Reacting to the questions posed during Wednesday's presidential news conference, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich expressed disappointment with the White House press corps, telling FNC's Greta Van Susteren the journalists have “taken such a pathetic dive with this President that they ought to be part of his PR firm. I mean it's embarrassing to watch.”
Gingrich cited a series of subjects on which reporters failed to press Obama, such as “So why are you releasing these terrorists in the United States?” and “Why are you so confused about whether or not you want to in fact go after and prosecute people who've never historically been prosecuted before?” Plus, “Doesn't it worry you to have $9 trillion in debt being projected under your administration?”
In the interview conducted at Mount Vernon, Gingrich quipped: “If you didn't know better, you'd think that he was practicing with his own public affairs people for the future press conference.”
The New York Times finally noticed -- kind of -- the nationwide "tea party" protests against the bailouts, the stimulus plan, and President Obama's budget. Reporter Liz Robbins' story, "Tax Day Is Met With Tea Parties" is the first Times news report to deal with any of the conservative anti-spending protests, and does so in a predictably snide manner and in a relatively short article on Page 16 of Thursday's edition.
This paragraph from Robbins' initial version of the story, posted at nytimes.com Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 (no longer online), got a few facts about conservatives wrong:
Fox News was covering the events and streaming live video as its own commentators Neil Cavuto and Michelle Malkin were headlining the protests in Sacramento, Sean Hannity appeared in Atlanta, and Newt Gingrich showed up at City Hall Park in New York.
Oops. Neil Cavuto is a host at Fox News, not a commentator, and given that her story was filed Wednesday afternoon, Robbins couldn't have actually reported on Newt Gingrich's speech at City Hall Park, which didn't start until sometime past 7:30 p.m.
An attack from that first filing that didn't make it into the print version accused the protestors of "group therapy" and of "expressing their anger, but offering no solutions."
Of course, when the small band of colonists dressed as Indians and dumped tea in Boston Harbor in 1773 to protest King George's import tax and imperial government, that movement led to independence.
All of these tax day parties seemed less about revolution and more about group therapy. At least with the more widely known protest against government spending, people attending the rallies were dressed patriotically and held signs expressing their anger, but offering no solutions.
On Monday night's "Hardball," the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore challenged Chris Matthews to come out to one of the many tea parties protesting taxes and the government bailouts, as the former Club For Growth President egged on the "Hardball," host to prove he is "a man of the people," but Matthews ducked the invitation and yelled back: "Steve stay in your box!"
As Matthews was wrapping up a segment with Moore and radio talk show host Michael Smerconish, Moore got in the following parting shot:
STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Chris! Chris! Chris! My question is you're a man of the people, why aren't you out there at these April 15th rallies? I mean c'mon! You know you, you say, you speak for the middle-class guys?
CHRIS MATTHEWS: What is this? Intramurals? Michael Smerconish, thank you and Steve stay in your box!
Hours from the premiere of his MSNBC cable show Monday night, radio host Ed Schultz told listeners what they can expect on his television show (click here for audio) --
If it's successful then I think you win because I know what I'm going to be talking about, I know what kind of stories I'm going to be looking for. And I want to make sure that the Democrats don't get weak knees on the Employee Free Choice Act.
Yet it was Schultz whose knees grew wobbly after the Wall Street Journal ran an op-ed by Rush Limbaugh on the so-called Fairness Doctrine in February.
Not only did Limbaugh leave Schultz the most unhinged he'd been since McCain picked Palin, Schultz vowed to respond in print, telling his listeners he'd been in touch with a Wall Street Journal editor about writing an op-ed in the Journal.
Former daytime TV talk show host Montel Williams debuted on Air America Radio on Monday, a network so desperate they’re hiring a man who boasts of how he was a long-time Republican, and now says he can’t stomach either party. But Air America’s trying to draw attention to Montel as he begins his (perhaps short-lived) talk-radio run with a demand that former Speaker Newt Gingrich "Shut up" before he starts a nuclear war. Montel played audio of Newt Gingrich on Greta Van Susteren’s show on April 1, saying he would do whatever it takes to take out North Korean missiles, and offered his own fractured rebuttal:
When you come out that ignorantly and try to threaten to put America in a position that we are now riling people towards nuclear war, I gotta tell you, shut up!...
[Gingrich] said, 'I'd bribe someone' [to prevent a missile launch]. This is the leader of the Republican party...Here is your leader telling you that he wants to do business the way he knows how to do it, and that's bribe, break the law by entering another country's airspace, start another war on his own....
If you're a Republican and you are proud of Newt Gingrich and what he just said, you need to go check yourself in, right now, to a hospital...and figure out whether or not you can get put on something...Newt, shut up!
Fresh off the cancellation of his own MSNBC show an unleashed David Shuster, sub-hosting for Chris Matthews on Monday's "Hardball," ranted and railed against "crazy," "conservative" "wingnuts" like Chuck Norris, Michele Bachmann, Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck for fomenting, "dangerous," "red hot rhetoric," that "inspire some of the crazies out there", like accused cop killer Richard Poplowski, "to do something violent."
Shuster – who apparently wasn't liberal enough for MSNBC's tastes, that he was replaced by liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz – seemed out to show his bosses, that oh no, indeed he was liberal enough for the network's standards, and set out to prove that, right off the bat, in his "Hardball" opening monologue:
DAVID SHUSTER: Who is the real nutcase? North Korea's Kim Jong-Il or any conservative who wants to bomb him? Let's play "Hardball!" Good evening, I'm David Shuster, in tonight for Chris Matthews. Leading off tonight, nuclear war games! So what are we to make of North Korea's attempt to send a satellite into space? Even though the launch failed the North Korean rocket did travel some 2000 miles twice as far as an earlier North Korean rocket. President Obama called it "a provocative act," and wants new UN sanctions. Former House Speaker Gingrich says we should have bombed North Korea before the launch. Is Gingrich crazy to talk like that or is it dangerous to hope sanctions will do the trick?....And back for crazy talk for a moment. How in the world do you explain people like Chuck Norris calling for a second American Revolution to defeat President Obama's policies? And what about conservative Congresswoman Michele Bachmann appearing to tell her constituents to start stockpiling weapons and ammunition.
With the G20 meeting in London, there have been raucous protests - clashes with police in riot gear, destruction of property at nearby banks and even the death of one man from a heart attack. And the media have gone out of their way to cover every sordid detail.
To former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, the media's flag-to-flag coverage of the G20 protests are a glaring contrast to the recent "tea party" protests - which have had more attendees and have been peaceful.
"Look, I got a note from a friend of mine in Orlando who pointed out there were more people at a taxpayer tea party in Orlando a week ago than there are in London," Gingrich said on Fox News Channel's April 1 "On the Record with Greta van Sustren." "They just didn't get any coverage out of the media. There were more people recently in Cincinnati at a taxpayer tea party than there have been demonstrating in London. But the London demonstrators are breaking windows, they're being violent, and you know, the media is always happy to cover the anarchic and violent left."
Both MSNBC’s David Shuster and CNN’s Rick Sanchez pulled their scoop straight from Media Matters’ blog, and focused on Newt Gingrich’s Twitter comments criticizing President Obama’s upcoming commencement address at the University of Notre Dame, instead of the controversy over the speech itself. Shuster targeted the former Speaker of the House during the “Hypocrisy Watch” segment on Tuesday’s 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue program, saying that Gingrich was “already telling Notre Dame what to do,” even though he wasn’t Catholic yet and had gone through two divorces.
Almost a day later on Wednesday’s Newsroom program on CNN, Sanchez devoted a whole segment to Gingrich’s Tweet, and also brought up the divorce issue: “Newt Gingrich couldn’t resist taking a shot at President Obama. He seems to infer that the president shouldn’t talk to a Catholic university because of quote, ‘values.’ Should Newt Gingrich, thrice married, go there? Really?”
This report carried in the Washington Business Journal typified yesterday's coverage of yet another decline in the stock market:
Dow declines further still
Wall Street’s major stock indexes followed Monday’s strong sell-off with a day of fluctuation, ending with more losses.
The Dow Jones Industrials Average gyrated between modest gains and losses throughout the trading day, ending the down 37 points, or 0.55 percent, to close at 6,726. Monday’s fall below 7,000 sent the Dow to its lowest level since April 1997.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index ended Tuesday trading down 4.49 to 696, it first close below the 700 level since October 1996. The Nasdaq Composite Index ended Tuesday’s session down 1.84 to 1321.
But after considering inflation, the markets are, in real terms, stuck at 1995 values, as shown in the following chart:
The New York Times seems to think there was no such thing as partisanship in Washington, D.C. until conservative Republicans came around in the 1990s to invent it. White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg's front-page Sunday Week in Review story, "Cutting the President Slack Is So Old School," is another example of that ideological blindness, impying that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich personally invented partisanship.
That requires ignoring Bill Clinton's "war room," his administration's persecution of the White House Travel Office, and before that, the personal attacks made by liberal interest groups on conservative Republican Supreme Court nominees Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. Which is just what Stolberg does:
....the concept of the "loyal opposition" came to mean that a president, especially a new one elected by comfortable majority, could expect cooperation from the other side, in deference to the will of the voters. But in the partisan politics of recent decades, another view developed, advanced by Congressional leaders like Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, that the minority party has the right, even obligation, to stick to its ideological principles.
With a liberal Democrat coming to power, the New York Times has evidently gotten over the false fear of "big cuts" in Medicare it displayed when Republicans tried to trim the program back in 1995.
Thursday's lead story by Jeff Zeleny and John Harwood, "Obama Promises Bid To Overhaul Retiree Spending," characterized the president-elect's stated willingness to tackle huge entitlement programs Social Security and Medicare in mostly positive terms. The reporters described Obama's vague proposal as an "overhauling," an "approach to rein in Social Security and Medicare," and an "effort to cut back the rates of growth of the two programs."
President-elect Barack Obama said Wednesday that overhauling Social Security and Medicare would be "a central part" of his administration's efforts to contain federal spending, signaling for the first time that he would wade into the thorny politics of entitlement programs.
As NewsBusters has been reporting since we were at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been a strongly outspoken critic of how the mainstream media have covered Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin since she was first announced as John McCain's runningmate.
On Wednesday, appearing on Fox News's "On the Record," Gingrich called recent press reports involving the Republican vice presidential candidate "factually wrong, intellectually dishonest, totally biased, worthy of the Polish state news media attacking Lech Walesa back in the 1980s."
Moments later, he put an exclamation point on his criticism: "This is like watching Pravda. This is a one-sided, vicious, unending and dishonest campaign."
What follows is a partial transcript of this delicious exchange (video embedded right):