Norman Ornstein is a long-time congressional expert (and favorite TV talking head) who works for the American Enterprise Institute. We've established that NBC anchor Brian Williams was citing him after the president's last press conference in support of how historic and wonderful and "productive" this Democrat-dominated Congress has been.
But the fact that AEI has long been a right-leaning think tank can cause reporters to use Ornstein to suggest "even" conservatives are hailing the accomplishments of liberals -- even if it's obvious from his sugary "sundae" quotes that Ornstein is no one's idea of a Limbaugh ditto-head. On Thursday's Morning Edition, NPR reporter David Welna played this trick on listeners:
DAVID WELNA: Congress has indeed outdone itself in the final days of big Democratic majorities controlling both the House and Senate.
NORM ORNSTEIN (American Enterprise Institute): To me, hands down, this is the most productive lame-duck session since we started to have serious lame-duck sessions in the 1940s.
WELNA: That's Norm Ornstein. He's a long-time congressional observer at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think-tank. Ornstein says this lame-duck session was a fitting climax for an amazingly productive 111th Congress.
ORNSTEIN: This is really a very big fat cherry on the top of the whipped cream of a quite nutritious filling, maybe even fat-producing, sundae. Reid deserves a lot of credit for what was a masterful performance as leader.
Welna borrowed from other sources for his Republican quotes, from Lindsey Graham, to be specific, also hailing the mastery of Harry Reid:
WELNA: As he put it to Fox News Radio earlier this week: Harry Reid has eaten our lunch.
Sen. GRAHAM: We did a lot of policy changes in the lame-duck, I think inconsistent with the major change in power. But that's what amazes me. And that's why I take my hat off to Harry. And when people say President Obama had a great two weeks, they're absolutely right. I'm the first one to -- even though I don't like what happened, I do give them credit.
The Welna story was preceded by an Ari Shapiro report from the White House that simply presented quote after quote from Obama's press conference and absolutely no time for Obama's critics. (Shapiro found nothing arrogant in Obama's claim that his first two years in office were "the most productive two years that we've had in generations." Move over, FDR.) That's why the ditto-heads hear Limbaugh calling this NPR News "state-run radio."