Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz casts a pox on both houses:
Howard Kurtz: You've hit on a pet peeve of mine, which is that journalists often seem to suffer from amnesia. Republicans defend filibusters and Democrats complain about them, the opposite of what we saw during the Bush years.
Well, Kurtz has hit on a pet peeve of mine, which is that journalists often draw false equivalence between vastly different situations. The Republicans' use of the filibuster in recent years is quite simply without precedent. It isn't the opposite of what we saw from Democrats a few years ago; it is vastly different.
Howard Kurtz keeps suggesting both parties are the same, and he keeps being wrong.
I noted last week that Sen. Joe Lieberman's foreign policy blunder -- in which he joined Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham in sending a letter to President Obama asking him to halt the transfer of six Guantanamo detainees to Yemen, despite the fact that the transfer had already occurred -- was unlikely to be greeted by the kind of media mockery that such a blunder by a liberal would receive.
[C]onservative senators who were among the lead cheerleaders for the Iraq war can screw something like this up, and you won't hear a peep about Joe Lieberman and John McCain not having the foggiest idea what they're talking about.
Indeed, Lieberman appeared on yesterday's broadcast of ABC's This Week, where Lieberman talked about transferring Gitmo detainees to Yemen. And yet guest host Terry Moran politely avoided any mention of Lieberman's error earlier in the week.
From Pamela Geller's January 4 Atlas Shrugs post:
Obama Names Transgender Appointee to Commerce Department
Does Obama know anyone who isn't wacky, radical, militant, judeophobic, socialist, marxist, pedophilic? ...... Does he chill with anyone who is normal?
I guess this is better than teaching fist f**king to our children. Now there's a positive spin.
It's astonishing the lengths to which Beltway reporters will go in order to play dumb about the world of politics, and specifically the world of Republican partisan politics.
Note the recent WSJ article about Se. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and the ramifications of his recent health care vote: [emphasis added]
Mr. Nelson's support was crucial for helping Democrats secure 60 votes for the bill, preventing a Republican filibuster. Almost immediately, Mr. Nelson drew fire. Republicans have derided the bill as the "Nebraska Windfall." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) called it "sleazy." Even the state's governor, Republican Dave Heineman, has been critical of the deal.
Wow, even the state's Republican governor criticized the Democratic senator over his health care vote.
Of course, in the world of politics and journalism, most reporters would not use "even" in that instance because it doesn't really make sense. The WSJ wants readers to think it's newsworthy that a Republican attacked a Democrat over health care?
But as I said, this makes no sense since the entire Republican strategy has been to uniformly oppose health care reform. Therefore it's not newsworthy that a Nebraska Republican attacked the state's Democratic senator. In fact it's the opposite of newsworthy; it's predictable and expected.
Apparently it is to everyone except for people who work inside the increasingly GOP-friendly WSJ newsroom, which stresses that even Nebraska's Republican governor has been critical of the Nebraska Democrat's vote.
I'm being redundant, but that language literally makes no sense. Why the "even," when based on the relentless partisan warfare that the GOP has been waging this year, the attacks the WSJ describe are entirely predictable. The only way the Journal's reporting would have made sense would have been if Nebraska currently had a Democratic governor and "even" he/she had "been critical" of the health care deal. Then that would have been news. But the dog-bites-man partisan attack on display isn't news, so why does the Journal treat it as such?
And oh yeah, there's speculation that Nebraska's Republican governor may challenge Nelson for his senate seat in 2012, which, of course, makes the governor's partisan health care attack even less newsworthy than the Journal pretends it is.
Newsbusters' Ken Shepard offers an up-is-down, black-is-white defense of Brit Hume:
Tolerance is a virtue the Left loves to trumpet, except when the intolerable is set forward. In this instance, the intolerable is a gentle Christian evangelistic overture to a celebrity caught in sexual scandal.
See, the Left is being intolerant by criticizing Brit Hume for criticizing Tiger Woods' religion. Makes total sense, right? I mean, I'm quite certain that if a liberal criticized Brit Hume's Christianity, and was in turn criticized by conservatives, Ken Shepard would blast the conservatives for being intolerant. Right?
On December 30th, Rush Limbaugh underwent an angiogram at Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu after complaining of sharp chest pains. When Limbaugh exited the hospital on New Year's Day, he told reporters, "They found absolutely nothing wrong. It was a blessing. No arterial disease, no coronary disease whatsoever."
Limbaugh then turned to health care reform, citing his Honolulu experience as evidence that the health care system doesn't need fixing:
"Based on what happened to me here, I don't think there is one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy."
SEIU goes on to note:
Hawaii is a shining example of progressive health care reform. In fact, Hawaii is so forward-thinking that the Senate bill excludes Hawaii from some of its provisions, because Hawaii's requirements on employers go farther than the federal legislation.
Limbaugh stayed at Queen's Medical Center, where nursing staff are represented by the Hawaii Nurses' Association (read: a labor union). The nurses at Queen's are protected by their contract, which adheres to the ANA's safe-staffing principles guaranteeing appropriate staffing levels for any patient care unit.
In fact, Hawaii has one of the greatest percentages of organized workers of any state and also had the highest percentage of organized RNs. All private-sector acute care hospital RNs are organized, with just two known exceptions. We're guessing this might have something to do with why Limbaugh found the Hawaii hospital staff's work so "confidence-inspiring."
When Limbaugh was released from Queen's Medical Center, he cheerily noted, "The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer."
Whether he realized it or not, Limbaugh was praising the care he received from union nurses in one of the country's most progressive health care systems. On behalf of the labor movement and health reform advocates everywhere, THANKS FOR YOUR SUPPORT, Rush!
It was reported this morning by paidContent.org that Politico is estimated to be a $20 million operation. The dollar figure is all the more interesting when you consider this post from Think Progress today:
Reporting on criticisms of right-leaning pollster Scott Rasmussen, Politico presented as fact his official bio as "an independent pollster" who "has never been a campaign pollster or consultant." The article quotes Rasmussen's critics, but fails to question his supposed independence.
According to the non-partisan Center for Public Integrity, Rasmussen has been a paid consultant for the RNC and President Bush's 2004 campaign. The RNC paid Rasmussen $95,500 between 2003 and 2004 for items listed as "survey," "survey cost" and "voter data." Bush's campaign paid Rasmussen $45,500 for "survey research."
You'd think with that kind of dough on hand they could afford to hire a few more fact-checkers.
Jacksonville, FL: When did Brit Hume go crazy? Tiger woods should embrace Christianity and we will forgive him?
You say this on the air?
Tucker Carlson: Crazy? No. John Wayne Gacy was crazy. Judy Garland and Ezra Pound were crazy. Recommending that someone in distress adopt a mainstream religious faith is pretty conventional advice.
I'm not really sure what Carlson means by "mainstream religious faith." According to the CIA World Factbook, 5.84 percent of the world is Buddhist -- slightly more than are Protestants, and vastly more than the number of Jewish people.
Based on the thinnest of evidence, Fox News' website, the Fox Nation, is using the foiled terrorist attack on Christmas Day to promote the idea that the CIA is "turning on Pres. Obama." Fox Nation links to an article from the conservative British tabloid, The Daily Mail, which quotes an unnamed CIA official criticizing Obama for supposedly "pointing the finger and blaming the intelligence services" for the attempted attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.
From the Fox Nation:
In addition to apparently cheerleading for dissension between the president and the CIA in the aftermath of an attempted terrorist attack, neither the Fox Nation post nor the Daily Mail article notes that in the December 29 statement referenced by the Daily Mail article, Obama praised intelligence officials and specifically pledged to "support the men and women in intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security to make sure they've got the tools and resources they need to keep America safe."
On December 29, Obama stated:
The professionalism of the men and women in our intelligence, counterterrorism and law enforcement and homeland security communities is extraordinary. They are some of the most hardworking, most dedicated Americans that I've ever met. In pursuit of our security here at home they risk their lives, day in and day out, in this country and around the world.
Few Americans see their work, but all Americans are safer because of their successes. They have targeted and taken out violent extremists, they have disrupted plots and saved countless American lives; they are making real and daily progress in our mission to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and other extremist networks around the world. And for this every American owes them a profound and lasting debt of gratitude.
Obama also did not lay the blame for the Christmas Day attack solely at the feet of the CIA or other intelligence agencies. Rather than assign blame to the intelligence community, Obama said that it was apparent there were systemic failures and announced "a review of our terrorist watch list system and a review of our air travel screening, so we can find out what went wrong, fix it and prevent future attacks."
What a difference an administration makes. The intelligence community was not only repeatedly blamed for intelligence failures during the Bush administration, but administration officials were involved in the leaking of former CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity. For instance, a 2004 Senate Intelligence Committee report on the prewar assessment of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capability -- completed when Republicans led the Senate -- stated: "Most of the major key judgments in the Intelligence Community's October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), Iraq's ContinuiHg Programs for Weapons of Muss Destruction, either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence reporting. A series of failures, particularly in analytic trade craft, led to the mischaracterization of the intelligence." The Senate report also blamed the intelligence community for "group think." Additionally, then-CIA director George Tenet took the blame for President Bush saying, "The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa," a statement the White House later conceded was incorrect.
Also, senior Bush administration officials, including possibly then-Vice President Dick Cheney, were involved in the leaking of Plame's identity to the press. Former vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice relating to the Plame leak. Then-special counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in his May 25, 2007, sentencing memorandum in the Libby case: "There was reason to believe that some of the relevant activity may have been coordinated, and where there was an indication from Mr. Libby himself that his disclosures to the press may have been personally sanctioned by the Vice President."