Latest from Lachlan Markay
A prominent Tea Party group has announced that it will stage a counter-protest in Wisconsin on Saturday aimed at supporting a measure in that state to revoke public employee unions' collective bargaining rights and to force them to pay a slightly larger amount into their own health and pension plans.
That measure sparked large protests in Madison Thursday by union groups, and a walkout by Democratic legislators in a successful effort to deny the State Senate a voting quorum.
Despite the left's continued inability to get the facts straight on last year's "Citizens United v. FEC" Supreme Court decision, some continue discussing it as if it were an atrocity of truly historic proportions.
Actor Richard Dreyfuss, for one, berated Citizens United president David Bossie at last week's Conservative Political Action Conference. He compared Bossie to genocidal Cambodian dictator Pol Pot, and wondered whether Bossie was "stacking skulls" in his office (a reference to the remains of hundreds of thousands of Cambodians found in mass graves after Pol Pot's rule).
Obamacare will not be fully implemented for another three years, but the Internal Revenue Service is already requesting money for the legion of bureaucrats required to oversee its implementation. The IRS has requested funds for an additional 1,054 employees in 2012 alone, hirings that would cost taxpayers $359 million.
There are very few Americans who believe that the maintenance of the American republic literally depends on their continued relevance. Journalists comprise a large portion of that relatively small group.
So as technology has enabled public figures to circumvent traditional media, those journalists have raised the alarm that without the proper "filters" (them, of course) constitutional republicanism itself is at risk.
Given recent news that Al Gore personally recruited Keith Olbermann to join Current TV as its "Chief News Officer" (I don't know either), readers may be wondering: what value could the former vice presiodent have possibly seen in Olbermann?
Though we're not expecting confirmation from Current TV, here's one possibility: like Olbermann, Gore is a routine violator of Godwin's Law. Perhaps the former MSNBC host's penchant for Nazi comparisons impressed a man who, though he's an expert at comparing people with whom he disagrees to genocidal fascists, can't hold a candle to Olbermann's knee-jerk Nazi references.
For the past year, the left has cried foul at the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United vs. FEC, which overturned laws prohibiting corporations and unions from broadcast election-related communications within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. More than a year after the court handed down its decision, misinformation still pervades liberal condemnations of the ruling.
Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the far-left magazine The Nation, pushed a near-comical distortion of the truth in a recent column in the Washington Post. She brazenly declared former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold a "victim of Citizens United spending," and linked to an interview with Feingold at The Nation.
Just one problem: in that interview, Feingold explicitly denied that campaign spending played any role in his defeat. Does vanden Heuvel even read the items she offers as evidence - or her own magazine?
Is Chris Matthews going crazy? He has really gone off the rails of late attacking, more viciously than usual, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and comparing the Tea Party movement to Egypt's Islamofascist group the Muslim Brotherhood.
While we at NewsBusters are more likely to ascribe these knee-jerk attacks to Matthews's intense partisanship, others have their own theories. FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey, for one, thinks Matthews might be losing it. "I'm kind of sad for Chris," Armey "Fox and Friends" host Brian Kilmeade on Monday. "[H]e just seems to be slipping out of touch with reality" (video and transcript below the break).
A pair of updates below the fold.
AOL News announced Monday that it has chugged the Kool Aid and put Arianna Huffington in charge of the new Huffington Post Media Group. AOL will pay $315 million for the site, making it the blogosphere's largest ever acquisition.
Decisions to name Huffington president and editor in chief and to brand the new company with the Huffington Post name suggest that AOL has fully embraced a leftist spin on the news.
Elections have consequences. In the realm of media regulation, the 2008 election meant increased influence for proponents of so-called media "localism." The increased influence of localism at the FCC bore itself out in the recently-approved Comcast/NBC merger.
As a hypothetical, "localism" is relatively innocent. But in practice, it essentially amounts to a back-door mechanism for media regulation, which is why the FCC's most left-wing member, Michael Copps, has been an outspoken advocate of localism as part of his proposed "public value test."
The White House Correspondents Association is very displeased with the lack of press access they've received of late. The WHCA sent a letter to press secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday, expressing their dismay that print and television reporters were not allowed into the president's Tuesday meeting with cabinet secretaries, or the START Treaty signing the following day.
The White House television pool chimed in on Thursday, echoing the WHCA letter, which "protest[ed] in the strongest possible terms" the lack of press access during the two events.
At the New York Times, apparently a belief in first principles and the wisdom of the founders is enough to be labeled a Tea Partier. On Wednesday the Times alleged (passively, of course) "political bias" by a federal judge in Florida, who on Monday ruled ObamaCare unconstitutional.
The smoking gun? Judge Roger Vinson cited colonial-era restrictions on the sale of tea that helped lead to the American revolution. For the Times, Vinson's originalist approach to the Constitution makes him politically biased - presumably a disregard for original intent would not - and portions of his written opinion referencing the founders represented "a deliberate nod to the Tea Party movement."
Al Sharpton appeared on MSNBC's "The Ed Show" Monday night to once again demand that the federal government censor Rush Limbaugh. As he always does, Sharpton couched his clear political agenda in the language of racial righteousness. He cited Rush Limbaugh's satirical mocking of Chinese president Hu Jintao as evidence of "why we must have standards" for radio and television broadcasters.
Of course Sharpton isn't actually concerned about "civility" or "standards" for broadcasters. But this is a golden opportunity for him to advance his "silence Rush Limbaugh" campaign (video below the fold).
ABC reporter Bob Woodruff has helped raise money for a liberal environmental advocacy group while reporting on environmental issues for ABC, in direct violation of the network's ethics politcies, according to our friends at Big Journalism (who picked up on an investigation by the Enterprise Report).
Woodruff even reported on the group he helped raise funds for - Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s Waterkeeper Alliance - and dubbed one of its advisory board members one of the "six people helping to save our planet," all without disclosing his financial ties to the group.
ABC acknowledged that Woodruff's actions violate its ethics policies, according to the Enterprise Report, and insisted that it will take "appropriate disciplinary action," but neglected to elaborate any further.
The folks at MSNBC's "Hardball" announced a new hour-long special on Monday, slated to air in late February. Titled "President of the World", the special will focus on "former U.S. President turned humanitarian and diplomat extraordinaire" Bill Clinton.
But don't worry, like all "Hardball" episodes, this one will be "absolutely nonpartisan."
While liberal media bias is often easy to spot, it's rare to see veteran journalists come clean on the biases of their own news outlets. But when one does, it's hard to dispute the first hand account of the newsroom's consistently leftist politics.
In his new memoirs, veteran BBC news anchor Peter Sissons details the startling depths of leftist politics that pervade coverage at Britain's state-owned broadcaster. Leftism is "in its very DNA," Sissions claims of the BBC.
In excerpts from the memoirs, titled "When One Door Closes", published in Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, Sissons details the groupthink mentality at the BBC:
Some on the left have been crying foul at CNN's decision to air live Rep. Michele Bachmann's response to the president's State of the Union address Tuesday night. None have been more vocal than MSNBC libtalker Rachel Maddow.
One media critic had enough. On Thursday, the Baltimore Sun's David Zurawik laid into Maddow's criticism, saying it derives from "the mentality of a lockstep party member, not a journalist." Zurawik's gripe was Maddow's insistence that because Bachmann was not officially representing a political party, her speech should not have been given comparable treatment to the president's or to Rep. Paul Ryan's Republican response.
Journalists "don't let political parties tell us who we should and shouldn't cover," Zurawik added. "I have a West Highland terrier named Bugsy who has better journalism credentials and chops than you do," he quipped.
On Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter tried to dissect cable news's strange fascination with Sarah Palin. For Fox it's more apparent: Palin is a paid contributor, after all. But for MSNBC, whose primetime hosts have mentioned her more than any other cable news personalities, it seems to be a case of mutual dependency. MSNBC needs Palin.
In a response to the THR article, filmmaker John Ziegler delved deeper into the lefty cable network's strange obsession with all things Palin. Ziegler made plain what THR only touched on: Palin fits perfectly the "bogeyman" role that MSNBC needs to keep its lefty viewers tuned in.
As for MSNBC programmer BIll Wolff's insistence that the channel simply "holds up a mirror" - tells it like it is, in other words, with no partisan spin - Ziegler callled the claim "laughable."
One would expect an editor of Time Magazine to argue with more logical force than a college freshman. But alas, in his effort to dismiss a looming congressional investigation into homegrown Jihadist terrorism, Romesh Ratnesar, Time's contributing editor-at-large, demonstrated a profound inability to lay out a coherent argument.
Among the article's highlights: the Fort Hood massacre wasn't actually terrorism and is therefore irrelevant to any discussion of Jihadist violence; most American Muslims are opposed to Jihadism and therefore the few who do endorse the ideology are not really a threat; and because recent terrorist attacks have failed, there is not a serious threat of future attacks.
Just because the site was founded by an alleged plagiarist doesn't mean it's totally devoid of ethical clout. Though you do have to wonder: from where does the Huffington Post recruit its bloggers?
The site reportedly informed one of its unpaid contributors last week that he was being let go. The offense: he had used his press credentials as a HuffPo blogger to get labor union demonstrators access to a Mortgage Bankers Association event, where they staged a rowdy protest.
Left-wing bloggers are touting their latest smear of a conservative radio talk show host and as you would expect, there's absolutely nothing to the charge.
The target this time is FNC host and radio talker Glenn Beck. In a segment last year, Beck warned establishment liberals that encouraging the far-left revolutionary types could end up backfiring in dangerous ways. "You're going to have to shoot them in the head," he warned, when the uber-leftists find out that the center-leftists aren't really on board with their revolutionary endgame.
Clearly, as Patterico notes, "you" in that sentence is referring to the establishment left, and "them" is referring to the wackos who want to do away with capitalism and "American imperialism" and such - you know, the folks who think Hugo Chavez's brand of dictatorship is just swell (video and transcript below the fold).