On Wednesday night's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, one night after he scathingly attacked President Bush's handling of hurricane relief (see this Wednesday NewsBusters posting), made what seems to be a bizarre comparison between those who approve of Bush's handling of disaster relief and those who voted against Lincoln's re-election in 1864.
Olbermann relayed his belief that the current political climate was a "re-creation" of the "mindset of the national politics of the year 1864," the year when 45 percent of American voters voted for Democratic candidate George McClellan, "whose campaign platform consisted entirely of promising to immediately end the war, let the South secede, and let slavery continue there." Considering the recent criticisms made by some that President Bush was insensitive to hurricane victims trapped in New Orleans because most were black, Olbermann's choice of McClellan, a man who ran on a pro-slavery platform, suspiciously looks like an accusation that Bush's supporters similarly are insensitive to the black population, or, at least, are supporting a man who is just as obviously undeserving of support as McClellan was.
Olbermann then went on to recite Gallup poll results that shed light on whom the public blames for disaster relief problems, but excluded the finding that only 13 percent of those polled believe Bush was "most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane." He instead distorted the results by combining those who blame Bush -- 13 percent -- and those who blame federal agencies -- 18 percent -- to say that 31 percent blame "the President or federal agencies."
A complete transcript of Olbermann's comments follows:
In this week's U.S. News & World Report, Terence Samuel's profile of "fascinating" Arlen Specter, the "inscrutable" moderate chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is accompanied by a box of mini-biographies titled "Other Players in the Drama." Notice the subtle contrasts in Republican and Democrat profiles.
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"Just a year ago, screenwriter and aspiring novelist Mark Sarvas had a lot of explaining to do. When he talked up his fledgling book blog at a publishing conference, marketers had just one question for him: Huh?
To prove that the “poor are on [their] own,” she cites this article:
After a week off, Jon Stewart opened his Daily Show on Comedy Central Tuesday night with a very serious lecture about the federal government's failures in the hurricane disaster. Without addressing the bias point that the media framework has held Bush and FEMA accountable to the exclusion of local officials, he scolded those who claim the "left-wing media is being too hard" on Bush: "No. Shut up. No. This is inarguably, inarguably a failure of leadership from the top of the federal government." Stewart's presentation culminated with a laugh line, "Hurricane Katrina is George Bush's Monica Lewinsky. One difference, and I'll say this, the only difference is this: That tens of thousands of people weren't stranded in Monica Lewinsky's vagina. That is the only difference."
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The Early Show's Harry Smith continued to pile on the Bush administration's relief efforts in Louisiana, shifting from New Orleans to a less-populated but equally if not more so devastated jurisdiction, Saint Bernard Parish, parts of which are awash with oil slicks caused by spills from a local refinery. Smith complained that FEMA had not been able to meet with parish officials until yesterday, and relayed the complaints of the parish's president and disaster management chief before asking Brown if he had "screwed up."
"13 percent said Bush, 18 percent said federal agencies, 25 percent blamed state or local officials and 38 percent said no one is to blame. And 63 percent said they do not believe anyone at federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired as a result."
Once again, there is a split between the American people and the media elite.
When Matt Lauer eventually leaves the Today show, he can look forward to a career in slow-pitch softball. His talents were on full display this morning in his interview of Hillary Clinton.
The conventions of good journalism dictate that when guests, particularly intrinisically political ones, are interviewed, they are challenged on their assumptions.