Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words:
In a story about what private school President-elect Barack Obama will send his children to, "Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman on Wednesday mostly glossed over the obvious point that the Democrat likely won't be putting his daughters through the D.C. public educational system and also ignored his opposition to vouchers. Instead, she fawned that "the D.C. social world is obsessed with where these new, coolest kids on the block will wind up."
The only mention of public schools came when Shipman asserted, "Whenever there's a new first family with young children, the question always comes up, public or private? And with Washington, D.C. schools still struggling, it can be an especially difficult decision." She then played a clip of Washington Post reporter Jay Matthews explaining the woeful state of D.C.'s public schools. But, nowhere in the piece did Shipman mention the contradiction between Obama's opposition to school choice programs that allow low income students to use vouchers to attend private institutions and the fact that the President-elect and his wife have no intention to send their children to some of those very same schools in Washington.
The "Obama Team Moves to Keep Its Distance From Lobbyists," the page A4 Washington Post headline insisted. Yet as the article made clear, the spatial separation is walking, if not throwing distance.
The November 12 story by staffer Michael Shear began by noting that Obama "campaigned as an anti-Washington candidate" and that his transition team "made it clear" that the president-elect "would seek to build on that theme over the next two months."
As evidence of that, Shear explained the transition team's rules "that restrict how federal lobbyists can participate" in the Obama transition. Yet Shear failed to note how the standard has shifted over the course of Obama's campaign (emphasis mine):
"Nightline" co-host Terry Moran on Monday fawned over every detail of Barack Obama's White House meeting with President Bush and insisted that that since the President-elect arrived in Washington D.C. wearing sunglasses, this was an example of the "Obama cool on display." Moran, who has regularly gushed over every aspect of Obama's election and transition, narrated the Democrat's interactions with the current president. As video of Bush and Obama played, he breathlessly related, "You could see the power shifting though. Look at Obama putting his arm on Bush's back, letting the President go first."
Moran awkwardly brought up the issue of past commanders in chief who owned slaves and asked, "And you had to wonder that if in fact the [White House] is haunted, what the spirits of those former presidents, many of whom were slave owners themselves would have made of what happened there today?" (An aside: 12 of 43 presidents owned slaves. Is that "many?")
At the top of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen declared: "Breaking news. A new CBS poll out this morning shows the change in mood in America after Barack Obama's election." Co-host Maggie Rodriguez later touted the poll results: "A changing of the guard in Washington is changing American attitudes. A CBS News poll out this morning shows that most Americans have good feelings about Barack Obama. 71% say they're optimistic about the next four years with him as president."
Compare those poll results with those reported on the CBS Evening News on December 17, 2000 by then-anchor John Roberts, shortly after George W. Bush was elected: "A new CBS News poll out tonight shows that the majority of Americans are satisfied with the outcome of the election, though there were only five points separating them from those who weren't. When asked if Bush legitimately won the election, 53 percent said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no." Roberts also looked at one of President Bush’s first policy proposals: "A narrow majority of Americans also believe that Bush has enough public support to pass is $ 1.3 trillion tax cut...But on Capitol Hill, opinions run from lukewarm to dead set against it."
On Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez discussed Barack Obama’s foreign policy goals with foreign correspondent Lara Logan and asked about Logan’s July interview with the president-elect: "...he said many times during the campaign, that Afghanistan, and not Iraq, needs to be our central focus in this war on terrorism. And this morning in the Washington Post we're seeing that's he's already tackling strategies in Afghanistan. What do you think? How important will this be for him?" Logan replied: "Well, there's no question that Afghanistan is a very pressing and immediate problem because the gains the U.S. made during the invasion seven years ago have been slipping away more...You really cannot separate Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Obama understands that, that's one of key things that he said to me."
Later, Rodriguez asked about Obama’s policy towards Iran: "...what I thought was interesting in this article in the Washington Post, is that President-elect Obama is reportedly considering talks with Iran as part of this new Afghanistan strategy. Do you think the two will go hand in hand?" Logan followed Obama talking points: "Well, he said from the beginning he has no problem sitting down with Iran if it is in the United States’ best interest, because he believes that dialogue is important...it's absolutely critical that the United States reaches some kind of understanding. They've been losing ground to Iran inside Iraq since the invasion of Iraq and that is really a very, very serious problem that has not been dealt with to date."
Barack Hussein Obama did not win because of the color of his skin. Nor did he win in spite of it. He won because at a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than have ever spoken before came together to try to save it. And that was a victory all its own.She gushed over how “an election in one of the world's oldest democracies looked like the kind they hold in brand-new ones, when citizens finally come out and dance, a purple-thumb day, a velvet revolution.”
On Sunday’s CBS ‘60 Minutes,’ anchor Steve Kroft abandoned hard-hitting journalism and instead offered a glowing profile of the Obama campaign team: "Like Obama, they were talented, laid back, and idealistic, with limited exposure on the national stage. But with the candidate's help, the team orchestrated one of the most improbable and effective campaigns in American political history." Kroft interviewed Obama advisors David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs, and Anita Dunn about the campaign and later observed: "The only person missing from the brain trust was the candidate himself."
Kroft went on to describe their incredible accomplishment: "They took a little known senator with a foreign sounding name and almost no national experience and got him elected the 44th President of the United States. They did it by recruiting and investing millions of volunteers in the outcome, by raising more money than any campaign in history, and by largely ignoring the fact that their candidate happened to be a black man."
On the issue of race, Kroft later asked: "There were just so many people -- reporters, pundits, everybody -- who said that you're not going to be able to elect a black man President of the United States. It's just not going to happen right now. Obviously that had to be part of your equation in planning this campaign." When Plouffe replied: "No. Honestly, you had to take a leap of faith in the beginning that the people would get by race, and I think the number of meetings we had about race was zero." An incredulous Kroft responded: "What?"
Stay tuned! With Democrats poised to control both the legislative and executive branches of the government, Keith Olbermann promises to be just as tough on them as they were on Bush and the Republicans if they "screw up."On the November 10 edition of "The View," Barbara Walters questioned Olbermann if he is "going to have trouble..now that the people you like most are in?"
Olbermann retorted, "they could screw up." Elisabeth Hasselbeck followed up "if they do would you say it?" Olbermann then replied with a simple "yeah." Joy Behar backed him up with an affirmative "yes, of course."
On a related note, earlier in the segment, Elisabeth Hasselbeck addressed criticism that Olbermann is "hard on Republicans," but "soft on Democrats." Olbermann replied that during the primary he was very tough on Hillary Clinton. He still has not answered why he remained soft on Obama during the time period.
Right before the 9:35am segment, on Monday's "Today" show, a commercial from NBC News was aired announcing a special DVD on Barack Obama's life story was for sale on its Web site. What is particularly odd is that a news organization would actually use Obama's own campaign slogan to title the DVD, and if memory serves there was no special DVD offered for George W. Bush's inauguration.