Using the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing to smear Bill Clinton and coddle the government-hating militia movement, Rush Limbaugh this week did his best to justify Timothy McVeigh's deadly act of right-wing vengeance by shifting the blame onto the former president of the United States.
Even by Limbaugh's baseless standards, the insurrectionist attack was an extraordinary one -- "President Clinton's ties to the domestic terrorism of Oklahoma City are tangible." Yet the contemptible claim didn't generate much news interest. In fact, a search of the Nexis archives for Tuesday failed to turn up a single outlet that highlighted Limbaugh's attack on Clinton as news.
The sad truth is, collectively, the corporate media have let right-wing talkers cross so many lines of common decency and accountability over the past year that it seems most pundits don't think Limbaugh and company should be held to any kind of civilized standard. Nothing he says at this point seems to trigger any sort of visceral response.
But why isn't Limbaugh held accountable for his words and actions? Why wasn't it considered big news that the de facto leader of the Republican Party went to a place previously considered unconscionable and unpardonable by the press corps?
Dems haunted by corporate ties
Not only doesn't the "haunted" headline connect to the article, but the article's premise doesn't make sense [emphasis added]:
President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are promising a climactic clash with Wall Street, but there's a complication in their battle plan: The Democratic Party is closer to corporate America — and to Wall Street in particular — than many Democrats would care to admit.
The piece then goes on to list lots of high-profile Dems who (OMG!) work, or have worked, for corporate America. But how the party is "haunted" by that is never explained. In fact, Politico seems to get the premise of the story exactly backwards.
Politico insists it's a big deal--a political "complication"--that the Democratic president is "promising a climatic clash with Wall Street," when lots of famous Dems have worked for corporate America. Yeah but, wouldn't it be a problem if the Democrat president refused to clash with Wall Street because famous Dems worked for corporate America?
How is the fact that the Democratic White House is willing to battle a special interest even though some Democrats work for that special interest a "complication"? How is the Democratic Party "haunted" by the fact that lots of Democrats get rich in corporate America at a time when the White House wants to regulate Wall Street?
It just doesn't really make sense.
Newsbuster Tim Graham has no idea why someone might refer to Ann Coulter as a poor role model:
Fox's musical/drama show Glee aired a Madonna-themed episode about female empowerment Tuesday night -- complete with an Ann Coulter joke.
The female guidance counselor was fretting about the poor role models for girls today -- she mentioned Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Ann Coulter. There was no verbal explanation for Ann's inclusion -- just a wide-eyed pause.
Really? Tim Graham really doesn't understand why Ann Coulter might not make the dial role model? Maybe because she's a nasty, hateful person who runs around calling people "fag" and "queers" and says the military should kill journalists and encourages people to beat liberals with baseball bats and talks about assassinating the president and says she wished Tim McVeigh blew up the New York Times building and says women are "not as bright" as men.
Gee, why would anyone suggest Ann Coulter -- who says women are not as smart as men -- might not be a good role model for women?
Graham also dismissed the "usual feminist complaint" that women make less than men:
The show also contained the usual feminist complaint about unequal pay for equal work. Quinn, the pregnant teen on the show, proclaimed "The fact is that women still earn 70 cents for every dollar for doing the same job. It starts in high school."
I guess we shouldn't be surprised that someone who thinks Ann Coulter is a good role model would dismiss the wage gap.
Want to be on Fox & Friends? Buy some Magic Markers and cardboard, scribble some anti-Obama phrases on it, and plant it in your front yard. Chances are good that your phone will ring not long afterward with an invite to the show to discuss your sign.
You'll get that invitation because Gretchen Carlson, Steve Doocy, and Brian Kilmeade are willing to promote anyone who uses signage to express displeasure with the Obama administration and Democrats (and non-Christians, but that's a separate issue). Like this:
From the April 21 Drudge Report:
Last week we noted that Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central's Daily Show, had taken on Fox News' hypocrisy over "stereotyping" groups and that the conservative network's media analyst Bernie Goldberg pleaded guilty on the O'Reilly Factor to Stewart's criticism before turning around and attacking the late-night host.
Well, last night Stewart shot back at Goldberg in a lengthy segment. Said Stewart:
You're criticizing me for not living up to your tag-line. And you dismiss any criticism as further evidence of how the rest of the media persecute you. You like to pretend -- Bernie Goldberg at Fox News -- that the relentless conservative activism of Fox News is the equivalent of the disorganized liberal influence you find at NBC, ABC, and CBS. But Fox News, you may be able to detect a liberal pathogen in their bloodstream -- however faint -- but Fox News is such a crazy overreaction to that perceived threat. You're like an autoimmune disorder. I'm not saying the virus doesn't exist at some small quantity but you're producing way too many antibodies. Fox News, you're the Lupus of news.
I guess the folks at Fox News are a little sensative when it comes to Stewart. After all, the network's attempt at an intentionally funny news parody show flopped and Stewart has been running circles around the outlet for years when it comes to thoughtful, and yes, satirical media criticism.
The New York Times Magazine's Mark Leibovich profiles Politico's Mike Allen, touting his -- and Politico's -- success in driving the daily conversation among the political and journalism elite. Leibovich paints a rich portrait of Allen's thoughtful gestures toward friends and sources and his hyperkinetic workaholic tendencies. But in more than 8,000 words, he devotes little more than passing attention to questions about the quality of Politico's journalism. Tellingly, Leibovich doesn't quote or refer to a single media critic or journalism professor -- his entire portrait of Politco appears to be based on his own observations and conversations with political operatives and reporters. It is a piece about the author of Politico's "Playbook," written by a self-described member of the Playbook "community," and reliant entirely upon interviews with other members of that "community."
An astonishing 6,585 words into the profile, Leibovich finally raises a key question:
Harris and VandeHei have clearly succeeded in driving the conversation, although the more complicated question is exactly where they are driving it.
But Leibovich doesn't linger long on that question -- and hardly applies it to Allen, the subject of the profile, at all. If Leibovich is right about how influential Mike Allen and his Playbook are in setting the agenda in the nation's capital (and I'm not prepared to argue against that premise), Leibovich's decision not to explore this question is a glaring omission. Leibovich writes that the Playbook is "the cheat sheet of record for a time-starved city," but pays no attention the question of whether it should be -- whether, for example, Allen compiles and writes his Playbook in a way that points its Very Important Readers toward thoughtful analysis of important policy questions and ground-breaking investigative pieces, or toward horse-race journalism, dime-store political analysis, and gossip.
This morning the hosts of Fox & Friends took some time to investigate whether "Democrats have used as a tool, racism," taking off on Wall Street Journal editorialist James Taranto's argument from yesterday that to "keep blacks voting Democratic, it is necessary for the party and its supporters to keep alive the idea that racism is prevalent in America and to portray the Republican Party ... as racist."
They were impressed with Taranto's "provocative presentation" on The O'Reilly Factor last night, during which he argued that Democrats use accusations of racism to, in Bill O'Reilly's words, "keep African Americans in the fold," and that the urgency with which they do so has only increased with the election of President Obama because "it's much harder to say that America is a racist country now that we've elected a black man president." As Taranto put it, it makes it "all the more necessary to keep alive this idea that the Republican Party is a racist party." Steve Doocy felt Taranto made a "great case" on this: "The fact that we have elected a black, African-American guy as president of the United States proves that we are not a racist nation."
So this is what constitutes a discussion of race on Fox News? There are several problems here, so let's unpack them, one at a time.
From an editorial at the conservative Washington Examiner, which keys off a recent Pew Research poll that found just 22 percent of Americans have trust in their government:
Actually, it's not hard to understand why public faith in government is at rock bottom: People lose trust when the officials either ignore the public will, or, worse, do the opposite of what they promised voters they would do. President Obama, for example, promised a "net spending cut" during the 2008 presidential campaign. He has instead delivered the biggest explosion in federal spending in American history, with a result that the annual federal deficit and the national debt are now at levels nobody envisioned even a few years ago.
Bottom line: It's all Obama's fault.
But what fact does the Examiner conveniently leave out? This one: Right before President Bill Clinton was elected, public trust in the government stood at just 23 percent, according to the same Pew poll. By the time the Democrat left office though, public trust had risen dramatically, to 45 percent.
What happened during the Bush years? That trust absolutely cratered. Right before Bush left office (in October of 2008), public trust dropped to just 17 percent, according to Pew, an all-time low for the polling firm.
So yes, it's rather ironic that the Examiner pontificates today about how under Obama, Americans have lost trust, when in fact that happened under Obama's Republican predecessor.
I ask, because of this:
President Barack Obama averaged 48.8% job approval for his fifth quarter in office, spanning Jan. 20-April 19 Gallup Daily tracking. That is the lowest of his presidency to date, though not appreciably worse than his 50.8% fourth quarter average. Obama's approval ratings have generally been near the 50% mark since mid-November, although all of his weekly approval averages since late February have been below 50%.
For a president who is supposed to be suffering from "falling polling numbers," it's a bit odd that Obama's weekly rating as been "near the 50% mark since mid-November", right?
But that's not the half of it.
Why Gallup routinely omits this fact is beyond me, other than perhaps it runs counter to the media's beloved narrative about "falling polling numbers": Obama's approval ratings have generally been near the 50 percent mark since late last summer. Not just since November. And yes, that's according to Gallup's own numbers.
So why doesn't Gallup spell that out? Why does Gallup routinely report that Obama's been at nearly 50 percent since November, when in truth he's been holding steady there for more than 30 weeks now?