Warner Todd Huston
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This little report is interesting in a few ways, but the most important is that it seems to show that the publishers of at least one American newspaper are wholly ignorant of American history. It seems that early last week the Warren Times Observer of Warren, Pennsylvania published an ad that basically expressed a desire to see President Barack Obama assassinated and they didn't even know it.
The small town paper published an ad that read as follows: "May Obama follow in the steps of Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy!" Sadly, the paper's editors completely missed the salient fact that all these historical presidents -- except for Obama -- were assassinated in office!
By Friday, the paper printed an apology and told the AP that it had turned over all relevant info to the Secret Service.
Margery Eagan of the Boston Herald has done it again. She's unleashed her deathless prose filled with soaring rhetoric and high concepts all revealing her infinite sagacity. OK, that was just sarcasm. In truth, Eagan has given us another example of the sort of low-end, guttural, sputterings that we have become so used to seeing drip like sour milk from her pen. Her latest Boston Herald piece is a prime example of the unprofessionalism that pervades her work.
In a posting titled "Men in throes of Supreme panic," Eagan gets into her best name calling mode against all those eeeevil "white men" out there that might find reason to oppose President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor, a woman well known for positing that female Hispanics are inherently better judges than white men -- a sentiment that if reversed would be considered a racist statement.
Francis Wilkinson, executive editor of The Week news magazine, seems to think that The New York Times is a model of restraint with a centrist editorial policy and that conservatives should be afraid of the day when the Old Gray Lady publishes its last sheet. My guess: if your eyebrow could be raised any higher at this claim, it'd become a toupee.
In a somewhat contradictory piece headlined "Will GOP regret attacks on The Times?," Wilkinson by turns says that The New York Times has on one hand allowed the Bush administration to program its content while on the other hand says that the paper exhibits "bedrock liberal assumptions that define the paper." How it can be both is hard to understand, but Wilkinson seems to think it's possible.
The central point of the piece, though, sets up a sort of straw man that is then knocked down by saying that The New York Times is a model of journalistic restraint that will be sorely missed by conservatives when the paper is buried to be replaced by Internet based "news" outlets like The Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. Even so, this piece is not without merit.
Remember how everyone in the Old Media delighted in lambasting Governor Sarah Palin when the GOP bought all those clothes for her use during the McCain campaign? Remember how it was reported as nearly a foregone conclusion that these purchases must have somehow been illegal? It was even bigger news when the left-wing group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the GOP. The whole thing was the talk of the Old Media, as you may recall.
Well, as of May 15, the FEC ruled that there was no ethics violation and the clothing spending was deemed legal. One would think that this news concluding the story would make as big of a splash with the Old Media as the beginning of the tale did. Naturally, crickets have been heard throughout the media establishment as little notice has been paid to this story.
On May 20, ABC's Jake Tapper asked a few salient questions about coverage of an April 27 incident at the White House basketball court, a sort of event after the event that the White House press corps was barred from covering. Tapper wondered then why the president barred the press but it later became clear that Team Obama was creating its own little media report "complete with cuts, interviews, and chyrons identifying who's speaking."
Tapper subtly warned that the president's penchant for controlling the message smacks of an Obama Ministry of Propaganda styled effort that excludes "actual reporters" from covering the White House and leaves the country with faux news that is free of any "uncomfortable questions" asked by probing journalists.
On May 20, Politico had an interesting little treatment of columnist Charles Krauthammer crowning him as the most important conservative columnist of the day. A brief overview of his life and his emergence as the most reliable voice against Obamaism served as the main subject for the piece, but a few quotes on Mr. Krauthammer made by other columnists added a sense of how respected Krauthammer is to scribe Ben Smith's piece.
Wow. Just wow. If this New York Times headline isn't an act of advocacy for higher taxes in California, what is? With its May 20 coverage of the vote for California's tax hiking ballot measures, the Times plainly scolds fed-up voters for rejecting them with a headline that pointedly says: "Calif. Voters Reject Measures to Keep State Solvent."
Really? The Times thinks California's voters want a state headed into bankruptcy, that they voted for insolvency? The paper is strangely furious that voters rejected tax hikes, but I hate to break this to the New York rag: voters did not "reject measures" to keep the state "solvent." What voters did was reject wild tax hikes that would only lead to more corruption and profligate spending. The voters weren't fooled and knew that these measures would not lead to any long-term solution to the state's budget woes. If the state house in Sacramento had done its job properly and proposed a sensible budget in the first place, Californians would be happy to vote for it I am sure.
A 60-year-old Mormon Church in Massachusetts burned to the ground on Sunday. A story about the incident appeared on the Washington Post website last night. It's an AP entry discussing the fire that chased worshippers out of the building in a panic on Sunday. But it is accompanied by a rather odd choice of images. Is it a photo of the fire-damaged church? Perhaps it is a snap of frightened churchgoers or a resolute minister vowing to rebuild? Well, none of those really.
The odd choice of photos accompanying the story of a fire at a Mormon Church is one of gay couples that "brought a lawsuit" over gay marriage in Massachusetts.
One might wonder what the heck a photo of gays has to do with a church burning down? The answer seems to be that the Washington Post doesn't seem to think there is any time that isn’t suitable to attack the Mormon Church over its opposition to gay marriage. They turned this simple story of a fire into an excuse to play politics.
Remember how the left always asserted that George W. Bush was stupid? Remember how they were so thrilled to have the Obamessiah that spoke so well, a president that was perpetually the smartest man in the room? Well, after the many stammering TelePrompter free stump debacles during the campaign, many began to doubt this claim of his superior intelligence. Here is another small dent in that perception. That no one in the media is crowing about this as they always did with Bush is telling.
Newsweek conducted a Q and A with the president at the end of which appears a few questions concerning his recent choices of entertainment. During the Q and A The One admitted he watched the reboot of Star Trek in the White House movie theater claiming that everyone was saying he was Spock. But two other things he said clanged badly: one arrogant and the other somewhat ignorant.
I hate to pull an "I told you so," but... well, I told you so. Remember just three days ago I showed how an unsubstantiated rumor becomes political "fact" in the Old Media? I reported that CNNs Peter Hamby found one woman that wondered if actor Gary Sinise might make a great GOP candidate and based an entirely fictional run for office on that wild speculation. Also you'll recall that at the end of my piece I said that it won't be long until this one person's rumination will suddenly turn into the "fact" that Gary Sinise is running for president. You may have laughed at that. But now I present to you this I told you so moment.
CBS channel 2 in Chicago gave us a May 13 report titled "'CSI: NY' Star Rumored To Be Eyeing White House." I kid you not.
You might ask upon what basis this CBS report claimed that Gary Sinise is now running for president in 2012? Was it an interview with Sinise? How about a statement by any group representing Sinise? How about some statements from a PAC or fundraising group or other draft Sinise effort? Nope, none of those. It was the same ONE person that CNN's Hamby used for his false claim that Sinise is a sudden candidate for office.
Recently I have been messing around with Twitter, the social media site of the day (shameless plug: see me as warnerthuston on Twitter). So, checking out some of the Old Media to see what they were saying about Twitter, I ran across Time Magazine's attempt to seem cool with the Twitterers, er Twitterists, er Twits, er whatever they are called. Time was following some "Tweets From a Washington Dinner" and I found something amusing there. Time, you see, added the Tweet from a guy claiming to be a John McCain adviser that was outed as a fraud months ago; Martin Eisenstadt.
You will recall that this fake Martin Eisenstadt was the same nonexistent fellow that fooled the media for weeks into thinking he was part of the McCain campaign for president. This Martin Eisenstadt even pretended to be a "Senior Fellow of the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy." But it was finally revealed that this Martin Eisenstadt was really a liberal named Eitan Gorlin. But it didn't come to light before he was quoted by several Old Media news outlets as a legitimate McCain adviser.
As Geoffrey Dickens reported earlier, Chris Matthews attacked Goveror Sarah Palin for hiring a ghostwriter for her upcoming book deal. In like fashion, Mark Silva of the Chicago Tribune's The Swamp Blog has also gotten into Laugh-at-Palin's-book mode and you can bet that this will be the scoff du jour among the left-media. But, the thing that proves the Old Media's hypocrisy and partisanship is this "collaborator" angle. The media are going nuts that Palin is working with what is essentially a ghostwriter -- though an upfront one, not a hidden one -- and acting as if this is somehow unusual. But it simply is not.
Few politicians that have books published under their name ever themselves put pen to paper. Politicians are generally not writers and it is completely common that they hire actual writers to do the heavy lifting of composing their book. But here is both Matthews and Silva acting as if Palin is the only one ever to do it.
Did you know that former vice president Dick Cheney is speaking out only because he is trying to protect his legacy? Well just in case you wondered about it Steven Hurst for the Associated Press wants to assure that he has read Cheney's mind and it's all settled. This is what passes for "analysis" at the AP.
The AP has also decided that Cheney speaking out causes "chagrin" in a GOP trying to "rebuild the tattered party." Additionally, he AP throws out that much bandied liberal canard that Cheney is dishonoring "protocol" by speaking out because, you see, former chief executives always remain silent about presidents that follow them. Right Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore? Riiiight?
Oh, and one more thing: did you know that Cheney was "unpopular"? Well, just in case you forgot, the AP kindly reminds you. After reading this anti-Cheney attack piece, one wonders if the AP is now just letting White House flacks write its copy for it. It probably saves the AP some time, anyway.
Ever wonder how political "facts" become facts? How does a story go from a mere unsubstantiated report to universal truth? Often, it happens with a catchy headline in a report that states as "fact" a claim made by one person even though no one else has been seen backing up the claim. Such may be the case with a recent story on actor Gary Sinise becoming "the savior of the GOP."
Peter Hamby of CNN has decided to make Gary Sinise the new golden boy of the Republican Party. It has all the elements of a good tale: A handsome actor, politically astute and well known for being active is suddenly the "new" face of the party to which he belongs, a man about to save the whole darn shootin' match with his star power. It's a political success story sure to gain big headlines... except for the fact that it basically isn't true.
The L.A. Times is reporting that CNN's star talker Anderson Cooper has seen his ratings in a steady decline all year. It's so bad that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is starting to gain on Cooper's numbers for the first time ever.
MSNBC is still at the bottom of the Cable barrel, but with Cooper's plummeting ratings, MSNBC is suddenly looking competitive.
Tourism has recently been up a little in Juneau, Alaska. More folks than ever have been interested in taking bus tours through Alaska's capital city with a major attraction being the Alaska State House where Governor Sarah Palin goes about her daily work. In fact, the tours have been gaining in popularity since before John McCain asked the governor along for his run for the White House -- Palin being a draw the whole time. The bus tours are so popular that adorable little Piper has even set up a lemonade stand to sell tourists a glass of lemony goodness to quench their thirst for something wet as well as something cute.
And Palin haters in Alaska are livid. They want the bus tours stopped and little Piper's stand razed to the ground. Palin Derangement Syndrome (PDS) strikes again. It's an ugly, ugly thing, this PDS and one man in particular is leading the charge but curiously enough his long past of agitation and his criminal record don't quite seem to be making any of the stories in the Old Media.
A new propaganda video created by an extreme environmental activist is making its way into America's classrooms and The New York Times loves the whole idea. Enviro obsessive Annie Leonard, Greenpeace member and activist, has created a 20 minute video filled with anti-capitalist, anti-American propaganda to encourage kids to eschew "stuff," calling the presentation "The Story of Stuff."
Leonard's propaganda piece is so anti-American she even begins her video by saying that her "friends" say she should describe the United States by using the symbol of a military tank because "it's true in many countries and increasingly in our own." And why is a tank "increasingly" the symbol of the USA? Because "more than 50% of our federal tax money is going for our military." Naturally, this misleading propaganda doesn't mention that a large portion of that federal military spending ends up going to the weekly pay and health care of our soldiers, something apparently Ms. Leonard is against. She goes on to say that a government's job is to "take care of us, that's their job." Here she is trying to promote dependency and proves that she has no clue what a government is really for -- especially in the U.S. system.
As Tim Graham reported earlier, comedian Wanda Sykes was given the spotlight for the White House Correspondents' Dinner tonight. We wondered if she'd throw a barb or two Obama's way as is customary. All past hosts have spared no opportunity to skewer the current commander in chief and his administration. That is what the thing is for, after all.
Well, even if comedian Sykes did give a lighthearted whack or two to The One, we wouldn't know about it by listening to the ABC Radio news break at the top of the 10PM hour (central). During the radio news break a report was aired on the dinner that featured one of Sykes' jokes.
Was it about Barack? Michelle? Even an Obama staffer? Nope. ABC couldn't find its way clear to air any of those jokes. No, what ABC aired was Sykes' joke about... Dick Cheney. Isn't he out of office?
In a hypocrisy sure to outrage, just as Attorney General Eric Holder gets ready to attend a ceremony to honor fallen police officers, the Obama administration is proposing to cut almost in half a program that provides benefits to the families left behind.
So much for the more loving, more caring president "we've been waiting for." So, wouldn't you think the Old Media would be braying at the hypocrisy here? Wouldn't you rather think that the Old Media would be up in arms about this one? Isn't this typically the type of story that would get them motivated to get their high dudgeon on? Guess not because it is nearly invisible in the media today.
Naturally all Bush's folks are the Evil Characters
In a transparently unhinged and partisan hit job against several Bush administration officials, Newsweek thought it would be amusing to compare the Bush era and the Obama era by analogizing them with Star Wars and Star Trek respectively. Naturally Newsweek's Bush Derangement Syndrome was given full throated expression -- phasers set to kill not to stun -- as the Bush administration officials were noted as representing one or the other of the evil Star Wars characters while all the Obama officials were compared to the good guys in Star Trek. What we get is the typical Old Media talking point: Bush evil/ Obama good.
Out of the nine Star Wars characters used on the SW side to explain the Bush era, only five are conceivably a good guy. The rest are all the SW bad guys. But even that isn't as it would seem on its face. It's so bad that even when Newsweek uses any of the ostensible good guy characters from Star Wars, their caption tends to undercut the good nature of the character when coupled with a Bush official. For instance, we all know that the happy and fun character of C-3PO is a beloved Star Wars character, but in Newsweek's hands the venerable, loyal robot becomes former Bush Spokesman Ari Fleischer. Why is C-3PO like Fleisher? Why because he's "obsequious" and "glabrous," of course. Hardly flattering.
It gets worse. On the Star Trek side only one of the nine Star Trek characters used for Obama era figures is a Star Trek bad guy. Evil Klingon Commander Kor becomes... wait for it... Rush Limbaugh! That's right, the only bad guy on Newsweek's Obama side is Limbaugh. Every other Obama era official is compared to a Star Trek good guy and lionized in the caption.