MSNBC's Morning Joe will apparently host Liz Cheney tomorrow to talk about CIA practices and policies during the Bush administration.
Over the past few months, there has been some complaining that Liz Cheney keeps popping up on television and in print to opine about various topics. I actually don't have a problem with that, in the abstract. She did have a pretty good gig in the State Department during her father's Bush's administration, which gives her better credentials than a lot of the "experts" and "analysts" television - and cable news in particular - tends to turn to. Unfortunately, she uses her television appearances to make outrageously partisan and inaccurate claims, often without being challenged by her hosts.
And if Liz Cheney is going to appear on television to defend Dick Cheney's actions - including his reported role in blocking Congressional notification of CIA activities -- she should face some tough questioning. What has her father told her? Has he disclosed classified information to her? What has he told her about recent reports that he ordered the CIA not to tell Congress about a secret and possibly-illegal program?
Dick Cheney has been notoriously secretive with Congress and the public; there isn't anything viewers could learn from a Liz Cheney television appearance that is more important than whether Dick Cheney has been more forthcoming to people -- like Liz Cheney -- who have no legislative or oversight role, and if so, what he has told them. Morning Joe can find any number of right-wing guests who will simply rattle off pro-Cheney, anti-Obama talking points. The whole point of hosting Liz Cheney should be to question her about things only she can answer.
Liz Cheney's relationship to the former Vice President helps get her these TV appearances, which she uses to defend him, but she also seems to benefit from an apparent unwillingness by reporters to ask her about conversations between father and daughter. Reporters shouldn't let her have it both ways.
CBSNews.com headline: "Poll: Most Undecided About Sotomayor."
And the lede: "Senate confirmation hearings begin today for Sonia Sotomayor, but just four in ten Americans have an opinion of the nominee, a new CBS News poll finds."
And the beginning of the third paragraph: "But what could be most significant is that 62 percent of Americans still are undecided or say they haven't heard enough about her yet to make a judgment."
Wow, it sounds like a really big deal that most people are undecided about Sotomayor, doesn't it? But wait:
That is not unusual for a Supreme Court nominee just prior to his or her confirmation hearings and majorities could not assess previous nominees before their hearings either in CBS News polling.
In fact, somewhat more people have opinions of Sotomayor now than had opinions of past nominees before their hearings.
Oh. Never mind...
Note, by the way, that the CBSNews.com never gives the actual percentage of people who could not assess previous nominees before their hearings.
Jamison yesterday mentioned the crazy of Althouse's blog post about the G8 image that lots of irresponsible bloggers (like Althouse) used to bash Obama. But I think her contribution deserves an even closer look.
Get a load of Althouse's Creative Writing class submission:
Now, swivel your eyes over to Obama's feet. The foot closest to the woman, like Sarkozy's, is planted and aimed forward, but the other steps off in the direction of the woman, bending the knee upward into a bit of a crotch-squeeze and forming the base of a dramatic tilt of the entire body into a flexible S-shape that leans toward the woman. Obama's arms hang free, emphasizing the tilt, and either gravity or will causes the left arm to hang inches away from the torso. See how much lower the right hand is than the left? His neck is craned out and around so that the line of sight is directly at the ass. His mouth is open as if to say: That's what I want.
Just total nut house stuff, right? But it gets better because as everybody now knows after watching the video of the pointless encounter, Obama was not looking at the young girl. In fact, he was preparing, in a gentlemanly fashion, to help another young participant take a step down the podium. Obama never even looked at the woman in question, let alone gawked at her.
So how does Althouse deal with that fact?
Behold the wonder:
AND: Yes, I have seen the video, and I stand by my analysis of the still photograph.
What??? Althouse stands by her photo "analysis" (boy, that's a generous term), even though the whole world knows that the image was a false and misleading one. Meaning, Althouse comically deconstructed Obama leering at a young girl even though he never did that. Confronted with that uncomfortable fact, Althouse says that she doesn't care and that she's going to stick to the false image; she's going to stick to her parallel universe where Obama bends his knee into a "crotch-squeeze."
Could Althouse announce any more succinctly that she has no regard for the facts or the real world?
I doubt it.
From a July 13 Washington Times editorial:
The Senate Judiciary Committee today opens hearings on the most radical Supreme Court nominee in memory. Despite her compelling story of personal accomplishment, Judge Sonia Sotomayor has proved by her own words and actions that she is unfit for the nation's highest court.
From top to bottom, this record is extremely troubling. In an interview with The Washington Times on Friday, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Alabama Republican, put it all into perspective:
"The thing that overrides all of this is the president's stated view that a judge should show empathy in deciding cases. That's not a legal standard. It's more politics than law, and [Judge Sotomayor's] speeches seem to go in that direction, perhaps even further so than the president. At the core of what we'll be talking about is whether or not this judge will be committed to objectivity and impartiality in the conduct of the office. I think it's a modern legal heresy that personal background and experiences can legitimately impact a decision of a court."
Mr. Sessions is as correct as correct can be. That's ample reason to defeat the nomination of this impressive woman, who is a demonstrably bad judge.
Over the weekend, the WSJ got a head start on the competition. Looking ahead to Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing, the Journal stressed how Sotomayor's now famous "Latina woman" quote would certainly become a very big deal. (Y'know, the single sentence from a campus speech given eight years ago, the kind of obscure public utterance that always dominates SCOTUS confirmation hearings, right?)
It should come as no surprise that the Journal article, which revolved solely around the "Latina woman" quote, completely failed to place it in context. It's not surprising because Beltway journalists covering Sotomayor appear to have taken some kind of solemn loyalty oath to never place the quote in its proper context. Because if anybody does, than the whole 'controversy' (she's a racist!) collapses.
FYI, Sotomayor's quotes about a wise "Latina woman" making a better decision than a white judge was made specifically in the context of race and gender discrimination cases. But the press has categorically refused to spell that out and pretends Sotomayor was talking about all decisions from the bench. That she had espoused this nutty notion that one group of judges (Latina women) make inherently better legal judgments than another (white men.) If Sotomayor had made that claim, critics would have every right to question her temperament, not to mention her sanity.
But of course, that's not what Sotomayor said. It's just what the press, at the urging of the GOP, pretends she said. It's really an elaborate con game: Reporters and pundits know the correct context. They understand the larger point she was making. They simply refuse to spell it out.
Journalism doesn't get much more dishonest, or gruesome, than watching the "Latina woman" tale play out, yet again. That's why we're already bracing for a dreadful week.
UPDATED: Hey look, Fox News' Juan Williams thinks "Latina woman" was a racist statement because Sotomayor thinks she's "endowed in a much better, superior way, than white people." Did I mention how depressingly awful journalism is going to be this week?
On today's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski quoted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg saying of Sonia Sotomayor, "think of how many times you've said something that you didn't get out quite right." Brzezinski then said as an aside, "I can think of something I said recently."
That was apparently a reference to Brzezinski's comment last week about "real Americans." Well, if Brzezinski didn't mean what she said, there's a simple solution: She could make that clear during the three-hour television show she hosts each day. Instead of defending her comment, she could have said "I misspoke. I don't think Sarah Palin's fans are any more or less American than any other Americans. I regret echoing the common smear of progressives and urbanites as less American than their conservative and rural counterparts." That would have taken about twenty seconds.
Instead, Brzezinski defended her comments, digging herself a deeper hole in the process, as I explain in my latest column.
Let's be clear about who objectified a 17 year old girl at last week's G-8 summit.
They treated this junior G-8 delegate as an object - for all the world to see - simply so they could crack some stupid jokes about President Obama, or to score some infintismaly small (and false) point against a political figure they don't like.
And then when it was debunked, they just said, essentially, "Oh, we hadn't see the video yet. Bygones." Well, no. The smear of Obama is already out there; a young woman was already dragged into a ridiculous story that treated her as an object rather than a person. That can't be undone.
Is it really that hard for professional journalists to understand that they shouldn't have peddled this non-story before they actually reviewed the video to see if there was anything to it? Tapper, at least, should already have learned a lesson about watching video before passing on bogus claims about it.
But, having pushed the photo, it isn't enough to now say "never mind." They owe their viewers, President Obama, and the young woman an apology.
UPDATE: I should have made this clear earlier, but Reuters bears ultimate responsiblity for this mess. Reuters originally distrubted the highly misleading photo in question, and they should have known it would be misinterpreted by some and used in an opportunistic way by others. Whether it was a simple mistake on their part, or a calculated effort to get attention for their photo, they did a big thing badly, and should be first in line with an apology.
From Barone's July 12 Washington Examiner column titled, "Who's afraid of global warming?":
I am open to arguments on this issue, but as I have written several times it seems to me that many global warming alarmists are motivated by something that is more like religion than science. It makes sense to try to mitigate negative effects of any change in climate or weather, as we are quite capable of doing, technologically and economically. Though not always politically, as seen by our decades-long failure to protect our one major city under sea level, New Orleans, from the effects of a catastrophic storm, in the ways that the Dutch have protected their country in which most people live below sea level. But imposing huge costs on our private sector economy on the basis of computer models of something as complex as climate, and which have not done a good job of predicting the present or recent past, seems the height of folly.
I think it makes more sense to monitor and mitigate--keep our eyes open for problems that may occur and take intelligent action to prevent negative effects.
As for global warming, why assume that every affect will be negative? I grew up in Michigan and would have been grateful for some global warming as I waited in the dark for the school bus. As [Ian] Plimer explains in the opening chapter of Heaven and Earth, climate has been much warmer and much cooler at various times in the past. Human beings have adapted--and it's been a lot easier to adapt to warming than cooling.
From Jeff Durstewitz's July 11 Wall Street Journal op-ed, headlined, "Europe Should Hope Obama Fails":
The great irony here is that the European model American leftists envy couldn't survive without its despised cowboy counterparty. If the U.S. economy weakens because of increased regulation, heavy-handed unionization, and higher taxes and debt to support an expensive social agenda -- all policies Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Congress are pushing hard -- it will hurt Europe.
The market for Europe's exports will shrink, and the U.S. will be less able to defend Europe. Europe is also facing a demographic cataclysm in the near future because of low birth rates (under 1.3 children per woman in the EU, well below the 2.1 necessary to maintain the population). Thus Europe will be increasingly unable to sustain its current welfare state, the very model that the left in the United States adores.
The Post's ombudsman eviscerates the paper for its colossal "salon" blunder:
The Washington Post's ill-fated plan to sell sponsorships of off-the-record "salons" was an ethical lapse of monumental proportions...The Post's reputation now carries a lasting stain.
Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler looks at Post reporter Ceci Connolly's featured role in the newsroom debacle.