Mickey Kaus, Friday: "the possibility for a Nobel backlash seems non-farfetched."
Time magazine, Friday: "Why Winning the Nobel Peace Prize Could Hurt Obama"
Gallup, Monday: "Barack Obama appears to have gotten a slight bounce in support after he was announced as the Nobel Peace Prize winner on Friday. His 56% job approval rating for the last two Gallup Daily tracking updates is up from a term-low 50% as recently as last week, and 53% in the three days before the Nobel winner was announced."
Huh. Maybe it turns out that Americans don't hate their president for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Weird.
(A quick pre-emptive note to commenters: Read that again. I didn't say anything about whether Obama should have won the award. My point is simply that the idea that it was absurd to suggest that winning the award was some sort of disaster for Obama.)
As I wrote in my column this week, Fox News has filled the conservative leadership vaccum that emerged following Sen. John McCain's campaign defeat last November, and has obviously transformed itself into a purely political entity. That means the press needs to change the way it treats Fox News.
One of the points I stressed is how the RNC now often plays catch-up to Fox News; a fact nicely illustrated by a recent must-read piece in Salon.
From the column [emphasis added]:
Truth is, in recent years the RNC used to use Fox news to help amplify the partisan raids that national Republicans launched against Democrats. It was within the RNC that the partisan strategy was mapped out and initiated. (i.e. it was the RNC that first published the Al-Gore-invented-the-Internet smear). But it was on talk radio and Fox News where the partisan bombs got dropped. Today, that relationship has, for the most part, been inversed. Now it's within Fox News that the partisan witch hunts are plotted and launched, and it's the RNC that plays catch-up to Glenn Beck and company.
And here's Salon:
*March 17: Talking to guest Kevin Williamson of the National Review, Beck has his first discussion of the supposed proliferation of czars in the administration. But the only explicit complaint comes from Williamson, who says, "We have way too many people named czar in their job title."
*May 29: Beck makes his own first comment. "And, I'm so excited. We're getting a new czar, everybody! Yes. Can we stop with the czars, please?" He continues to refer to the phenomenon almost daily over the summer. Obviously influenced by Jonah Goldberg's book "Liberal Fascism," Beck links the czars to early American progressives like Woodrow Wilson, and through him, naturally, to Hitler, Mussolini and Lenin.
*July 15: Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., introduces the "Czar Accountability and Reform (CZAR) Act of 2009." By September 16, the bill has 99 co-sponsors, including one Democrat.
*July 30: House Minority Whip Eric Cantor writes an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing the Obama administration of making an "end run around the legislative branch of historic proportions." Notes Cantor, sagely, "At last count, there were at least 32 active czars that we knew of, meaning the current administration has more czars than Imperial Russia."
In two separate articles today, the Washington Post makes a point of mentioning that Sen. Joe Lieberman said he won't support the Senate Finance Committee health care reform bill -- but neither article says anything about whether Lieberman says he'll filibuster it.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that he would not support the finance panel's bill because of cost concerns.
"I'm afraid that in the end the Baucus bill is actually going to raise the price of insurance for most of the people in the country," he said on Fox Business Network's "Imus in the Morning" program, referring to Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).
And the other:
Dodd's Connecticut colleague, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I), said Tuesday that he could not support the Finance Committee bill, citing insurers' concerns that the fees and taxes it would impose on their industry would drive up premiums. Connecticut is home to numerous health insurance companies.
Another day, another Washington Post article by Ceci Connolly about the insurance industry's attack on health care reform. This time, Connolly does make passing mention of one of the significant flaws in the industry-commissioned "report" that Connolly has now written three articles about. Buried in the 19th paragraph, Connolly notes:
As the report has come under fire, PricewaterhouseCoopers has distanced itself somewhat from it. The firm said Monday that AHIP had instructed it to focus on only some features of the bill, while not taking into account other major features such as the effect of subsidies for those buying insurance.
But still no mention of the fact that the report was based on assumptions PricewaterhouseCoopers acknowledged are unlikely to come true.
Maybe if Connolly writes three more articles, she'll get around to mentioning that.
The Associated Press spent a lot of time sniffing around the White House's travel records in search of a big scoop. I don't think they found one, but the AP did lay on the spin quite thick, perhaps in hopes of justifying the amount the time they spent researching the soggy story.
The AP's supposed scoop? Obama and his top officials spend lots of time traveling to "blue states." i.e. They've never stopped campaigning!
The nut graph:
An Associated Press review of administration travel records shows that three of every four official trips Obama and his key lieutenants made in his first seven months in office were to the 28 states Obama won. Add trips to Missouri and Montana — both of which Obama narrowly lost — and almost 80 percent of the administration's official domestic travel has been concentrated in states likely to be key to Obama's re-election effort in 2012.
Wow, 80 percent of domestic travel have been to 30 of the U.S. states. Or, 80 percent of the travel have been to states that represent 60 percent of the United States. And if you look at U.S. population, the states Obama's team has visited probably represents at least 70 percent of the U.S. population. So tell me again, why the AP is trumpeting this as a big deal?
The AP also leaves out key context. It appears that based on its reporting, White House officials have not spent much time in sparsely populated states such as Alaska, Utah, South Dakota, Kansas and Mississippi. But have previous presidents? Did George Bush keep sending his top team to Oklahoma and West Virginia when he was in office? Readers don't know because "similar data hasn't been compiled for previous administrations," according to the AP.
The Times' John Harwood wrote up a rather breathless article earlier this week about how Democrats were going to have to run mean, "nasty" campaigns in order to fend off a Republican surge. But I didn't see much evidence to support the claim. Instead, It seems to me the Beltway press routinely maintains a double standard for political hardball. Namely, when Republicans play it, it's savvy and super-smart, but when Democrats try to play, it's unsightly and the cause of much hand wringing. (What happened to the issues???)
Harwood's article played right into the narrative, mostly because the proof of Democrats pursuing a "winning ugly" was comically thin. Meaning, if Republicans had done what the Democrats referenced in the article recently did on the campaign trail, nobody in the press would have said boo. But because Democrats supposedly threw some elbows (emphasis on the supposedly), it was a very big deal.
What have those "nasty" campaign tactics consisted of? From the Times [emphasis added]:
In Virginia's off-year governor's race, the Democratic candidate, R. Creigh Deeds, has homed in on an old academic paper by his Republican opponent, Robert F. McDonnell, to cast Mr. McDonnell as a right-wing radical on social issues...
Mr. Corzine has made more headway — and gotten even more personal — in New Jersey's close race for governor. He has mocked his heavy-set Republican opponent, Christopher J. Christie, in an advertisement that claimed Mr. Christie "threw his weight around" to avoid traffic tickets.
Really? That's it? (And what ever happened to it-takes-three-to-make-a-trend newsroom rule.) I always connected "winning ugly" with viciously smearing the opponent, or openly lying about their record. But at the Times, the pedestrian campaign incidents noted above are what constitute Democratic efforts at "winning ugly." That's what passes for being "nasty" when the topic is Democratic hardball.
80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred of white people." Here are his October 13 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From the October 13 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
From an October 13 New York Times report:
Commissioner Roger Goodell cast doubt on Rush Limbaugh's viability as an N.F.L. owner Tuesday, saying that "divisive comments are not what the N.F.L. is all about."
"I've said many times before, we're all held to a high standard here," Goodell said. Then he continued: "I would not want to see those comments coming from people who are in a responsible position in the NFL -- absolutely not."
Goodell emphasized that the Rosenbloom family, which owns the St. Louis Rams, is not even fully committed to sell its majority stake in the team and that they were extremely early in the process. Limbaugh has teamed with the former Madison Square Garden executive Dave Checketts in a bid for the Rams. But Goodell's comments were a thinly veiled signal that Limbaugh's bid -- even if it were the highest -- would most likely not receive support from owners, who must approve any change in ownership.
Retired and current players have voiced concern about Limbaugh's interest in the Rams, with some saying players would not play for him. One of Limbaugh's most controversial quotes was his suggestion that Donovan McNabb got credit for the Eagles' successes because the news media wanted him to succeed because he is a black quarterback.
"The comments Rush made specifically about Donovan, I disagree with very strongly," Goodell said. "It's a polarizing comment that we don't think reflect accurately on the N.F.L. or our players. I obviously do not believe those comments are positive and they are divisive. That's a negative thing for us, obviously."