At last night's Radio and Television Correspondents Association Dinner Vice President Joe Biden had a little fun at Fox News' expense:
You can watch the entire speech courtesy of CSPAN here.
According to a March 17 press release, the League of American Voters will begin smearing President Obama and Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT) for the purportedly "suspicious timing" of Obama "hiring Matheson's brother as a federal judge. Some people might call that a bribe, Congressman."
The attack ad is being helped by incessant promotions by Fox News "political analyst" Dick Morris, who has appeared on Fox Business and the Fox News Channel numerous times in the past month imploring viewers to help get LAV ads on the air.
Morris is the chief strategist for LAV and crafts the group's ad campaigns. Earlier this month, an LAV ad reportedly was "revise[d]" after it contained incorrect facts. Not surprising, then, that LAV's latest smear is backed by no evidence. Rep. Matheson's office and the White House have called the smear "ridiculous" and "absurd," while Utah Republicans have denied there have been any "vote buying." Sen. Bob Bennett's (R-UT) spokeswoman, Tara DiJulio, released a statement saying, "Sen. Bennett has heard of all kinds of pressure being applied and offers being made to Democrats for votes on health care, but Scott Matheson's nomination is not one of those because it has been in the works for a long time."
Despite the bipartisan debunking, Morris and his Fox News colleagues have repeatedly pushed the smear. Factually-challenged Fox Business host Eric Bolling yesterday told Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN) that "it seems like these votes are being purchased. People visit the White House, the next day their brothers are offered judgeships." On March 11, Bolling said the White House "can offer big jobs, like they did with Rep. Matheson's brother, who got a big federal judgeship if his brother would just vote yes for health care." Fox & Friends, Stephen Hayes, Sean Hannity and Andrew Napolitano have also jumped on the bandwagon.
UPDATE: Michael W. McConnell, director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and a former federal judge appointed by Bush, definitively debunks the smear in a letter to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Earlier this afternoon, Fox News' Megyn Kelly hosted a "fair and balanced" debate that featured Chris Wilson, who was identified as a "GOP pollster and strategist." Wilson, predictably, did not have much good to say about health care reform or today's CBO score:
Wilson, though, doesn't just poll for the GOP. His firm, Wilson Research Strategies, boasts of their ability "to translate precise data into increased profit margins in every sphere of the health and pharmaceutical industries." In other words, Wilson boasts of his experience in polling for the very companies that will be affected by the health care bill he's criticizing.
Fox News consistently avoids the conflicts of interest of health care reform opponents, having similarly failed to disclose the conflicts of Rick Santorum, Frank Donatelli, Mary Grealy, Andrea Tantaros, John Breaux, and Newt Gingrich
Mediaite's Steve Krakauer writes:
The Casey Anthony trial is going on right now, and FNC's Harris Faulkner reported some "breaking news" this afternoon that ABC News had paid Anthony $200,000.
Unfortunately, this news was broken 18 months ago.
Faulkner is live from the "breaking news desk" with the news. "Something was confirmed that had only been rumored before, where did she get all the money to pay the attorney's up til now," she said.
Read Krakauer's entire report and watch the video here.
Does the GOP's most reliable human talking point, Fred Barnes, see the writing on the wall that Democrats might just have the votes to pass health care? Perhaps, because in his Journal op-ed today, Barnes signals an interesting new avenue of attack: Even if health care is passed, conservatives will never stop complaining and attacking it.
From Barnes [emphasis added]
America will be in a constant health-care war if ObamaCare is enacted. Passage wouldn't end the health-care debate. Rather, it would perpetuate ObamaCare as the dominant issue for decades to come, reshape politics, create an annual funding crisis in Congress, and generate a spate of angry lawsuits.
If ObamaCare passes, sooner or later the backlash against it would morph into a movement to repeal it. Republicans would likely make repeal a top issue in congressional elections this November. The GOP is expected to win a substantial number of seats in Congress this fall. If Republicans take control of the House or Senate or both, clashes over health care would be unavoidable.
To me this reads more like a threat than a reasoned argument for not passing health care reform. Are Democrats really supposed to read that and say to themselves, 'OMG, not only are Republicans against health care reform, but they're going keep being against it for years to come'? Since when do majority parties not do something because the party out of power promises to stomp their feet for a really, really long time?
Yet that's precisely the argument Barnes is making -- Dems can avoid right-wing headaches if they just walk away from health care.
Not that I doubt the resolve Barnes advertises. Anyone who remembers the Clinton years, and specifically impeachment and Whitewater, certainly understands the right-wing desire to wage political warfare indefinitely, and to litigate their political differences if possible. And that's certainly the kind of combat the right-wing media crave.
Indeed, there's no doubt in my mind that if health care reform passes, Fox News is going to keep the issue front and center for the rest of this decade, if necessary. And I assume Democrats understand that the GOP Noise Machine is never going to let go of the hot-button issue. (It's good for ratings.)
Still, it's rather curious to watch a GOP pundit like Barnes spell out how future attacks and unpleasantness (i.e. it's "only the beginning") are reasons for Democrats not to pass health care reform.
We've noted News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch's problems with the Internet in the past:
Well, News Corp wants you to know that, despite rumors to the contrary, they aren't selling MySpace.
Dylan Stableford of The Wrap's Media Alley blog writes:
On Tuesday, Business Insider reported what has been speculated for awhile now: that News Corp. and its chief, Rupert Murdoch, are dangling MySpace, the once-mighty social network that has fallen out of favor – and pop culture – since Rupe bought the then-popular site for $580 million in 2005.
The report cited a "gossiper close to News Corp. management" who claims the company is peddling MySpace to private equity firms with an asking price of – get this -- $700 million. Tech Crunch followed with a report that an investment bank, Code Advisors, is working on a possible spin-off, despite the bank's denial. (I spoke with one private equity source, who sees just about every large media deal come across his desk, but he hadn't seen a book on MySpace.)
On Wednesday, News Corp. issued this terse statement: "News Corp is committed to MySpace and is not seeking a buyer."
So, the death spiral of the one-time leading social network site continues. Congratulations Mr. Murdoch. Money well spent.
Earlier today, Media Matters' Eric Schroeck noted RedState blogger Dave Poff's defense of his boss, RedState editor-in-chief Erick Erickson, recently hired by CNN as a political commentator. Poff, as Schroeck explained, seems to be unaware of one of Erickson's more notable comments -- his reference to David Souter as a "goat fucking child molester."
Poff's bizarre rant also included this charming description of the news media:
From Non-Conservatives, to Academics and Liberal Elitists, to self-soiling and unprincipled Professional Politicians and firmly-entrenched good ole boys inside the M(ostly) S(cumbags) M(edia), each of these clowns has a tale of doom about the hell we're headed for compliments of CNN's hand basket. Problem is, as with every OTHER decent human being out there trying to do what he thinks is right for himself, his family, and his country, Erickson has pissed off people that disagree with his principles and can't fathom that his success story grows and is in no small part sustained by his having stood unflinchingly by them. [All emphasis in original]
This raises a some questions: Does Erick Erickson agree his new CNN colleagues are "mostly scumbags"? Which CNN reporters, specifically, does RedState's Poff think are "scumbags"?
Politico's Michael Calderone reports:
Megan Whittemore, who was recently the research producer for "Fox News Sunday," has been named deputy press secretary to Republican whip Eric Cantor.
She had previously covered Capitol Hill for Fox News and FoxNews.com, according to the release, and worked on the network's 2008 election coverage.
The New York Post (part of the News Corp family) reports:
TheStreet.com, the financial Web site founded by loudmouth stock picker and TV personality Jim Cramer, is being investigated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The publicly traded company attracted the attention of regulators because of accounting woes at a former subsidiary called Promotions.com, TheStreet.com said yesterday.
TheStreet.com revealed the news in an SEC filing explaining why it will be late reporting its annual financial results.
Last summer, TheStreet.com announced there were "issues" related to how it had been recording revenue at Promotions.com, the marketing company it acquired in 2007. An internal probe ensued and resulted in several quarters of delayed earnings results for the parent company, frustrating investors.
TheStreet.com "is cooperating fully with the investigation," CEO Daryl Otte told The Post.
Cramer, the host of "Mad Money" and a former hedge-fund manager, co-founded TheStreet.com in 1996. He remains a commentator on the site as well as chairman of the company's board.
For the past few days, our political media has been waiting with bated breath for the latest CBO score of the health care bill (or, as Glenn Beck calls it, "a bloodstream disease" that "will be incurable.")
Well, the numbers finally came in this morning, and the news is good for Democrats and those who support health care reform. Here's Ezra Klein reporting the estimate:
According to a Democratic source, CBO has finished its work and will release the official preliminary score later today. But here are the basic numbers: The bill will cost $940 billion over the first 10 years and reduce the deficit by $130 billion during that period. In the second 10 years -- so, 2020 to 2029 -- it will reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion. The legislation will cover 32 million Americans, or 95 percent of the legal population.
To put this in context, that's more deficit reduction than either the House or Senate bill, and more coverage than the Senate bill.
Uh-oh -- that's not going to go over well with Fox News. So, how did they cover it?
In breaking the news of the score, Bill Hemmer (and the Fox chyron) stressed the $940 billion "cost" of the bill over the first ten years. He vaguely mentioned the deficit reductions by saying that the CBO "talks about reducing the deficit over a period of ten years, and compares that to reducing the deficit over a period of twenty years."
Hemmer was careful not to mention specific numbers, likely due to fear of giving Fox viewers accurate information that might derail a lot of the Fox fearmongering about reform. Unfortunately for Hemmer, his guest Juan Williams then read the numbers on air. Hemmer's reaction? Asking Williams if he "believe[s]" that. No, really:
The damage control continued later in the hour, when Hemmer discussed Democrats' reaction to the bill. He introduced a statement by Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who described the Democrats as "giddy" over the estimated deficit reductions. Hemmer's reaction to this uncomfortable reality belongs in the Fox News Hall of Fame:
So, Rep. Clyburn discusses how the Democrats are giddy over the deficit reductions in the bill, which Hemmer ignores to assert they are happy about the $940 billion "price tag." That's not what he was referencing, Bill!
As an aside, it should be noted how blatantly dishonest Fox's focus on the "cost" of the bill is. The bill could "cost" $5 billion dollars or "cost" $5 trillion dollars - the net impact on the deficit is a more accurate assessment.
How many ways can Fox obscure the deficit reductions in the bill in order to stress the $940 billion "cost"? This should be fun to watch over the course of the day...