Matthew Yglesias makes fun of Mark Halperin's complaints that Barack Obama hasn't succeeded in "Wooing Official Washington":
If a failure to woo "official Washington" is one of the major failings of an administration, then I'd say the administration is doing pretty well. Especially because if you read the item, it's clear that by "official Washington" Halperin means something like "my friends" rather than anything actually "official"
The people I know who work in the administration, though by no means "top aides," generally seem quite busy. They're trying to govern the country under difficult circumstances! And I think the public will generally sleep easily knowing that more time is being put into policies aimed at improving people's lives than on hankering for the "establishment seal of approval."
Yglesias is right on the merits, of course. But we shouldn't simply ignore Halperin's hurt feelings; this is the kind of idiocy that contributed to the elite media's hatred of the Clintons:
Actually, it could be said that Sally Quinn has been floundering around for the last couple of decades, when she failed first as a journalist, then as a novelist, before emerging as a hostess in a Washington society that even she admits is in its death throes. Which brings us to a central question: Who appointed Quinn as the mouthpiece for the permanent Washington establishment, if there is such an animal? A peek into Quinn's motives reveals a hidden political agenda and the venom of a hostess scorned, and ultimately, an aging semi-journalist propped up by a cadre of media buddies, carping at the Clintons because they wouldn't kiss her ring.
According to society sources, Sally invited Hillary to a luncheon when the Clintons came to town in 1993. Sally stocked her guest list with her best buddies and prepared to usher the first lady into the capital's social whirl. Apparently, Hillary didn't accept. Miffed, Sally wrote a catty piece in the Post about Mrs. Clinton. Hillary made sure that Quinn rarely made it into the White House dinners or social events.
In return, Sally started talking trash about Hillary to her buddies, and her animus became a staple of the social scene. "There's just something about her that pisses people off," Quinn is quoted as saying in a New Yorker article about Hillary.
Oh, and just this morning the Washington Post ran a column by that same Sally Quinn. She has had enough, and demands the resignation of the White House social secretary. Then again, Quinn just knew all along Desiree Rogers wasn't right for the job:
White House social secretary Desirée Rogers came under fire after the Salahi scandal erupted. From the start, Rogers was an unlikely choice for social secretary. She was not of Washington, considered by many too high-powered for the job and more interested in being a public figure (and thus upstaging the first lady) than in doing the gritty, behind-the-scenes work inherent in that position.
Always a few days late to the party, the Fox & Friends brigade took some time out of their busy morning to attack President Obama for his "detached," "tepid" response to the Christmas day attempted bombing of a Northwest airline flight. "It took him three days" to respond, co-host Steve Doocy sniffed, while Brian Kilmeade reported that he didn't think "anyone was going to get fired" because of the incident.
The right has been complaining about Obama's response pretty much since the incident took place, as Huffington Post's Sam Stein pointed out on December 29, 2009. But, as Stein noted, Bush waited six days to respond to a shoe-bomber Richard Reid's very similar attempted bombing of a passenger plane, with no complaint from the right. In fact, it seems that the Obama administration's initial response and the Bush initial administration's response to similar attempted terror attacks, were, well, very similar. Both administration's monitored "the situation," and once enough facts were known to reply, the President responded. The only difference is that Obama responded publically sooner.
This, of course, is no matter to Republicans, including former Bush administration officials who were actually in office when the Reid incident occurred, and their cohorts in the media.
As for Fox & Friends' feigned concern over whether "heads" were going to "roll," because of the attempted attack (like, oh say, Director of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano's), no Bush administration heads seem to have rolled because of Reid's attempted attack. In fact, no heads rolled after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, where over 3,000 people were killed. Indeed, in 2004, Bush awarded former CIA director George Tenet, who was the CIA director during both the September 11 attacks and Reid's attempted attack, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The FBI Director at the time, Robert Mueller, is still FBI Director today. Then-Attorney General John Aschroft remained on the job, as did Condoleezza Rice, who was at the time, Bush's National Security advisor. Of course, Rice was later promoted to Secretary of State. I don't recall the right-wing media calling for any of their heads back in 2001.
Compare that silence to the hand-wringing and chest thumping reverberating from right-wing media figures and Republican politicians today, with their relentless, politically motivated assaults on everyone from Napolitano, to Attorney General Eric Holder, to Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan. Oh how their principles change when there's a Democrat in charge.
It's your laugh-or-cry moment from the right-wing blogosphere, this time courtesy of Gateway Pundit who's been working closely alongside Andrew Breitbart for the last month in their failed effort to get a single serious news outlet to pay attention to their oddly explicit, gay-baiting campaign against Kevin Jennings.
But, as Gateway Pundit recently crowed, the story's finally showing signs of life. In Bulgaria. And no, this is not a joke:
The US media would rather see children put at risk and handed fisting packs than report on this story because it may embarrass their failed superhero. They would rather protect the radical president than protect America's children. It shows you how corrupt the mainstream media has become in this country.
But the Bulgarian media is covering it. Bulgarian writer Ivan Stamenov is reporting on the Jennings' scandal today...
The US state-run media may be hiding from the Jennings' scandal. Maybe they even think teaching fisting is appropriate for 7th graders? Whatever the reason, even Bulgarian reporters are brave enough to report on this abuse of children.
For the better part of a year we've heard the far-right Fox News family telling anyone who would listen that their opposition to President Obama and progressives in Congress was all about liberty... and freedom... and the founding fathers... and mom's apple pie. You get the picture.
Apparently those freedoms... those liberties aren't meant for Muslim men.
As Media Matters noted yesterday:
In the wake of the Christmas Day attempt to detonate a bomb on a Northwest Airlines flight, numerous Fox News hosts, contributors, and guests have called for profiling of Muslims by airport security personnel. But several national security experts have termed such policies ineffective, with Bush administration secretary of homeland security Michael Chertoff stating that "relying on preconceptions or stereotypes is actually kind of misleading and, arguably, dangerous."
It's nice to know that the Fox News gang is so quick to throw an entire group of people under the Tea Party Express (i.e. bus).
You'd think they have no principles at all.
From The Fox Nation:
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 4 sponsors, in the order they appeared
Recently, Andrew Breitbart Twittered a $1,000 bet challenging Media Matters and senior fellow Eric Boehlert for proof that Bertha E. Lewis -- whose name recently appeared on a White House guest list -- was not ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis. Breitbart's challenge followed his begrudging semi-correction acknowledging that a White House official reportedly told Politico's Ben Smith that it was, in fact, a different Bertha Lewis.
The basis of Breitbart's steadfast defense of his thoroughly debunked "scoop" appears to be that, but for the word of the White House, there is no evidence to suggest it was not the Bertha Lewis visiting the White House. (As Media Matters' Matt Gertz noted, more than 1,000 individuals with that name appear in a whitepages.com search, and to reiterate, it strains the imagination to see why it would be troubling for the CEO of ACORN to meet with White House officials.)
What Breitbart ignores in his embarrassing effort to salvage the story is -- as Ben Smith explained in initially debunking Breitbart's breaking news -- the women do not, in fact, share the same name:
One clue: The ACORN official's middle initial, according to her New York voter registration record on Nexis, is "M." An ACORN spokesman says her middle name is "Mae."
It seems that the egregiously false Accuracy in Media blog post attacking Kevin Jennings -- which AIM later removed then apologized for, followed by another attempt to smear him -- may be just the tip of the laziness iceberg over there. Cliff Kincaid writes in a January 4 AIM Report:
I DON'T WATCH THE SHOW, BUT IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT LESBIAN commentator Rachel Maddow of MSNBC devoted time and attention to the hanging death of a census worker in rural Kentucky with the word "fed" marked on his chest. Maddow thought this was a murder carried out by conservatives opposed to the federal government and inspired by conservatives in the media. Time magazine agreed, running an article claiming that, "The discovery of the body of Bill Sparkman, 51, a substitute teacher and a field worker for the bureau, comes at a time when talk media, tea parties and white-hot town-hall meetings have fanned antigovernment sentiment." Faiz Shakir of the Soros-funded Center for American Progress called it a "gruesome lynching" and tried to blame it on conservative Rep. Michelle Bachman, who had been critical of the Census. It turned out to be a suicide made up to look like a homicide for insurance purposes. It was a personal matter and had absolutely nothing to do with conservatives. Please send Maddow a postcard asking for an apology.
Read that again. Kincaid wants his minions to demand an apology from Maddow, even though he can't be bothered to watch her show and, thus, cannot explain exactly what she should apologize for.
If Kincaid had watched Maddow's show, he would know that while Maddow did cover the Sparkman case when it happened, the show also reported that Sparkman's death was ruled a suicide.
Also note that Kincaid apparently still can't get over the fact that Maddow is a lesbian, as evidenced by his need to identify her as a "lesbian commentator." He has previously described her as "a lesbian with hair so short that she looks like a man."
If Kincaid wants apologies, he might want to start by offering his own. To cite a couple recent non-Jennings-related examples, there's AIM's repetition of the false claim that less than 10 percent of Obama cabinet appointees have private-sector experience, or Kincaid's own sleazy smear of Ted Kennedy, that he "left a party, probably a drunken orgy, with this poor girl [Mary Jo Kopechne] and his car went off a bridge."
Hmm, I wonder if our constant goading about Breitbart's mostly invisible corrections policy at Big Government had anything to do with this sudden turn-around. The timing sure is interesting because yes, Breitbart has posted an odd, belated correction, or update, in regards to the debunked story his site hyped last week about how Bertha Lewis, the CEO of ACORN, had supposedly visited the White House in 2009.
Surprise! The story was not true.
But rather than just say so, here's what Breitbart came up with [emphasis added]:
UPDATE: According to Politico's Ben Smith, the Bertha Lewis who went to the White House is not ACORN's CEO but another woman named "Bertha Lewis." I contacted Smith to tell him that Big Government would offer a correction if the "administration official" who offered the information went on record and told us who the "other" Bertha Lewis is and got the unnamed administration source to come out from behind the veil of anonymity and use his/her name. So far, according to unnamed White House sources, "different" people with the familiar names of Malik Shabazz, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers were discovered on White House visitors logs. As I skeptically asked on my Twitter account, "What are the odds?"
First thing Monday morning, Smith contacted the White House and White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki came from behind her anonymous veil and confirmed for Smith, "it was a different Bertha Lewis, though she declined to share details about that visitor, citing privacy reasons."'
Isn't that kind of bizarre? Apparently nobody at Big Government, let alone its fearless founder and leader, is capable of confirming whether a story that the site ran days ago is, y'know, accurate. So Breitbart contacts a reporter who doesn't work for him and asks him to call somebody at the White House to try to figure out if the Big Government scoop was hollow. (Hint: It was.)
Good grief. Behold more "conservative journalism," where even the overdue corrections are lame.
UPDATED: As usual, Breitbart seems quite confused. During a typical bout of his rambling, late-night tweets, he suddenly seemed to back off the correction and claim that the WH story was legit but that he just couldn't, y'know, prove it. Also, that it's now Media Matters' job to prove the negative at the center of the WH non-story. Or something.
Sorry Andrew. We knock your 'scoops' down. We're not responsible for trying to piece them back together.