Guest Post: By Joan Ruaiz
I so wish I could tell you that the upcoming general election will be close, and that it will be due to the life-and-death seriousness of the issues as they relate to our economy, the environment and our foreign policy — but I cannot honestly say this. I do believe that the 2012 election will be close, but for the wrong reasons; one being that it is how media conglomerates generate large sums for themselves during an election year. So when the media crows again how this will not only be close, but the most expensive ever, don’t think they aren’t at the same time counting on the millions they will earn throughout.
We must understand that the protracted Obama-Hillary primary wars of 2008 were a boon to media coffers! Couple that with the birth of the limitless Super PACs (thanks to our Republican-dominated SCOTUS), and you can easily see what I see: media mavens relying on their potential earnings after facing lean advertising years. If you hadn’t thought about it before, think about it now, while closely observing how desperately reporters are handling the Republican primaries. It may seem quite entertaining at the moment (to some of us), but I would respectfully suggest that we ought to be preparing for what is to come in the general.
Speaking of the current sorry-ass Republican primaries, it is mighty strange that although there is only one halfway electable Republican left standing, we are now witnessing a media-termed “horse race” as we head toward Super PAC-spending Tuesday. It’s not because the alternative candidates to Romney are actually worth anything (because they aren’t); it is because the faster the Republican Primaries end, the less money the Super PAC will spend, and that would greatly reduce the media’s anticipated advertising windfall.
Look, it’s no accident that the media has been all over candidate Romney since his big win in New Hampshire. At the exact time the announcement was made that Mitt held an insurmountable double-digit lead in South Carolina polls, the corporate media got hella serious! To add to the media’s trouble, GOP candidates were dropping like flies, Mitt Romney reeked of the inevitable stench, and the primary season was ending before it had started. But by golly, all was not lost, as we witnessed the re-resurrection of the twice-fallen Newt in just 7 days! I will add that this wasn’t an easy get by any means. Just ask Ginger Chuckie on MSNBC; he seemed quite exhausted with that renewed Newt surge!
Yes, truth be told, our poor corporate media has had the hardest time coming up with a plausible scenario to get that primary GOP Super PAC money bomb coming their way, considering what they were given to work with! It isn’t typical of our media to get so resourceful as to report on the manner in which a GOP millionaire candidate built his fortune, or to just allow GOP candidates to be dumb enough to literally destroy each other, after all that St. Reagan preached on that subject! The media corporations, after all, are not left-leaning, nor have they been for quite some time. No, the media corporations lean green with greed, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to forget that.
Steve Benen put up a post the other day about an exchange between Candy Crowley and David Axelrod that is a perfect illustration of how the media has morphed into stenographers for politicians, mostly Republicans. Many in the media have abandoned critical thinking and analysis in lieu of the easy routes – polls, talking points and false equivalency nonsense.
Here is the exchange that has Candy Crowley doing the heavy lifting for the Romney campaign.
CROWLEY: But couldn’t that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney — couldn’t it also be that, from the day — from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?
AXLEROD: Candy, let’s have — you know what, I’m happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we…
CROWLEY: But this isn’t Romney. This is a fact.
Steve Benen goes on to point out that in the first 6 months of the Obama presidency, the country lost 3.89 million jobs. And yes, President Obama was president at the time of those job losses, but if anyone thinks that a single thing that President Obama did in that first 6 months had ANYTHING to do with the job losses, they are seriously deluded.
Here is a chart that shows the number of job losses/gains over the last 10 years or so.
There have been many lies circulated about President Obama over the last 3 years, but the one that seems to have poisoned the water from the beginning is the lie that President Obama struck a deal to keep the public option out of the final health care bill. It has formed the basis of the “caved” meme that people on the left, most of whom never supported Obama as a candidate, have used to feed their irrational hatred for our president.
The lie has taken on epic proportions as it’s morphed over the years. Recently, I’ve had liberal friends throw it in my face when I’ve shown my support for our very accomplished president. The lying has to stop!
The birth of the “public option” lie
The original source from which the lie was created, is an article that David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times about the active role that President Obama was taking in crafting the health care law. There were two mentions of the “public option” in the entire article, one was in reference to what the Democrats in the house were pushing and the other contradicts the lie completely. Rep. Henry Waxman was quoted in the article.
“The president has said he wants a public option to keep everybody honest. He hasn’t said he wants a co-op as a public option.”
You really can’t get any more clear than that, can you? In the article that is the source for the public option lie, there is a quote from a respected member of the House saying that the president wants a public option. And to be fair to the author, he never even implies that the public option was part of the deal.
The New York Times article also discusses how the White House was more hands-on with the Senate Finance Committee than with other congressional committees. What is implicit in this analysis is that the White House understood that, as with every piece of legislation the administration supported, it was the Senate that posed the biggest impediment to achieving comprehensive health care reform.
There was another quote from earlier in the article that many used as the basis for the lie. It is an explanation of the deal that caps the costs for hospitals.
Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem. House staff members were present, including for at least one White House meeting, but their role was peripheral, the lobbyists said.
Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services.
There is nothing in those two paragraphs that says anything about a deal on the public option, it is talking very specifically about costs to hospitals and reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare. The sentence “would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private rates…” is poorly worded and could easily be misinterpreted, especially by people searching for a reason to hate the President.
If you read David Kirkpatrick’s words carefully, you see that the deal was on reimbursement rates and how they wouldn’t be the 80% that Medicare generally pays, which was a sore spot for hospitals.
Here is another example of that same idea, worded slightly better, but with selective placement of quotation marks. Tom Daschle wasn’t happy with the authors characterization of his words and corrected it in an update.
Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.
Once again, if you were to stop reading after the words “health plan”, you wouldn’t have gotten the entire meaning of the sentence. Experience tells me that the Obama-haters aren’t interested in the truth, only that which fits with their preconceived memes.
Tom Daschle sent a note to the author clarifying his comments and making it very clear that there was no deal on the public option.
“In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it. The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House. While I was disappointed that the public option was not included in the final legislation, the Affordable Care Act remains a tremendous achievement for the President and the nation.” (emphasis mine)
I’ve been incredulous when it comes to Herman Cain since he came on the scene. He’s just one of the sideshows of the political circus that the media is fully invested in these days. I suppose we have to have something to laugh at and make fun of along the way.
I wrote Cain off immediately when I heard some of the crazy stuff he was saying about Muslims and his overall lack of seriousness on almost every issue.
He’s a shameless self promoter and good for him if he can get the brain dead media to play along and improve his brand. You can pretty much take it to the bank that he will end up on Fox News or who knows, maybe MSNBC — they seem to be trying to play catch up to Fox News these days.
The pattern that the media and the Washington talking heads perpetuate is to bring attention to someone or something, elevate it by repeating and nourishing it. Take a poll about it, which registers all the attention it just received. Then, use the poll to justify talking about it some more. When the media grows tired of it, they either tear it down or just ignore it and move onto the next sideshow. I know I’m not the only one who sees this pattern.
Herman Cain has had a pretty long run at it so far, considering all the missteps he’s made along the way. There certainly is no shortage of gaffes when it comes to Herman Cain’s ride on the media merry-go-round. Here is just one example from Roland Martin’s blog, go read the rest.
1) Nein! Nein! Nein!
The Foot: Herman Cain’s controversial tax plan, the 9-9-9 Plan. He says it will promote fairness in our tax code. Critics say it will shift the tax burden on the poor and middle class.
Moment When Foot Entered Mouth: During a series of debates, Cain’s idea repeatedly got punched in the face with the most fatal blows coming from just about everyone else on the stage, including Mitt Romney during the Las Vegas debate when it turned into an embarrassing discussion of “Apples v. Oranges,” and during the Bloomberg News debate when Michele Bachmanntotally went there and said 9-9-9 was a little too close to 6-6-6. Cain’s not Abel! He’s got the Mark of the Beast, according to Bachmann! The power of Christ compells you!
Ultimate Foot Fatality: The makers of the video game Sim City point out Cain’s advisors may have ripped of the 9-9-9 plan from their game, Sim City 4, which was like crack to me.
Cain’s Response: He tried to tweak the plan and still insists that it works. Cain has said 9-9-9 so many times, my mother doesn’t call him Herman Cain, but the “9-9-9 Man.” Typical conversation: “Danielle, did you hear what that crazy 9-9-9 man said today?”
I love the part where Bachmann thinks that 999 is just a little too close to 666. Tell me this shit isn’t funny?
My game plan recently has been to watch Chris Hayes’ new show until 9am, then I switch over to Meet the Press, followed by This Week and then I top it off with Howie Kurtz’s show Reliable Sources. Sometimes I catch Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on the repeat, depending on when the Detroit Lions are playing.
This last Sunday, Meet the Press had the following lineup.
Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), 2008 Presidential Candidate – Great guy, thankfully there was a Democrat somewhere to be found on Sunday!
Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Former RNC Chairman – Who considering his history on race, probably shouldn’t be elevated to talking head status on a major network.
Alex Castellanos, Republican Strategist – Who was responsible for the racist ad for Jesse Helms called “Hands”.
Kim Strassel, Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal – Strassel has a long history of wingnuttery.
Chris Matthews, Host, MSNBC’s “Hardball” – What can you say about Chris, he’s like the crazy uncle who goes in and out of reality.
Maggie Haberman, Senior Political Writer, POLITICO – Who came to Politico via Rupert Murdoch, a great fit for her.
At 10 o’clock, I switched over to This Week with Christine Amanpour and was treated to this lineup.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio – Ringmaster of the Republican circus.
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. – President Bush’s greatest enabler, or at least one of them.
And then the following panel, which couldn’t have been any better for Republicans had it been on Fox News.
George Will – I like to refer to him as “Hair Wedge George”, defender of all things conservative, facts are malleable to him.
Arianna Huffington – The Newt Gingrich protegé who has made a lot of money from liberal anger during the Bush years, but has never strayed from her Republican roots.
Matthew Dowd – He was the chief strategist for President Bush’s 2004 campaign. You can imagine how he leans, right?
Those are the two broadcast network shows that I watch on Sunday mornings and as a political junky, I’ve always loved to watch the back and forth between representatives or surrogates from each party. For decades, all the Sunday morning shows had an unwritten rule (so it seemed) to balance out the show with representatives from both sides of the political aisle – sometimes even giving third party candidates like John Anderson and Ross Perot time. I absolutely loved it, it was like a ping pong match, back and forth, sometimes one side got a slam in, sometimes the other. I always scored it in my head, which party got the best of the other from week to week. Good times!
Michael Moore is often dead on with his critiques of Republicans and many times with Democrats as well, but just like with his films, he often makes the facts fit whatever narrative he is trying to push.
Like many others in the “firebagger brigade”, since the election of President Obama, he spends most of his time criticizing Democrats. Personally, I’m sick of his whiny “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” shtick and based on the actions he takes every election cycle, he doesn’t seem very concerned about electing liberals to office. If he were, he would be more careful about what comes out of his pie hole. In fact, I see his shtick as very harmful to liberal politicians.
There was a clip flying around the internet the other day in which Michael Moore imparts his wisdom to us on politics and tells us why the 2010 elections favored the Republicans. For those of you who are aware of reality, it’s maddening to watch. It is a perfect example of the type of hyperbole that Moore employs and how he will say whatever he needs to — in order to push his narrative and thus his brand. Roll tape:
For those of you who can’t watch clips online, here is my rush transcript of his idiotic, uninformed rant.
The following post is new to this blog, but is from a while back. Well worth reading, you will see.
While the exceedingly cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let’s review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night, Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: “F**k it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State. His speech was stirring. I predict he will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don’t let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to
So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, “The President is against what happened today” (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, “The President is against what happened today”, what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds. Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories. She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle “wandering eye” Bachmann, “my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis, outrage is the one and only agenda. Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the Media.
Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.
At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.
If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.
My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.
On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.
One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.
West Virginia is a very conservative state and in the special election for governor that happened yesterday, the Republicans spent nearly twice as much as the Democrats on the race. The Republicans went out of their way to tie President Obama to the Democratic candidate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and how did that work out for them?
Governor Tomblin won the election and thwarted the media’s plans to continue their anti-Obama narrative — the one that makes the President responsible for every election in every state. Individual candidates don’t matter anymore to the media, everything is a referendum on President Obama. I’m waiting for the media to blame the drain commissioner election in my township on President Obama, oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped them off.
There never seems to be any referendum on the Republican controlled House that hasn’t created one fucking job yet, hasn’t even tried to create one job and in fact, has been trying to do the opposite by playing games with the debt ceiling and anything else that is game-worthy.
Given the Republican strategy, some in the media seemed eager to seize on the race as an example of a president facing a political crisis. Mark Halperin conceded overnight, “If the GOPer had won, the national narrative would have been that Obama was the issue.” Coming on the heels of two Democratic defeats in congressional special elections, the “Dems in disarray” coverage was going to be intense.
Given that the Democrat won, even with the Republican’s outspending and trying to make it a referendum on President Obama, I’m sure the media will start a new narrative about how the President’s push for the jobs bill and his campaigning across the country is the reason for the Democratic win. I’m just sure of it.
Anyone who thinks that the cable media and much of the print media is liberal needs to have their head examined. The Democrats and the President have been enduring the right wing lies that ooze from Fox News on the half hour for years. But what is even more troubling is the anti-Obama slant that is coming from the supposed left leaning MSNBC and the new TeaNN (CNN), which has hitched it’s wagon to the Tea Party crowd.
I’ll leave you with an example that was probably missed by most people. This morning on CNN, they were talking about the Hank Williams Jr. story and his “apology” about his remarks on Fox News comparing President Obama and Speaker Boehner to Hitler and Netanyahu and then showing his great intellect by calling Obama and Biden the Three Stooges. Christine Romans, during some cross talk, said something like, maybe Hank should apologize to the Three Stooges. W.T.F.? No bias there, right?
Salon.com used to be one of my favorite websites. I would even promote it to my friends and family – back a few years ago. I was always a little annoyed by the ads I had to watch to get a day pass, but I tolerated it. I watched as the site gradually morphed from being anti-Bush to anti-Obama, in many ways they seem to have just replaced the names. I stopped reading them very soon after noticing this shift.
Well it has come full circle now and the main writers for the site are openly antagonizing Democrats and supporters of President Obama. Last night on Twitter, Joan Walsh and Glenn Greenwald both lobbed loaded tweets into the mix, apparently trying to goad some of us into a Twitter brawl. The funny thing is, the circle of folks I travel with on Twitter, for the most part, ignored them. We surmised that they were trying to increase attention and thus traffic for their failing site. Here is a tweet that clearly shows Ms. Walsh’s dislike for all of us who support our president…(emphasis mine)
@joanwalsh Funny to watch Obamalovers savage Frank Rich. He was one of his most ardent, earliest MSM defenders in 2008.
Personally, I think the “Obamalovers” word is a play on the “n” word version that I was called throughout my early life. My best friend and first “girlfriend” in grade school were black, I heard that slur many times in my young life. But others didn’t necessarily see her use of that word that way. Glenn Greenwald has also used “Obamalover” in referring to us Democrats who support the President.
The “defenders” comment leveled at Frank Rich, who has written a twisted piece of late on President Obama, is almost as bad. It contains that subtle implication that there is something that needs to be defended. A very presumptive framing that basically labels and dismisses the person in one fell swoop. I’m surprised it didn’t include “dear leader”, another favorite of the people on the left who suffer from Obama Derangement Syndrome.
The following is a snippet from a great piece that I will probably revisit in future posts, it’s really good. It’s based on a post called “14 Propaganda Techniques that Fox ‘News’ Uses to Brainwash Americans”, except Marion at Addicting Info points the spotlight on the “professional critics” as I’ve been calling them lately. From Marion…(emphasis mine)
Meanwhile, we’ve seen Hamsher and her cronies on the FDL site refer to the President as “the Affirmative Action President,” “Bugaloo Bush,” and even “the house nigger.”
It’s not just the President for whom they’re aiming. Olbermann and Joan Walsh, inveterate Twitterers, regularly engage in punching down at followers from the Left who disagree with their opinions. Olbermann’s favourite tack is to address these people as “morons.” Joan tells people to “get help” or she opines that their lives must suck (to be so stupid as to dare disagree with someone so far elevated by appearances on television that they must know the subject about which they discourse).
In fact, quite recently, Joan reckoned that anyone who vigorously defended the President was actually a GOP troll, most likely paid by Andrew Breitbart, and that these people would do more damage to Barack Obama than anyone else.
The other day I Tweeted a snarky comment to Joan Walsh, more as an observation than anything, but I saw a title of a post that Joan Walsh had up at Salon about the death of Clarence Clemons. The title was “How big was the Big Man? ‘Too F-ing big to die.’ Bruce Springsteen remembers the great Clarence Clemons and their early interracial bromance”
Here is my Twitter exchange with the one and only Joan Walsh on the above title…
Me: So @joanwalsh just called Clarence Clemons and Springstein’s relationship an “interracial bromance”…WTF, why did she have to add race?
Joan Walsh: @ExtremeLiberal Because Springsteen (that’s 2 E’s) added race in his incredible eulogy, which you clearly haven’t read. Sad.
Me: @joanwalsh I see, so that makes it OK to call it an interracial bromance? He was talking about the racism that the Big Man suffered.
Me: @joanwalsh What is sad is your lack of self-awareness. At least you didn’t say you were punching down, I’ll give you that.
Me: @joanwalsh I just read your post, is there more? I could see using bromance, but why add the interracial part, isn’t that kind of obvious.
Joan Walsh: @ExtremeLiberal I see you still haven’t read the eulogy.
Me: @joanwalsh I just read the whole thing, still don’t see why you had to characterize their friendship that way? Why?
I really didn’t see it as that egregious, but was just pointing out that for some reason she had to portray it as an “interracial” bromance. I liken it to when people talk about someone and feel compelled to refer to them as black, whereas if they were talking about a white person, they wouldn’t feel the need to say they were white. It’s a subtle thing that annoys me and I make a concerted effort to never do it. Joan justified her use of it by implying that Bruce Springsteen had used it, when all he talked about in his eulogy was the racism “The Big Man” had suffered in the early days of the band. So apparently because Bruce talked about race, then Joan has permission to call it an “interracial bromance”.
I used to work for a video rental chain that I learned was quite racist. I was just out of college, working as an assistant manager and was asked to interview some part-time employees. A guy applied who was African American and I sent his resume and application to the home office in Illinois. They liked it and told me to interview him, which I did. I hired him. I never mentioned his race, why would I? Well I remember the first time my boss, the District Manager walked in and saw him. He was clearly irritated and asked me to walk outside with him. I didn’t play his game of innuendo and basically insulted him in a round about way.
It baffles me why these people at Salon, Firedoglake and others, who like to drape themselves with the “progressive” label, are fighting so hard against the most liberal president we’ve had since FDR. Joan Walsh’s out of the blue tweet disparaging us with “Obamalover” and “defenders” was clearly an attempt to goad us into a Twitter brawl or to create some controversy so that people will go to her website. Greenwald does the same thing with the titles of his posts, he’s trying to get traffic by insulting or riling up people who support President Obama. How pathetic is it that they have to rely on negative traffic to keep their advertisers happy.
Don’t give Salon.com or Firedoglake.com the clicks they so crave. Resist the urge to click when they try to lure you in to their lair. They are using you for your clicks and want you to link to their bullshit posts for even more clicks. Stop it!
Being the political junkie that I am, I have had the opportunity to see Mark Halperin offer his opinion and “political analysis” countless times. He certainly isn’t always wrong, in my opinion, but a lot of the time when I hear his take on things, I end up scratching my head and thinking, whaaa? Many times I’ll even do the *face palm* or the *head desk*. As far as his bias to the right, it has been obvious to me for years. After what happened on Thursday with Mr. Halperin, I decided to do a little research and was reminded of some previous “gaffes”, shall we say. There is a clear pattern with Halperin.
When President Obama was filling a Supreme Court vacancy, Mark Halperin actually went with this title for a story, which can’t be found now…
There is just so much wrong with that. First, of all the angles to take on the story of picking our next Supreme Court justice, his is the perceived “reverse discrimination” (a racists dream phrase) against poor white men. Because over the years, you know, white men have had such a hard time getting on the Supreme Court. I’m sure he thinks it is just innocent “pointing out the obvious”, but you know damn well that the audience for that statement was all the good ole boys who pit themselves against minorities as if everything is zero-sum. It is a not-so-subtle dog whistle to all the racists and classists in our country. It is a blatant appeal to the Fox News viewers, which have large numbers. There is more on the reason for that later on in this post.
Here is an example of Mark Halperin’s analyst skills and his unique perspective on things, to put it way too politely. This is Mark Halperin’s reaction to President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union address.
What is funny is that if you look at polls of people who watched the speech, it becomes apparent that Mark Halperin sees things differently than ordinary folks. From CBS New’s Political Hotsheet…
Of the randomly selected 522 speech viewers questioned by CBS, 83 percent said they approved of the proposals the President made. Just 17 percent disapproved…
Six in 10 of those asked said they thought Mr. Obama conveyed a clear plan for creating jobs, and seven in 10 said his plans for the economy will help ordinary Americans. Another seven in 10 said President Obama has the same priorities for the country as they have.
The same individuals were interviewed both before and after Wednesday’s State of the Union, and after the speech, 70 percent said Mr. Obama shares their priorities for the country, up from 57 percent before the speech.
Did you notice how he called him “this troubled president” as if that is the conventional wisdom of the day. It certainly was the wisdom that Halperin and other skewed journalists were trying to push, thank goodness Media Matters for America is around to sort out the truth for us.
Here is another list of the accomplishment of President Obama through November of 2009, not even a year into his presidency. Does that look like “a troubled president” to you?
I saw this next one live, back when I used to torture myself by watching Morning Joe. It was after the President invited Republican leaders, including Paul Ryan, to a speech where the President laid out his budget and took on the draconian, now much abandoned Paul Ryan plan. After listening to Paul Ryan and other Republicans touting his plan, using everything in their arsenal to twist and spin the plan as bold, the President laid waste to it. Apparently Mark Halperin took it personally and proceeded to defend those poor Republicans who were called out on their assault on the poor and seniors. First, let’s take a look at what the President said that upset Halperin and Scarborough, from The Media Research Center…
BARACK OBAMA: This vision is less about reducing the deficit than it is about changing the basic social compact in America . . . Ronald Reagan’s own budget director said there’s nothing serious or courageous about this plan . . . There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill . . . That’s not a vision of the America I know.
Here is what Halperin and Scarborough said on Morning Joe in response to that passage from the President’s speech…
MARK HALPERIN: I think if a Republican president called the Democratic proposals on something like this un-American, I think the press would be up in arms.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: They would savage him.
HALPERIN: They would be up in arms. I think that kind of rhetoric: for the president to say, that what Paul Ryan is doing is not consistent with his vision of America, I think that’s rhetoric that only added insult, injury to the insult of inviting him to sit in the front row.
SCARBOROUGH: Republicans have said a lot of really, really tough things about Barack Obama. Really tough things. So, it’s not even the words, it’s not the rhetoric. I think the president does believe that the Ryan plan is not the America that he grew up in or the America he wants. I’m just saying, for negotiating reasons, why invite him to sit in the front row and say that his budget is not serious and is un-American when Paul Ryan’s been fighting his entire life for this?
HALPERIN: I totally agree. It seems like a weird decision to make.
Now, maybe these two boneheads were sleeping during the 8 years of President (with us or against us) Bush, but I doubt it. They both clearly spend most of their time defending the Republican brand and trying to convince people of liberal media bias and false equivalencies. In this post, warning, it’s a Huffington Post article, he blames President Obama for Republican opposition to the stimulus. Amazing.
Mark Halperin believes that there is a liberal bias in the media and is doing his part to swing the pendulum back to the right. It is just one more example of how absurd his thinking is. That pendulum swung to the right immediately after the horrible events of 9/11 and it’s been stuck there ever since. The Bush cabal did a masterful job of using a national tragedy to cow the media into doing it’s bidding. Wrapping everything they did in patriotism and daring the press to go against them. I remember it clearly, but apparently Mark Halperin was sleeping through all that.
Does anyone else see a pattern – President Obama stands up to Republicans and the media narrative and Mark Halperin is offended and jumps to the defense of those poor, poor Republican’s who are so cordial and nice in their rhetoric. There are many more examples of Halperin’s misguided rhetoric, but who has the time to go through all of it. I just wonder if Time magazine is really willing to offend so many people who support President Obama by continuing to employ this man who has proven his bias and terrible analyst skills Time and Time again.
I’m so fucking sick of seeing the media use the “critics on the _____ say this” as a basis for a segment on a show or stupid blog post/column. In our over saturated media universe, you can’t throw a rock without hitting one of these stories. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Every issue there is can be framed with the “critics say” structure and the “two sides to every story” cop-out. Finding a critic isn’t hard, especially when you have professional critics on speed dial at the cable networks. Since when did every issue have a valid argument on each side, some things are just as they are. When are journalists going to attempt to get at the truth and operate in the real world, instead of some projection of public opinion polls and conventional wisdom? I saw just this morning a poll about public opinions on the constitution, should it be interpreted strictly or not and other similar questions. Remember, the people answering these polls can’t even name our vice president or tell you what year the constitution was adopted, but you want to ask them how it should be implemented. What The Fuck. I don’t give a flying fuck what the ignorant asshole driving the monster truck and flying a confederate flag thinks about the constitution. I don’t even want that asshole thinking about it, to be honest.
A free press is one institution that was seen as important enough to be included in the constitution. I don’t think our founding fathers foresaw a “free” press being owned by huge mega corporations with the power of their money, ownership of the airwaves and even the power to effect economies. The “free” press is no more, with the exception of us non-paid bloggers and a few real journalists that still exist. Beyond that, turn on any one of the 3 major cable networks and watch the absolute slant towards anti-government and pro-business. And now with the “Citizen’s United” decision by the Supreme Court, they have even more direct control over our politicians. They now can destroy any candidate they want and smile while they’re doing it. It may be the reason why Republicans think they can get away with all the crap they are doing…because they can. Our cable media is completely fucked.
Joy Reid at The Reid Report sees a pattern in Andrew Breitbart’s victims.
And you may have heard the criticism from some in the gay community about this guy who was discharged under DADT during the process of changing the law. Well, it turns out he wanted to get out.
If you missed this great essay on Clarence Thomas and the original “Weinergate”, go check it out. I wonder who made that cool photo?
I came across this great article about our friend Cornel West and his insults towards our fabulous first lady, Michelle Obama.
For those people playing games with statistics and unemployment rates, trying to predict the 2012 election, they really shouldn’t underestimate President Barack Obama. Trying to bend statistics to do what you want may be fun, but you have to wonder if people believe that everything happens according to the way they’ve happened in the past. Are they trying to force a pattern on everything, thus, making it easier to understand? Dana Houle at Rooted Cosmopolitan breaks down the latest numbers game.
I usually try to ignore anything Sarah Palin, she is playing the country like a cheap violin. But her history lessons are getting pretty funny, I hope she keeps going, she may have enough to write a book, “American: Only In The Mind Of Sarah Palin”.
Enjoy your Saturday, I’m going to fire up my new push mower and work on the riding mower, it needs a good sharpening and greasing.
In a poll of New Jersey voters released on April 20, 2011, the people were asked for a word to describe their Governor, Chris Christie. Overwhelmingly the voters chose the word “Bully” to best describe him (140 people). Coming in a distant second was “Arrogant” (41 people), which was tied with “Good”. So 181 people referred to him as either a bully or arrogant. My first introduction to the Bully Governor was on Morning Joe on MSNBC, they love them some Gov. Christie on that show. My impression of him was that he was trying way too hard to be a blunt, straight talker, turning trite phrases and clever word plays and topping them off with a little smirk, because he is so proud of himself. I also noticed that it was ALL words, no substance to what he was saying, just platitudes and clever rhetoric. It wore thin on me within a few seconds, but I could see how those with little brain matter would fall for it.
Let’s travel back in time a bit and look at this man’s history of bullying, lying and going on the offensive whenever challenged on his “straight talk”. There is definitely a pattern with this man and god I hope he gets in the presidential race, because I would like nothing more than to see President Obama chew him up and spit him out with disgust. We might just as well start with a blatant example of his bullying, from The Ed Show…
The gentleman who was shouted down was Ed Buck, a retired multi-millionaire who simply wanted to ask Meg Whitman a question when the misogynistic Gov. Christie had to step in for the poor helpless woman (snark), even saying “You wanna yell, yell at me.” Because we wouldn’t want a mere woman running for governor of the largest state in the union to be subjected to someone “yelling”, which was really someone asking a tough question of a candidate who had been dodging them. The yelling part may have been due to him not having a microphone. Here is an exchange between Ed Schultz and Ed Buck, from Politicususa, that gets to the heart of Christie’s tactics…(emphasis mine)
ED SCHULTZ: Mr. Buck, what was your reaction when Mr. Christie, the governor of New Jersey, told you that you were the problem in this country? People that stand up and paraphrasing now, that’s pretty much what he said to you, isn’t it?
BUCK: Well, yeah you know, it’s very hypocritical of a man who wants to espouse this whole free speech, and that to say that we need to have a dialogue, but not have it with me. As soon as he doesn’t agree with my speech here, cuts me off. As long as I’m saying apple pie and waving the American flag, he’s okay with that. but if I begin to ask a critical question, Chris Christie becomes a school yard bully.
It isn’t just other men that he likes to bully either, in the above clip, he uses his “bully pulpit” to berate a teacher who merely made a statement about how she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay her bills after his draconian cuts to the school system. In many ways, Christie started the national assault on teachers that other “bully governors” like Scott Walker in WI, John Kasich in OH and Rick Snyder here in MI have taken and run with. It’s become chic for Republican governors to knock down and step on the people we entrust to teach our children. What a great fucking plan.
As a bully, Chris Christie likes to use the tools of the trade. ThinkProgress has this story about the New Jersey governor and couple of more incidents, including telling the media to take a bat to a 76 year old legislator, what a classy guy…
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who has virtually declared war on the state’s labor unions, is known for having an antagonizing style of politics, with some of his most infamous moments including telling a teacher to quit when she talked about how his politicking was hurting the reputation of educators in the state.
Christie’s latest foray into bullying rhetoric came yesterday, where he asked a group of reporters to “take the bat out” on a 76-year old female legislator Sen. Loretta Weinberg (D) because she has the temerity to collect a pension in addition to her part-time salary as a legislator:
Governor Christie told reporters Wednesday to “take the bat” to 76-year-old Sen. Loretta Weinberg for collecting a taxpayer-funded pension while making $49,000 a year as a legislator. [...]
“I mean, can you guys please take the bat out on her for once?” Christie said to a crowd of reporters at a State House news conference. “Here’s a woman who knows she did it, yet she comes to you and is pining … ‘Oh! My goodness! How awful this is! What a double standard!’ But she’s the queen of double standard.”
But it isn’t just bullying that this supposed “straight talker” employs, he likes to lie and exaggerate to sell his ideas. From the New York Times…(emphasis mine)
Mr. Christie, a Republican who took office in January 2010, would hardly be the first politician to indulge in hyperbole or gloss over facts. But his misstatements, exaggerations and carefully constructed claims belie the national image he has built as a blunt talker who gives straight answers to hard questions, especially about budgets and labor relations. Candor is central to Mr. Christie’s appeal, and a review of his public statements over the past year shows some of them do not hold up to scrutiny.
When New Jersey narrowly lost $400 million in the federal Education Department’s Race to the Top competition last summer because of missing data in its application, Mr. Christie held a news conference blaming “bureaucrats in Washington” and said state officials had tried to supply the missing numbers at a hearing. It did not take long for the Obama administration to release a recording showing that, in reality, federal officials had requested the information at the hearing, and the New Jersey team had not had it.
Mr. Christie fired Bret D. Schundler, his education commissioner at the time, accusing him of lying about the hearing. But Mr. Schundler said he had warned the governor before the news conference that what he was about to tell reporters was false.
And Brett D. Schundler nailed exactly how Chris Christie rolls…
“His entire point was he likes to be on offense rather than defense,” Mr. Schundler said days later. “He wanted to make this all about the Obama administration’s picayune rules rather than our error.”
He apparently has been pretty successful at telling lies, blaming other people and attacking those who challenge him and thus shifting the focus away from the many lies, errors and fabrications that he uses to spread his warped ideas. The awesome Steve Benen sums up Governor Christie’s MO better than anyone, go Steve…
That may be true, but it’s not exactly a defense. This only makes Christie an effective liar. There’s a name for those who get the public to believe lies — we tend to call them charlatans.
And in Christie’s case, the record is extremely unflattering. The governor doesn’t like unions, so he’s lied about their benefits. Christie doesn’t like to accept responsibility for his mistakes, so he’s lied about blaming others for his own administration’s errors. He doesn’t like some of his previous campaign promises, so he’s lied about his agenda.
Worse, some of this is an extension of a bullying personality. The NYT piece noted that “inaccuracies also crop up when he is challenged, and his instinct seems to be to turn it into an attack on someone else instead of giving an answer.”
It’s about using deception as a political weapon. Assemblyman John Wisniewski, the state Democratic chairman, said, “Everything is an assault, which makes it hard for adversaries to catch their breath and question the substance of what he’s saying before he moves on to the next thing.”
This post has focused on Governor Christie’s bullying tactics, but his arrogance seems to know no bounds as well. I’m sure I could do an entire post on that as well, but I will just leave you with one example of his recent arrogance. The other day, he used a state helicopter to swoop in and watch part of his sons baseball game, only to fly away again to meet with GOP donors who are trying to convince him to run for president in 2012. Under pressure from many in his state to reimburse the people for his extravagant use of state property, the arrogant governor refused, spitting in the face of the people who elected him. From NJ.com…
Facing broad criticism for flying by helicopter to watch his son’s high school baseball game in Bergen County, Gov. Chris Christie refused today to refund the state for Tuesday’s $2,500-an-hour flight. “The governor does not reimburse for security and travel,” a spokesman for the governor, Kevin Roberts, said in an e-mail message.
What a dangerous combination, arrogant and a bully. I’m not sure if the people of New Jersey are into that sort of thing, but for those of us in the rest of the country, it is pretty obvious that this man IS a charlatan. We can only hope that he will be a one term governor and for those people who think he should run for president, I have to wonder exactly what drugs they are on, thinking this man would be a good national leader.
Hat Tip to Osborneink on Twitter!