As Jamison noted earlier today, Howard Kurtz at the WashPost becomes the latest Beltway reporter to allow network execs whine about having to air Obama's primetime press conferences. He's also the latest Beltway reporter to buy the nonsense that networks lose millions in advertising dollars every time Obama goes primetime. (See here why that's not the case.)
Plus, Kurtz became the latest Beltway reporter to leave out this fact in his article about how upset network TV suits are about airing White House press conferences: The networks use the public airwaves for free and have raked in billions over the years doing so.
Reporters love to hear arrogant network execs whine about having to shuffle their precious primetime TV schedules in order to provide a (rare) public function. But reporters refuse to note that the networks only exists because they get to the use public airwaves for free.
If the nets want to turn their back on their public obligation, that's fine. Just inform the FCC and I'm sure the commission can come up with a seven, eight, or nine-figure payment schedule that would cover the nets' future use of our airwaves.
As Malkin traipses her way through the evil liberal media, which is giving her all kinds of free airtime to hawk her book, I'm just wondering are any of her hosts going to note the complete absurdity of writing an anti-Obama book six months into his first term?
Even if Malkin's publisher rushed this title out, it means she basically finished the manuscript in May. So in just four months, between late January and late May, Malkin was able to tease out all kinds of damaging information about the Obama administration while it was being assembled? She uncovered scandalous "abuses of power throughout his administration"?
That's patently absurd. The book, and its premise, is just ODS unleashed.
But don't look for many members of the the press to point that out. They don't want to make Michelle angry. (She might blog mean things about them!)
UPDATED: A key Malkin talking point on The View today was that, "We have a technology czar who is a convicted shoplifter."
According to the Associated Press, [while in college, Vivek] Kundra stole $134 worth of shirts from a JC Penney store. He pleaded guilty to the charge in 1997, and served 80 hours of community service.
I guess when you have only four months to work with, that's the kind of 'scoop' you're forced to hype.
UPDATED: Would anyone anywhere on this media planet have taken seriously a viciously anti-Bush book that detailed his administration's awful, corrupt ways, published just six months into his first term? Didn't think so. It would have been ignored and/or mocked. But inside the Beltway, Malkin's loony rants must be heard--and broadcast--by all.
Behold your liberal media.
In an August 3 NY Post op-ed, Marc Siegel parroted the myth that the House health care reform bill would require end-of-life counseling for seniors every five years, which is false. Betsy McCaughey made the same claim in her July 17 NY Post op-ed, and has since been forced to backtrack.
Siegel, a practicing internist and Fox News medical contributor, wrote:
All this oversight threatens to destroy the art of medicine, which exists purely one-on-one, between me and my patient.
A prime example comes in the section starting on page 425 of the House bill. This dictates that an Advanced Care Planning Consultation must take place every five years from the age of 65 -- with the intervention of so-called counselors, trained and appointed by the government.
The clear goal of the consultation is to decrease unnecessary care to the elderly. But, while a lot of resources are too often wasted in the last days of life, there are many vigorous and engaged senior citizens who shouldn't be shortchanged or pushed prematurely to euthanasia.
From an August 3 Newsmax.com editorial, headlined "Lou Dobbs Right on Obama Birth Certificate":
The Associated Press is wrong and Lou Dobbs is right.
This past weekend, the AP published a story entitled "CNN's Dobbs Under Fire for Hosting 'Birthers'".
The AP began their highly critical story on Dobbs: "He's become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network's 'no bias' brand."
And what is Dobbs' "crime?" He has said on air that Obama should release his birth certificate and has had on his show guests who suggested Obama was born outside the U.S.
Dobbs does not believe Obama was born outside the U.S., nor does Newsmax. The evidence indicates he was born in Hawaii. But the indisputable fact is that Obama has not released his birth certificate, which the state of Hawaii issues for all citizens born there. The AP implies that Obama has not released a "long version of his birth certificate." But there is no such thing as a long version of a birth certificate.
Instead, Obama's campaign last year released only his Certification of Live Birth from the state of Hawaii, which is a document that offers a summarized version of the birth certificate. Even state residents born outside the U.S. can get one.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, GOP nominee Sen. John McCain quickly released his birth certificate when liberal bloggers raised questions about his eligibility to be president. McCain was born at a military hospital in Panama.
Obama likewise could put the matter to rest by releasing his actual birth certificate, which would show, among other things, the place of his birth and the doctor who performed the birth procedure.
This information is not provided on the Certification of Live Birth.
As it stands, Obama is the only president in history whose birthplace is unknown to the public - a fact that would be stated on the actual birth certificate. Interestingly, his family has mentioned two different hospitals in Hawaii as the place of birth.
Obama's refusal to release his birth certificate does mean that Obama remains one of America's most mysterious and opaque presidents ever.
And yet, here Douthat is, arguing that Rudy Giuliani (!) might be just the candidate to capitalize on the Democrats "tendency toward political corruption." Right. Maybe he can get Bernie Kerik to be his running mate.
More Douthat: "The president is pushing a California-style climate-change bill at a time when businesses (and people) are fleeing the Golden State in droves."
Really? The Census Bureau estimates that California's population grew by 8.5 percent from 2000 to 2008 -- a faster rate of growth than the nation as a whole. Douthat didn't just make up his assertion that people "are fleeing the Golden State in droves," did he?
George Stephanopoulos as a guest on ABC's This Week in 1996:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think that someone has to- should have to pass a bare threshold of credibility before they're put on the air to millions of viewers. You know, his story couldn't get past the fact checker at The National Enquirer, so I think before ABC News puts him on, then there should be some questions asked.
George Stephanopoulos as host of ABC's This Week yesterday:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: With that, we bring in ... Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist, also the author of the new book Culture of Corruption.
Unsurprisingly, Malkin made things up.
Do you think average voters think this way, or just media elites?
From New York article on Obama and the media [emphasis added]
If he manages to genuinely revive the economy or pass a decent health-care bill, great-the public will be thrilled to hear from him for a long time to come. But if he doesn't, one could imagine people eventually souring on his many public appearances: Dear God, not another speech.
In today's "Media Notes" column, Washington Post columnist Howard Kurtz examined the role financial pressures play in the decisions reporters make.
But don't get your hopes up -- Kurtz wasn't writing about the financial conflict of interest inherent in his dual roles as an employee of both the Post and CNN, or about how his silence about Jonathan Klein's embrace of Lou Dobbs looks absolutely rotten in light of the payments Kurtz receives from Klein's cable channel.
No, Kurtz once again managed to avoid any mention of Klein, even as he wrote 386 more words about who is "Boosting the Birthers."
Just like he led a discussion of Dobbs and the Birthes on yesterday's Reliable Sources without ever mentioning Klein. That's getting increasingly awkward, as Klein not only defends Dobbs and attacks his critics, he is also mischaracterizing Dobbs' show, and making comments Kurtz disagrees with.
At this point, Kurtz' conflict of interest is undeniable. The only question is why the Washington Post tolerates it.
Isn't this why the paper has an Ombudsman?
Speaking of Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander, here's how his most recent blog post begins:
Readers often see secret motives and hidden agendas in news stories and columns. In most cases, their suspicions are unfounded. But the perception is real.
Alas, no mention of Howard Kurtz. I know a lot of journalists are reluctant to criticize Kurtz, lest they incur the wrath of the nation's most famous media critic. But surely the Washington Post's Ombudsman isn't among those who are intimidated by Kurtz. Is he?
NBC Washington bureau chief Mark Whitaker, on President Obama's press conferences:
"Every time a president holds a press conference there is potential for news to be made, as he did, probably to his regret, with his comments on the Gates case," Whitaker says. Still, he says, "we would feel better" if White House officials "were approaching us with the sense that they had something new to say, rather than that they just wanted to continue a dialogue with the American people. There are other ways of continuing that dialogue than taking up an hour of prime time."
The nerve of the White House, wanting to "continue a dialogue with the American people"!
If NBC doesn't want to air presidential press conferences, they can alway refuse to do so, and deal with the consequences. Some friendly advice, though: if they chose to go that route, they might want to come up with a better explanation than saying that they don't want to participate in a "dialogue with the American people."
UPDATE: Greg Sargent spells it out: "for the networks to gripe that the president is making himself available for questioningtoo often is just an absurd complaint, and hardly seems like something a self-described news organization should be moaning about."
Right. Note that it wasn't an NBC bean-counter complaining about having to carry the press conferences; it was the head of NBC's Washington Bureau -- a journalist.
Would this entry by the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza look any different if it had been written by John McCain's press secretary?
In just a few paragraphs, Cilizza:
1) Touts McCain's influence within the Republican Party
2) Suggests you can't have bipartisan legislation unless McCain is on board
3) Passes on McCain's claims that the Democrats are not truly interested in bipartisanship
4) Passes on McCain's attacks on the inclusion of a public option in health care reform
5) Frames the gulf between McCain and the White House in McCain-friendly terms: McCain, according to Cilizza, is "growing increasingly upset with the growth in government spending and the lack of consultation between the White House and Senate Republicans."
And there isn't so much as a word of scrutiny of McCain's claims. Not a word even hinted at the possibility that McCain's take on anything might not be the whole story.