Mike Bates


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With this week's inauguration, several media stories recounted past inaugural addresses. One oration prominently featured and applauded was the speech given by President John F. Kennedy in 1961.

On CNN's Web site, it was listed as one of "The six best inaugural addresses."  U.S. News & World Report's site included it as one of "The 5 Best Inaugural Addresses," noting that it set "the benchmark against which subsequent addresses have been measured."  Just in case readers missed it, the following day the same site carried the story "What Obama Can Learn From the Greatest Inaugural Addresses," this time declaring part of Kennedy's speech "poetry."  At The Washington Post, The Fix counted it as part of  "The 10 most famous inaugural addresses."  Politico claimed it "ranks alongside Lincoln’s two for pure eloquence." 


"A lot has changed in just four years" is the headline of a piece written by Carol Marin, political columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times.  In it, she writes:

Unemployment in 2008 was 6.7 percent. Today it’s 7.9 percent
 
The federal deficit was $1 trillion. It still is.

And later:


President Barack Obama's campaign may well be in trouble in the United States, but he still is adored by many foreigners.  The mainstream media want us to know that and today's Chicago Tribune print edition carries two separate pieces to emphasize it.  One, appearing on page 3, is "The American way, seen through English eyes," an interview with a British reporter covering the election from Chicago.  Asked who Brits favor, Laura Harding replies:

It's probably a pretty safe bet to say that we're much keener on Obama than on Romney, just because he seems far more in line with general British politics than Romney. Things like Obamacare are very much in line with the kind of health care system we have in the U.K.


Lynn Sweet, Washington, D.C. bureau chief for the Chicago Sun-Times, covers the final presidential debate in "Sweet: Obama in command in campaign’s last clash" on the newspaper's Web site.  In the piece she writes:

As soon as Romney pledged not to cut military spending (incorrectly implying that was an Obama proposal — something he has done before) Obama pounced, portraying Romney as woefully uninformed about how a modern military measures its strike force.


On Sunday's CNN Reliable Sources, host Howard Kurtz spoke of President Barack Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:

Bob Cusack, Obama gave a pretty good speech overall. The media acted like it was terrible. And it seems to me that perhaps we have set a standard for him that (if) he doesn't he doesn't hit the stratosphere, he has somehow failed.

The media acted like it was terrible?  Kurtz must not have been watching CNN immediately after Obama's speech.  Observed CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer: "Anderson, he clearly still has that oratorical skill that he's always had over these many years." CNN chief national correspondent John King opined: "I think a very smart, well-crafted speech, both strategically and tactically."  CNN senior political analyst David Gergen said, ". . .I thought it was a very strong speech."


Last night on WGN-TV's News at Nine program, anchor Jackie Bange began a story:

A guidance counselor at Rich Central High School in south suburban Olympia Fields is on administrative leave after publishing a somewhat racy book he wrote that focuses on sex and women.

What constitutes somewhat racy at the station calling itself "Chicago's Very Own"?  Part of the answer is in an article appearing on the Chicago Sun-Times's Web site.  Written by Casey Toner, it reports on Bryan Craig's book titled "It's Her Fault."  Some excerpts:


Los Angeles Times film critic Betsy Sharkey didn't like "2016: Obama's America," a movie that's surprised many with its box office appeal.  In a review on the Los Angeles Times's Web site titled "'2016: Obama's America' goes by the book,'" Sharkey is sharply critical, writing that the movie doesn't demystify President Barack Obama, but rather "does more to illuminate its filmmaker, Dinesh D'Souza, and his ego instead."  Moreover, "it's intent on laying out the arguments of a man who has given the same lecture countless times."

I have to wonder how seriously Sharkey approached the movie.  She misquotes a tag line, saying that it's "Love him, hate him, now you know him," when in fact it's "Love him, hate him, you don't know him."  She praises career leftist Michael Moore for his supposed objectivity:

But Moore's work and the genre itself come with an implicit understanding that whatever truths emerge, they were ultimately forged by the process, not set in stone beforehand.


On Friday's CNN Newsroom, anchor Ashleigh Banfield didn't begin her program with news that unemployment in 44 states has worsened, a story that CNN's Web site reported.  No, she devoted the first 12 minutes of her program to a real burning issue:  Mitt Romney's tax returns.

She spoke of President Barack Obama's offer to accept five years of GOP candidate Mitt Romney's tax returns and demand no more.  The offer is as big a joke as Vice President Joe Biden, yet Banfield discussed it with CNN political editor Paul Steinhauser and Reuters columnist David Cay Johnston.  Banfield injected her own theory:


USA Today's Web site features an Associated Press report with the headline "Housing starts, jobless claims in good shape."  For the many readers who just scan headlines, that sounds encouraging.  Yet by the second paragraph the article notes "that construction of single-family homes and apartments dipped 1.1% in July compared with June. . ."  And by the third paragraph:

Housing has been making a modest comeback this year. But even with the gains, the rate of construction and the level of permits remain only about half the 1.5 million annual rate considered healthy.


Yesterday on Fox News's Special Report, senior national correspondent John Roberts did a segment on the controversy surrounding gay marriage.  A version of his report also appears on the Fox News Web site.  In it, Roberts interviewed a gay marriage proponent saying that young Republicans "overwhelmingly support the freedom to marry." And then:

Roberts:  It isn't just young Republicans who are changing their minds. Conservative David Blankenhorn fought fiercely for Prop 8, California's measure to ban gay marriage.  In June, he wrote an op-ed in the New York Times with the headline: "How My View On Gay Marriage Changed".  Blankenhorn is now fully in favor of same-sex marriage.


Liberals look to government, often the Federal government, for solutions to almost everything.  Chicago's murder rate is appalling, with at least six people killed and another 31 shot  last weekend.  So to whom does Chicago Sun-Times columnist Stella Foster turn for help?  President Barack Obama.

On the newspaper's Web site today appears Foster's plea, titled "Letter to President Obama: Please help address city violence."  The article also appears in the newspaper's print edition with the headline "Dear Mr. President: Help our city!"  It begins:

PRESIDENT OBAMA, you came into your hometown of Chicago last weekend to attend the backyard wedding of the daughter of your personal friend and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett in your Kenwood neighborhood. I am sure the affair was lovely and heartwarming. Hopefully, your schedule, one day soon, will allow you to return to Chi Town to spearhead an anti-violence rally of huge proportion to speak out against the senseless gun violence that has overwhelmed various areas of our city. . .


On CNN Newsroom this morning, anchor Carol Costello reported on "Nuns on the Bus:"

"Normally, you see nuns working in their closely knit communities and religious orders. But a group of nuns in the United States, they are hitting the road," she reported. "They are taking a bus on nine-state tour.  They are protesting the Ryan budget cuts they say will hurt the poor the most. The nuns are in Milwaukee today and that's where Ted Rowlands is. So the nuns are jumping into the political fray."


Setting aside any pretense of objectivity, MSNBC host Martin Bashir and guests ferociously attacked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney during a segment of Thursday's program.  In a discussion with Professors James Peterson and Michael Eric Dyson, Bashir bemoaned the pernicious impact of money in politics, particularly money raised by Romney. (video here)

Bashir: Professor Dyson, isn't that the problem that you have here a vacuous candidate who doesn't have any principles, who is surrounded by cash from individuals who have an agenda?

Naturally, Dyson was more than pleased to pile on, warning of a plutocracy representing "the vapidity and vacuity of an empty suit whose ideological perspective is shaped by the cash that flows into him."  To lend intellectual strength to his contention, Dyson quoted from the hip hop song "Cash Rules Everything Around Me."


On Friday's edition of CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront, the host was upfront in her enthusiasm for President Obama's immigration announcement, even including sound effects and grimacing when she spoke of "Republicans hissing like an angry cat cornered by the neighborhood dog." (video here):

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next, the president makes an MVP-like political move that leaves Republicans flat footed. But is it the best policy for our country?


Appearing on the Chicago Tribune's Web site is "Undocumented immigrants fight for lifesaving liver transplants: Without insurance, brothers are denied care."  The story also appears in today's print edition with the title "Struggles for the sick and undocumented."

The story centers on two illegal immigrant brothers suffering from a deadly liver disease.  Contrary to the Web site's headline, however, it seems both of them are receiving care even though uninsured:


This week the Los Angeles Times's Web site carries the story "Kirk Douglas on the blacklist: Why Hollywood showed so little courage," referencing  the actor's recently released memoir.  The article also appears in today's Chicago Tribune print edition, titled "How Douglas took on blacklist with 'Spartacus.'"  Author Patrick Goldstein reports Douglas is particularly proud of hiring former Communist and unrepentant member of the Hollywood Ten Dalton Trumbo to write the movie "Spartacus."


The rainbow halo over President Barack Obama's head on Newsweek's cover isn't sufficient for some in the mainstream media.  Now the meme is shifting to the inevitability of his re-election.  Or so it would seem based on CNN's Your Money today.  Anchor Ali Velshi devoted his heavy intellectual resources to the subject after discussing Mitt Romney's opposition to the auto bailout:


President Barack Obama has apparently completed his evolution on gay marriage.   On CNN Newsroom's 3:00 pm segment today, anchor Brooke Baldwin spoke with chief national correspondent John King on the subject and he began by noting "we should say up front it's a bold, personal choice for the president to decide to do this publicly."  His analysis included what he perceives as possible risks:

Critically to me, Brooke, in this calculation, African-Americans and Latinos. Many Latinos who are Catholics. They go to Catholic Church, where their priest tells them every Sunday homosexuality isn't just wrong, it's evil. That's what their priest tells them. It's evil.
 
A lot of African-American preachers in the Southern Baptist -- Southern churches across this country, but particularly in Virginia, North Carolina, states the president carried last time, say the same thing.


On today's 3:00 pm edition of CNN Newsroom, anchor Brooke Baldwin teased her next segment:

BALDWIN: Coming up next, House Republicans they want to cut billions of dollars in food stamps. We will talk about who exactly in terms of numbers this would impact and why my next guest calls this whole suggestion appalling -- back in 60 seconds.

Baldwin interviewed Edward Cooney, executive director of the Congressional Hunger Center.  She didn't note that, despite its official-sounding name, the center is just another 501(c)3 tax-exempt organization taking money from companies such as Walmart, Kraft, and Archer Daniel Midland, as well public funding for fellowships.  Nor that Cooney had worked at the Department of Agriculture during the Clinton administration.  Nor that Cooney has made political contributions to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and ActBlue, which characterizes itself as "the online clearing house for Democratic action." 


On today's CNN Newsroom, anchor Kyra Phillips interviewed Rep. Allen West (R-FL) about several topics.  One was gay marriage (video here).  West said that it's a states' issue and he didn't want to be taken "down a rabbit hole to discuss things that really aren't that important.  This disturbed Phillips: