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.
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?
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.