In a January 4 editorial purporting to demonstrate that "the United States finds itself noticeably weaker in international affairs" now than when President Obama took office, The Washington Times went through the gamut of conservative talking points to find ways to say Obama is a failure as a president (Obama is still in his first presidential year), all the while snidely insinuating that President George W. Bush was not.
The Times started off, reliably, by attacking Obama's national security credentials, trotting out the old conservative stand-by that Obama "was elected with almost no national security experience," except for maybe having taken "a graduate seminar in international relations." The editorial added that Obama used "his personal charisma and the fact that he was not George W. Bush" to get elected. Well, then, what national security credentials, might I ask, did Bush have when he was "elected"?
The Times continued to hammer the point that Obama's supposed inexperience -- "naïve enthusiasm" as the Times put it -- regarding national security contributed to him making "lofty promises" instead of delivering "prudent policies," citing, for support, Obama's intention to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay and his stated intention to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in the future, while sending more troops there now. The former, which the Times referred to as "a victory of symbolism over substance," has been a favorite conservative line of attack for more than a year now, but conservatives somehow always seem to conveniently sidestep the fact that Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- who took that position in 2006 when President Bush appointed him -- reportedly called for the facility's closure AS FAR BACK AS 2007.
Attacking Obama over Afghanistan is, of course, straight out of Dick Cheney's playbook. While the administration was formulating its Afghanistan strategy, Cheney accused Obama of "dithering" and "inaction," then when the administration announced a plan, Cheney slammed Obama. In its editorial, the Times followed suit, asserting that Obama "announced a 'stronger and smarter' strategy for Afghanistan in March, and another in November that contained a deadline which is not quite a deadline, for a pullout that is not really a pullout," continuing the trend of portraying Democrats as weak on national security and foreign policy and totally absolving the Bush administration of responsibility for any problems Afghanistan.
The Times then used the unsuccessful Christmas Day airline bomb attack to criticize "Obama's unprecedented, fawning outreach to the Muslim world," claiming, once again, that the outreach "has produced no tangible results, no dramatic shifts in public opinion regarding U.S. policies" -- no matter that, as we previously noted, a June 2009 WorldPublicOpinion.org poll found that Obama was more popular than Bush in Muslim countries for which comparable data are available, and that a July 2009 Pew poll found that there are "[s]igns of improvement in views of America ... even in some predominantly Muslim countries that held overwhelmingly negative views of the United States in the Bush years."
The Times later slipped in a gratuitous quotation of a racist attack by Al Qaeda, which was widely repeated throughout the right-wing hemisphere: "Al Qaeda views Mr. Obama with outright contempt, offensively declaring him to be a 'house Negro' in contrast to purportedly 'honorable black Americans' like Malcolm X." It's unclear why the Times would reprint this quote, but it's not surprising that Al Qaeda would criticize the current U.S. president, whose stated goal is to bring about its demise.
Of course the Times found a way to associate Cuba and Obama, saying that the administration "unwisely rush[ed] to side with Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua in calling for return of failed dictator Manuel Zelaya." We get tired of mentioning this -- but the European Union and the UN secretary general voiced similar opposition to Zelaya's ouster, as did the Organization of American States.
The Times also listed "embarrassing Obama moments on the world stage," which included the media's fabrication of giftgate and the right-wing's made-up bow-gate. It threw into the list the claim that Obama said "the United States was 'one of the largest Muslim countries in the world," which is a misrepresentation of his June 2009 statement that "if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world," and a host of others, inexplicably including the Nobel Peace Price. Whaa?
Listing all of Bush's "embarrassing" moments would probably require using up a whole lot of space ... but did you know there is a website that lists many of Bush's blunders (verbal gaffes) by year?
In its last paragraph, the Times wrote: "The world is a tough neighborhood. Mr. Bush was not loved, but he was feared, which Machiavelli advises is a more durable position. Mr. Obama has sought only to be loved, but in the process has disappointed America's allies and encouraged our adversaries." (Sigh) Yeah, we've heard that one, too.
From a January 6 post on RedState.com:
I didn't expect much from Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism.com, and Breitbart's introductory post, in which he accidentally admitted he's a terrible journalist, confirmed that I was right to set the bar low.
But I think I might have made a mistake. I didn't set the bar low enough.
For example, I never imagined that the fourth-ever post on BigJournalism.com would be written from the perspective of President Obama's dog. I never dreamed that it would go on for over 2,200 words. And I certainly never imagined that it would contain the phrase: "Peggy [Noonan]... she smells good, like mahogany and oranges."
Radio host, Townhall.com columnist, and Fox News Channel contributor Sandy Rios wants to know if Rep. Mark Kirk is gay, or if Kirk's roommate is gay. Probably whether Kirk has ever even met a gay man, too, though she doesn't quite spell that out in her strange diatribe.
Nor is Rios entirely clear on why she wants to know if Kirk is gay. On the one hand, she keeps suggesting that as a gay man, Kirk would be vulnerable to blackmail, apparently for fear of being ostracized if he was outted. On the other hand, Rios writes "Homosexuality has now been mainstreamed and de-stigmatized. Any reason not to be open and honest has now been removed," which would seem to undermine the whole "blackmail" fear.
One thing Rios is sure of: Being gay is just like sending sexually-explicit messages to teenagers working as congressional pages:
[P]ress and Republicans alike are rushing to pooh-pooh what, in spite of the weakness of the messenger, has been the topic of discussion in Washington and elsewhere for quite some time. So, where is the reporting? Where are the cameras? The gleaning of records? The follow up on accusations?
Republicans did the same thing in the Mark Foley/Congressional page scandal. Republican leaders knew about Foley but for some inexplicable reason, covered for him. Do they want to repeat the same here?
The rest of Rios' anti-gay screed is just as spurious, like her claim that we need to know if Kirk is gay "Because we are at war" and a gay Kirk might vote to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell, "in spite of the fact that military experts from the top down have argued continually that open homosexuality will harm unit cohesion and have a detrimental effect on morale."
That would be news to General John Shalikashvili, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has said "if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces." And to Charles Larson, a four-star admiral and former superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy who joined more than 100 other retired Admirals and Generals in calling for the repeal of DADT. And to former Defense Secretary William Cohen and Colin Powell, both of whom have said the policy needs to be reviewed.
Veteran Washington Post reporter Sally Quinn noted in her piece yesterday afternoon that there has been a reluctance to fire [social secretary] Desiree Rogers due to the fact that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is mulling a bid to run for mayor of Chicago and doesn't want to upset the popular and influential Rogers back in their shared hometown.
Quinn's a "reporter"? That's news to me. But anyway, Christie clearly suggested Quinn had nailed down hard facts in the Post yesterday. Christie's Obama hit piece claimed that Quinn had discovered a startling quid pro quo: Emanuel wouldn't fire Rogers because he'd need her Chicago ties if he ever ran for office from Illinois.
But of course that's not what Quinn wrote. Here's what she wrote [emphasis added]:
It's possible that he has other considerations. Emanuel is said to have told people that the chief-of-staff role is an 18-month job and that he is considering a run for mayor of Chicago. And Rogers is a major social and political player in the Windy City.
Bottom line: Quinn had no idea why Emanuel wouldn't fire Rogers. In fact, Quinn had no idea if Emanuel wanted to fire Rogers. In her column, Quinn simply suggested (i.e. guessed) that Emanuel wouldn't fire Rogers for political reasons. Meaning, Quinn had no proof the claim was true. And the ace "reporter" made no effort to verify it. But Quinn liked the way it sounded so she typed it up in her column.
And what did Christie then do? He pretended that Quinn reported that claim as fact, and then he pointed to the "fact" as very troubling news.
Ugh, talk about the blind leading the blind.
In between childish Twitter fits and chasing down Maoist Christmas tree ornaments, Andrew Breitbart somehow found the time to launch the third of his "Big" websites, introducing to us all this morning BigJournalism.com. Breitbart himself authored the introductory post, offering a maudlin retelling of a telephone conversation he had with Bertha Lewis of ACORN, and in the process explaining how Andrew Breitbart's BigJournalism.com will be a celebration of how great and courageous a journalist Andrew Breitbart thinks he is:
I couldn't believe I was having this conversation. It felt like a scene from a movie that conveniently ties plot points together when two critical characters in the storyline share a moment of implausible significance - where the intrepid reporter finally runs his target to ground.
Challenging the party line now is akin to showing one's John Birch Society membership card. It's a form of intimidation that creates timidity in those not ideologically in line, and grants free rein for leftists to use establishment journalism as a cudgel with which to beat their ideological opponents. In one year there have been too many administration lies and too many media cover-ups and passes to treat the future as anything but a hostile environment.
I'm skeptical and biased - and I think it's what makes me good at what I do. No journalism symposium can convince me otherwise.
Throughout the ACORN story I applied my conscience to the material. Strategy and tactics were built around my understanding that the mainstream media would be the enemy of the truth, and that we would have to go to extreme measures to get the American people to see and to contemplate what was on the shocking and historic O'Keefe and Giles tapes.
Fittingly, much of Breitbart's post is devoted to the fact that he posted a correction to the BigGovernment.com story falsely claiming that Bertha Lewis was the "Bertha E. Lewis" who showed up in White House records as a visitor to the executive mansion. According to Breitbart: "This week I issued my first correction, even though I wasn't proved wrong. I just couldn't prove I was right. I can live with that rule." There are three things to point out here: First, he was proven wrong. Bertha Lewis of ACORN bears the middle initial "M". Second, it may have been the first correction he issued, but it certainly wasn't the first time a correction was needed. Third, saying you ran a correction even though you didn't think you had to doesn't make you a good journalist, it shows that you pay lip service to journalistic standards about which you don't really care.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a Breitbart dispatch without a little ridiculous self-contradiction. After recounting how Bertha Lewis denied visiting the White House, Breitbart wrote:
I respected her for staying on the phone when she had no reason not to hang up. I even believed her when she claimed she wasn't Obama's personal guest in their White House residence even though in the last four months Bertha Lewis rarely uttered a statement in public that wasn't a provable lie.
A few paragraphs later:
Back to the weird phone conversation: "I issued a correction on my site clarifying that I couldn't prove whether you were at the White House or not."
"That's good," she said.
But I don't really believe it wasn't her.
Breitbart headlined his post with a purported quote from his conversation with Bertha Lewis, in which she called him "a Bad, Bad, Bad Journalist." He clearly intended to use it ironically, even though by his own words he showed it to be true.
UPDATE: Breitbart demonstrates BigJournalism.com's commitment to quality journalism with a 2,200-word piece written from the perspective of Bo, the White House dog.
For the second time this week, Fox's America's Newsroom hosted "Gunny" Bob Newman, senior fellow at the Rocky Mountain Foundation, to discuss the Christmas Day bombing attempt. Newman is a "terror expert" with such genius solutions for homeland security as calling for all Muslim immigrants to the United States to "be required by law to wear a GPS tracking bracelet at all times."
One wonders why a network purportedly trying to achieve a "fair and balanced" reputation would host someone who questioned whether President Obama's visit to a concentration camp was somehow to blame for the shooting of a guard at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in June 2009.
Then again, we're talking about Fox News.
Some other highlights from the estimable "Gunny" Bob:
From the January 6 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom:
What kind of independent polling firm, while writing up its latest survey results, inserts this kind of loaded non sequitur? [Emphasis added]:
Hope for a stronger overall economy has declined in recent months, too, with pessimism up sharply from a year ago. Just 38% of Americans now believe the U.S. economy will get stronger over the coming year, while 39% expect it to be weaker up eight points from a year ago.
According to news reports, the Obama administration's program to protect homeowners from foreclosure may have done more harm than good.
Because we're only one week into 2010 and the LA Times has already published the same piece twice.
From Jan. 1, Times' speculative headline [emphasis added]:
GOP poised for comeback in midterm elections: Republicans could have a big year, but they need to win 40 House and 11 Senate seats to regain control of Congress. That's a tall order.
From Jan. 5, Times' speculative headline:
Swing states may be on the move: The voter sentiments that put Democrats on top in 2008 could turn against the party in November's midterm. Obama's proposals for healthcare, the economy and immigration could deepen divisions.
Will Republican do well in Congressional races and pick up seats this year? History says it's a virtual lock, since the party out of power almost always succeeds during a new president's first mid-term election cycle. (i.e. The GOP got clobbered during Reagan's first election cycle.) Which means the possibility of the GOP doing well in November isn't exactly breaking news.
But more importantly, is the Times simply going to report that story ad nauseam all year long?