Here are the nut graphs [emphasis added]:
The White House on Sunday urged senators to quickly hold a vote on its nominee to head the Transportation Security Administration, but the battle showed little signs of easing as a Republican reiterated his concerns about the pick.
The White House's appointment of Erroll Southers, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, has been held up by Sen. Jim DeMint, who has raised questions about Mr. Southers's position on worker unionization. The South Carolina Republican wants Mr. Southers to promise that he would oppose granting collective-bargaining rights to the TSA's tens of thousands of employees.
This is a rather extraordinary situation, and, I dare say, if the players were reversed and it were a lone Democrat who stood in the way of filling a key national security post in a GOP administration (and stood in the way for partisan reasons that had nothing to do with security), the press coverage would not be quite so ho-hum in the way the Journal article is.
I'd also suggest that if a Democrat were holding up a key national security post, the Journal would definitely let critics tee-off in print. But in today's increasingly GOP-friendly WSJ newsroom, readers only hear from DeMint. Not a single critic (let alone Democrat) is allowed to directly voice objections to the senator's hold.
Just had lunch at Starbucks, chipotle chicken and coffee, $72. News flash, it's FREEZING in NYC, I wonder if Al Gore is shivering somewhere
From a subsequent message by Doocy:
I was writing... I wonder if Al Gore is shivering somewhere... this global warming thing is really starting to kick in...
Apparently, Fox News has even less journalistic integrity than Andrew Breitbart.
Yesterday, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson falsely claimed that ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis had visited the White House in September. Carlson's claim was presumably based on Breitbart's report that a "Bertha E. Lewis" - who he claimed was the ACORN CEO - turned up in the White House visitor logs released in December. As I've pointed out, Politico's Ben Smith reported days ago that he had checked out Breitbart's claim, calling up the White House, who told him that the Bertha Lewis in the logs wasn't ACORN's, and ACORN, who told him their CEO's middle initial wasn't E.
After Carlson regurgitated this right-wing falsehood that had been debunked days earlier, Ari Rabin-Havt, Media Matters' Vice President for Communications and Research, wrote a letter to Fox News Senior Vice President Michael Clemente asking how this error would be handled in light of the "zero tolerance" policy the network supposedly instituted in November.
We haven't heard back.
A funny thing happened in the last 24 hours, though. Breitbart issued a belated correction to his post, acknowledging that the White House says that the Bertha Lewis who visited wasn't the ACORN CEO, and that he has no evidence to the contrary. Meanwhile, Fox & Friends went quiet, issuing no correction to their false reporting.
It's pretty sad day for a national news network when you make Andrew Breitbart look responsible.
From a January 5, 2010 Wall Street Journal column by Pete du Pont:
Al Gore said the other week that climate change is "a principle in physics. It's like gravity. It exists." Sarah Palin agreed that "climate change is like gravity," but added a better conclusion: Each is "a naturally occurring phenomenon that existed long before, and will exist long after, any governmental attempts to affect it."
Over time climates do change. As author Howard Bloom wrote in The Wall Street Journal last month, in the past two million years there have been 60 ice ages, and in the 120,000 years since the development of modern man, "we've lived through 20 sudden global warmings," and of course this was before--long before--"smokestacks and tail pipes."
In our earth's history there has been both global warming and global cooling. In Roman times, from 200 B.C. to A.D. 600, it was warm; from 600 to 900 came the cold Dark Ages; more warming from 900 to 1300; and another ice age from 1300 to 1850. Within the past century, the earth has warmed by 0.6 degree Celsius, but within this period we can see marked shifts: cooling (1900-10), warming (1910-40), cooling again (1940 to nearly 1980), and since then a little warming. The Hadley Climatic Research Unit global temperature record shows that from 1980 to 2009, the world warmed by 0.16 degree Celsius per decade.
Yesterday, I was honored to find one of my old blog postings highlighted by Glenn Beck. Beck decided to open 2010 on a defensive note, attempting to dismiss all criticisms of his broadcasts as baseless personal attacks. Wishing to rebut charges that he was racially insensitive, he quoted from a County Fair post I wrote last September titled, "Beck, Jones, and race." The piece ended with the following two lines, which he read on air:
It seems clear that to Glenn Beck, individuals like Barack Obama and Van Jones are African-American before they are anything else. And for him, that appears to be a major cause for concern.
Then he offered his response: "Nothing could be further from the truth."
The content of my posting, which Beck chose to ignore entirely, consisted of a list of recent statements from the host that led me to conclude that, as I wrote, "Beck is obsessed with race and seems deeply uncomfortable with minority Americans in general, especially those in positions of power." The examples mentioned included the following:
My September post also referred to an August 24, 2009, profile Beck put together on Van Jones, in which he went out of his way to portray Jones as a black militant. The piece came not long after an August 11 broadcast during which he said:
BECK: I want to talk to you about the green movement root. I couldn't figure out why the green movement -- here is Van Jones. This is a convicted felon, a guy who spent, I think, six months in prison after the Rodney King beating.
It was perhaps the single biggest lie Beck told about the former administration official. Jones was arrested in San Francisco (not Los Angeles) during a peaceful protest related to the 1992 Rodney King verdict, which had occurred several days after the riots ended. Jones was released after a few hours and was later awarded compensation as part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the police alleging they had illegally arrested numerous individuals. The idea that Jones was a "convicted felon" who had spent months in prison was ludicrous -- and yet Beck didn't correct the accusation until December 4.
The August 24, 2009, Beck profile reviewed the episode as well, and the graphics Beck chose speak volumes. He first selected an unattributed and undated image of Jones talking to a police officer.
He then superimposed that image over video footage of flaming wreckage from the L.A. riots even though -- to reiterate -- Jones was not in LA and his arrest did not occur during a riot.
The intent, especially within the broader context of the piece, was obvious: to portray Jones as a dangerous and radical black militant.
And Beck's attitudes on race and ethnicity show no signs of changing. In December, he said that the Ganges River "sounds like a disease," and then, seeking to belittle Jamaica, claimed that he had never heard of current Olympic record holder and Jamaican national Usain Bolt. "I don't even know what flag that is," he said. "It's like a vacation country. Is that Jamaica? Does anybody know?"
These are but a few of the many instances during which Beck has appealed to the fears and prejudices of certain members of his white audience. His actions are as deliberate and premeditated as they are indefensible. Beck may wish to deny such a charge, but his record speaks for itself.
The Plum Line's Greg Sargent gets Politico editor John Harris to defend Politico's uncritical copying-and-pasting of Dick Cheney's attacks on the Obama administration. But Harris's defense doesn't hold water.
Harris writes "[I]t seemed to me that the people who found Cheney's comments most objectionable were the ones who found them most newsworthy." What does that even mean? That the people who found Cheney's comments objectionable objected to them, which means they were noteworthy? That's incredibly circular. Further, Harris is ducking: He ignores a key aspect of the criticism of Politico, which was not merely that Cheney's comments didn't deserve attention, but that Politico failed to place them in appropriate factual context.
Next, Harris suggests that it's ok that Politico uncritically passed along Cheney's attacks because other Politico articles filled in some of the gaps:
If you look at the other stories we ran at the same time as the Cheney quote there was a Josh Gerstein piece leading the site comparing Obama's response to Bush's after the 2001 shoe bomber and debunking the notion that Obama's response was more sluggish. We also had a piece looking at GOP politicization of national security.
If anyone should be aware of the need for individual articles to stand on their own, it should be a Politico editor. How many people sit down and read Politico cover-to-cover? Somewhere in the neighborhood of "none," I'm guessing. If it was ever adequate for a news organization to pass along unfiltered partisan attacks in one report, then add the necessary context in other reports, that time is long gone. It simply doesn't reflect the way people consume news.
Finally, Harris offers this:
Trying to get newsworthy people to say interesting things is part of what we do. Also in December we had a long Q and A with the other prominent former vice president Al Gore. That story might also have looked to some like providing an uncritical platform if you viewed it only isolation.
Another misleading dodge. The Cheney article that drew criticism wasn't the result of a "long Q and A." It was based on what Politico described as a Cheney "statement to Politico." A press release, in other words. Which Politico reporter Mike Allen dutifully copied-and-pasted in its entirety. It isn't a "Q and A" if the person providing the A doesn't face any Q.
You would think that, just a few weeks removed from getting caught red-handed spreading falsehoods about Kevin Jennings and being forced to issue an embarrassing retraction, Accuracy in Media would want to stay away from the subject of Jennings, lest it stray into further misleading smears. But AIM doesn't, and it does.
In a January 4 AIM column, Cliff Kincaid tries once again to falsely link Jennings to pedophila -- defying AIM's retraction statement that it has "no evidence" to support such a link -- by bringing up Jennings' praise for gay-rights pioneer Harry Hay, stating that Hay was a "supporter of the North American Man-Boy Love Association" and insisting that "The praise of Hay by Jennings has led to questions about Jennings's relationship with NAMBLA itself."
In fact, Jennings' praise of Hay has only "led to questions" among those determined to mischaracterize that praise. Jennings praised Hay's role in helping start "the first ongoing gay rights groups in America" in 1948, which has nothing to do with NAMBLA.
(Just as unacceptable to Kincaid, it appears, is that Hay was also "a prominent member of the Communist Party USA and 'Radical Faerie' who believed in the power of the occult.")
Kincaid also curiously embarks on a defense of a proposed anti-gay law in Uganda, asserting that any claim that it would result in the death penalty for homosexuality is "flat-out disinformation" and that the death penalty is for "aggravated homosexuality," which is, according to Kincaid, "pederasty, pedophilia, homosexual parent/child incest, homosexual abuse of a disabled ward, and knowingly spreading AIDS."
But CNN reports that the death penalty could also apply to those who "engage in homosexual sex more than once," as well as "people who test positive for HIV." The law would also apply even to Ugandans participating in same-sex acts in countries where such behavior is legal.
Kincaid's source for his claims about the Uganda law is anti-gay pastor Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries -- which is on the Southern Poverty Law Center's list of hate groups. The New York Times reports that Lively "has acknowledged meeting with Ugandan lawmakers to discuss" the proposed law and was one of three evangelical activists who headlined a recent conference on the "gay agenda" in the country in which, according to the Times, they "discussed how to make gay people straight, how gay men often sodomized teenage boys and how 'the gay movement is an evil institution' whose goal is 'to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.' "
Kincaid quotes Lively stating that the bill "does not emphasize rehabilitation over punishment and the punishment that it calls for is unacceptably harsh. However, if the offending sections were sufficiently modified, the proposed law would represent an encouraging step in the right direction." According to Kincaid, Lively defends the law as "a response to the history of the country, where Christians were persecuted and even killed for resisting the homosexuality of King Mwanga, a violent pedophile." Lively also cites "homosexual political activists from Europe and the United States [who] are working aggressively to re-homosexualize their nation" and claims that "Ugandan citizens report a growing number of foreign homosexual men coming to their country to turn desperately poor young men from the slums into their personal houseboys, and that some girls in public schools have been paid to recruit others into lesbianism."
Kincaid joins WorldNetDaily's Molotov Mitchell in defending the Ugandan bill.
Thanks to Kincaid's smear, AIM owes another apology to Jennings. They might want to quit while they're behind.
From Washington Times' editor emeritus Wesley Pruden's January 5 column headlined "A little religion for the messiah":
Since it's an ill wind that blows nobody good, even downwind from Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and his deadly skivvies, we may owe a profound debt of gratitude to the Detroit underwear bomber.
He's the instrument, maybe, of Barack Obama getting a little religion, and if so it's not the stuff of Arabia, but real, heartfelt attitude-changing religion. The president has apparently decided that Islamic terror is real, and aimed straight at America. He's even calling terror "terror" (just like George W. Bush).
This was no doubt difficult for the messiah from Hyde Park, who arrived in Washington persuaded that "terrorism" was a figment of George W.'s benighted imagination, that misunderstandings between America and the Muslim world were all the fault of America. A few apologies, a bended knee, a deep head-banging bow to an Arab king would demonstrate that Americans understand at last what chauvinist pigs and imperialist dogs those founding fathers really were - Englishmen all, with their ignorant ideas about American "exceptionalism" and the idea that free men bow to none but the Almighty.
Mr. Obama seems to have put a tentative foot on the sawdust trail that leads to redemption. He seems to understand what's at stake, maybe, and has decided that more speechifying won't stop the mad Muslim suspects who allegedly vow to kill us. We can always hope for change to believe in.
From Fox News' website, FoxNation.com:
For months, the right-wing media has launched obsessive, anti-gay attacks on President Obama's gay and lesbian appointees. The attacks are ugly, gay-baiting smears (trust us, they're ugly), and have had little, if anything, to do with the appointees' qualifications to do their jobs. But many on the right would be loathe to openly admit that they oppose an appointment because of that person's sexual orientation or gender-identity.
Enter the Christian Broadcasting Network's [CBN] David Brody (you know, the one who used to regularly appear on NBC's Meet the Press as a credible roundtable guest). He plainly suggested yesterday in a blog post on CBN's website that Obama should not have nominated Amanda Simpson to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department because she is a transgender woman.
Brody doesn't even hide the fact that he doesn't care about whether she's qualified or not; rather, he has a "newsflash" for us: "The transgender thing doesn't play well with millions of conservative Evangelicals," or "the million of [sic] conservative Independent voters and Catholics who will be up for grabs again in 2012 as well." Here's a portion of Brody's post:
President Obama has appointed a transgender woman named Amanda Simpson to be the Senior Technical Advisor to the Department of Commerce. It's the first time a President has appointed an openly transgender person. You've got to hand it to the President on this one. He delivered on his campaign slogan because this is definitely "Change you can believe in."
Oy-vey. Someone hand me an Advil. I wonder how this is going to play in the heartland.
I know. I know. There will be those who say all that matters is whether or not Simpson is qualified for the job. And I know there will be those who will wonder why I am even writing about this considering there may be more important topics to discuss but here's a newsflash for you: The transgender thing doesn't play well with millions of conservative Evangelicals. Sorry if Biblical absolutes offend you or are so "1950 ish" but don't think conservative Evangelicals are apologizing for it.
I understand President Obama won't be after die hard conservative Evangelicals in 2012 but let's remember that moves like this don't play well with the million of conservative Independent voters and Catholics who will be up for grabs again in 2012 as well. A move like this could easily be part of a liberal ammunition package against the President in 2012. Hey, remember how he won North Carolina and Indiana in 2008? You think those conservative minded states may listen a little more closely when they hear the word "transgender?" Oh, and one more thing. I know the economy is the big story but don't think for a second stories like this don't resonate in people's minds. They do. It's part of the psychology of voting and it all lumps in with a larger portrait. Can anyone say Chai Feldblum? Research here.
This isn't new territory for Brody; back in October, he accused Department of Education appointee Kevin Jennings of "not reporting sexual abuse of a minor to authorities" and of "[p]ushing a homosexual agenda." It appears that his opposition to LGBT appointees has now devolved into, well, it won't "play in the heartland."