Before this year it would been absurd to even ask whether one of America's largest TV networks was going to set aside an hour of primetime to broadcast the President of the United States' State of the Union Address. It would be absurd because I don't think a U.S. TV network has ever not covered the POTUS' SOTU. The address is considered to be sort of the bare minimum that broadcasters do in terms of providing some sort of public interesting programming during the calender year, aside from regularly scheduled newscasts.
So naturally Murdoch's Fox TV will cover the SOTU, right? I haven't seen anything definitive since the SOTU date of Jan. 27 was recently announced, but I honestly have my doubts because Murdoch has made it quite clear that Fox TV has decided to virtually ban Obama from its primetime. Fox TV started doing it with Obama's WH press conferences, and then Fox TV took the extraordinary step of denying the president airtime when he addressed a joint session of Congress to discuss historic health care reform. (Obama-less Fox TV got trounced in the ratings that night, BTW.)
So, given that precedent why would Fox TV broadcast the State of the Union? Execs there clearly don't believe they have any public interest obligation, despite the fact that Fox uses the public airwaves for free and banks tens of millions of dollars in ad revenues each year off those public airwaves.
Being realistic, I agree there's a chance that Fox TV will relent and make room for Obama next week. But if Murdoch does make room, all the move will do is confirm the obvious partisan motivation for snubbing Obama's health care address last summer. Because if the SOTU is good enough for Fox TV to telecast (i.e. an Obama address to a joint session of Congress), than why wasn't last summer's health care speech? (i.e. Also an Obama address to a joint session of Congress.)
Doesn't it become glaringly obvious that Fox TV refused to air the president last summer because Fox TV didn't like the topic on the table? Doesn't it become clear that Fox TV is picking and choosing when it will air Obama based on the politics in play?
Here's the Wall Street Journal's headline on an op-ed by a trio of conservative activists:
Health Care Is Hurting Democrats
New polling data show that voters know exactly where candidates stand.
And here's their explanation:
How do we know that it's the health-reform bill that's to blame for the low poll numbers for Democratic Senate candidates and not just that these are more conservative states?
First, we asked voters how their incumbent senator voted on the health-care bill that passed on Christmas Eve. About two-thirds answered correctly. Even now, long before Senate campaigns have intensified, voters know where the candidates stand on health care.
Wow. That's totally not what "voters know exactly where candidates stand" means. The three found that "about two-thirds" of votes know whether their Senator voted for or against the health care bill -- but that's far, far different from knowing what is and is not in that bill. Voters don't "know exactly where the candidates stand" simply because they know how the candidates vote; they also need to know what that vote means.
Put another way: A voter who thinks the health care reform bill contains Death Panels and would outlaw private insurance but knows that Harry voted for the bill is, under this construct, a voter who "knows exactly where the candidates stand" -- even though he is, in fact, completely wrong about where the candidate stands.
That's obvious nonsense.
Politico's Glenn Thrush:
Conservatives are right to trumpet the Brown-Coakley race as a referendum on health care reform -- but it turned out to be a referendum with no decisive victor on the defining issue, according to a postgame analysis by pollster Scott Rasmussen.
... versus Politico's David Catanese:
Scott Brown's opposition to congressional health care legislation was the most important issue that fueled his U.S. Senate victory in Massachusetts, according to exit poll data collected following the Tuesday special election.
One possible reason for the disagreement? The exit poll Catanese relied on was conducted by Republican pollster Tony Fabrizio, though Catanese doesn't tell readers who commissioned the poll.
Boy, talk about being off-script. Today is supposed to be the day for the press to wallow in the collapse of Obama's first term; to pronounce his presidency a failure in light of the Massachusetts defeat Tuesday night.
But wouldn't you know it, the AP goes and releases a poll that shows Obama enjoying a robust 56 percent job approval rating. Technically, that's not a bump, since the same AP poll had Obama at the same spot last month as well. But the results are certainly good news for Obama, considering that 56 percent practically doubles the approval rating of Obama's predecessor during his second term. That 56 percent also puts Obama comfortably ahead of where Ronald Reagan was at this juncture of his first term, and just about where Bill Clinton stood 13 months into office.
But that's not the story the press wants to tell, so look for the AP results to get scant coverage. Because as we've seen for months now, only the polls that show Obama's popularity declining are deemed to be truly newsworthy.
From an op-ed in the January 20 edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal by publisher Sherman Frederick:
After a full year, the people have grown weary of a president who talks pretty, promises much and delivers nothing. The misery facts don't lie: Obama Nation has brought us a 10 percent unemployment rate (1.7 million more people unemployed today than a year ago); almost $2 trillion of new outstanding public debt, and 139 bank failures.
Add to that the arrogance of a leader who thinks he's so much more self-aware than the presidents before him that he must apologize to the world for American "selfishness" (U.S. relief to Haiti, hello?), while at the same time failing to enact policies to keep Americans safe from al-Qaida terrorists, and it is no wonder Democrats find themselves in a woozy state this morning.
From Jonah Goldberg's January 20 column:
While the scope of the tragedy in Haiti is nearly impossible to exaggerate, it's important to remember that last week's earthquake was so deadly because Haiti is Haiti.
If a similarly powerful earthquake were to hit much more densely populated San Francisco or Los Angeles, the death toll would be much lower. That's an amazing thing when you consider that US cities are crammed with skyscrapers while Port-au-Prince's skyline was, for the most part, one story high.
Indeed, as others have noted, when a 7.1 earthquake hit the Bay Area two decades ago, 67 people were killed. The Haitian death toll is almost unknowable, but almost certainly over 100,000 and climbing.
It's hardly news that poverty makes people vulnerable to the full arsenal of Mother Nature's fury. The closer you are to living in a state of nature, the crueler nature will be -- which is one reason why people who romanticize tribal or pre-capitalist life (that would be you, James Cameron) tend to do so from a safe, air-conditioned distance and with easy access to flushing toilets, antibiotics, dentistry and Chinese takeout.
The sad truth about Haiti isn't simply that it is poor, but that it has a poverty culture. Yes, it has had awful luck. Absolutely, it has been exploited, abused and betrayed ever since its days as a slave colony. So, if it alleviates Western guilt to say that Haiti's poverty stems entirely from a legacy of racism and colonialism, fine. But Haiti has been independent and the poorest country in the hemisphere for a long time.
Even if blame lies everywhere except among the victims themselves, it doesn't change the fact that Haiti will never get out of grinding poverty until it abandons much of its culture.
From a statement released to The Radio Equalizer:
We of good cheer should offer our friends on the other side of the aisle some good advice:
DON'T CHANGE A THING.
KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE PRESIDENT.
SUPPORT THE STRATEGY OF REID AND PELOSI.
From Glenn Beck's website on January 19:
From the January 19 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:
The following group of commenters formed a panel in the 8 p.m. ET hour of CNN's coverage of the Massachusetts Senate special election:
Clockwise from top left: Paul Begala, Alex Castellanos, Erick Erickson, Dana Bash, John Avlon and Gloria Borger.
That's two conservatives (Castellanos and Erickson), an independent who used to be a speechwriter for Rudy Giuliani (Avlon), two journalists (Bash and Borger), and one liberal (Begala).