We welcome a special guest who worked for CNN for many years and now teaches broadcasting. He offers great insight into the issue of media bias and how social media is becoming a big part of local news operations. We talk politics as well, so give us a listen.
I love it when Soledad O’Brien gives the press a lesson on how to be a journalist and digs down deeper into the GOP’s idiotic arguments and faux outrage. The Republican party thinks that their audience is stupid and the vast majority of the press actually is stupid and lets politicians get away with the crap that McCain and Graham are attempting. The fact that while John McCain and Lindsey Graham were holding their very serious, cranked to 11, press conference screaming about not having information about Benghazi while other Senators were being briefed on the incident, pretty much says it all.
Watch as Soledad O’Brien and Charles Blow make Republican congressman Joe Heck look rather foolish and reveal how misguided the Republican attack on Ambassador Susan Rice is.
In light of the “Jeep lie” that Governor Romney has been using to scare workers in Ohio, I thought I’d take a look at the many other ads Romney has run that were also blatant lies.
Turns out, it’s all of them.
It’s quite a collection that Romney has accumulated over his time in the national spotlight. The 2012 presidential election will provide a lot of material for those of us who study the media and criticize it.
When the ad wars began, it was clear that the truth wasn’t going to play a major role in Mitt Romney’s advertising campaign. In his very first ad, Mitt Romney channeled Andrew Breitbart and just plucked a sentence out of a speech by President Obama and told a massive lie with it. Let the games begin…
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has displayed a special level of shamelessness in its ads and attacks since its very first one, when it ran a clip of Barack Obama saying “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose”—a clip from 2008 when Obama was quoting an aide to then GOP nominee Sen. John McCain.
Here is the dishonest ad that became a pillar of the Republican convention in Tampa, the one where they plucked “you didn’t build that” out of a longer statement having to do with infrastructure like roads and bridges, which all American businesses use.
The Romney campaign has released an astonishingly deceptive new ad, containing a blatant, flat-out lie. The new ad actually edits together snippets of words and sentences to make it sound as if President Obama said something he did not say, and then attacks him for saying it.
Here is another example of Romney trying to twist a positive into a negative when the Obama campaign went to court to restore early voting for all of the people of Ohio after the Republican legislature passed laws restricting early voting for all but military personnel. The Republicans didn’t like how the African American churches loaded up their parishioners on buses and headed to the polls on the final Sunday before the election. So what the hell, they passed a law stopping it…because they could.
Mitt Romney wrongly suggests the Obama campaign is trying to “undermine” the voting rights of military members through a lawsuit filed in Ohio. The suit seeks to block state legislation that limited early voting times for nonmilitary members; it doesn’t seek to impose restrictions on service members.
The welfare lie was one of the big whoppers that the Romney campaign told and it received a lot of push back from the media, but that didn’t stop the Romney campaign from continuing to run it. This lie is something that 15 or 20 years ago would have made the media camp out in front of his mansion until he retracted it. But today, eh, just another day, nothing to see here.
The ad’s narrator says: “Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check.”
That’s a wild fabrication. As my colleague Isaiah J. Poole and I have both detailed, Obama’s HHS department merely heeded the concerns from a bipartisan group of governors and established a waiver program so states could experiment with different ways to help welfare recipients transition to work.
Another of the big lies being sold to the American people is the $716 billion lie. Romney and Ryan have told it in many different ways, but basically are trying to scare seniors into thinking that “Obamacare” cut $716 billion in benefits, which is not true at all.
In reality, the $716 billion is not a “cut” in benefits but rather the savings in costs that the Congressional Budget Office projects over the next decade from wholly reasonable provisions in the reform law.
One big chunk of money will be saved by reducing unjustifiably high subsidies to private Medicare Advantage plans that enroll many beneficiaries at a higher average cost than traditional Medicare. Another will come from reducing the annual increases in federal reimbursements to health care providers — like hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies — to force the notoriously inefficient system to find ways to improve productivity. […]
What the Republicans fail to say is that the budget resolutions crafted by Paul Ryan and approved by the Republican-controlled House retained virtually the same cut in Medicare.
Who can forget about the Solyndra lie where Romney tried to imply that the Obama administration steered contracts to friends and family.
“An independent inspector general looked at this investment and concluded that the Administration had steered money to friends and family and campaign contributors.”
Romney then repeated the claim later in the press conference.
Small problem: No inspector general ever “concluded” such a thing, at least not based on any written reports or public statements.
When you consider the above and the great work that Steve Benen has been doing at “Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity” at the Maddowblog, it all adds up to the most brazenly dishonest campaign that has ever been known. Historians will be busy for quite a while parsing the piles and piles of lies left behind by Romney and his cynical, manipulative, soulless campaign team.
I began this post yesterday and after just visiting the Maddowblog to see what Mr. Benen was writing today, I noticed he has a similar post up where he looks at just the ads Romney has run since the 3rd debate. I’m pasting a bit of it below, but go read the whole thing.
I went through the Romney campaign’s website and YouTube channel, and found that Team Romney has unveiled six English-language television ads since the third and final debate with President Obama last week, an average of nearly one per day.
I’m not cherry picking the offensive ads built around falsehoods; I’m merely listing all of the ads Romney has unveiled since the third debate.
This isn’t normal. It’s also not healthy for our democracy. Mitt Romney — who keeps telling reporters about how great his “momentum” is — has reached some kind of Peak Lying moment in which he spews falsehoods at an almost uncontrollable pace.
This segment below by Rachel Maddow, Steve Benen’s boss, gets to the heart of what has been going on in this election. Watch it, share it and let’s all hope that the 2012 election is an anomaly.
Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
If you are tired of watching pundits playing “both sides” and revealing their conservative biases, check out our little podcast where we say it like it is and delve into topics you won’t hear anywhere else. Listen, enjoy!
Come on, Roger Ailes, hire the man already why dontcha?
I stopped watching Meet the Press on a regular basis shortly after Tim Russert passed away. But I feel obligated to watch when we get near an election, just so I can keep an eye on what is going out to national audiences on the broadcast networks. It became obvious to me a long time ago that David Gregory is on an endless audition for the next Fox News gig.
This past Sunday, September 30, 2012, David Gregory grabbed the Republican torch and ran with that sucker. His interview with David Plouffe was more Fox News than Fox News is and it was noticed by a few people. As I listened to his questions, I was astounded by how loaded with GOP talking points and opinion they were.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that David Gregory was the keynote speaker at the convention of a Republican advocacy group, along with Karl Rove and Speaker John Boehner.
Let’s take a look at some of David Gregory’s questions a little closer, piece by piece. (emphasis is all mine)
Question 1 (to be analyzed)
GREGORY: “I want to talk about some issues including a foreign policy crisis in Libya…”
As you can see, Gregory calls the attack on our embassy a “foreign policy crisis”, which plays right into the Republican party’s attack by pointing at the President, rather than portraying it as a senseless act of violence against America. Gregory goes on…
“…and the fact that this administration has changed its tune when it comes to describing the raid on our compound, on our embassy in Libya that killed our ambassador Chris Stevens and others, of course, on the ground.”
Don’t you just love the phrase “changed its tune”? The implication in that phrase makes it sound like it was a “flip-flop” or worse yet, a lie. The odd thing is that David Gregory then plays a clip of Ambassador Rice from the September 16 episode of Meet the Press where she says this…
“Let me tell you the– the best information we have at present. First of all, there’s an FBI investigation which is ongoing. And we look to that investigation to give us the definitive word as to what transpired. But putting together the best information that we have available to us today, our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what have just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course by the video.”
Now seriously, Ambassador Rice made it very clear that it was “the best information we have at present” and that the FBI was investigating and we look to them for “the definitive word as to what transpired”. She then repeated “the best information we have available, our current assessment…” and went on to say that what happened in Benghazi was (according to best info at present) initially a spontaneous reaction to what happened in Cairo hours earlier. I’m not sure what else David Gregory wanted Ambassador Rice to say before he would believe that the administration was still investigating the incident and wasn’t sure exactly what happened. Maybe if it had been printed on a giant Nerf baseball bat and smacked against his head a few times, he might have heard it…or believed it.
“There was a caveat there. She said the FBI was still investigating. But the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction. A couple of days before that, the Libyan president said, no, in fact, al Qaeda was behind this attack.”
Notice how Gregory dismisses the multiple caveats Ambassador Rice gave with a quick “There was a caveat.” He then oversimplifies her statement by saying “[B]ut the thought was it was a spontaneous reaction” and then makes a lame attempt at a “gotcha” moment by pulling a but, but, but…the Libyan president said a couple days before that al Qaeda was behind the attack. And exactly where is the problem, David? Is David Gregory implying that the FBI wasn’t needed in Libya to investigate the deaths of 4 American diplomats? Does David Gregory think we should just accept the word of the new President of Libya, it’s not like the guy was under any pressure…having just failed at protecting our embassy, something that the host country is obligated to do. Or is David Gregory’s problem just that there was a contradiction, even after the many caveats preempting Amb. Rice’s answer. That’s some hard hitting journalism, David. Nice one! LOL!
There was more to the question and more Fox News-style bias…
GREGORY: (cont.) “And then days later, after Ambassador Rice is on this program and other programs, the president’s spokesman Jay Carney says this. “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.” Well, if it was self-evident, then why didn’t the president come out and called this exactly what it was, an act of terror on the anniversary of 9/11?”
Well, Mr. Gregory, President Obama had this to say on September 12, 2012…
“No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
Maybe David Gregory was too busy sipping tea with the Romney crowd to pay attention to what our President actually said the day after America was attacked. I know the people at Fox News have selective hearing and miss things that don’t fit with their narrative, but the once great Meet the Press used to pride itself on getting things right. I guess it is just a different kind of “right” these days.
David Plouffe responded to the loaded question and touched on some of the points embedded in it. I’m sure that he wanted to hit them all, but David Gregory had to interrupt Mr. Plouffe in his confrontational style.
Question 2 (more of a follow up)
As David Plouffe is explaining to the rabid host how forthcoming the Obama administration was as new information came to light, Gregory interrupts with this…
GREGORY: No, but there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens. Jay Carney said it was self-evident that this was a terrorist attack. These are people who came to a demonstration with weapons and security was an issue at the compound. Why not call it what it was?
I sensed that David Gregory wasn’t liking the fact that Plouffe was spelling out the reality of how these things work because like a petulant little child he responded, “No, but there’s also….” in a combative way, once again showing his bias and agenda with his line of questioning.
As you read above, President Obama referred to the tragedy as an “act of terror” the day after it happened. So the entire basis of Gregory’s question is bogus. Once again, I wonder if he actually saw the President’s words about the tragedy or if he is just reading from Republican talking points. I expect that sort of thing from Fox News anchors, but generally not from network anchors.
If you look at what Gregory says, “there’s also the question about whether you call this what it is on the day that it happens”, you have to ask yourself if “knee-jerk” is the new intelligence for Mr. Gregory and Republicans. Is this a new standard for all presidents or just this one? Throughout the whole process, the Obama administration has been deliberate, honest, and open about what they know as they find it out. I shouldn’t be surprised that Gregory and the GOP don’t know how to act when an administration is forthright with the American people. If you look back at the last Republican administration, they clearly decided first and then bent the facts to justify it. Do WMD’s ring a bell?
This next question was caught and tore apart by several people in the media and it was one of the more blatant falsehoods that David Gregory injected into his questions this past Sunday.
“GREGORY: The president has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated…”
Here’s what President Obama actually said:
And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.
Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.
So David Gregory claims Obama did an al Qaeda victory dance, when Obama totally didn’t.
President Obama clearly said that al Qaeda’s defeat is “within our reach” and “[T]here are difficult days ahead.” So yeah, like the opposite of saying al Qaeda is defeated.
The rest of David Gregory’s question…
“…There is an election on, as we’ve been talking about, and the president’s challenger said plain and simple, the president failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack, because you had to be concerned about another terrorist attack from al Qaeda in the Middle East after the president said that al Qaeda had been defeated.”
David Gregory repeats the lie about the President saying that al Qaeda was defeated and then takes up the twisted reasoning of the Romney boneheads that the President didn’t call it a terrorist attack because then he would be contradicting himself with something he never said. It all gets so stupid when trying to follow wingnut logic, but sometimes you just have to get down in the trench of stupidity and sort it out for them.
David Plouffe’s response was spot on…
MR. PLOUFFE: That is preposterous and really offensive to suggest that. As information was received from the intelligence community, it was distributed. This president’s record on terrorism takes a backseat to no one. We obviously took out their number one leader in Osama bin Laden, the leadership of al Qaeda has been decimated just as the president promised in 2008. And by the way, in 2008, the president said he would go into Pakistan to go after Osama bin Laden. Governor Romney said he wouldn’t. Governor Romney said it was tragic that we entered the Iraq war. One of the reasons that al Qaeda strengthened during the last decade is our focus was too much on Iraq. So we are happy to have this debate and we’ll have it obviously for the duration of this campaign…
You can see from the ellipsis that Gregory interrupted Mr. Plouffe with this injection of yet another Republican talking point…
GREGORY: Was this an intelligent– intelligence failure?
Now you can’t tell from the abrupt question what exactly “this” is to David Gregory. You would assume that he was talking about the “contradictions” that he had just spent many minutes belaboring, but it may have been in reference to the intelligence leading up to the attack, which is yet another “blame the President” meme that the right has been trotting out. Once again, is there a new standard where it’s alright to blame our country, our leader, when America is attacked. Can you imagine David Gregory asking these sorts of questions of say, Karl Rove, immediately after 9/11? The fainting couches would have crumbled from the weight of all the faux right-wing patriots falling on them.
GREGORY: As you know, the Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee has called for Susan Rice to resign. Does the president have a hundred percent confidence in Susan Rice?
The Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee is, of course, Rep. Peter King of New York. He’s a freakin nut, do I need to say more?
GREGORY: What about the broader point here? Security is so bad in Benghazi that the FBI can’t even go in and investigate. What about the fact that there are talk of military options to find Ambassador Stevens’ killers? What is America doing to work its will to change the trajectory in Libya?
The assumptions behind these odd questions are open to interpretation. Yes, security is bad in Libya, tell us something we don’t know. And yes, there is talk of everything being on the table in response to the attack on our embassy. But what the hell is Gregory implying with “[W]hat is America doing to ‘work its will’ to change the trajectory in Libya?” That to me is just a Palinesque word salad question. Is America really trying to “work its will” in Libya or doing what our diplomats have been saying, supporting fledgling democracies as they fight for self governance. Working our “will” on other countries is a Bush/Cheney era thing which obviously informs David Gregory’s questioning.
GREGORY: Was it inappropriate for him to go to a fund-raiser the day after this attack now in retrospect knowing that it was a– a terrorist attack, the– inappropriate for him to engage in politics as usual?
There was no fundraiser in Las Vegas the day after the Libyan attacks. You wouldn’t know that if you relied on Republicans like David Gregory and the Breitbart people, who have been pushing that lie. I looked into the President’s published schedule and many reports about his trip and there was no fundraiser.
I remembered seeing Jon Ralston, the host of Ralston Reports, a statewide television show in Nevada, say as much on my television. I was having trouble tracking that clip down, so I emailed Jon and this was his response.
There was no fundraiser. He spoke briefly to a rally and then left.
But David Gregory decided to parrot the right-wing nuts who have been pushing that lie to the world. I’m a little disappointed that David Plouffe let that one slide by, but I can imagine when so much shit is being hurled at you, you have to pick your battles and respond in a way that gets the message out.
This next one is another of the Romney campaign’s lame-ass attempts to try to undercut President Obama’s huge successes in foreign policy. David Gregory does a great job of getting in all the faux facts of this Republican attack….isn’t it hard to view David Gregory as anything other than a paid shill for the Republicans? Gregory is responding to David Plouffe’s answer that said the President is on the job 24/7.
GREGORY: 24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here, the question about whether there was a snub not meeting with the Israeli leader, the president is on The View, this is U.N. world leaders to gab with the gals of The View that was the headline in The New York Post with their own point of view there. But is this– is he– is he not performing all the critical role of– of the presidency, particularly with the foreign policy crisis? With so many questions about management of the Middle East, when you have a key United Nations gathering, not to meet with world leaders, including Netanyahu at a time of so much concern over Iran?
Gregory’s first sentence, “24/7, but apparently not during U.N. meetings as The New York Post highlighted here…”, once again shows his right-wing perspective. He was argumentative towards Plouffe and then goes on to sprinkle in the buzz words Republicans love so much, including “snub..Israeli leader”, “on the View”, “foreign policy crisis” and he ends it with the right-wing’s next war of profit, Iran.
I think the Republicans were really pissed that President Obama didn’t meet with several leaders at the U.N. because they probably had a whole batch of lies at the ready to throw out to the gullible, lemming media. Personally, I don’t care what reasons the President had for not doing a bunch of meetings around that time, that’s his decision. When David Gregory is president, then he can decide who he meets with and when. Until then, the guy who actually got 65 million American votes will make that call.
This next question reveals that David Gregory is either stupid, a right-wing hack or what I’d put my money on, BOTH! David Plouffe responded to the previous question and at the end of his response, David Gregory’s next question followed…
…By the way, look at– let’s talk about Governor Romney’s response during this. You know, in the– in the hours as these attacks became known in Libya and the assaults on our embassy in Egypt, Mitt Romney throws out some half-baked statement. And I think that’s one of the reasons…
GREGORY: But the government– wait, but the United States government had to also disavow its own statement that came out of the embassy in Cairo that some might also call half-baked and had to be revised, did it not?
So once again, David Gregory interrupted his guest so he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to represent his Republican masters. He compares the embassy statement, which was sent out BEFORE there was any violence (in an attempt to prevent violence), with Romney’s knee-jerk statement that showed he didn’t understand the sequence of events. The two statements have no similarity, but it gave Gregory the opportunity to inject just one more Republican falsehood into the conversation. And it had that petulant child ring to it, “yeah, but they did it too, so nah!”
The final question I will examine from this “train wreck called journalism” that NBC broadcast for the world to see, brings out the class warrior in David Gregory. After playing a clip of President Obama, Gregory tees up a doozy of a question, proving yet again that he pays attention to his GOP handlers quite well. Try this one on for size.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: During campaign season, you always hear a lot about patriotism. Well, you know what, it’s time for a new economic patriotism–an economic patriotism rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong and thriving middle-class.
GREGORY: Invoking patriotism there, just trying to be clear, so raising taxes on wealthier Americans is the president considers that patriotic? I assume he also thinks sacrifice is patriotic. And yet he is not spending much time talking specifically about what he’d do, like how he would cut the Medicare program to make it solvent. Beyond the cuts that he’s talked about, and when Simpson-Bowles says he needs much more dramatic cuts. So framing this as patriotism, it’s about taxing the wealthy but not talking about where the American people should sacrifice?
Gregory bypasses the idea of a strong middle class and growing jobs at home and instead, goes right for the “taxing wealthier Americans” and then pivots quickly to sacrifices from people on Medicare. But he goes even further and pulls out the Simpson-Bowles line, but only focuses on the spending cut side of that Simpson-Bowles exercise in futility and ignores that the commission also called for increasing taxes on “wealthier Americans.” It is very similar to how the rest of the Republican party uses the Simpson-Bowles commission, plucking out what suits them and ignoring the rest.
David Gregory has been playing the role of conservative hack for quite a while by both representing the Republican agenda in his questioning, but also in his selection of guests and the panel of talking heads.
What makes David Gregory’s tactics so insidious is that he embeds so many falsehoods within his questions, that it’s impossible for his guests to respond to all of them. And when they do respond, he interrupts them if they begin to get a valid point across. With each new question, the process continues on, leaving a wasteland of bad information in its wake.
I’m thankful there are only a few more weeks left in the election so I can quit watching Meet the Press and spare myself the frustration of watching a once great show, a standard bearer for network news shows, slip down the drain.
Cross posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
UPDATE: Check out Charlie Pierce’s post on the “Dancin Master” (David Gregory)
In the wake of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, I’ve heard many comments along the lines of – with so many guns already in the public sphere, there isn’t much we can do at this point to stem gun violence in this country. I say bullshit. If sensible gun laws can prevent just one of these tragedies, it will be worth it.
My opinion on guns is that they are a part of our culture and surely aren’t going away. And although I personally have no use for them, I completely understand that others do. I appreciate that people enjoy competitive shooting or hunting for food and even owning a gun for protection.
Where I draw the line is on guns that are only designed for killing people efficiently and in large quantities. I support limits on assault weapons, how many bullets can be in a clip and limits on other efficient killing devices. I absolutely love Chris Rock’s bit on “bullet control”…
But the idea that throwing our hands up in the air is going to help is just fucking stupid. It isn’t just with gun control where people use that argument…well it’s really a lack of an argument, it’s giving up.
This argument is similar to the one that says, if you can’t fix the problem in one fell swoop, you might just as well not even try. The idea of raising taxes on millionaires usually brings that idiotic argument out as well. President Obama responded to this concept very eloquently…
There are others who are saying, well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett rule won’t do enough to close the deficit. Well, I agree. That’s not all we have to do to close the deficit. But the notion that it doesn’t solve the entire problem doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do it at all.
Every time I hear a representative of the wealthy, usually someone in the media, trot out that idiotic “argument”, I want to jump through the television and smack them upside the head. Here are just a few examples of headlines I found by just typing into Google, “taxing millionaires won’t solve the problem”.
NO ONE SAID IT WOULD “FIX THE ECONOMY” OR “SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS” you dumbass representatives of the wealthy.
It is such a blatant use of the “straw man” fallacy that it makes me sick to my stomach. In every one of those headlines above, it is implied that supporters of raising taxes on millionaires or passing “the Buffet Rule” are saying it will magically solve our deficit problems or as CBS said, “fix the economy”.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds this institutionalized stupidity frustrating. And although I would argue that Fox News is responsible for bringing this idiocy into the mainstream, the other sources of news in our country are jumping on the lunacy bandwagon. Is it any wonder that people like Louis Gohmert and Alan West were elected as one of 535 members of congress?
You may have heard that Glenn Greenwald, the Rio Pundit, is leaving Salon.com and bringing his brand of hyperbole to The Guardian.
As someone who used to be a loyal reader of Salon, I hope that it signals a turn back to the days of old. I’m not exactly confident that it will, they did recently hire David Sirota – who was rightfully pegged by Oliver Willis as “serially stupid”, as pointed out by Chez Pazienza.
Yesterday, I clicked over to Salon by way of a link in one of Glenn Greenwald’s tweets. He was attacking a Democrat, of course, that’s what he does these days. The title of the post was “Dianne Feinstein’s “espionage” and the tweet that linked to the article is below. By the way, I don’t link to his crap…Google it if you want to read it.
I started reading and clicking through his links and found that the source of the statement “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” was a Tweet. No shit, a Tweet. Here is the relevant section of the post, complete with Glenn’s yellow highlights.
But what makes the case of Dianne Feinstein extra egregious is that, as is well-known in Washington, the California Senator is one of the most prolific leakers in town. Here’s what Blake Hounshell, the Managing Editor of Foreign Policy Magazine, wrote yesterday in response to Feinstein’s latest condemnation of leaks:
One hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security and intelligence matters in Washington. That the powerful Senator who has devoted herself to criminally punishing low-level leakers and increasing the wall of secrecy is herself “one of the biggest leakers in Congress” is about as perfect an expression as it gets of how the rule of law and secrecy powers are sleazily exploited in Washington (moreover, as EFF’s Trevor Timm observed yesterday: “Strange, I don’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War“).
From the looks of it, Glenn Greenwald wrote an entire post around a tweet from Blake Hounshell, the managing editor of Foreign Policy magazine. I clicked on every other link, looking for more proof that Dianne Feinstein is “one of the biggest leakers in Congress”, but mostly found Glenn linking to other hyperbolic rants by himself. I guess Glenn was fine with that one source and his statement that “[O]ne hears this frequently from people like Hounshell who report on national security…”. Glenn’s lack of sources doesn’t affect his penchant for hyperbole in the least.
Sen. Feinstein may very well be a leaker, but if you were to read Glenn Greenwald’s post, you would be hard pressed to find any real evidence of it besides the tweet from Blake Hounshell, who from what I can tell is a decent journalist. It’s kind of funny, but in researching this article, I came across a piece by Hounshell where he questions Greenwald over his attack on Wired magazine.
The second snarky tweet that Greenwald referenced from Trevor Timm said “Strange, I don’t remember Sen Feinstein decrying leaks coming from the White House when they led to the Iraq War”. There is some good evidence for you – Trevor Timm doesn’t remember Sen. Feinstein decrying leaks that led to the Iraq War. I took to Google for a minute and found this one, I know there are many more because I DO remember the Senator decrying White House leaks during the Bush years. This is from 2006, when the information came to light…
“It is deeply disturbing to learn that President Bush may have authorized the selective disclosure of our most sensitive intelligence information to the media to help justify a war and discredit critics,” Feinstein said in a statement.
One of the links in Mr. Greenwald’s post brought me to this little gem from a previous attack Glenn made on Senator Feinstein. It made me shoot Diet Lipton Green Tea out my nose.
In October of 2002, she (naturally) voted to authorize President Bush to use military force to invade Iraq. She now self-servingly claims that she “regrets” the vote and was tricked by the Bush administration into believing Saddam had WMDs…(emphasis mine)
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hold up Glenny. You supported the Iraq War invasion, you have no right to type “naturally” or “self-serving”. From the intro to one of your books…
Despite these doubts, concerns, and grounds for ambivalence, I had not abandoned my trust in the Bush administration. Between the president’s performance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the swift removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fact that I wanted the president to succeed, because my loyalty is to my country and he was the leader of my country, I still gave the administration the benefit of the doubt. I believed then that the president was entitled to have his national security judgment deferred to, and to the extent that I was able to develop a definitive view, I accepted his judgment that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country. (emphasis mine)
I wonder how many times he has linked to that book introduction?
Why would Glenn Greenwald give President Bush the benefit of the doubt, trust, deference and blind loyalty – even after admitting that he had doubts and concerns? Yet, he hasn’t given one bit of respect or deference to President Obama and in fact has done the exact opposite by relentlessly finding every little nuance to exaggerate, as only Glenn can do. He was clearly capable of respect and deference with his beloved W. and accepted “his judgement that American security really would be enhanced by the invasion of this sovereign country.”
All you Glenn fanboys, you got that? Glenn was just fine with President Bush invading the sovereign country of Iraq where over a hundred thousand innocent men, women and children were killed by big motherfucking bunker-buster bombs. The blood of those Iraqi civilians is on Glenn’s hands.
I’ve also noticed that Greenwald likes to conflate “whistleblowing” and “leaking”. He seems to think they are one in the same. The term “whistleblowing” as it relates to the law, has a clear definition and it is much different than the practice of “leaking”, but I guess I shouldn’t expect Greenwald to know the difference or at least be honest about it.
Once Greenwald leaves Salon.com, I’ll probably stop back over there to see what’s shaking. They have a couple of good writers and you never know, maybe they will refrain from smearing people now that Glenn Greenwald is leaving.
Hey Glenn, I hope the door hits you square in the ass on your way out.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
(This is a repost of an article I published on September 15, 2011, with a shocking update! I’m reposting it because he is currently attacking other bloggers — including me — in the same style.)
I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Greenwald. There are many reasons why I dislike the man and his writings, but the main ones are his dishonesty and hyperbolic rhetoric. I only read him when I’m tipped off to something particularly crazy.
I’ll be honest and say that when he was assaulting the Bush administration, I was cheering him on. But even then, I noticed that Greenwald played loose with the facts and exaggerated things beyond recognition (Warning, right-wing link). So even though it was aimed at Bush, it still left a bad taste in my mouth. Lying and misleading is a Republican thing, but of course, anyone who knows about Greenwald, knows that he is a libertarian (civil, LOL) and doesn’t vote.
I was searching Google one day and came across an article in The Nation titled “A Response to Glenn Greenwald“, written by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. Of course, I had to click on it. In recent years, Greenwald has become an example of how — with the growth of the internet — people have been given platforms who don’t deserve it and don’t have enough integrity to wield such power. Glenn Greenwald has shown time and time again that he is vicious in his attacks on people and uses every sleazy rhetorical technique known to humans to push his narrative. He is completely anti-Obama, anti-government and anti-Democratic Party. He used to be anti-Republican Party during the Bush years and that is when he established some false credibility with the left.
I did a study of his posts on Salon.com for a period of just over a month. What I found was — out of 43 posts, 38 of them were anti-Obama and the remaining 5 were about something non political. There were zero posts that attacked Republicans. ZERO! I guess the GOP hasn’t done anything recently that has upset Glenn.
If you want to experience the full impact of Glenn Greenwald’s hyperbole and over-the-top rhetoric, I suggest you read things in the order that I did. None of the articles are extremely long, with the exception of Glenn’s and his many updates, so it shouldn’t take that long. But you can certainly just keep reading here, too.
I first read the response to Glenn Greenwald from Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, the subjects of Glenn’s scorn. I then went and read the original piece they had written that upset Greenwald so much. And finally, I read Greenwald’s wild-eyed screed, laying into the two people who wrote the offending piece.
The first article linked above was a “self defense” piece by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine, who wrote about the TSA body scanners and the “If you touch my junk” guy, John Tyner. Remember, he was the one who recorded himself going through security and telling the TSA agent “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” The article was about how the Koch brothers and people connected to them are behind a campaign against the TSA procedures. The piece starts with John Tyner, and explores whether he may be connected in some way to the Koch brothers crusade. They made implications, for sure, but they also printed Tyner’s denial of any connection to the Koch brothers and even some of his philosophy and left it at that. To me, that automatically makes the article NOT a smear job. I mean really, how good of a smear job is it if you let the target respond. They never actually accused him of anything.
Glenn Greenwald shows us all how to really smear someone.
After using Tyner as a lead in, Ames and Levine went on to detail the connections of other TSA protesters to the Koch brothers. As I read it, I didn’t perceive it as a hit piece on Tyner. Like I said, they let him defend himself. You can certainly judge for yourself. I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever read anything where Glenn Greenwald let someone defend themselves. Greenwald, as you will see, goes completely nuts on the authors.
Now whether you agree with what the TSA is doing or not, the article was interesting in that it showed quite a lot of evidence to suggest that the Koch brothers are behind some of the “grassroots” uprising about the TSA. The authors of the article are familiar with the Koch brothers, having exposed their funding and promoting of another grassroots uprising — the Tea Party.
The title of Greenwald’s piece is just dripping with irony, IMO — “Anatomy of a journalistic smear job“. I imagine my piece will be considered a smear job, of a smear job, of a smear job. Lots of smearing happening here.
I’ll get into the details of Glenn’s over-the-top piece below, but I want to remind you that the bulk of the article, which he completely ignored, was about the Koch-brother-connected astroturf activities with regards to the TSA. Glenn doesn’t even mention that part of the article, but I guess that wasn’t the goal of his piece. I can only speculate about what it was that set Glenn off and caused him to reveal his extreme pettiness and vindictiveness.
I recently read that Greenwald was fine with the Citizen’s United decision that gave corporations citizenship and free reign to wreak havoc on our political system. When you think about it, it makes sense, since Greenwald is more interested in bringing down our system than improving it or working within it. I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Greenwald is associated with the CATO Institute, which is partially funded by the Koch brothers.
Ames and Levine wrote a pretty fair piece, an example of good journalism in my eyes. Greenwald’s characterization of the article as a “smear job” on John Tyner was way over the top. If you’ve read the above linked articles, I’m sure most people would agree. In their response to Glenn, the authors were big enough to admit that they did imply that Tyner set up the whole TSA incident, but they didn’t imply that he was connected to the Koch brothers. The thing they did mention was the timing of his protest, coming so close to another incident that WAS connected to the Koch’s and the fact that Tyner runs a blog that preaches libertarian ideas. They really leave it to the reader to decide, which is about the most you can ask of any journalist these days. But Glenn did not see it that way at all. Holy shit.
Greenwald begins his smear job with a reference to how liberals are usually subjected to the kind of treatment a 12 year old girl received from Michelle Malkin. It’s a great set up for someone who loves to pretend he is a liberal. It lays the foundation for the piece and sets up the outrage in the readers mind – that he then goes on to exploit. Glenn follows that up with this characterization of the article.
Today, The Nation — a magazine which generally offers very good journalism — subjects John Tyner to similar treatment, with such a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece (by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine) that I’m genuinely surprised its editors published it.
In typical Greenwald fashion, he projects ideas and opinions onto the targets of his assault that have nothing to do with what was actually said. He is a master at that. Check out this characterization…
…is devoted to the claim that those objecting to the new TSA procedures — such as Tyner — are not what they claim to be. Rather, they are Koch-controlled plants deliberately provoking and manufacturing a scandal — because, after all, what real American in their right mind would do anything other than meekly submit with gratitude and appreciation to these procedures?
The authors didn’t say anything even close to what Greenwald characterized, that was simply red meat to his readers. In fact, in the second paragraph, the article says the opposite of what Glenn projected onto them.
While this issue is certainly important—and offensive—to Americans, we are nonetheless skeptical about how and why this story turned into a national movement.
After making that outrageous claim, Greenwald then uses the author’s first paragraph to justify his bold statement. He refers to the quotation marks around “ordinary guy” as scare quotes. Shit, I thought they were “air” quotes. If I had the time, I’m sure I could go through Greenwald’s writing and find many instances when he himself uses “scare quotes”. I personally use them to emphasize things. It is “very” common to use them. Pretty scary, huh?
Greenwald, a little later in the piece, says this…(emphasis mine)
They follow up their evidence-free innuendo in the opening paragraph with even stronger accusatory claims in the second: Tyner, they strongly imply without directly accusing him, is a “Koch-related libertarian” and a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative posing as [an] ‘ordinary citizen’,” and his outrage over what was done to him is “fake.” The implicit accusations and innuendo are piling up while the evidence remains non-existent.
If you read the piece, you know that they never accused Tyner of being a “Koch-related libertarian” or a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative…”….Glenn tries to make that connection for us. As I said, the authors printed John Tyner’s denial of it. If that isn’t being fair, I don’t know what is. I propose that Greenwald’s words smear John Tyner much more than Ames and Levine.
Glenn then takes issue with the following paragraph.
So far, all we know about “ordinary guy” John Tyner III, the freedom fighter who took on the TSA agents, is that, according to a friendly hometown profile in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “he leans strongly libertarian and doesn’t believe in voting. TSA security policy, he asserts ‘isn’t Republican and it isn’t Democratic’.” [emphasis added]
Tyner attended private Christian schools in Southern California and lives in Oceanside, a Republican stronghold next to Camp Pendleton, the largest Marine Corps base on the West Coast.
The above two paragraphs were about the extent to which they talked about Tyner personally. The majority of the piece was about others with direct ties to the Koch brothers and lots of evidence of it. Notice how the authors quote the San Diego Union-Tribune, which Ames and Levine get lambasted for, as if they had written it. Glenn, you should at least attack the right people if you are going to act a fool about background information. And it is described as a friendly hometown profile, those “insidious” friendly hometown profilers. This is how Greenwald characterizes that background info from the friendly hometown paper.
These two paragraphs — the heart of the case against Tyner — are insidious. By their own admission, this is “all [they] know” about Tyner: he has failed to swear his loyalty to one of the two major political parties, a grievous sin worthy of deep suspicion.
“By their own admission”….Greenwald loves to use that phrase, it carries it’s own set of implications. In this case, the authors are being straightforward with the reader, but that of course it is used against them by Greenwald. He then goes on to extrapolate from the newspaper quote – that what the authors were saying, not the actual writer of the quote, but the people who reprinted it — is that Tyner “has failed to swear his loyalty to one of the two major political parties, a grievous sin worthy of deep suspicion.” Now that’s some serious projecting of Glenn’s own warped interpretations onto others. Merely mentioning that he is a libertarian is tantamount to calling him pure evil, in Glenn’s mind, anyway. Victim mentality for 200, Alex.
Oh, there’s more. Glenn Greenwald continues his rant based on the newspaper quote and it’s here that he goes completely over the edge. It gives us a peek at his mentality. More over-the-top projection from the master…
He refuses — correctly — to view TSA extremism as the by-product of either party. Worse, he doesn’t believe in voting — a fringe and radical position in which he’s joined by merely half of the entire American citizenry (65% in midterm years), 130 million voting-age Americans who — surveying the choices — also apparently see no reason to bother voting. What kind of strange person would fail to find great inspiration from one of America’s two Great Political Parties or refuse to see the world exclusively through a Democrat v. GOP prism? More suspiciously still, he went to “private Christian schools” as a child and resides in a community that has a lot of Republicans in it; why, his neighborhood is even near a Marine base! This is clearly no “ordinary guy.”
I don’t know where to start with that part of the diatribe. I think the majority of people who don’t vote are just plain fucking lazy and don’t want to drag their asses down to the voting booth and stand in line. Or they just don’t bother paying attention to politics, we all know people like that. I’m sure some believe like Greenwald and Tyner, but to characterize them all as believing what Glenn says…is, well, fucking crazy.
Being called a libertarian is apparently not cool with Greenwald. The mere mention of the word means the author is implying they are a “strange person…who would fail to find great inspiration from….Great Political Parties (ed. note: why he capitalizes that, I don’t know)…”. How does pointing out that Tyner went to private christian schools, lived in a Republican area and near a military base prove that he ISN’T an “ordinary guy”? That sounds pretty ordinary to me. Only in the mind of Glenn Greenwald can “scare quotes” and giving innocuous background on a person be the end of the fucking world and proof that the authors were doing a smear job. Greenwald clearly has some issues. I took the ordinary guy “scare quotes” to mean that — because he was a libertarian blogger, he may not be that ordinary. And when you add the fact that he turned on his recording device before entering the TSA screening area, that he may not have just been an “ordinary” passenger, but someone who had an agenda. I think that’s a fair implication. But Greenwald, of course, doesn’t quite see it that way.
Now if you thought Glenn had gone far enough with his exaggeration of the friendly profile quote, you’d be wrong. The next paragraph starts with this line, taking it even further…
As for his standing accused by The Nation of suspicion on the grounds of his avowed libertarianism
Just to recap, Ames and Levine directly quote the hometown newspaper and say he is a libertarian, doesn’t believe in voting, and says he doesn’t think the TSA issue is a Democratic or Republican issue. And then they go on to reprint that he went to Christian schools and lived in a predominantly Republican area, near a military base. Oh, and they “admitted” that they didn’t know much more about him.
Greenwald interprets all of that as “innuendo”, “accusatory”, “smearing” and that the respected authors implied that Tyner is a “Koch-related libertarian”, a “Washington lobbyist and PR operative posing as [an] ‘ordinary citizen’,” and that his outrage over what was done to him was fake. All of that from the background info and the “scare quotes” around the word ordinary. Wow!
But then Glenn takes it even further. He accuses the The Nation of accusing the guy of “suspicion on the grounds of his avowed libertarianism.” To which I would say, suspicion based on the fact that he recorded himself going through the TSA screening, posted it on the internet, runs a libertarian blog and it was two days after another incident that was Koch connected. There is reason to be suspicious of the guy, but the authors did a more than fair job of giving him a rebuttal. This is clearly an appeal to Katrina vanden Heuval who ended up publishing an apology and kissing Greenwald’s ass, for some reason. I might have to forward my article to her, maybe she won’t be so quick to throw her writers under the bus the next time Glenn goes nuts on one of them.
Who is doing the smear job here, Glenn, or the people he is accusing. Because Glenn made much worse accusations against Tyner than Ames and Levine.
It’s clear that they were questioning whether John Tyner was another of the Koch-brother-connected protesters, but were very fair with him. My sense, considering what Greenwald put in his updates, is that he is more concerned with the attack on libertarians than he is with John Tyner, who put the video up on Youtube for the world to see. If you are going to record yourself and put it out there for the world, you better be prepared to be questioned about your motives. And merely questioning someones motives shouldn’t prompt such a horrible attack (smear job) like the one that Greenwald levied on Mark Ames and Yasha Levine.
So it turns out Glenn Greenwald wasn’t revealing all the facts when he wrote that screed attacking Ames and Levine. Check this out, the emphasis is mine…
The Nation apologized to Tyner (but did not retract the piece), and the only reason why the Nation apologized was because it was forced to by a hysterical campaign led by Glenn Greenwald and his libertarian comrades. The Nation apologized without knowing that Greenwald was privately coaching Tyner at the time that Greenwald attacked Ames and Levine’s article in The Nation. We repeat: Greenwald was coaching Tyner, according to email threads leaked to The eXiled, and Greenwald did not disclose this. Why didn’t Glenn Greenwald disclose his relationship to John Tyner?
Moreover, Tyner has since admitted that he deceived the public and that he had in fact planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt–the Nation apology was based on believing Tyner hadn’t planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt. Did Glenn Greenwald know that Tyner was deceiving the public when he claimed he hadn’t planned his “Don’t Touch My Junk” stunt? If so, why didn’t Greenwald disclose this? Why didn’t Glenn Greenwald disclose his own deep libertarian ties, and ties to the Koch-founded Cato Institute, going back several years, when Greenwald attacked our article exposing the Koch-funded libertarians leading and fronting the anti-TSA media hysteria? Why hasn’t Glenn Greenwald apologized for not disclosing his conflict-of-interest? Also, John Tyner has come out in favor of privatizing the TSA, against unions, against gay marriage, against drug legalization and as a follower of racist libertarian Murray Rothbard, promoter of David Duke’s candidacy, contradicting the progressive Jimmy Stewart image that Greenwald painted in his article defending the Koch-linked libertarians behind the anti-TSA media hysteria.
In keeping with the alternate reality created by Fox News and perpetuated by it’s minions like Rush Limbaugh, the anchors at Fox News are questioning the recent uptick in the number of jobs created in the private sector. They are pushing the idea that the books have been “cooked.” It is really astounding how obvious they are in their attempts to keep their alternate reality propped up. Alex Seitz-Wald at ThinkProgress spells it out pretty clearly.
If it weren’t improper to psychologically analyse strangers, one might think the Fox hosts are displaying a textbook example of cognitive dissonance here, a psychological phenomena in which people who hold a strong belief about something invent (sometimes far fetched) explanations for new evidence that conflicts with their existing views. Obama is bad for the economy, the jobs numbers show the economy is doing better, so there must be something wrong with the jobs numbers.
To illustrate how Fox News is selective in believing the job numbers, we only have to look at how they report when unemployment rises.
The Labor Department reported that employers added just 18,000 net jobs in June, the fewest in nine months. The jobless rate ticked up to 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent. The pace of job growth is not even enough to keep up with population growth — it would take about 125,000 jobs per months to do so — and certainly not enough to bring down the unemployment rate.
The article then goes on to quote extensively from the Labor Department’s report, while sprinkling in Republican talking points along the way. Not a single mention of any books being cooked or numbers being manipulated, because — you know — the bad numbers fit with the narrative.
What is disturbing to me about this tactic is that it works for their audience.They are feeding them exactly what they want and they really don’t care if their viewers are misinformed. In fact, I would argue that they count on it. Several studies of Fox News viewers have shown a huge disconnect between reality and the manufactured one that the right have been feeding them. Steven Benen wrote an excellent piece a while back on how disconnected Fox News viewers are from reality.
The quantifiable evidence is overwhelming. Eight years ago, just six months into the war in Iraq, the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland found that those who relied on the Republican network were “three times more likely than the next nearest network to hold all three misperceptions — about WMD in Iraq, Saddam Hussein was involved with 9/11, and foreign support for the U.S. position on the war in Iraq.” […]
The problem is actually getting worse.
In December, PIPA published a report, this time on “Misinformation and the 2010 Election” (pdf). The point was to measure Americans’ understanding of a variety of key developments that news consumers would likely be familiar with. As was the case eight years ago, Fox News viewers were “significantly more likely” to be confused about reality.
It really scares me to think that viewers of the most watched cable news network live in a world where empirical reality has no place. They absorb only information that conforms to their beliefs and block any conflicting information, regardless of the source. And even when presented with clear evidence to the contrary, they either attack the messenger or just cover their ears and go “na na na, I can’t hear you.”
My theory on why they are successful at this tactic is that most of these uninformed viewers have a mindset that is based on emotion, fear and bigotry. Logic plays no role in their thinking and because of that, they are extremely susceptible to suggestions and selective facts they fit those biases and fears. Fox News only has to confirm those fears and play with those emotions. Fox News has made a science out it…except, of course, they don’t believe in science either.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
Our “liberal media” at work!
The Republican Party is picking up where they left off in the last election and helping to define themselves as the party “of and for” corporations – especially big oil.
In 2008, they had “Drill, Baby, Drill” and all the money that came along with that. This election year, they’ve chosen the Keystone XL pipeline to show how they plant their lips on the ass of big oil.
Once again, they have the media on their side in this endeavor. Media Matters for America did a study of media coverage from August 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 on the Keystone XL pipeline. The results aren’t a surprise to anyone who pays attention to reality. This chart tells the story pretty clearly.
The GOP has been tremendously successful at getting the media to play along with them since August of 2011 on this issue and the above chart shows us the results. The red bars show how “job creation potential” was mentioned in the coverage from major media outlets with the green bar representing the “environmental concerns.” If you’ve been following the topic recently, it is obvious that Republicans are trying to make this into their jobs program, or at least an attempt to show how the Obama administration is preventing job creation. Go read the whole article at Media Matters, it was very thorough.
When you drill down into the numbers (I couldn’t resist), it turns out that reality is much different than the propaganda that has been sold to the American people. In a different post, Media Matters has some interesting information that gets to the real job numbers associated with the pipeline. Here are some snippets that show a progression that begins with Fox News…
Fox Anchor Martha MacCallum: 20,000 Jobs Is “The Low-End Estimate.” [snip]
TransCanada Said In 2010 That Keystone XL Pipeline “Is Expected To Create Over … 13,000 New Jobs For American Workers.” [snip]
Wash. Post: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Number Of People Employed” Would Actually Be 6,500. A November 5 article in The Washington Post reported that TransCanada CEO Russ Girling “said Friday that the 13,000 figure was actually not a true job number, but actually accounted for ‘one person, one year.'” The Post added that “if the construction jobs lasted two years, the number of people employed in each of the two years would be 6,500.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: Based On TransCanada’s Numbers, “The Project Will Create No More Than 2,500-4,600 Temporary Direct Construction Jobs.” [snip]
Cornell University Global Labor Institute: “Based On The Figures Provided By TransCanada For The Canadian Section Of The Pipeline, The New Permanent US Pipeline Jobs In The US Number As Few As 50.” (emphasis mine)
The estimate by the independent group at Cornell University puts the number of temporary jobs at 2,500 – 4,600 and the number of permanent jobs at 50. Those jobs would certainly matter to the people lucky enough to get them, but it ain’t no 20,000 jobs for sure. And considering all the risks to the states that this pipeline would travel through, not worth it at all.
Republicans are either stupid or crazy, take your pick!
In November of 2011, the Republicans decided to embrace the issue in their negotiations for extending the payroll tax cut that President Obama was fighting for. The pipeline became their bargaining chip in those negotiations, even after being warned by the State Department that trying to force the issue would result in it being killed for sure. That didn’t seem to bother the GOP, from a State Department briefing on December 12, 2011…
The State Department has led a rigorous, thorough, and transparent process that must run its course to obtain the necessary information to make an informed decision on behalf of the national interest. Should Congress impose an arbitrary deadline for the permit decision, its actions would not only compromise the process, it would prohibit the Department from acting consistently with National Environmental Policy Act requirements by not allowing sufficient time for the development of this information. In the absence of properly completing the process, the Department would be unable to make a determination to issue a permit for this project. (emphasis mine)
But like the flat footed, clumsy party that they are, the GOP kept right on pushing it. So during the holidays, we were treated to the White House fighting for tax cuts for every American while the Republicans were blocking those tax cuts and supporting big oil. Coming off the BP oil spill in 2010, I’m not sure that is the group you want to wrap your arms around.
Just over a week ago on January 18, 2012, President Obama officially rejected the Keystone XL pipeline bid.
But the president said today in a statement that the congressionally imposed deadline did not provide adequate time for the State Department to finish a customary review of the pipeline’s route through six states.
“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama said.
“As a result, the secretary of state has recommended that the application be denied. And after reviewing the State Department’s report, I agree.”
What is so astounding to me is that they don’t seem to really want the pipeline to go through, they just want it as a campaign issue. Steve Benen summed it up very well…
I’d argue that this is the outcome Republicans wanted all along. The GOP didn’t really want the pipeline; they wanted the ability to whine about the absence of the pipeline. This wasn’t, in other words, about energy production; this was about creating an issue for the 2012 campaign.
Besides the stupidity of pitting tax cuts for all Americans against the interests of big oil, Republicans also touted those outrageous claims of how many jobs it would create. Going into an election year that everyone says will be all about jobs, you would think they might pick an issue that would actually create some jobs. But instead, they’ve inflated and exaggerated numbers that even the company building the pipeline doesn’t agree with.
I’m seeing a new slogan, “Lay Pipe, Baby, Lay Pipe.” Now get your minds out of the gutter.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles
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?