The surveys seem to exist solely to advance GOP talking points. Meaning, Rasmussen at times appears to function less as a legitimate polling firm and more as the polling wing of the RNC. Today's new survey about Sarah Palin and the repercussions of her "No mas" moment is a perfectly example.
I have not problem with the actual results per se, which are that 40 percent of Republicans think her quitting the Alaska governorship will hurt her chances to run for the White House in 2012. The bizarre part is that the Rasmussen poll only asks Republican voters their opinion about Palin. Independents and Democrats are of no interest to the GOP-centric Rasmussen. (Just my hunch, but if those two voter groups had been included, I'm guessing the final results would have between 70-80 percent of voters think Palin's career move was a bad one.)
What kind of polling firm, while trying to take the country's temperature about politics, only questions Republicans?
Meanwhile, in its write-up Rasmussen emphasized the RNC talking points about how Palin has been subjected to "relentless and generally hostile media coverage." (So the polling firm is now in the media criticism business?) Yet Rasmussen only points to a late-night comedian for proof of "hostile media coverage."
Anyone interested in authentic polling data on Palin can wait for the new Gallup numbers this afternoon.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee is passing around a doctored photo of Al Franken wearing a diaper. Asked why they would distribute a doctored photo of a United States Senator, an NRSC spokesman replies: "you'll note the link is to the Los Angeles Times, one of the largest newspapers in the country - if there's a question about the authenticity of the photo, you should direct your question to the LA Times."
Or that by the time Malcolm penned that post last fall, it had been clear for two years that the photo was doctored?
UPDATE: Malcolm did not respond to an email about his use of the doctored photo. But the photo has now been replaced with an alternate photo of Franken, and his blog post now includes an update reading "UPDATE: Because of serious questions over the authenticity of the previous photo here showing Franken in diapers allegedly in an on-air SNL skit, it has been removed."
The update gives no indication of how Malcolm came to use a doctored photo in the first place, or of why it took him more than nine months to remove it, even though the very first reader comment on the post, at 4:18 pm on September 21, 2008, raised questions about the photo's origin. Nor did the update address the use of the photo by Republican operatives who cited the Los Angeles Times. Nor did it indicate that the fake photo seems to have originated with Republican operatives.
The Weekly Standard's John McCormack takes issue with the idea that the Palin family -- with assets in excess of $1 million -- are wealthy. McCormack writes under the header "The Palins are Middle Class":
In 2006, the Palins reported taxable income of $127,869 -- 3.8 times the poverty line for a family of six in Alaska. For single person living in the lower 48 states, 3.8 times the poverty line was $37,400 that year. Does DeBoer really believe that someone who makes $38,000 is rich?
Click on the word "reported," and you'll go to a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article that indicates that in 2007, the Palins reported taxable income of $166,080 -- and that they failed to report another $17,000 in per diem payments Sarah Palin received, for a total of $183,080 in income. Now, why would John McCormack use the 2006 income data rather than the 2007 data, when both are available in the source he cites? Could it be because the 2006 amount is so much lower -- nearly $60,000 less -- and he wanted to mislead readers? What other possible explanation is there?
Then McCormack jumps through a bunch of hoops to try to make $127,869 look like much less than it is, comparing it to the Alaska poverty threshold, then comparing that to the (lower) threshold for the 48 contiguous states, then translating that into an income level for a single person rather than a household, which is a neat trick, but it ignores the economies of scale that exist in multi-earner households.
The most recent data available in the very source McCormack used shows that the Palins brought in $183,000 in 2007. The contortions he goes through to try to make that look like $38,000 say more about McCormack than about anything else.
Dan Abrams, an NBC legal analyst and former MSNBC host, has launched Mediaite.com, a website described as "the site for news, information and smart opinions about print, online and broadcast media, offering original and immediate assessments of the latest news as it breaks."
Rachel Sklar, former senior contributing editor and founding editor of Huffington Post's Eat The Press, has signed on as Editor at Large while Colby Hall, a former producer for MTV and VH1 will serve as Managing Editor.
Hall describes the site as "Huffington Post meets Gawker."
As part of its buzz seeking approach, Mediaite.com hosts a "Power Grid" ranking of "1477 individuals from 325 media entities broken down into 12 categories." Here are a few of the categories that may be of interest to you along with the current rankings:
TV Anchor/Hosts: (1) Oprah Winfrey (2) Conan O'Brien (3) Katie Couric (4) David Letterman (5) Dr. Phil McGraw
TV Reporters: (1) Jake Tapper (2) Chuck Todd (3) Richard Engel (4) Lara Logan (5) Nancy Cordes
Media Moguls: (1) Rupert Murdoch (2) Michael Bloomberg (3) Sumner Redstone (4) Oprah Winfrey (5) Arnaud Lagardere
TV Pundits: (1) Newt Gingrich (2) Karl Rove (3) Ann Coulter (4) Dick Morris (5) Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Radio Hosts: (1) Rush Limbaugh (2) Glenn Beck (3) Sean Hannity (4) Michael Savage (5) Dave Ramsey
Print/Online Reporters: (1) David Pogue (2) Andrew Ross Sorkin (3) Dana Milbank (4) Jennifer 8 Lee (5) Ezra Klein
Print/Online Columnists: (1) Paul Krugman (2) Thomas Friedman (3) Maureen Dowd (4) Michelle Malkin (5) Christopher Hitchens
I'll admit I've enjoyed Abrams' work at MSNBC over the years but can a website opening with such buzz worthy fluff provide some honest, serious media criticism as well? I sure hope so. In the mean time, what do you think of the rankings?
He's been throwing a pity party for Sarah Palin:
It certainly is true that nobody in public life in recent memory has been as shabbily treated as she has.
When some emailers were nice enough to remind Goldberg that he and his right-wing crew pretty much dragged Hillary (and Bill) Clinton through the mud by the collar for more than ten years, Goldberg responded [emphasis added]:
The gist of the complaints is that some right-wingers said mean things about Hillary Clinton or Janet Reno or some such. And it's true, some mean and unfair things were said about those folks. But I think a lot of these lefties seem oblivious to the fact that the New York Times, the news networks (minus Fox), David Letterman, et al aren't supposed to be scored as partisan outlets, but they are. And they've gone after Palin and her family in ways that I think are particularly egregious. Complaining about Richard Mellon Scaife's treatment of the Clintons is perfectly fair. But comparing it to the mainstream and "respectable" assaults on Palin is not persuasive.
Get me rewrite! According to Goldberg, all that `90's unpleasantness was because a few right-wingers said some "mean things about Hillary Clinton." Which, of course, is like saying Hurricane Katrina produced some rain showers in New Orleans.
But then did you see Goldberg's utterly feeble attempt at media criticism? He claimed, specifically, that the New York Times had "gone after" the Palin family in "particularly egregious" ways. Okay, but how? Meaning, what did the Times do that was so egregious and out of bounds?
Goldberg, following the conservative guide to media criticism, didn't even bother to provide evidence or point to proof of the mighty Times' "egregious" behavior. He simply informed his obedient readers that the Times did something nasty and unprofessional to poor Sarah Palin and her family, and nobody at NRO even expects facts or specifics to be entered into the equation.
Salon's Glenn Greenwald reports that The Huffington Post has hired former Washington Post columnist Dan Froomkin:
So what is the Washington Post up to these days?
Here's a passage from today's New York Times article about presidential vacations:
That does not mean, of course, that Mr. Obama will not be hassled from afar.
During his Hawaiian trip last summer, the Republican National Committee carefully tracked his itinerary, sending out pictures and news accounts of his whereabouts on Oahu. This year, the themes of criticism could well come from the words of previous Republican presidents.
"Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine," George W. Bush once said when asked why he chose to relax in the broiling Texas sun as opposed to the cool Atlantic breezes. And Lyndon B. Johnson disparagingly referred to the Vineyard as the "female island," upon discovering that his aides chose Martha's Vineyard for their vacation instead of joining him at his ranch in Texas.
The media's willingness to accept - even participate in - such ridicule is a pretty good clue that they are not, in fact, "liberal." Try to imagine the Times presenting in a neutral light a similarly disdainful description of Texas by a Massachusetts politician.
Lyndon Johnson, by the way, was not a "previous Republican president."
Now that Mika Brzezinski has defined "real Americans" as conservatives who live in rural areas -- leaving liberals and city-dwellers as, I guess, un-American -- will Howard Kurtz stop claiming Brzezinski provides liberal balance to Joe Scarborough?
No, probably not.
Will he ever even mention Brzezinski's slur?
No, probably not.
He'll just keep right on pointing to her as evidence of MSNBC's liberalism.
Riding to the defense of Sarah Palin, the Weekly Standard's Kristol wrote:
The hostility of the GOP establishment may be an obstacle to her success. On the other hand, given the performance of GOP operatives and pols over the past few years, maybe their opposition isn't a bad thing.
Kristol mocks GOP campaign operatives who ridicule Palin (what do they know?!) because they're the same people responsible for recent GOP election losses.
Slight problem. Kristol himself is a GOP campaign operative and is as responsible as anybody else for the Republican Party's poor showing last November. Kristol pretends he's just a detached observer of Republican politics. But everyone knows that's a ruse because Kristol was knee-deep in the McCain campaign.
Just last week, Politico identified Kristol as "an informal adviser to Sen. John McCain." That came in a detailed article about how Kristol and other GOP insiders were still re-fighting the battle of who was to blame for McCain's November loss.
And as I noted last year:
In February, right after Kristol joined the Times, McClatchy Newspapers reported that Kristol was part of McCain's "foreign policy team." Kristol denied the report, and his Times boss confirmed that as a columnist he would not be allowed to advise any candidate.
So how did the McClatchy reporter get the story wrong? Because McCain aides told the reporter that Kristol was an adviser.
Also, last year Newsweek reported, "McCain receives advice from several generations of Republican strategists ... [including] William Kristol."
Fox News, which actually employs Kristol as an analyst, announced that "The top of McCain's team includes ... Bill Kristol" among "[i]nformal advisers." And The Daily Beast explained how Kristol was deeply involved in the selection of Palin as McCain's VP.
Kristol dismisses "GOP operatives" as know-nothings, but I'm not sure he escapes the charge.