Mike Bates

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On CNN’s 11:00 am @THIS HOUR with Berman and Michaela segment, senior political correspondent Brianna Keilar discussed the political cleanup necessary after former secretary of state and now prospective Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton asserted she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House.

On this morning’s 10:30 ET segment of CNN Newsroom, anchor Carol Costello reported on resistance to Federal mandates requiring healthier food be served to students.  She ran a video clip of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Then, a gaffe: she claimed Mrs. Obama signed a nutrition bill into law in 2010 [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

Katrina vanden Huevel, editor and publisher of The Nation, participated in today’s Face the Nation panel. The first topic of discussion was the scandal at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

Obama adviser John Podesta today apologized for comparing House Republicans to the Jonestown cult led by Jim Jones.  The Washington Post’s Web site reports: Podesta made the remark in an article in Politico Magazine , saying that the Obama administration should focus on using executive action because it is “facing a second term against a cult worthy of Jonestown in charge of one of the houses of Congress.” Although Podesta was speaking this fall before being hired by the White House, he quickly apologized to House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) through a post on his Twitter account.

The Post and other media outlets didn’t note that “Reverend” Jim Jones, founder of the San Francisco People’s Temple, in truth numbered Democratic politicians, not Republicans, among his admirers.

On CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper today, Tapper reported on a woman who’s very happy with the way ObamaCare is working:

TAPPER: That's not a yes. Park is still working on fixes, but Tony Trenkle, the chief information officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which is running the site, resigned. The Web site does have some satisfied customers out there, such as Flora Brewer of Fort Worth, Texas, who says she found coverage similar to what she has now, but for a lower price. 

FLORA BREWER, SATISFIED WITH OBAMACARE: Well, I'm very happy with this coverage. They said, oh, yes, we have got your application. We have got you. You're -- you're enrolled. 

Many mainstream media pundits are undoubtedly displeased that a good portion of the public doesn’t approve of President Barack Obama’s job performance.  But today’s nomination of Janet Yellen for Federal Reserve chairman gave some of them a chance to wax nostalgic for another Democratic president and the time Yellen worked in the Clinton White House.  On today’s 3:30 pm segment of CNN Newsroom, anchor Wolf Blitzer reminisced with chief political analyst Gloria Borger and international business correspondent Richard Quest:

BORGER: Jack Lew, who is now treasury secretary, was there as a budget director. Those were the good old days. 

In case you haven’t noticed, the government shutdown is all the GOP’s fault.  Today’s Chicago Tribune wanted to make sure readers knew that with a front-page headline titled “Hard-right bloc sticks to its guns: Shutdown stalemate continues as lawmakers in safe seats hold sway.” The article reports that some House Republicans “have chosen to defy Washington’s traditional norms of conversation and compromise.”  You know, those norms that have served America so well as we headed to a $17 trillion debt.

Viewers who watched last evening’s ABC World News with Diane Sawyer were told of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll “showing 70% of Americans disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are handling the negotiations.”  What they weren’t told is the same poll found 61% disapprove of how Democrats are handling the breakdown while another majority, 51%, disapproves of Obama’s approach.

White House staff aren’t the only ones looking for sob stories about folks affected by the government shutdown.  The media are doing what they can to assist. Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, lends a hand with “Shutdown becomes real for local residents.” The article begins:

Edgar Mullins, of Richton Park, and Justin Jones, of Chicago Heights, became victims of the federal government shutdown on Thursday.

They lined up early in the morning in front of the Social Security Administration office in Chicago Heights.

The office was open for business but wasn’t offering new or replacement Social Security cards, the reason Mullins and Jones were there.

The September 19, 2013 article “Pope Francis: Church cannot be 'obsessed' with gays, other bans” on The Chicago Tribune’s Web site notes:

In a remarkable change from his predecessor Benedict, who said homosexuality was an intrinsic disorder, Francis said that when homosexuals told him they were always condemned by the Church and felt "socially wounded", he told them "the Church does not want to do this".

Contrary to what a typical reader might conclude, Pope Benedict wasn’t expressing a personal opinion on homosexuality.  What he said comes directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Chicago Tribune’s Web site obituary today on former Congressman E. Clay Shaw (R-FL) notes his role in passing 1996’s sweeping welfare reform.  The article states the legislation was “(b)acked by Republican leaders and then-President Bill Clinton.”

While it’s true that Clinton has for years taken bows for signing welfare reform, the authors err in not separating Clinton’s words from his actions.  Yes, he did pledge in 1992 to "end welfare as we have come to know it," but after the election didn’t do much about it.  In an August 1, 1996 Baltimore Sun piece, authors Carl M. Cannon and Karen Hosler wrote:

After assuming office, his administration took 17 months to propose a welfare reform plan -- a version supported by neither congressional Republicans nor Democrats.

Today President Barack Obama criticized Republicans for, among other transgressions, “phony scandals.”  Press secretary Jay Carney’s used the term multiple times this week. It seems Obama’s pals in the media like that theme.

On CNN Newsroom’s 2:30 ET segment, anchor Brooke Baldwin:

“Amos ‘n’ Andy” was so controversial that in 1951 the NAACP demanded it be taken off the air for its derogatory portrayal of blacks.  By 1966, the NAACP won a victory by stopping the show’s reruns from airing.

But at Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Saturday morning forum this week, “Amos ‘n’ Andy” was back in fashion.  Chicago talk show personality Cliff Kelley emceed a panel discussion.  Warming up the crowd, Kelley placed his arm on the shoulder of Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree and tried a little humor:  (video here)

Many in the mainstream believe that the Republican Party is an elitist organization of the affluent while Democrats represent the party of the people.  If that ever were true, it certainly hasn’t been for many years.  Yet the myth persists.

With attention drawn to government surveillance of citizens, some in the media are recalling that this has long been an issue.   Columnist Phil Kadner of the Southtown Star, a publication of the Chicago Sun-Times, did so in a recent column, "Do you want security or freedom?":

 When Communists were suspected of conspiring to undermine our country, innocent political activists were targeted in the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King Jr. because he was campaigning for civil rights.

That was not the reason for King’s wiretap, which was carried out by the FBI after Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy authorized it on October 10, 1963.  Kennedy believed that two of King’s associates had ties to the Communist party.  

Mainstream media’s limited reporting on the murder trial of Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell has been obvious.  You might think that CNN, the self-styled “Most Trusted Name in News," would pay more attention to a case involving over 250 criminal counts, including ones for first-degree murder. 

You’d be wrong.  Today, CNN’s Newsroom occupied six hours of air time.  The Gosnell trial was mentioned only twice.  Anchor Wolf Blitzer reported:

In Philadelphia, the 72-year-old abortion doctor, Kermit Gosnell is awaiting his fate. He's accused of first degree murder for allegedly killing babies born alive during late term abortions. Jurors are now in their fifth day of deliberating after not reaching a verdict Friday. 


On CNN’s Situation Room today, anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke of the 1995-1996 Federal government shutdown:

BLITZER: Yes, I would be shocked if there were a government shutdown. The Republicans lived through that back in the '90s and it didn't exactly work out well for them. I would be shocked if they went down that road and the president went down that road right now. I'm sure they will work that out.

So how bad was the political fallout for Republicans?  That year the GOP nominated the uninspiring Sen. Bob Dole as their presidential nominee.  Despite such a lackluster top of the ticket, House losses were only in the single digits.  As former Speaker Newt Gingrich has noted “it was the first time in 68 years that Republicans were reelected to a House majority - and the first time that had ever happened with a Democrat winning the presidency.”  On the Senate side, the GOP picked up two seats.

While some in the mainstream media harp on the purportedly horrendous effects of possible across-the-board spending cuts on March 1, there is also an effort to distance President Barack Obama from responsibility.  An example of this is on CNN, which has shown more than once today a report on the sequester by chief business correspondent Ali Velshi.  An excerpt:

VELSHI: The forced budget cuts were created during the 2011 debt ceiling debacle. They were passed by Congress and signed by the White House.

So “the White House” signs bills into law?  That’s funny.   On August 2, 2011, the day the Budget Control Act became law, Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer told his audience:

Happening now, President Obama signs a bill to raise the debt limit, avoiding an economic debt crisis for now.

Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor in over 80 years.  Democrats have controlled the Illinois governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature for more than a decade, with Democrats ruling the Illinois House for 28 of the last 30 years.  No matter, Chicago violence is the fault of Republicans.  We learned that this morning on CNN Newsroom when anchor Carol Costello asked her “Talk Back” guests about Retired Lt. General Russel Honore’s suggestion to use National Guard troops to curb murders in Chicago.  Democratic strategist Robert Zimmerman astutely pinpointed the reason for Chicago’s carnage:

And let's be very clear about what's happening in Washington today and why it's undermining the city of Chicago, because there's a mindset now in our government, in Washington, from the Republican members of Congress, that sequestration is an acceptable way of doing business, that we can in fact engage in these massive irresponsible cuts that no one thinks is a logical approach to budgeting. 

On FOX Chicago News at Nine this evening, station legal analyst Larry Yellen reported on “John Wayne Gacy speaks: FOX 32 uncovers never-before-heard tapes.”  Yellen noted:

The part-time clown and one-time precinct captain killed 33 young men between 1972 and 1978--most of them by strangulation, hiding many of their bodies in the crawl space of his Northwest Side home.

After CNN televised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Congressional testimony on the Benghazi attack, on the 5 pm segment of The Situation Room Wolf Blitzer provided some analysis, including an interview with Senator Rand Paul (R-KY).  Then Blitzer announced there was breaking news.  He turned to CNN national correspondent Jim Acosta, who reported that Beyonce had - hold onto your remote here - lip-synced "The Star Spangled Banner" at President Obama's inauguration Monday: