The Dow is now up more 1,000 points since Bloomberg published the March 6 White House take-down, "'Obama Bear Market' Punishes Investors as Dow Slumps." Bloomberg's Eric Martin quoted lots of Wall Street insiders claiming Obama's agenda was driving the market down. That it was punishing investors and the new White House just didn't get The Street.
It was that Bloomberg article that legitimized the simplistic right-wing claim that Obama, in office for just a few weeks, was personally responsible for the Dow's decline; a Dow that had already fallen 6,000 points under Bush.
But since that hit piece, the stock market has rebounded strongly, capped off by yesterday's nearly 500-point rally. Still nothing though, from Bloomberg's Eric Martin about the 'Obama Bear Market.'
We'll continue to keep you posted and let you know when Bloomberg revisits the topic.
UPDATE: Turns out Bloomberg News' Eric Martin did write about the Obama rally, just hours before I posted this item. My apologies.
Charles Babington files a dispatch.
Headlined, "SPIN METER: Obama cools rhetoric on AIG bonuses."
Here's the painfully bad lead:
President Barack Obama raced to the front of the pitchfork crowd last week, feeding public furor over bonuses paid to publicly rescued companies. But now, amid signs that rescinding the bonuses might undermine his financial-sector bailout plan, the president is waving an olive branch.
That's right. According to the AP, Obama spent last week feeding public furor with some apparently wild rhetoric about AIG bonuses. This week, not so much.
That struck us as odd because we remember reading lots of theater critiques last week about how Obama wasn't being animated enough; that he was acting too cool and was lagging behind the public outrage over AIG. But according to Babington, Obama was out front of the angry pack and was in fact feeding it.
So what exactly did Obama say last week to suggest he was feeding the angry mobs? Wouldn't you know it, Babington forgets to quote angry Obama. It's true. The entire premise of the article is suggesting that Obama's rhetoric changed on the topic of AIG; how it went from hot to cold. Yet nowhere in the article does Babington ever quote what Obama said about AIG last week.
In an article all about Obama's rhetoric, the AP leaves out any specific examples of Obama's "pitchfork" rhetoric.
Like we said, just when you thought...
We already noted how painfully dumb one of the questions Steve Kroft posed to Obama was on 60 Minutes; a question that prompted a laugh from Obama. And a laugh which then prompted Kroft to ask the absurd question of whether Obama was "punch drunk."
That's how the story was first manufactured; Kroft asked a dumb question and then followed it up with a bizarre, non sequitur ("punch drunk") premise.
Now, in order to keep the story afloat it's important for other members of the press to play dumb about what exactly Obama was laughing about. Enter Mary Ann Akers at washingtonpost.com [emphasis added]:
The most memorable moment of the president's interview on "60 Minutes" Sunday night came when reporter Steve Kroft asked, "Are you punch drunk?" That came after Obama, in what could otherwise be deemed a nearly flawless interview, inexplicably chuckled as he talked about the disaster that is the nation's economy.
See, Kroft's manufactured moment was "the most memorable" of the 20-minute interview. That's a must if you're inside the Beltway today. Nothing was more important. Second, note what Obama was laughing at: "the disaster that is the nation's economy." Oh my, that doesn't sound good. Why would a president laugh about that?
Answer: That's not what prompted the biggest laugh from Obama. Obama laughed at how the only thing today less popular than the government bailing out the banks, is the government bailing out America's car manufacturers. That was the gallows humor that was referenced.
But Akers, who wrote a whole item on whether Obama should have laughed, made sure to pretend that the president was laughing on TV "about the disaster that is the nation's economy."
Basically, the only way the "punch drunk" story lives is if lots of journalists do their jobs poorly. Unfortunately for Obama, the Beltway has lots of eager participants.
But most of the anger we see and hear comes from people who are paid to be angry, on cue, on cable television--as opposed to people with actual grievacnes. Suddenly, the White House press corps goes barking mad over the AIG Bonuses. It is said that the bonuses are an aspect of the bust that the "public" can understand; in truth, the bonuses are an aspect of the bust that reporters can understand. Suddenly, the Obama Administration has a "crisis." The President has to go on television and act as if he's angry, even though he knows these bonuses are the tiniest outcropping of outrageousness.
If you want to be angry about something, get pissed at a media culture that goes beserk about bonuses one week and forgets all about them the next. And be worried, quite worried, about a society for whom anger is a form of entertainment.
We noted over the weekend that the fact-free Malcolm's attack on a group of black journalists who met with Obama last week was cheered by right-wing bloggers whose readers gathered at Malcolm's blog to post hate comments. Comments that clearly violated the Times' state policy of deleting any reader post that:
contains vulgar, profane, abusive, racist or hateful language or expressions, epithets or slurs, text, photographs or illustrations in poor taste, inflammatory attacks of a personal, racial or religious nature.
To date, Malcolm and the Times continue to ignore its own policy; the comments remain on the site.
What do you get in exchange for a history of sexist comments, cluelessness about public opinion, baseless and hypocritical accusations of "elitism," and mindless gushing over George W. Bush?
If you're Chris Matthews, all that is good for roughly $20 million.
Keep that in mind next time Matthews says that Barack Obama is out of touch with regular people because he plays pool.
PS: What's the over/under on the number of public apologies Matthews has to make before the new contract expires?
Pretty much sums up the state of things, no?
Crooks and Liars notes that on CNN's "Reliable Sources" yesterday Kurtz built a conversation around some pointless criticism Sean Hannity had made on TV. CNN guest John Aravosis did a good job pointing out to Kurtz that Hannity, and the completely predictable fact-free attacks he makes on Obama, is irrelevant. Kurtz seemed surprised.
I'd like Howard Kurtz to explain to us why anything Sean Hannity says about Democratic politicians or anything in politics is relevant? He's a right wing talking point machine that misquotes and lies at every turn and gets paid millions of dollars to do so, but to Howard, he's relevant. Relevant to whom and/or what?
In 2005, three Fox hosts reacted to the terrorist attacks on London's mass transit system with callous comments that drew heated denunciations abroad. Brit Hume, for example, said his first reaction upon hearing the news was to see the attacks as a way to make a quick buck in the futures markets. John Gibson suggested the real tragedy was not that the attacks happened, but that they didn't happen in France.
Now Fox has insulted Canada, attacking the country's military even as four Canadian soldiers were killed in attacks in Afghanistan:
The Canadian government has demanded an apology from Fox News for "despicable" and "disgusting" comments made on one of its late-night programs.
The government was incensed by a recent talk-show segment on the American conservative cable network that poked fun at Canada and the Canadian military.
A group of pundits took turns trashing Canada and its reliability as an ally in fighting terrorism last week as four more Canadian soldiers were killed in separate attacks in Afghanistan.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay requested an apology just before leaving for Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where he was to attend a repatriation ceremony with the families of the latest soldiers killed.
"It's crass, it's insensitive, it's in fact disgusting, given the timing," MacKay said.
"There should be an apology - to the families in particular, and to the Canadian Forces and to Canada generally - given the sacrifice and the commitment that we've demonstrated in Afghanistan."
Canadian soldiers have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001 and have spent the last four years in the country's most violent region.
Canada has lost 116 soldiers in Afghanistan.