. I found it much more inclusive than the speech that Sarah Palin made yesterday. I think this speech will play very well across America.
Colleague Jeff Greenfield, however, found McCain's address to have been too predictably Republican: “I have to say, I found much of the speech surprisingly familiar. It was a speech that almost any Republican could give, except for the part of change” and so “other than the instant bump in the polls that everybody gets” the address “may not have changed a lot of minds.” Over on NBC, Chuck Todd saw McCain's words as anything but the standard Republican fare: “This was designed to be as non of an ideological speech as a Republican nominee could give at a Republican convention.”
Apparently fed up of hearing what they believe was a phony line being delivered by GOP spokesmen – that women across the country were offended by the media questioning Sarah Palin's fitness as a mother – Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann defied critics to find examples of any news outlets making that charge.
Matthews and Olbermann, spurred on by criticism from Hawaii's Republican governor Linda Lingle at around 8:09pm [EDT] during MSNBC's live coverage of Thursday night's (September 4) Republican convention, threw down the following gauntlet:
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani faced liberal lines of questioning from CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Gloria Borger during the 6 PM EDT hour of The Situation Room before the network’s Thursday night coverage of the Republican convention. In particular, Borger pressed Giuliani on his differences with Sarah Palin on social issues: "Last night, you spoke before Sarah Palin, a woman who -- with whom you have very little in common on the social issues, right? She's pro-life.... [L]et's just say she's a heroine to the right wing of this party, and you're not their hero, okay?... [M]y question is, has the big tent of the Republican Party, which you always talk about -- has that gotten a little narrower?"
According to U.S. News and World Report's Web site, Robert Schlesinger is the magazine's deputy editor and oversees all opinion editorial content. Schlesinger blogs from the Republican National Convention on "Cindy McCain's $300,000 Outfit:"
ST. PAUL—Remember Pat Nixon's "respectable Republican cloth coat?" It's come a long way, baby.
To wit: According to Vanity Fair, Laura Bush's outfit cost between $3,400 and $4,300. But of course that's chump-change compared to the roughly $300,000 that Cindy McCain's cost (the biggest line-item being $280,000 for three-karat diamond earrings).
For those of you keeping track at home, Cindy McCain's outfit could pay for a four bedroom, three bath, 3,400 square feet house in Wasilla.
Schlesinger cites Vanity Fair, but he doesn't provide complete information. The Vanity Fair piece concludes:
(All prices except Laura’s shoes and Cindy’s watch are estimates, and the jewelry prices are based on the assumption that the pieces are real.)
Out in the snarkiest swamps of liberal talk radio is the Stephanie Miller show, which is very low on policy talk and very high on toilet humor and sex jokes. At the end of the show's first hour on Tuesday, Miller aired a clip of McCain's Friday unveiling of Sarah Palin: "Here is Grampy McSame [McCain] introducing his trophy VP before he stepped back to check out her ass for twenty minutes."
As McCain spoke, the show's official impressionist, Jim Ward, began impersonating McCain: "My next trophy wife...The middle part of Alaska is ass...and she's got a terrific one, my friends." Miller lamely added: "She puts the ass in Al-ass-ka."
Miller read critical quotes from Paul Begala, Peggy Noonan, and Joe Conason, and said the choice was incredibly desperate. Then Ward piped up again in his McCain voice: "Desperation, and a desire to look at her ass for hours and hours, my friends."
Miller wrapped the segment: "We better have fun, Jim, because she may be out by the end of this show."