On Wednesday evening's news casts, the networks all hyped GOP congressman Michael Grimm (N.Y.) threatening a reporter after Tuesday's State of the Union address while skipping the Republican response to the address entirely.
Of Grimm's outburst, ABC's Jeff Zeleny quipped, "It was not the State of the Union response Republicans had in mind." It was the response that the networks chose to cover, though. "Later, there was a far less dignified moment with a congressman from Staten Island, New York," CBS anchor Scott Pelley introduced the story.
In his Tuesday night State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama made the following pledge: "In the coming weeks, I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."
One would have every reason to believe from Obama's statement that the change will take effect quickly once the EO is issued — but it won't. Additionally, one would have every reason to believe that when it does take effect, it will increase the pay of anyone currently employed on federal contract work at a pay rate of under $10.10 per hour — but it won't do that either. Somehow, those "little" problems escaped "fact checkers" Josh Gerstein and Darren Samuelsohn at the Politico, who, while they did catch other problems with the President's statement, swallowed a clearly false claim about its long-term impact:
The networks played right into President Obama's hand Wednesday evening as they touted his push for a minimum wage increase while giving barely any voice to his Republican opposition.
"[T]he President was out there hitting that 'give America a raise' theme hard today in campaign-style events both in Pennsylvania and in Maryland," noted ABC News White House correspondent Jonathan Karl. "Does that idea have a snowball's chance?" asked CBS News anchor Scott Pelley about the minimum wage increase.
MSNBC airs a bizarre video montage at the beginning of every episode of The Ed Show, but the program was especially outlandish on Monday and Wednesday, depicting President Obama as a series of larger-than-life figures. The liberal network first portrayed the chief executive as Superman standing on top of the White House, and later placed the Democrat's head on George Washington's body in the famed painting of the crossing of the Delaware River.
Two days later, The Ed Show lead segment repeatedly showed a graphic depicting the President as Uncle Sam, holding a pen in his boxing glove-covered hand: [video below the jump]
"[I]t’s important to remember that [Pete] Seeger, once an avowed Stalinist, was a political singer devoted to a sinister political system--a position he held long after the Soviet experiment drenched itself in blood and collapsed in ignominy."
With lines like that, the Daily Beast's Michael Moynihan might find himself crossed off a few Christmas card lists and curiously uninvited to some cocktail parties. And yet, things like that must be said. Kudos to Moynihan for recounting these inconvenient truths in "The Death of 'Stalin's Songbird'":
ABC, NBC and CBS's morning shows on Wednesday failed to fact check Barack Obama's State of the Union address. These same networks, however, made time to feature Vice President Joe Biden (who was in full cheerleader mode). It's not as though fact checks weren't available. The Washington Post and the Associated Press both produced such critical analysis. During his speech, Obama touted "the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years."
The Post's Glenn Kessler called this "cherry picking" and noted that "since the start of his presidency, about 3.2 million jobs have been created — and the number of jobs in the economy still is about 1.2 million lower than when the recession began in December 2007."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, 9 a.m. ET hour co-host Natalie Morales touted one of the "great moments" from President Obama's Tuesday night State of the Union: "I think one of the moments that a lot of people were talking about was when he made reference to the gender inequality issue. He said, 'You know, we are no longer in a Mad Men era'....33,000 tweets, I believe, so something that I think a lot of women are saying, 'It's about time.'" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
She then parroted a deceptive talking point used by the President: "You know, we earn 77 cents to the dollar, I believe, that a man makes. So let's make it happen." The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler fact-checked that claim: "There is clearly a wage gap, but differences in the life choices of men and women – such as women tending to leave the workforce when they have children – make it difficult to make simple comparisons."
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, former vice president Al Gore asserted that it's crucial for global philanthropists to impose "fertility management" on Africa. No one called that racist.
Gore, who apparently mismanaged his fertility by having four children, praised the “wonderful work' of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: “Depressing the rate of child mortality, educating girls, empowering women and making fertility management ubiquitously available -- so women can chose how many children and the spacing of children -- is crucial to the future shape of human civilization."
On Tuesday night, Alex Wagner gave the latest example of "if it weren't for double standards, liberals would have no standards at all" (a regular saying of conservative talk show host Chris Plante). The MSNBC host took to Twitter to slam Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers's fireside setting, where she delivered the official Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union: "Living room. Lady on a settee. Where's the needlepoint?"
Conservatives struck back at this condescending attack from one of MSNBC's resident uber-feminists. Townhall.com's Kevin W. Glass pointed out what would have happened if the roles were reversed:
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank utilized the kind of violent imagery that would make liberals howl if uttered by anyone on the right as he suggested that President Barack Obama needs a "cattle prod" and a "baseball bat" in dealing with Republicans.
Referring to a quote from President Obama that "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone," Milbank cracked:
When President Bush gave his fifth State of the Union address on January 31, 2006, he sat at 43 percent approval in the Gallup tracking poll, in no small part because of public perception regarding his administration's handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. When President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union last night, his Gallup approval number was lower a mere 41 percent, doubtless impacted in no small part by the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare and the public's disapproval of the health care overhaul. What's more, some 53 percent in a recent Quinnipiac poll slammed the administration as incompetent and 47 percent expressed the belief that President Obama doesn't pay attention to what's transpiring on his watch. As to more objective metrics, the job situation is worse at this point in Barack Obama's presidency than it was the same point in George W. Bush's with higher unemployment (6.7 percent to Bush's 4.9 percent) and a woefully low labor force participation rate (62.8 percent to Bush's 66 percent).
Yet when you compare the Washington Post's front-page treatments of Mr. Obama's January 28 speech and Mr. Bush's January 31, 2006 one, it becomes all too apparent that the Post is eager to help the former spin his way to resetting the narrative for the midterm election year while the paper was all too happy to pound out a drumbeat about how President Bush was an abject failure, a lame duck roasting in the waters of public disapproval. Here's how Post staffers David Nakamura and David Fahrenthold opened up their January 29 front-pager "Obama: I won't stand still" (emphasis mine):
NBC political reporter Mark Murray – whose wife works in the Obama administration – took last night’s touching tribute to Army Ranger Cory Remsburg and obscenely tried to rub his heroism on President Obama, who has never served in the military.
Remsberg story was just like Obama's story. Seriously? This was not a momentary gaffe. It was a tweet, and then Murray doubled down on it:
During NBC's live State of the Union coverage Tuesday night, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd sneered at Duck Dynasty star Willie Robertson being a Republican guest at the event: "...after the shooting with Gabby Giffords and for a couple of State of the Unions in a row....There was more of a dignified feeling about the guests that you would invite. Boy, you can tell things are a lot different now, when you're inviting Duck Dynasty stars. Everybody's trying to make a partisan political point." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd concluded: "You get the feeling that whatever Kumbaya that there had been, at least in the last couple of years, that's – that's gone with this State of the Union."
Everyone proposes drinking games for the State of the Union speech. But it’s not just the president that can drive you to drink. It’s the opportunistic media elites deciding which branches of government have too much power, depending on which branches the Democrats presently control.
After a lot of stalemate in 2013, the partisan media think it’s high time for the executive branch to go completely around the legislative branch. They think that now that Congress has proven itself unwilling to provide Barack Obama with the historical greatness he deserves, they should and must be driven around like roadkill. They’ll have no talk of an imperial presidency, let alone autocracy.
The journalists at Good Morning America on Wednesday discussed Barack Obama's State of the Union address for seven minutes and 19 seconds, but only allowed a scant 16 seconds for the GOP response (a 27-to-1 disparity). Unlike the reporters at CBS This Morning who interviewed Rand Paul, GMA's hosts instead featured Joe Biden and could only be bothered with a brief clip of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers and a snippet of John Boehner. NBC's Today, despite a four-hour running time, managed a mere six seconds of McMorris Rodgers.
Co-host George Stephanopoulos, a former Democratic operative, opened the program by parroting, "Call to action. The President vows to use his executive powers to attack the country's biggest problems." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Jon Karl offered little in the way of skepticism about the President's plan to use executive orders. Instead, he hyped, "But the President promised to work around Republican opposition, saying he would raise the minimum wage for workers on new federal contracts." He added that Obama "tried to shame Republicans into raising it for everybody as well."