Lachlan Markay

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The White House is taking it upon itself to police the news media. The trend started of course with the Fox News Channel, but the administration has moved on to bash other organizations, most recently the Associated Press and car site  It seems to believe that any criticism of its policies is worth attacking.

The White House claims, in the words of Valerie Jarret, that it will go after any organization that "spreads false news." But the attacks suggest that the administration will take on any outlet that challenges claims designed to further its agenda.

Edmunds calculated the number of cars purchased during the Cash for Clunkers program that would have been purchased without the rebates. The site determined that C4C had incentivized the purchases of only 125,000 automobiles, meaning taxpayers paid $24,000 per car purchase under the program.

Many Hollywood leftists consider President Obama a figurative godsend. Some, including Sting, think he was literally sent from God. The former Police front-man told the Associated Press that he believes that Obama is a gift from Heaven, delivered to shepherd the befuddled masses to providence (h/t Ace).

"In many ways, he's sent from God," Sting said in an interview with the AP. He heaped praise upon the President for his ability to lead the country though the "mess" in which we find ourselves. He met Obama recently and "found him to be very genuine, very present, clearly super-smart, and exactly what we need in the world."

"I can't think of any be better qualified because of his background, his education, particularly in regard to Islam," he added. Sting then went on to bash the President's critics as deranged, ignorant, and "medieval".

The latest newspaper circulation numbers, measuring copies sold from April through September of this year, show a 10.6 percent decline in daily newspaper sales, the first double-digit drop in circulation ever. Newspaper readership is now at its lowest level since before World War II.

The biggest losers during this six-month period, as reported by NewsBusters's Tom Blumer, were the San Francisco Chronicle (down 25.8 percent daily), the Newark Star-Ledger (down 22.2 percent daily), and the Boston Globe (down 18.5 percent daily).

The New York Times's sales during the period fell to 927,861, the first time the paper sold less than 1 million copies in that time span in decades. The Wall Street Journal saw a 0.6 percent increase in circulation, making it the most purchased newspaper in the country. The Journal surpassed USA Today, whose circulation declined by over 17 percent.

A new report on the state of the newspaper industry in Argentina has found that federal appropriations for newspapers have resulted in less coverage of government corruption. This study goes to the heart of the 'newspaper bailout' debate in this country, and demonstrates the danger of supporting the news media with government funds (h/t Mark Tapscott).

Many liberal media commentators have called for direct federal subsidies for ailing newspapers, arguing that federally-supported news media are essential to democracy. The most prominent group in this camp is Free Press, founded by liberal media guru--and avowed socialist--Robert McChesney (incidentally, McChesney has avidly defended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's crackdown on opposition media outlets in the country).

MSNBC’s Ed Schultz lamely went after Media Research Center President (and NewsBusters publisher) Brent Bozell on his Tuesday night program, trying to mock Bozell’s statement that the Obama White House’s crusade against Fox News was baseless. “You can’t point a finger to anything that Fox News had done incorrectly,” Bozell had said Monday on Lou Dobbs’ radio show.

Ha, ha, ha, Schultz stage-laughed into MSNBC’s cameras. He then ran six clips of pundits and opinion hosts on Fox saying various things about Barack Obama, most of which could be categorized as personal opinion (such as a clip from Bill Sammon referring to “Obama’s agenda towards socialism”). Here we go again. As is so typical with these attacks on Fox News, Schultz was unable to come up with a single instance of a Fox News correspondent or news anchor saying anything incorrect — certainly nothing that would justify the Executive Branch going to war against the network — thus proving Bozell’s point for him.

Even Schultz’s NBC/MSNBC colleagues have stood up against the Obama White House's effort to block Fox News reporters from participating in a pool event last week, which shows how far out Schultz has to be if he’s still defending Obama's efforts at media intimidation.

Here's the transcript of Schultz's rant from last night (video below the jump):

Joy Behar, HLN's conservative-basher of record, today derided conservatives as immature bullies who smell bad and pick their noses. Obama, by Behar's account is the smart kid in class who knows all the answers but keeps letting the bullies push him around.

Her bully characterization is astoundingly hypocritical, given that she goes on to suggest that Obama bully Glenn Beck and other conservative commentators into silence. And the President hardly seems like the kid on the playground "least likely to fight back." He certainly has the means, and has been using his pulpit to deride Fox News for the past two weeks for saying things that he doesn't like.
In the schoolyard of American politics, President Obama is the big, smart kid with all of the test answers who's being bullied by a bunch of Neanderthal ankle-biters from all sides.

A columnist for the UK Guardian wants to save the Earth by thinning the ranks of humans that are a cruel blight upon it. By his account, population control is the only viable solution to the destruction of the planet.

"The worst thing you or I can so for the planet is to have children" writes the Guardian's Alex Renton, who advocated in a Sunday column an ambiguous system of system of carrots and sticks to get the developed world to stop reproducing.

Renton cannot contain his loathing of the developed world. "One less British child would permit some 30 women in sub-Saharan Africa to have a baby and still leave the planet a cleaner place," he writes. Renton adds that "a cull of Australians or Americans would be at least 60 times as productive as one of Bangladeshis."

The cat is out of the bag at the New York Times. The Times has exposed, albeit passively, the true motivation behind the White House's Fox News attacks. Contrary to the administration's claims, it is deriding Fox not because it doesn't report the news, but rather because it does.

It is news, after all, when an organization potentially receiving billions in federal funds aids and abets what it thinks is a criminal organization. It is news when a high-level White House adviser, responsible for the distribution of $80 billion in federal funds, is outed as a communist and a 'truther' conspiracy theorist. It is news when the president's chief communications officer admits her admiration for a murderous dictator.

The White House has berated Fox News for days now for purportedly pushing an agenda and calling it news. So Americans may have been surprised when, as reported by Noel Sheppard, Obama invited two of MSNBC's most divisive liberal pundits--Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow--to the White House for an off-the-record briefing.

As it turns out, Maddow and Olbermann were only two of the left's heavyweights at the briefing. Yesterday, TVNewser received from the White House a complete list of names. Virtually all of them have their histories of shilling for the administration or Democrats generally, and of bashing conservatives.

Let us review the colorful histories of these pundits, and the reader can decide whether they "have a perspective," in the words of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel (in the context of a Fox News attack).

How do you know that the White House's anti-Fox News campaign has gone seriously wrong? When CNN, let alone Anderson Cooper, begins to compare the Obama and Nixon administrations (video embedded below the fold, h/t Mediaite's Colby Hall).

On last night's "360," Cooper stated that "this White House is starting to look like another White House and the comparison is not flattering." He showed a clip of Sen. Lamar Alexander, documented yesterday by NewsBuster Noel Sheppard, offering a "friendly suggestion" to President Obama.
I have an uneasy feeling only 10 months into the new administration that we're beginning to see the symptoms of this same kind of animus developing in the Obama administration. And as those of use who served in the Nixon administration know, that can get you in a lot of trouble... Don't create an enemies list.

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.

Paul Krugman attacked the authors of the soon-to-be-released book SuperFreakonomics today for their audacious attempts to question the left's conventional wisdom on global climate change. He then touted the danger of attacking conservatives, and contended that liberal-bashing has always been the safer political and professional move.
I have a theory here, although it may not be the whole story: it’s about careerism. Annoying conservatives is dangerous [his emphasis]: they take names, hold grudges, and all too often find ways to take people who annoy them down... [Conservatives] snub anyone who breaks the unwritten rule and mocks those who must not be offended.

Annoying liberals, on the other hand, feels transgressive but has historically been safe. The rules may be changing (as [SuperFreakonomics authors Stephen] Dubner and [Steven] Levitt are in the process of finding out), but it’s been that way for a long time.

Veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas, who has covered every president since Jack Kennedy, advised the White House to abandon their attacks on Fox News today. She attributed the administration's visceral reaction to the cable outlet to a naive sense of invincibility generally held by new presidents (video embedded below the fold).

Asked by Joe Scarborough of MSNBC's 'Morning Joe' what "we want our president to know and do," in reference to the title of her new book, Thomas immediately replied "stay out of these fights... They can only take you down. You can't kill the messenger."

Thomas's coauthor, CQ reporter Craig Crawford, added that "presidents are better off, Joe, when they punch up and not down."

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Friday, Andrew Breitbart, founder of such center-right online powerhouses as Big Government and Big Hollywood, blasted what he dubs the "Democrat-media complex." He spoke of his most recent exposes on the administration's political malfeasance and the mainstream media's refusal to cover those scandals.

Breitbart rocketed into the national spotlight with his work with James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles, the young conservatives responsible for the ground-breaking ACORN sting operations that led to congressional votes to de-fund the community organizing group.
"I had a 20-year-old and a 25-year-old and my integrity on the line if we were going to launch this," Mr. Breitbart says. "It was so obvious that the mainstream media, given this information, would not cover it and would, in effect, attempt to cover it up." So he devised an intricate strategy of rolling out the videos one at a time, anticipating Acorn's defenses and rebutting each in turn with the next video...

A lefty magazine editor has come up with a list of brilliant solutions to the planet's purported climate change problem: make the recession worse, make goods more expensive, and restrict all intercontinental travel to blimps.

So said Emily Douglas, web editor for The Nation, who, when asked Wednesday how we could "reverse our culture of consumerism," replied immediately "make the recession worse."

She later claimed that her response was a bit "tongue-in-cheek," according to CNS News, but admitted that her magazine "never shies away from doomsday scenarios."

The Magazine Publishers of America's American Society of Magazine Editors has added a category to its annual magazine cover awards: Obama. This new category is the only ASME category focused on a single person, and highlights the reverential attitude for the President widely held in the magazine publishing community.

ASME represents about 850 magazine editors nationwide. According to its website, the organization "works to preserve editorial independence." How they manage to maintain this air of objectivity while devoting an entire awards section to such a polarizing figure is a mystery.

This year's best Obama magazine cover, and recipient of ASME's Cover of the Year award, was published by Rolling Stone. Fawning coverage of president and candidate Barack Obama from the music (and wannabe left-wing politics) magazine appeared on the cover on numerous occasions. The winning cover is at right.

The White House is stepping up its attacks against the Fox News Channel, labeling it a bastion of stilted and opinionated journalism. A top administration communications official has called the Fox "opinion journalism masquerading as news," and vowed to wage a war of ideas against the network.

Speaking with Time Magazine, White House Communications Director Anita Dunn said that the administration intends to be "more aggressive rather than just sit back and defend ourselves, because they will say anything. They will take any small thing and distort it."

The White House blog has begun singling out and taking on the cable news network. Recent blog posts carry pejorative headlines such as "Fox Lies," and "even more Fox lies." Time calls Dunn the "general" of this anti-Fox campaign.

In his latest push for a health care overhaul bill, President Obama spoke to doctors in the White House Rose Garden yesterday. Painting a nice picture of the event were many media outlets that neglected to mention the White House's doctoring (forgive the pun) of the audience in an attempt at a powerful photo-op.

Doctors attending the event were instructed to show up in white lab coats to give observers the feeling that doctors stand behind the President's health care plans.

"White Coats in the Rose Garden, as Obama Rallies Doctors on Health Overhaul," read a New York Times blog post headline. "The roughly 150 doctors assembled wore white lab coats under the brilliant fall sun," the Washington Post recalled. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote, "Obama faced rows of smiling doctors, all wearing white lab coats." NBC News also noted the white coats donned by the doctors in attendance.

The Washington Post's new employee guidelines for the use of online social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have sparked a debate over the proper role of new media for journalists, and the objectivity of major media outlets generally.

The Post's new guidelines, handed down from on high by Senior Editor Milton Coleman, disregard the potential of new media to engage readers in a conversation about the paper's reporting. Rather, the new social media policy attempts to buttress the Post's supposed objectivity, at the expense of journalistic transparency.

The Post's rules forbid employees from "writing, tweeting or posting anything—including photographs or video—that could be perceived as reflecting political, racial, sexist, religious or other bias or favoritism that could be used to tarnish our journalistic credibility" and prohibit "the discussion of internal newsroom issues such as sourcing, reporting of stories, decisions to publish or not to publish, personnel matters and untoward personal or professional matters involving our colleagues."

The View's Whoopi Goldberg yesterday offered the most outrageous and despicable defense of child rapist and Hollywood director Roman Polanski yet: "It wasn't rape-rape." That's right. Goldberg tried to claim that Polanksi drugging and having sex with a thirteen year old girl, who repeatedly uttered 'no' to the predator, does not qualify as 'actual' rape (video embedded below the fold).

Polanksi apologists have tried since he was arrested in Switzerland Sunday to excuse his actions on the grounds that he was traumatized by his horrible experiences as a Jew in Nazi-occupied Poland or that he has endured enough punishment since his conviction in 1978. But Goldberg's defense is so far the most insensitive, oafish attempt for an excuse yet (video embedded below the fold):