Eighty 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 November 13 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
From the Associated Press' November 13 fact-check of Sarah Palin's memoir Going Rogue: An American Experience:
Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time. Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.
Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush - a package she seemed to support at the time.
A look at some of her statements in "Going Rogue," obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:
PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking "only" for reasonably priced rooms and not "often" going for the "high-end, robe-and-slippers" hotels.
THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City's Central Park for a five-hour women's leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children's travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.
PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, "you'll have to be brave enough to fail."
THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama's stimulus plan - a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts - and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.
Palin's views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain's vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said "taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street." A week later, she said "ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy."
During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being "instrumental in bringing folks together" to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said "it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in."
PALIN: Says Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the one that appears to be ending now, and "showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all."
THE FACTS: The estate tax, which some call the death tax, was not repealed under Reagan and capital gains taxes are lower now than when Reagan was president.
Economists overwhelmingly say the current recession is far worse. The recession Reagan faced lasted for 16 months; this one is in its 23rd month. The recession of the early 1980s did not have a financial meltdown. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, worse than the October 2009 high of 10.2 percent, but the jobless rate is still expected to climb.
PALIN: She says her team overseeing the development of a natural gas pipeline set up an open, competitive bidding process that allowed any company to compete for the right to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48.
THE FACTS: Palin characterized the pipeline deal the same way before an AP investigation found her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited a company with ties to her administration, TransCanada Corp. Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders during the process, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.
PALIN: Criticizes an aide to her predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, for a conflict of interest because the aide represented the state in negotiations over a gas pipeline and then left to work as a handsomely paid lobbyist for ExxonMobil. Palin asserts her administration ended all such arrangements, shoving a wedge in the revolving door between special interests and the state capital.
THE FACTS: Palin ignores her own "revolving door" issue in office; the leader of her own pipeline team was a former lobbyist for a subsidiary of TransCanada, the company that ended up winning the rights to build the pipeline.
During a three-hour tirade about Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to transfer five detainees from Guantanamo Bay to the United States for criminal prosecution, Rush Limbaugh attacked the "dangerous" "ideologue" Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA), who in a Fox News interview that day discussed his support of Holder's decision.
Sestak's "dangerous" comment was expressing faith in the U.S. criminal justice system, saying that "we don't have to bend our ideals to defend them."
Now you may be asking yourself, "What does Congressman Sestak know about defending America and its ideals?"
It turns out, a bit more than Rush Limbaugh. See, prior to joining Congress, Sestak spent 31 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a two-star admiral. During his career, Sestak rose to the rank of three-star admiral where he commanded an aircraft carrier group, in part conducting combat operations in Afghanistan. On point to the current discussion, in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Sestak was put in charge of "Deep Blue," a Naval think tank devoted to anti-terrorism. You know, thinking about ways to defend America and its ideals from terrorists.
I'll leave it to you to decide if anyone here is a dangerous ideologue.
To answer the interesting question Greg Sargent raised yesterday. As he noted, the Beltway press in the past has often been generous in crediting conservative bloggers for changing the game:
When right wing bloggers got Dan Rather fired from CBS, traditional news orgs widely hailed the role of right blogostan in exposing the shortcomings of Rather's story on Bush and the National Guard and gave the right full credit for bringing him down.
Now that Lou Dobbs — also a major media figure — has quit CNN, it remains to be seen whether the online left will get anywhere near the same level of credit.
With the initial news cycle surrounding Dobbs' resignation complete, it's safe to say that most news outlets did not credit the lefty Web for making life difficult for Dobbs and CNN over recent months. In fact, most news outlets didn't even mention the role the liberal blogosphere and the larger netroots movement played in helping drive Dobbs from his longtime CNN perch.
This is isn't surprising at all. As I noted in Bloggers on the Bus, Beltway media elites have for years gone out of their way to downplay, if not flat-out ignore, the extraordinary impact liberal bloggers have had on both politics and the press.
Perhaps driven by feelings of competitive jealousy for the fresh generation of citizen journalists and their new found clout, or fueled by contempt for the bloggers who so effectively critiqued the Beltway media's often shoddy work, the press corps mostly kept its distance and chose not to shine a spotlight on the new generation of citizen journalists busy reinventing politics and as journalism. (That's when the press wasn't being openly contemptuous: During the 2004 campaign, a New York Times writer expressed his "half-sickening feeling" at the realization that the news agenda was being set by a "largely unpaid, T-shirt-clad army of bloggers.")
Instead, the press clung to its outdated blogger caricatures, portraying them as polarizing, amateurish extremists, downplaying their concrete achievements, and reluctant to tell the personal stories behind the creation of the blogosphere; the unlikely personal, and professional, odysseys bloggers took before securing leadership positions within the vibrant political community. (How reluctant? As of January 2009, the normally media-obsessed Washington Post still had not published--ever--a single feature profile of an A-list liberal blogger.)
Lou Dobbs' website now features a series of fawning testimonials praising Dobbs' work. One of them is entitled, "Lou Dobbs, real newsman." The author? WorldNetDaily founder and CEO and fake newsman Joseph Farah, who declares CNN "in a state of programming irrelevancy" now that they've rid themselves of the "one reason to tune into" their network. Farah also claims that "Dobbs thinks like a real American newsman - a throwback to an age when journalists actually believed they were watchdogs of government and asked tough questions in the interests of the people."
What has Dobbs done to earn such high praise from Farah? Why, he's supported the same birther conspiracy theories Farah's publication has been pushing. Or, in Farah's words:
When virtually his entire profession and elites in all the other political and cultural institutions of our time were making excuses for Barack Obama's unwillingness to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve in the White House by simply showing the American people his long-form birth certificate, Lou Dobbs was alone in asking why.
Farah even goes so far as to offer Dobbs a job:
Let me be the first to say I would be proud to work with Lou Dobbs. He's got his pick of assignments here at WND. I would be honored to work for him - and it's been a long time since I worked for anyone.
So at least Lou has that to fall back on, if whatever he has planned falls through.
Last week, Newsbusters toasted ABC's World News Tonight for a report on the Ft. Hood handgun massacre; a report that was factually inaccurate. Now, in the wake of Dobbs' CNN departure, Newsbusters dips into the archives and tips its hat to Dobbs for doing such a great job covering the Wen Ho Lee espionage case back in 1999. Slight problem: Dobbs got the Lee story wrong.
Question: Aren't media critics supposed to chastise the press when they get it wrong, not congratulate it?
Basically, Newsbusters was thrilled because Dobbs, unlike the other news anchors at the time (at least that's the claim), jumped on the anti-Clinton story of the Wen Ho Lee spy case, and Dobbs wildly over-hyped it:
This is the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It is also ground zero in what is arguably the most alarming nuclear espionage scandal in nearly 50 years, certainly since the Rosenbergs. What has been stolen is a sophisticated miniaturized warhead technology.
Wrong and wrong, as it turned out. Although at the outset, that was certainly the talking points Republicans were pushing, so in that sense Dobbs got those correct.
But here's the best part: Newsbusters today doesn't bother to point out that the hype Dobbs initially pushed turned out to be bogus. Newsbusters pretends that the Wen Ho Lee story was a huge blockbuster that embarrassed the White House.
It wasn't. In fact, the case ended with a U.S. District Court judge apologizing to Lee in open court on behalf the government for the way prosecutors had "embarrassed our entire nation."
Here's my favorite Newsbusters passage:
The press in 1999 also gave the la-la treatment to the possibility of any connection between the technology transfer and laundered political contributions that likely had Chinese origins.
The punch line? There was no connection. Period. Newsbusters is mad that the press, at least initially, didn't play up an angle that turned out to be false. Newsbusters wishes the press back in 1999 had hammered an anti-Clinton angle, even though it was bogus.
And yes, this week in honor of his CNN departure, Newsbusters congratulated Lou Dobbs for getting the Wen Ho Lee story wrong.
It's just incessant. And yes, I realize he'll continue with the comical victimization shtick on his radio show, but at least he'll no longer be a national player.
I'm reminded of the trademark Dobbs whine, which is always mixed in with his over-inflated sense of self-importance (a truly toxic cocktail) in this recent interview posted at GQ [emphasis added]:
They are coordinating with a number of groups, including the Center for American Progress. The usual suspects. To carry out constant and absolutely insidious and sordid attacks on me. And the reason they're doing so, I'm the leading independent voice, and I am critical on their policies and intent, on unconditional amnesty, and leaving the borders and ports unsecure.
Shorter Dobbs: He really, really hates being fact-checked.
Here's the dumbest article of the week, courtesy of The Hill:
Polls suggest healthcare debate a boon to GOP candidates running for Senate
By Aaron Blake - 11/12/09 04:45 PM ET
The healthcare battle appears to be helping Republicans running for the Senate.
Two Quinnipiac polls released Thursday show the leading GOP candidates in Connecticut and Ohio growing their leads.
Former Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) leads Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), 49-38, and former Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has opened his first leads over two potential Democratic opponents.
The surveys are the first major Senate polls since the House passed its healthcare bill on Saturday.
And here's a Quinnipiac press release about its Connecticut poll:
From November 3 - 8, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,236 Connecticut registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percentage points. The survey includes 474 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points and 332 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percentage points.
So the poll was conducted from November 3 - 8. And The Hill thinks it reflects public reaction to a House vote that took place late in the day on November 7.
A House vote, by the way, that neither Dodd nor Simmons cast, as neither of them is a member of the House of Representatives.
And here's Quinnipiac's press release about the Ohio poll:
From November 5 - 9, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,123 Ohio voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The survey includes 406 Republicans and 394 Democrats, each with a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percentage points.
That's a little better, but for three of the five days the poll was in the field, the House health care vote had not yet happened. And, like Connecticut, nobody in the Ohio Senate race cast a vote, as none of them are members of the House of Representatives.
Here's a tip for The Hill: As a general rule of thumb, polling tends not to reflect public reaction to events that have not yet occurred.
UPDATE: From Quinnipiac's Ohio press release -- and not mentioned in The Hill's article -- "Ohio voters support 53 - 40 percent giving people the option of a government health insurance plan. Independent voters support this public option 55 - 38 percent." Quinnipiac found even more support for a public option in Connecticut, with 56 percent supporting such an option, and only 37 percent opposing.
Want a perfect example of how the Beltway press distracts itself with trivia at the expense of substance and news that most Americans actually care about? Look no further than the self-induced trance over the perennially unpopular Sarah Pallin and her book release. ABC's The Note breathlessly announces it's the most important political story right now, and The Note's colleagues certainly seem to agree.
From The Note [emphasis added]:
But this is Sarah Palin's world -- and that's really all we can see from our porches right now.
There may be no better example of the power and perils associated with the former governor of Alaska than what we'll see over the next week.
There is precisely one superstar in the Republican Party -- and she happens, by choice, not to hold elected office, or feel as if she owes much of anything to anyone in the party establishment. (And you thought tea parties might be dangerous?)
On this Friday the 13th, the Palin craze is starting a few days earlier than anticipated -- with Oprah and an early copy of the book coming before the Barbara Walters interviews next week.
And from ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who claims Palin's book release is the biggest to hit the Beltway in nearly 15 years:
Can she recapture the Palin magic that made her a political phenomenon? Make herself a force beyond her staunch cultural conservative base?
I suspect that Palin, like Powell, will ultimately decide that a race is not for her. But the opportunity is there. No one else in politics aside from Obama can attract more cameras, mics and blog posts
What seems to be missing from the avalanche of coverage is any indication that people outside the professional Beltway class and her right-wing base actually care. I'm sure Palin's book, thanks in part to a cut-rate, give-away price, will end up on the best-seller's list. But authors do that all the time.
In terms of larger context, I'm not aware of any polling data that indicates Palin has a prayer of being elected president. In fact, the latest CNN survey finds that a strong majority of Americans think she is singularly unqualified to run the country. (i.e. She's relegated to Dan Quayle territory.) And of course, she's coming off her stint as VP candidate on the GOP ticket that lost an electoral landslide last November.
So I guess my question is, besides the larger and authentic one (who, besides journalists and GOP partisans, cares about Sarah Palin?) is, has the press ever treated an election loser the way it now treats Sarah Palin? Has the Beltway press ever turned an election loser like Palin into a political rising star, even though there's no evidence to suggest her stature has changed since last November's embarrassing thumping? (i.e. What "magic" is Stephanopoulos talking about?)
Just more liberal media bias, I suppose.
From today's editorial, "Farewell to Lou":
He calls himself Mr. Independent, but he is far closer in style and method to the right-wing ranters who mold the facts to shape the argument on television and on AM radio, where Mr. Dobbs still has a show. Mr. Dobbs's CNN program has long been a nesting ground for untruths and conspiracy theories: fretting over a nonexistent, immigrant-borne leprosy epidemic; questioning President Obama's citizenship; issuing dark warnings about the "North American Union," a supposed plot to strangle United States sovereignty.
It's hard to pinpoint how much damage these kinds of ideas have done to the national discussion of illegal immigration, but they have been corrosive. Solutions have withered as many politicians parrot the central myth that people desperate to seek new lives in the United States are an affliction to be feared, not an opportunity to be engaged, future Americans who could enrich the country as immigrants always have and will.
Now Mr. Dobbs has pledged to "engage in constructive problem solving." Here is a problem to solve constructively: Illegal immigrants are, as Mr. Dobbs likes to say, decent, honest, hard-working people. They are exploited by greedy corporate interests. They are not about to deport themselves, and we aren't about to deport them all.
It's a problem to which Mr. Dobbs has never really offered an answer. Perhaps someday he will.