There's an odd assumption among many political reporters that Republican attacks on Nancy Pelosi are some sort of silver bullet in the GOP's campaign attack arsenal. Time's Jay Newton-Small, for example, writes today:
In 1994, the GOP had Gingrich, an outsize personality whose Contract with America manifesto gave congressional Republicans a simple and accessible platform around which to rally voter discontent. This time, there's no clear-cut, dynamic leader to spearhead the charge and challenge Obama the way Gingrich challenged Clinton. On the other hand, in 1994 no one knew who Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley and Democratic Senate majority leader George Mitchell were. These days, the faces of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are plastered all over GOP attack ads.
But Republicans have been attacking Nancy Pelosi for three election cycles now, with little evidence it has ever helped them win a single campaign. Yet again and again, the media assume it'll work this time, apparently forgetting the last time Republicans made a show of attacking Pelosi. And the time before that. And the time before that ...
Maybe it will work this time. But shouldn't reporters be a little more skeptical after all those failures?
(And just for the record: Despite Newton-Small's suggestion that the "Contract with America" was a key to the GOP's 1994 victory, it was rolled out just a few weeks before election day and had very little to do with the GOP's gains that year. Yes, 1994 -- not, as the Tea Party Patriots would have it, the 1980s. You'd think a group backed by Dick Armey's FreedomWorks would know that ...)
It could technically be described as criticism of comprehensive immigration reform, but it's really just one long screed against giving undocumented immigrants voting rights -- something no one has proposed doing:
President Barack Obama's greatest crime against our flag and the republic for which it stands isn't his administration's health-care theft bill. That's mere shoplifting compared to what's coming next.
Obama and the leftwing of the Democratic Party intend to turn ten to eleven million illegal immigrants into voters as expeditiously as possible, giving them a permanent national electoral majority based upon a beholden Lumpenproletariat. If they succeed, our country will face mob rule.
No individual who broke the law to enter this country should ever be allowed to decide who becomes our president, governor, senator -- or town council member. If there is one message patriotic Americans must act upon during the remainder of Obama's reign, it's this: No voting rights for illegals.
No other issue of our time matters remotely as much -- not our lukewarm struggle with Islamist terror or even our metastasizing deficits. This isn't about tax increases or where to hold terror trials. It's about preserving our democratic institutions for law-abiding citizens.
Again: Nobody, let alone Obama, is proposing to allow undocumented immigrants to vote. Peters barely attempts to make the argument that creating a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, who would then be allowed to vote, is a bad thing. But Peters is on a roll: No voting rights for illegals! Mob rule! Never mind that President Reagan's granting amnesty to millions of undocumented immigrants didn't exactly result in "mob rule."
On one of Fox's so-called "straight" news programs today, Bill Hemmer revived an old attack-that Obama focused too much on health care and not enough on jobs. He reminded his guest, Steve Forbes, and his viewers that Obama held a widely-publicized health care summit while attempting to address health care reform, and poised the following insightful question to Forbes: "What if you turned that around? What if you did a summit with five of the best CEOs in America? Put that on television. ... What would they say?" While they spoke, on-screen text asked, "Where's the jobs summit?"
I think I know the answer. On December 3, 2009, Obama held a widely-publicized jobs summit, which included CEOs from American Airlines, Boeing, Google, Walt Disney, Home Depot, Xerox, PG&E, and FedEx to name but a few. In fact, far from limiting the jobs summit to just "five" CEOs in America, Obama invited dozens of them. Here's but a sampling of what they said:
I asked Limbaugh what he thought about the president's comments. His program's popularity is undeniably soaring now, but has it risen and fallen with economic anxiety -- that is, was he less popular during times of economic security and more popular in times of economic worries? Since Limbaugh has been broadcasting nationally for more than 20 years, there ought to be some sort of pattern, if what Obama says is accurate.
The AG also confirms the ACORN 'pimp' story was a hoax.
From the office's press release [emphasis added]:
Videotapes secretly recorded last summer and severely edited by O'Keefe seemed to show ACORN employees encouraging a "pimp" (O'Keefe) and his "prostitute," actually a Florida college student named Hannah Miles, in conversations involving prostitution by underage girls, human trafficking and cheating on taxes. Those videos created a media sensation.
Evidence obtained by Brown tells a somewhat different story, however, as reflected in three videotapes made at ACORN locations in California. One ACORN worker in San Diego called the cops. Another ACORN worker in San Bernardino caught on to the scheme and played along with it, claiming among other things that she had murdered her abusive husband. Her two former husbands are alive and well, the Attorney General's report noted. At the beginning and end of the Internet videos, O'Keefe was dressed as a 1970s Superfly pimp, but in his actual taped sessions with ACORN workers, he was dressed in a shirt and tie, presented himself as a law student, and said he planned to use the prostitution proceeds to run for Congress. He never claimed he was a pimp.
The Brad Blog has much more.
One of the researchers responsible for a landmark statistical study of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church says that Catholic League president William Donohue "drew an unwarranted conclusion" from her work when he claimed that "most" of the clergy who committed the abuse have been "gay."
In a March 30 ad published in The New York Times, Donohue described the sex abuse scandal as a "homosexual crisis." Donohue added: "Eighty percent of the victims of priestly sexual abuse are male and most of them are post-pubescent. While homosexuality does not cause predatory behavior, and most gay priests are not molesters, most of the molesters have been gay."
During a March 31 appearance on CNN, Donohue elaborated on his claim, specifically citing a 2004 study produced by researchers at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which found that 81 percent of the alleged victims of sexual abuse by priests were male. During the CNN segment, Donohue repeated his assertion that "most of the molesters have been gay."
But in an interview with Media Matters, Margaret Smith -- a John Jay College criminologist who worked on the 2004 study -- said that while Donohue "quoted the study's data correctly," he "drew an unwarranted conclusion" in asserting that most of the abusers were gay.
I realize the president, by the very nature of his job, is subject to wildly unrealistic and often contradictory expectations, but this is absurd.
Mediaite's Steve Krakauer has a column up today chastising President Obama for his interview yesterday with CBS's Harry Smith, during which Smith asked the president if he was aware of "the level of enmity that crosses the airwaves that people have made part of their daily conversation about you." Obama responded in the affirmative, singling out Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, calling their rhetoric "troublesome."
This, according to Krakauer, crossed the line: "What reason does the leader of the free world feel it is appropriate to personally call out radio and TV hosts, even if they are, perhaps, some of the most powerful media figures in the country?"
Newsbuster Anthony Kang is upset that NBC's Today show "reported that the Boy Scouts are at the center of a $25 million lawsuit tied to an alleged cover-up of thousands of sexual abuse cases" but that NBC "couldn't even muster one word about their [the Boy Scouts'] one-hundred year anniversary"
Gee, I wonder why NBC would devote more coverage to "Boy Scouts caught up in sexual abuse scandal" than to "Boy Scouts continue existing"? Oh, right -- it's because "Boy Scouts caught up in sexual abuse scandal" is obviously more newsworthy than "Boy Scouts continue existing."
In a bold challenge to the Washington Post's supremacy as the nation's leader in haircut journalism, Time magazine wastes your time with a feature on "Top Ten Expensive Haircuts." Number two on the list? "Hairgate," in which, according to Time:
For a about an hour in May 1993, two of LAX's four runways were shut down. And then-president Bill Clinton never heard the end of it. The reason for the delay was the presence of Air Force One, inside of which the president was in the throes of a $200 trim from a glamorati stylist named, fabulously, Christophe.
Clinton later insisted that he hadn't asked for (and had been told that there wasn't) a hold on air traffic while "Hair Force One" sat on the runway. Yet scheduled flights had already been forced to circle, people had already been made hours late, and "Hairgate" solidified an opinion in some quarters of Clinton's out-of-touch excesses.
Good story -- but it's complete bunk.
Newsday reported on June 30, 1993:
The story was that planes were kept circling as President Bill Clinton had his hair clipped on Air Force One at Los Angeles airport last month.
But the reports were wrong.
According to Federal Aviation Administration records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, the May 18 haircut caused no significant delays of regularly scheduled passenger flights - no circling planes, no traffic jams on the runways.
Commuter airlines that fly routes reportedly affected by the president's haircut confirmed they have no record of delays that day.
The FAA records, generated by the regional Air Route Traffic Control Center, show that an unscheduled air taxi flight had the only delay attributed to the closure of two runways for an hour in anticipation of Air Force One's departure. The air taxi took off 17 minutes after leaving the gate -- two minutes late, by FAA accounting.
"If you understand the air traffic system, you'd find that statement [that planes were circling] ludicrous," said Fred O'Donnell, an FAA spokesman at the agency's Western-Pacific regional office, which responded to New York Newsday's May 21 request under the freedom of information law.
O'Donnell said that although two runways were closed, traffic was light that afternoon and arriving flights were simply diverted to the two other runways. "It did not cause any problems," he said.
UPDATE: Time has amended and corrected its false claim. Here's the new version:
The media widely reported that scheduled flights had been forced to circle, that runways were jammed and that people were made hours late, though a Newsday report later that year showed that there were no significant delays. By then, however, "Hairgate" had already become a public-relations nightmare and solidified an opinion in some quarters of Clinton's out-of-touch excesses. What made it doubly awkward was that it occurred while the President was struggling to get Congress to pass a deficit-reduction bill.
An earlier version of this item incorrectly stated that flights and passengers had been delayed several hours by the President's haircut.
Seems like this whole fiasco should be "doubly awkward" for the news outlets that spread ludicrous falsehoods years after those falsehoods were debunked, to the point that they're forced to run corrections on news reports about haircuts. But maybe that's just me.
I wouldn't have believed if I hadn't read it with my own eyes.
Here's the Politico headline:
Liberal group march meets pushback
So, pretty simple right? A group of progressives marched in protest of something and were met by a group of conservatives who pushed back? I guess that's kind of interesting. But honestly, when groups hold political marches, the other side almost always tries to counter the event and is almost always outnumbered. But perhaps in this instance there was a reason Politico decided the "pushback" was the key.
Not quite. Instead, read the lede [emphasis added]:
A handful of liberal groups — but only a few dozen protesters — marched on the Republican National Committee offices Thursday to denounce the threats against members of Congress during the health care vote.
But in an oddly Washington moment, the gathering of MoveOn.org, Color of Change and CREDO, was met by Jordan Marks, a 28-year old conservative activist who interrupted the event and held up signs accusing the group of race-baiting.
That's right, the "pushback" came in a form of one guy. I kid you not. One guy showed up and Politico made that guy the news. In fact, guess who the only person quoted in the story was? Yep -- that one guy.