If news pros still actually convened ethics panels, I'd suggest they hold a new one, because this Tea Party convention is just getting nuts on so many levels. And who knows? Maybe the Beltway press will finally start asking questions about the confab set for Nashville next month.
Here's the bottom line: The right-wing convention is basically locking out reporters. Tea Party followers, who have built their political movement by rallying around the need for transparency, are going to hold a political convention and listen to speeches from, among others, Sarah Palin. But journalists are banned. Well, not all "journalists." The Tea Party convention is going to allow Fox News, which employs Sarah Palin, to be among the select few "reporters" allowed to cover the convention, where Sarah Palin will speak.
Now, I realize ethics and journalism guidelines do not exactly rule the day within Fox News headquarters, but I would think that even Murdoch execs can admit that they're facing a rather gargantuan conflict of interest with regards to the Tea Party convention.
Question: Will Fox News actually accept the tainted Tea Party credentials for the Sarah Palin show even though Fox News pays her, and even though Fox News understands that all other news orgs have been banned from the convention?
And yes, I wrote "all other news orgs" are banned because the other outlets that Tea Party convention officials are letting in consist of dubious, partisan sites such as WND, Townhall, and Breitbart.com. And, oh yeah, the WSJ made the cut, although I'm assuming the credentials are for its dubious, partisan opinion page and not the news team.
But if the WSJ news team did get credentials, I can't imagine editors there would accept them, knowing the extreme restrictions that are attached.
Back when I was a Republican political operative (everyone experiments in their youth) the path to the White House was fairly standard: form a leadership PAC to help other candidates, launch an exploratory committee, raise a lot of money ($20 million!), do well in the Iowa Straw Poll, line up some good endorsements, build momentum in time for the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary and maybe, just maybe you'd end up in the Oval Office.
Things have changed considerably since I worked for Lamar Alexander and John McCain in the 2000 primaries – again, everyone experiments in their youth.
It's looking more and more like the GOP path to 2012 runs directly through Fox News.
Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee who is widely considered to be eyeballing 2012, has his own Fox News program each weekend. Just last month Fox executives were forced to tell Huckabee to stop plugging a website on-air, which he'd repeatedly promoted, after it learned "that it linked to his political action committee, which the network deemed a conflict of interest." Despite his bosses' reported order to stop the promotion, Huckabee has continued to plug, both on-air and on FoxNews.com, his personal website that leads visitors to his PAC.
Then there is the former half-term Alaska Governor who announced this week that she'd signed on to be a contributor at Fox News. In what was surely a glimpse of things to come, Sarah Palin's first day on the job included a softball interview with Bill O'Reilly. As Media Matters' Simon Maloy noted:
The financial terms of Palin's agreement with Fox News have not been disclosed, but it's safe to assume that she isn't working for peanuts. With that in mind, it's worth pointing out that Palin spent much of her Fox News debut defending her own record and reputation, hawking the biography she pretended to write, and promoting the Tea Party convention at which she is being paid to speak (though she claimed that the money she makes from the event will go towards campaign donations). The rest of her "analysis" consisted of conservative bromides about the evils of government and tired attacks on the media. She was essentially paid by Fox News to put on an infomercial for herself.
There's also been bizarre, perhaps crazy, speculation on the network that Palin will form a ticket in 2012 with Fox News' Glenn Beck. Quit laughing.
Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich even announced this week that he's considering a run for the White House in 2012 – the same speculative announcement he made in 2008 mind you.
So there you have it. At least three potentially major candidates for the Republican presidential nomination are going head to head in the 2012 Fox News shadow primary.
So, when are Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty going take the plunge and join in the fun?
How Fox News expects to provide the 2012 Republican primaries with "fair and balanced" coverage when it employs so many of the potential candidates is anyone's guess.
If you haven't already listened to this clip from Limbaugh's program yesterday, you ought to. Media Matters highlighted it because Limbaugh stressed to listeners that the Obama administration would use the Haitian relief effort to "burnish" its credibility with the "light-skinned and dark-skinned black community in this country."
But I was also struck by Limbaugh's comment near the end of the clip, as the clearly annoyed host was bemoaning the Western Hemisphere catastrophe, simply because it might somehow help Obama politically. Or as the exasperated Limbaugh put it, the epic Haiti earthquake was "made to order" for Obama.
Talk about taking Obama Derangement Syndrome to previously unknown depths. But of course, the GOP Noise Machine won't say boo about this because being a conservative pundit in America today means having to pretend Rush Limbaugh doesn't shovel hate for a living.
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 January 13 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
I'm watching the Glenn Beck interview of Sarah Palin, and it's really leaving me speechless that two people who are so woefully and determinedly uninformed have such an impact on the national discourse.
Beck just asked Palin if she'd heard about the Federal Reserve's record profits for last year, and then bemoaned that "nobody's having hearings on the Fed, nobody is looking for a windfall profit tax on the Fed, we can't even open the Fed's books." Palin responded by thanking Beck for "bringing this to light," adding: "I don't know anybody else who is."
There's a very simple reason why no one else is talking about taxing the Fed's profits or having hearings or even discussing this -- because people who care to know what they're talking about already know that 100 percent of the Fed's profits go to the Treasury. Every single cent. There is no talk of a windfall profits tax because it's already effectively at 100 percent.
Perhaps if Beck put his crack research staff on the case, or if Palin spent a little less time lying on Facebook, they would know basic facts like these before making (greater) fools of themselves on national television.
The conservative media have followed the script on attacking President Obama's anti-terror policies since the attempted Christmas Day bombing -- from Politico basically providing stenography for Dick Cheney's claim that Obama's policies make us "less safe" to media claiming that the president isn't taking the terrorist threat seriously. This week, Human Events editor Jed Babbin wrote that with the first anniversary of Obama's inauguration at hand, it was time to ask whether his policies have made the country safer. Babbin declared: "By every objective measure -- what we know about Islamic terrorism, its intentions and capabilities -- the answer is no. We are far less safe now than we were then."
But the American people aren't buying it. In the past week, three separate polls have shown that more Americans approve of Obama's handling of terrorism than disapprove.
First came the January 11 CNN poll that found that 65 percent of those polled had a great deal or moderate amount of confidence in the Obama administration to protect America from terrorism and that 57 percent approved of his response to the Christmas Day terror attempt.
Also on January 11, CBS released a poll showing that 52 percent of those surveyed approved of Obama's handling of terrorism; and 71 percent had a "great deal" or a "fair amount" of confidence in the government's ability to protect them from a terrorist attack. The funny thing about that number is that it's an increase from 66 percent in July 2007 under the Bush administration.
Then today, Quinnipiac found that 48 percent approve of Obama's handling of terrorism (44 percent disapprove). The poll also found, perhaps most damning for conservatives' claims that Obama is endangering the country by dismantling Bush anti-terror policies, 62 percent feel safer or just as safe under Obama as they did under Bush.
When Glenn Beck returned to the airwaves for 2010, he unveiled a new intro segment for his radio show. Media Matters noted that the segment included the phrase "now is the time," from Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech. This marked the latest in Beck's history of invoking Dr. King to promote himself and comparing his political stances to the civil rights movement.
The next day, Beck complained that his "show is under fire because we're using a clip from Martin Luther King there." He and contributing editor Pat Gray then mocked "the left" because "they don't even understand it."
Yet after all the fuss and bluster, on Monday Beck featured another new intro, opening his broadcast with nary an explanation as to why "now is the time," is no longer a part of his show's intro:
Boy, this item at the new conservative portal is just a mess.
Headline from the Daily Caller homepage:
Massachusetts senate race gets a dose of Hitler
Did Democrat Massachusetts Senate candidate Martha Coakley use a photo of Rush Limbaugh in a Hitler pose in her new television ad released last night?
An image of Limbaugh with his hand held high flickers across the screen as the announcer says of Coakley's Republican opponent: "Who is Scott Brown, really? A Republican. In lockstep with Washington Republicans."
So according to Daily Caller, if a campaign spot features any innocuous photo of somebody with his/her "hand held high," than that means "Hitler" imagery is being used?
Good to know.
Still, it's pretty weird that Carlson's Daily Caller immediately made a direct link between Limbaugh and Hitler, where none actually existed. (Rush will not be happy.)
Watch the campaign spot here and marvel at the "Hitler" nonsense.
From The Fox Nation, accessed January 13: