From Erik Rush's February 4 WorldNetDaily column:
The way some of you have gone after this bill, you'd think this was some ... Bolshevik plot.
-- President Obama, Jan. 29, 2010, to GOP members of the House
Now, why on earth might people suspect someone who's been immersed in Marxist ideology since he came out of the chute of masterminding a Bolshevik-style plot? Actually, I'm glad Obama brought it up; he saved me the trouble. Regular readers of this column are aware that I've made this claim regarding nearly everything Obama has done, from his involvement in mortgage-securities politics (even before he became president) to health-care legislation.
The "Bolshevik plot" statement itself, according to a professional I consulted in the area of psychological pathology (yes, I do that, because I don't pretend to be a psychologist), might be a variant of psychological projection (sometimes called Freudian Projection). You know, like the guy who says to his wife, "Jeez, honey -- it's not like I'm cheating on you," when in fact, he is. He's trying to allay her suspicions whilst gauging them at the same time. Judging from the materials I've read by psychologists and lay people on Obama's alleged mental twists, I can only come to the conclusion that the signs thereof are pretty apparent.
But all of this borders on the irrelevant. The current economic crisis was orchestrated. Health-care reform, Obama's past spending and his new budget all have the same objective: manipulation of the economy toward consolidation of unprecedented power. Obama could possess any number of dangerous psychological maladies; for now, he's still the president, and his ideology presents far more peril than the mind that harbors it.
Whatever the case, if he mentions the film "Soylent Green" once, I'm heading for the hills.
Twice this week, Bill O'Reilly referred to Glenn Beck as "every man sitting on a bar stool."
As anyone who's ever worked for a while as a bartender can attest, bartenders meet a lot of different people. Most of them good people.
But amidst all the good people, there's always one guy at the end of the bar.
Sometimes he's loud. Sometimes he's obnoxious. Sometimes he just talks to himself.
But he's always alone. And he's always the center of his own world.
Such is Glenn Beck.
After O'Reilly used the line* on Jon Stewart during a rare Stewart appearance on the Factor, Stewart asked the obvious: "Every man's got a show?"
Indeed, Beck has his own Fox News show, his own nationally syndicated radio show and a $3 million book deal.
Just like every man.
Throw in the revenues from his website and ticket sales at his speaking events and Business Insider estimated he was set to make $18 million in 2009.
Just like every man.
Beck has been on the radio since he was 15, first as a DJ and later as a talk show host.
Just like every man.
But what about what Beck actually says?
Would every man accuse the president of the United States of having a "deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture"?
No, but one man did.
More importantly, would every man use the almost unparalleled access to multiple media outlets -- perhaps only Oprah tops him - to smear and personally attack those with whom he disagrees, traffic in ridiculous conspiracy theories, and instill fears in millions of Americans?
No, but one man does.
Glenn Beck is not every man. He is just one man -- who, like O'Reilly, knows that the "every man" myth sells.
*O'Reilly's attempts to portray Beck as "every man" warrant a look back at David Cross' absolute annihilation of similar attempts to portray George 'Dubya' Bush as "every man":
'I'm a straight shooter, man. I'm a Washington outsider. I'm such a Washington outsider and just like you because I'm sure all y'all had the same kind of upbringing just like me. You know where your daddy was head of the CIA, and then ambassador to China, and then vice president for eight years and then president of the United States for four years. Yeah I'm just like you, I'm a good old boy from Midland, Texas!'
Eighty advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his February 3 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Last month, Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller web site launched with a column by The Weekly Standard's Matt Labash in which Labash referred to MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow as a man. Hilarious, right?
If you thought that was just a case of opening-day exuberance getting the best of the Daily Caller crew, think again. It seems they still haven't stopped giggling over at Tucker's little playhouse, which today again calls Maddow a man. At the end of a "DC Trawler" entry featuring a series of photos of MSNBC's female journalists, the Daily Caller includes a picture of Maddow and a caption suggesting the photo doesn't belong with the others and referring to her as "man" and "dude":
In a February 3 post, NewsBusters' David Lanza wrote that "Reuters should be made to explain why" it withdrew its February 1 article, "Backdoor taxes to hit middle class," claiming that the report was "fair enough." After Media Matters for America's Jocelyn Fong noted that Reuters had already stated that the story was removed because its claims were "wrong," and that the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Tax Foundation had come to the same conclusion, Lanza's post was removed from NewsBusters' site and replaced with:
From a February 3 New York interview with Fox Business Network host John Stossel:
What's hanging above your sofa?
Barney Frank in effigy.
Fox News has repeatedly allowed "Fox contributor" Andrea Tantaros to attack health care reform without disclosing that she is a "Vice President with Sloane and Company where she specializes in crisis communications, healthcare, and public affairs clients."
The firm does not specifically state who Tantaros works with, or what her work entails. Sloane & Company describes itself as "an industry-leading strategic communications firm specializing in corporate and financial public relations" and implements "programs that move beyond ideas into action and generate meaningful results for clients of all sizes." The firm lists Pfizer and Take Care Health Systems clinic as among its clients.
Sloane & Company touts Tantaros' Fox News connections in her corporate biography, stating that she "is a regular political analyst and media commentator on Fox News Channel, Fox Business Channel, CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and guest co-host on Fox News Radio."
As a Fox News contributor, Tantaros regularly discusses health care issues without any disclosure or mention of her self-described work with health care clients.
On the December 21, 2009, broadcast of Fox News' America's Newsroom, Tantaros attacked the Democrats' health care reform bill as "a stinker of a bill" and claimed that the White House has "a gun in the mouths of the U.S. Senate right now." Tantaros was identified as a Fox contributor and "media strategy advisor," but her health care ties were not mentioned.
Tantaros has similarly appeared on shows such as Fox News Watch, The O'Reilly Factor (August 27, 2009) and Fox & Friends (December 21) to discuss health care reform. Her work consulting with health care clients was not disclosed.
Tantaros also writes a column for FoxNews.com, where she regularly bashes health care reform. Tantaros is identified as a "conservative columnist and FoxNews.com contributor," or a former aide to Republicans.
You know the drill: Every now and then Drudge tries his hand at original reporting. Drudge somehow lands a too-good-to-be-true quote from magical insider source, and then the whole story is quickly proven to be bogus.
Here was today's attempt at 'reporting' [emphasis added]:
CBSNEWS anchorwoman and 60 MINUTES contributor Katie Couric faces a dramatic pay cut at the network, insiders tell the DRUDGE REPORT.
CBS boss Les Moonves is determined to save money and trim expenses -- from top to bottom -- at the former crown jewel of broadcasting.
Couric, the highest paid TV news personality in history, commands over $14 million a year, plus bumps for non-EVENING NEWS appearances.
But her salary is now in the direct line of fire, network insiders explain, and a populist backlash against Couric's cash is said to be forming inside the newsroom.
"She makes enough to pay 200 news reporters $75,000 a year!" demands a veteran producer. "It's complete insanity."
Except that, y'know, it's not true.
Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, denied reports Wednesday that "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric is facing a salary cut when her contract expires.
I thought we might have moved beyond this point, but, as my colleague Jamison Foser points out, one can never underestimate the Washington Post's propensity for inanity.
One of the stupider campaign '08 narratives originated when then-candidate Barack Obama, making the point that increased produce prices at supermarkets didn't translate to higher prices for growers, asked a group of Iowa farmers if they had been to Whole Foods to "see what they charge for arugula," adding: "I mean, they're charging a lot of money for this stuff." Following the Republicans' lead, media outlets seized on arugula as a symbol of Obama's aloofness and detachment from the common man, who had never heard of this exotic leaf. Absent from the gleeful mockery and concerned hand-wringing over Obama's supposed predilection for the peppery-tasting salad green was the fact that arugula, in addition to being grown and sold in Iowa, is proudly served at appropriately non-elitist eateries like the Olive Garden.
And, of course, the election results proved the "out-of-touch Obama" narrative to be bogus -- exit polling found that 57 percent of voters thought Obama was "in touch with people like you."
But now, well over a year later, the Washington Post is bringing back the "elitist" Obama narrative, and once again propping up arugula as a mascot of the president's alleged aloofness:
But during his campaign for the presidency, Obama bungled some of his early attempts to connect with blue-collar workers, complaining about the price of arugula at Whole Foods and visiting a bowling alley only to roll an embarrassing score of 37. Some political rivals continue to disparage him as an elitist. Even his aides have sometimes worried that his intellect can be mistaken for condescension and that his composure can seem like detachment.
And as Greg Sargent points out, the Post diagnosis of Obama's "disconnected" nature runs contrary to their own polling, which finds that 57 percent of respondents believe Obama "understands the problems of people like you."
Articles like this help to convey just how intractable certain narratives become among Beltway journalists, particularly narratives that impart the dreaded "elitist" label to Democrats, despite their shaky (or nonexistent) factual basis. That's why now, after many years, you still hear DC journalists joking about Al Gore the pedant and Michael Dukakis' Belgian endive. So don't be surprised if in 2024 you hear journalists warning the Democratic presidential nominee that he needs to avoid looking like an elitist like Barack Obama with his arugula.
CNN.com has an article with the helpful-sounding headline "Things you should know about budget." But rather than clearly and directly explaining budget basics to CNN readers, the article drives home the fact that the news media fails badly at informing and educating the public.
Keep in mind: this is not a "political analysis" piece, or an article focused on the reception the budget is getting among lawmakers. The whole purpose of this article is ostensibly to give readers the information they need to assess the budget.
So, how does the article fail? Well, for one thing, it makes no effort to indicate how the $3.8 trillion budget breaks down. What portion of that is devoted to defense, to Medicare, to education, etc? CNN doesn't tell us. Take, for example, the article's treatment of the Defense budget:
To pay for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama is seeking $33 billion in supplemental funds for this budget year and $159.3 billion for next year's. Funding for military families would increase 3 percent to $8.8 billion. The president would appropriate in advance $50.6 billion for veterans' medical care.
Notice what's missing? That's right -- there's no indication of what total defense spending is.
CNN does, however, point to several drop-in-the-bucket items, such as "End grants to manufacturers of worsted wool. Annual savings: $5 million" and "Terminate Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, aimed at fostering "new discoveries in all fields of endeavor for the benefit of mankind." Savings in 2010: $1 million."
The cumulative effect should be obvious: Readers are given a warped picture of the relative amount of spending on defense and things like worsted wool grants.
But that's not nearly as bad as CNN's treatment of taxes. Here's CNN's handling of tax-cuts for wage-earners:
Still a little extra in your paycheck
The Making Work Pay tax breaks would be extended for a year. These were part of last year's stimulus and resulted in slightly higher paychecks for 110 million families, the White House said.
Wow. No mention of the extension of the Bush tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans. That's weird. But that oversight is made worse by what comes a little later:
The president's budget would reduce the nation's debt by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. Obama would let the Bush tax cuts expire for high-income families, impose a "financial crisis responsibility fee" on large banks and end fossil-fuel tax subsidies for oil, gas and coal companies. Discretionary spending that is not defense-related would get a three-year cap, saving $250 billion over the next 10 years. Read more
Well, what does "high-income families" mean? CNN doesn't say -- and that's a big, big problem, because time and time again, studies have shown that more Americans think they are "rich" or "wealthy" or "high-income" than actually are. In other words, a lot of people who read this article will falsely think Obama is letting their tax cuts expire. (The proposal would only affect individuals making more than $200,000 a year and families making more than $250,000 a year -- about 2 percent of American households.)
Maybe you're wondering if CNN made this clear in that "Read more" link. Even if they did, that wouldn't be adequate -- but they didn't. The link takes you to an article that explains:
Let 2001-2003 tax cuts expire for high-income households: The Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire by 2011. As it has promised all along, the Obama administration would like to keep those tax cuts in place for everyone except the highest-income households.
It estimates nearly $700 billion will be raised over 10 years by letting the cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans.
"High-income households" ... "highest-income households" ... "wealthiest Americans": those are all vague and misleading phrases -- but that's all CNN gives us. It's almost like CNN is deliberately obscuring the fact that only people making more than $200,000 and families making $250,000 will be affected.