From the polling firm comes this headline today:
Obama's Approval Most Polarized for First-Year President
It turns out Democrats really like Obama, Republicans really don't, and there's a 65-point gap between the two, which is the largest Gallup has ever recorded during the first year.
What's more telling, though, is that from Gallup's polling data in recent years, we learn that Republican voters basically don't like new Democratic presidents. Period. By comparison, though, Democratic voters often give new Republican presidents the benefit of the doubt in their first year.
So, while it's technically accurate to say Obama is the most polarizing first-year president, it's also accurate to say that partisan Republicans voters have, once again, almost instantly rejected a new Democratic president.
Should the December attempt to blow up an airliner as it was landing in Detroit be investigated by military authorities as a terrorist act or by civilian authorities as a criminal act?
The Chronicle noted:
As Eric Boehlert of Media Matters observed when Rasmussen asked the same question about the Fort Hood shootings, it's a misleading proposal, based on false assumptions, since terrorism is a criminal activity and is investigated by civilian authorities all the time.
The newspaper then pressed pollster Scott Rasmussen on the issue. Note his complete lack of response to my specific critique about his illogical polling question [emphasis added]:
Rasmussen's general response to such concerns was simple: "For the most part, it's just people don't like a particular question, they get upset about it, and more generally they either don't pay attention to the details or they are just don't like the message that comes out of it."
Not a reassuring sign when Rasmussen won't even try to defend the often God-awful polling question his team concocts.
Howard Kurtz suggests Fox's "news programming" is balanced and the Washington Post's editorial page is liberal:
Knoxville, Tenn.: Why do so many media outlets, when mentioning "Fox News", say "which some say has conservative views"? This seems to be the equivalent of saying "The Washington Post, which some say is a newspaper..."
Why is the rest of the press corp afraid to call a spade a spade, particularly when (as in this case) it is so virulently blatant?
Howard Kurtz: Because some say a distinction must be made between Fox's opinion shows (O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity) and its news programming. Just as you have to make a distinction between The Post's news pages and its left-leaning editorial page.
This reveals more about Kurtz's own leanings than those of Fox News and the Washington Post's editorial pages.
First, no such distinction "must be made" between Fox's opinion shows and its news programming other opinion shows:
And there's plenty more where that came from.
As for the Washington Post: Does this sound like a "left-leaning editorial page"?
Powell's U.N. address occurred on February 5, 2003. A look at the editorials and columns that appeared in the next day's edition of The Washington Post makes clear how quickly the media ran to Powell's side.
The Post itself led things off with an editorial headlined -- what else? -- "Irrefutable" that declared, "AFTER SECRETARY OF STATE Colin L. Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. ... Mr. Powell's evidence ... was overwhelming."
The Post's columnists took it from there. Four Washington Post columnists wrote on February 6 about Powell's presentation the day before. All four were positively glowing...
More examples of the Post's editorial and op-ed pages not leaning to the left:
Then there's this: "On Social Security: The Washington Post Gets It." That's a column praising the Post's editorials defending George W. Bush's efforts to privatize Social Security. The author? Jack Kemp. The column appears on the web site of Freedom Works, a right wing group led by former House GOP leader Dick Armey.
"Left-leaning": yeah, right.
Back in 2004, the United Church of Christ (UCC) attempted to run the following advertisement during CBS' broadcast of the Super Bowl:
The attempt was thwarted however when CBS rejected the ad – apparently because of the network's policy of "prohibiting advocacy ads, even ones that carry an 'implicit' endorsement for a side in a public debate."
Now, six years later, CBS is set to air an ad by the anti-choice, anti-gay, far right-wing Focus on the Family during this month's Super Bowl broadcast.
It isn't surprising the CBS' hypocrisy has sparked an effort throughout the progressive blogosphere and on Facebook demanding that the network either reject the Focus on the Family ad or agree to also air the UCC's.
On January 24, Dick Morris wrote an article for Newsmax entitled "Pelosi and Reid Plot Secret Plan for Obamacare," and Fox Nation linked to it under the headline "Exclusive: Reid & Pelosi's Secret Plot to Pass Obamacare":
According to Morris, he found out through "highly informed sources on Capitol Hill" that Democratic leadership has a "plan to sneak Obamacare through Congress." Morris reveals that this is a "secret" two part plan. First, the House will pass the Senate's health care bill, despite ideological differences. Next, Congress will modify the bill after passage through a Senate process called "reconciliation" which requires a simple majority vote in the Senate and is not subject to filibusters. Morris claims that through putting pressure on "a core group of 23 Democratic Congressman," this "secret" plot can be averted.
Morris is correct that this is one plan that has been floated as a possibility for passing health care reform, but his assertion that this is a "secret" plot between Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid is laughable considering that this very approach to passing health care reform has been reported on extensively by left-wing blogs, right-wing blogs, and the mainstream media since the election of Scott Brown in Massachusett's January 19 special election. For instance, here's CBS on January 22:
Scott Brown's victory in the Massachusetts Senate special election essentially obliterated any chance Democrats in the Senate had at passing a revised health care reform bill. In the wake of that blow to Democrats, two options for passing reform have emerged:
One option would be for House Democrats to pass the Senate bill -- on the condition that Democrats would make revisions to the legislation through a separate "fix it" bill passed in the Senate via reconciliation (a procedural step that only requires a 51-vote majority).
The Baltimore Sun on January 21:
Democratic leaders are still exploring whether the House could pass the health care bill approved by the Senate just before Christmas, obviating the need for another vote on major health care legislation in the Senate, where Democrats would no longer be able overcome a Republican filibuster.
The two chambers could then take up a separate package of changes to the Senate bill through a process known as budget reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority in the Senate.
The New York Times on January 21:
Another option considered by Democrats would be to use the procedural maneuver known as reconciliation to pass chunks of the health care bill attached to a budget measure, which requires only a simple majority.
You get the point.
Well, this is a little weird.
As we have documented, Los Angeles Times reporter/former Bush press secretary Andrew Malcolm is fairly obsessed with Sarah Palin's poll numbers -- among other things, he regularly makes misleading completely bogus comparisons of them to President Obama's poll ratings and shoe-horns them into completely unrelated blog posts.
But Malcolm hasn't mentioned last-week's CBS poll about Palin -- a poll that got a fair amount of attention otherwise. It isn't like Malcolm to ignore a Palin poll; indeed, it often seems his only reasons for getting out of bed in the morning are making fun of Joe Biden and touting the results of polls about Palin. So what could possibly explain his disinterest in the CBS poll?
Wait: I wonder if this could explain it:
A new CBS News poll finds that a large majority of Americans say they do not want former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to run for president.
Specifically, 71 percent say they do not want the former Republican vice presidential nominee to run for president, while 21 percent say they do want her to run.
When the results are split out by party, 56 percent of Republicans say they do not want her to seek the office and 30 percent do. Meanwhile, 88 percent of Democrats do not want her to run. Among independents, 65 percent do not want her to run and 25 percent do.
The poll also finds that more people view Palin negatively than positively and that her book tour did not improve overall views of her.
Now, let's see: What do you call someone who regularly touts poll numbers that make a political figure look good, distorts those poll numbers to make the political figure look even better, and completely ignores poll numbers that make that political figure look bad? Oh, yeah: Andrew Malcolm (R-CA).
Politico's Michael Calderone reports this morning that, Alexander Zaitchik who "wrote a multi-part series for Salon looking at the life of Glenn Beck, probably the most comprehensive take in terms of back story that I've seen on the conservative talk star" will be releasing a new biography on the right-wing conspiracy-theorist this spring titled, Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance (Wiley & Sons, 2010).
If you've not yet read Zaitchik's amazing series on Beck for Salon, you can do so here.
A conservative newspaper, the Herald was once owned – SURPRISE – by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.
I wonder if Fox News Channel will do the right thing and confess to its own "cheerleading" for Brown.
The Fox Nation is currently highlighting a picture of President Obama with his feet up on his Oval Office desk, accompanied by the headline, "Is Pres. Obama disrespecting the Oval Office?"
Of course, one must ask: If Obama is "disrespecting the Oval Office" by putting his feet on the desk, did President Bush too disrespect the office by doing the same? Yes, Fox Nation, Bush also put his feet up on the Oval Office desk:
If this sounds familiar, it should. Close to a year ago, the media fixated on Bush's chief of staff Andy Card's criticism of Obama for allowing men to go jacket-less in the Oval Office, despite the fact that Card's former boss did the same thing. Card, of course, would have been well aware of this, particularly considering there is a photograph of him in the Oval Office with Bush and a (gasp!) jacket-less George Tenet. Nonetheless, the media, at the time, did not bother to fact check Card's claims, and it seems that the editors at The Fox Nation did not learn a lesson from that media fail.
The Washington Post's Anne Kornblut and Michael Fletcher write:
During one of his Afghan review meetings last year, President Obama surprised senior advisers by jumping into a discussion between two military officials about a new study of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The flow of information to the president is usually carefully managed, and no one in the room had briefed Obama on the data. "It's not like we'd sent him the study, but he'd clearly seen it," one adviser said. "It was telling."
What it told of was a president who persists in seeking his own information, beyond what is offered to him. His lawyerly and orderly reliance on facts and data often has created an impression that Obama is cool and detached.
I'm sorry: What?
An anecdote about the President being so interested and involved in the decisions he makes that he seeks out additional information on his own, above and beyond what staff gives him, creates the impression that he is "detached"?
Next the Post will tell us that George W. Bush, by contrast, was an uncommonly engaged president. And the evidence will be that he fell asleep during briefings.