This is a volatile election year, to say the least. The two major-party candidates are far less than perfect, routinely commit gaffes (or perceived gaffes), and have been hurt by a variety of negative disclosures and actions. Two other challengers have gained a degree of attention and apparent support not seen since Ross Perot's presidential runs in the 1990s. Meanwhile, mistrust of the establishment press is at or near an all-time high, and several journalists have publicly decided that the idea of even trying (or pretending) to report in a fair and balanced manner is not appropriate this year.
At Monday afternoon's White House press briefing, Fox News reporter Kevin Corke asked Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz about the reasons for the White House's reluctance to account for President Obama's whereabouts and activities on the night of the September 2012 Benghazi attacks.
Schultz never genuinely answered Corke's question, so then Corke zinged him with the fact that it took President Barack Obama far longer than the length of time Congress has spent on Benghazi to hem, haw, and finally reject the Keystone Pipeline project.
It's going to be mighty interesting to watch the next episode of MSNBC's Hardball. Host Chris Matthews has been accused of pay for play with his show's guests to help his wife's campaign. The details were originally reported by The Intercept yesterday and has now gone viral on numerous other websites as well as at the New York Post. Here are some of the accusations leveled by The Intercept but read the site for the full story.
The last two midterm elections have yielded big Republican congressional gains, yet most conservatives who cheered those developments now jeer at Donald Trump. That’s inconsistent thinking on their part, suggests Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Marshall.
“Trump is very little different from the average candidate Republicans elected in 2010 and 2014, in terms of radical views and extreme rhetoric,” wrote Marshall in a Saturday post. “All Trump's done is take the actual GOP issue package, turn it up to eleven and put it on a high speed collision course with RNC headquarters smack in the middle of presidential election year.” (Props to Marshall for that This Is Spinal Tap-Mad Max mixed metaphor.)
Discussing a focus group of Trump supporters convened by Frank Luntz that aired on Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS News political analyst Jamelle Bouie promptly trashed them as representing the belief among social scientists (i.e. fellow liberals) that there’s been “a distinct rise in racial resentment and anti-black attitudes” in America resulting as a fact of the Obama presidency.
The election of a new Speaker of the House had the New York Times firing up its reliably crooked labeling machine. On Thursday, reporter and repeat offender David Herszenhorn lamented that "Many Republicans, including members of the hard-right House Freedom Caucus who had hounded Mr. Boehner from the speakership, accused him and other party leaders of betraying them with a late-hour deal that was negotiated in secret." Veteran congressional reporter Carl Hulse interviewed former Speaker John Boehner and took his side against his allegedly irresponsible opponents: "Mr. Boehner...eventually became the power structure, only to be forced out by hard-line conservatives he deems 'knuckleheads' for their inability to recognize that compromise is sometimes necessary in politically divided government."
New York Times political reporter Jennifer Steinhauer filed "Influence of Freedom Caucus Ripples Through Washington" for Tuesday's front page, a long hostile introduction to a page of label-heavy profiles of five congressmen from the Freedom Caucus. Steinhauer's tone was resentful of the success of the new wave of conservative congressmen, alleging they had achieved their goals through "highly gerrymandered districts" and an "intricately coordinated web of conservative media" (as opposed to the coordinated web of liberal media consisting of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post) and had made it "much harder to get things done" in Washington.
As CNN's John King made appearances on the news network on Thursday to discuss the race to replace House Speaker John Boehner, the CNN correspondent suggested that conservative Tea Party members lack understanding of Civics 101 in trying to press their agenda in the House. In a later appearance, after the announcement that Rep. Kevin McCarthy was dropping out of the race, King used the words "hostage crisis" to describe the situation.
At a time when the conventional liberal-media wisdom insists that social conservatism is a loser for the Republican Party, it’s worth remembering that on abortion, the electoral momentum has been on the pro-life side.
Sunday’s Washington Post put feminist Cosmopolitan writer Jill Filipovic on the front of the Outlook section under the headline "Reclaiming Abortion: A new generation of activists wants you to know there's nothing wrong with ending an unwanted pregnancy." But she told a tale of Democrats being totally frank in loving abortion....and losing, badly.
In late September 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released "A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States, 2000-2013."
To say the least, the report's issuance, timed six weeks before the midterm elections, and its topic ("a specific type of shooting situation law enforcement and the public may face") were curious. Given the press's inclination to sensationalize and politicize any report on gun violence, its findings were especially vulnerable to misinterpretation. When that quite predictably happened, the FBI and the study's authors appear to have done nothing to correct errant media reports. It also appears that they would have remained silent about those media distortions if longtime gun rights advocate John Lott Jr. hadn't called them out in a professional criminal justice journal.
Hillary's Clinton has called for what a Washington Post headline describes as a "sweeping expansion of voter access." While falsely accusing Republicans of preventing young people and minorities from voting, Mrs. Clinton is really pushing for widespread opportunities for fraud combined with a heavy dose of incumbent protection.
From reading the establishment press's coverage of Mrs. Clinton's "ambitious agenda" (that's what the New York Times called it), you would think that Ohio has one of the nation's most restrictive early-voting arrangments. It's not so, and Ohio Governor John Kasich justifiably rebutted that perception after Mrs. Clinton's speech.
The latest scorecard from the American Conservative Union is out, and the voters of Virginia might want to file a complaint about truth in advertising with the press corps. Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have routinely been portrayed in news reports as “moderates” and “centrists.” But after two years in the Senate, Tim Kaine has a perfect zero on the conservative scale. Mark Warner has a lifetime score of 10.33 percent conservative, but his last two annual scores have been a 4 and an 8. They could be mistaken for Barbara Mikulski (lifetime rating of 5.1).