Newsbusters' Tim Graham complains that the media isn't badgering the Obamas about their church attendance:
The Obamas haven't faced much questioning from the White House press corps about when they're going to make a church decision. With most presidents, this might not be a big deal, but the establishment media's reluctance surely reflects its sensitivity to Obama's political problems with choosing radical, ranting Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Chicago and staying in his church for 20 years.
For the Obamas and for Sullivan, the question is this: if they wanted to claim the First Family was going to charm the evangelicals with their piety, do they think this game of kicking the can is impressive? Or doesn't it begin to signal insincerity?
Try to follow the logic of that first paragraph. According to Graham, it is not unusual for the White House press corps to avoid questioning the First Family about their church attendance. But in this case, the reason the press isn't subjecting the Obamas to such questions is the media's "sensitivity to Obama's political problems." The media is doing what they usually do, according to Graham - so they must be doing it for a different reason!
That's just dumb.
It is worth noting - though Graham does not - that George W. Bush did not regularly attend a DC church. And it's pretty safe to say that the Bushes tried to "charm the evangelicals with their piety."
Otherwise known as Day Five of the WSJ Hypocrisy Watch.
It's been five days since the conservative Republican governor with national electoral aspirations announced his extramarital affair, and it's been that long since we learned the conservative Republican governor used taxpayer money to visit his girlfriend.
It's been five days since questions about whether Sanford should be impeached were raised, and a few days since a South Caroline Republican announced he'd go all the way to the Justice Department if need be in order to investigate Sanford's behavior.
And yet....the WSJ editorial page which crusaded for the Clinton impeachment and which crusaded that every possible type of criminal prosecutions be launched against Clinton has remained stone-cold silent. The Sanford debacle is of no interest to the very serious writers at the WSJ.
But it turns out the blatant hypocrisy isn't just traced to the Clinton `90's. It can be traced to the 2008 story of disgraced New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. When that Democrat admitted to an extramarital affair, the WSJ opinion pages were very interested. In fact, within 48 hours of that story breaking, Kimberly Strassel wrote up a media critique, claiming the "compliant" press had covered for Spitzer.
But again, the incurious writers and editors at the Journal have shown zero interest in the media angle on the Sanford story, which highlights again how the newspaper's opinion pages have little interest in actual journalism.
Y'know, the Walpin caper, which came right after Dealergate, which really blew the lid off the Obama White House. Remember?
Any who, Newsbusters is all riled up because the WashTimes has published these awesome editorials and articles detailing the breaking news developments from the Walpin firing...and nobody's paying attention. Nobody's going down the rabbit's hole with the WashTimes. Gee, wonder why.
I think Joe Conason put it best:
Unless there is much more to this story than what responsible journalists have found so far, the buzzing chatter on the right will soon subside into a disappointed murmur.
That was June 19. It's weird; it's like Conason can see into the future.
We just received an email from Dick Morris in which he attempts to convince his readers to buy his latest book by directing them to the following video...
Here's the email:
From the June 29 edition of Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck:
Yesterday, I made the point that the media hyperventilation about the possibility that Barack Obama knew what Nico Pitney was going to ask him about is silly, given that shows like Meet The Press and Reliable Sources negotiate topics with guests ahead of time.
Today, Howard Kurtz acknowledges the obvious: he tells guests on his Reliable Sources television show the topics in advance:
Just to be clear, I never, ever give Reliable guests Qs in advance. But it's only fair to tell people what the general topics are.
Now that Kurtz admits this (not that it was ever in any doubt) maybe he'll tell us why he didn't bring that fact up while talking to Dana Milbank yesterday? Milbank was complaining about Obama and Pitney allegedly "coordinating" Pitney's question - but Howard Kurtz knew that he and Milbank had "coordinated" on the topics Milbank would be asked about. While Kurtz is at it, maybe he should give David Gregory a call and ask him to reconcile his outrage at Pitney's question with the fact that Meet The Press works out topics with guests in advance.
That's what a media critic would do anyway. We'll see what Kurtz does.
Strictly as a question of journalism, I remain curious.
Editors at The South Carolina newspaper have explained that back in December they received, from an anonymous source, emails reportedly written by the governor and his girlfriend. But that editors could not authenticate them, and so they didn't run with any story, which is fine.
But what I've been wondering since is, exactly how hard did The State, which defended Sanford when he first went 'missing' last week, work to authenticate the emails?
Over the weekend, the paper reported:
A Dec. 30 e-mail planted the seeds of believability for a Tuesday-night phone caller who said Sanford had flown to Argentina.
Those anonymous tips led The State to have a reporter at the Atlanta airport to interview Sanford [last week]. Then, in rapid succession, the paper told Sanford's aides and a key ally, Davis, that it had e-mails describing an affair between Sanford and a woman in Argentina, and a free-lance journalist knocked on a door in Buenos Aires. A woman at that address initially answered to the name on the e-mails, Maria, then said Maria wasn't at home.
By my reading, that seems to indicate that The State, for the first time, notified Sanford and his key ally last week that the newspaper had the emails, which seems odd. Why didn't The State, as part of its authenticating process, do that in December, or January, or February?
For the 10th anniversary of his blog, Mickey Kaus takes a stroll down memory lane, giving readers who missed some of his work a second chance to become exasperated at his inanity. Here's one reminiscence:
Worst case of being spun: Watching from the press area, I thought Gore cleaned Bush's clock in their first 2000 debate. Then I went to the spin room where Stuart Stevens immediately mentioned that Gore hadn't been to Texas with James Lee Witt, as he'd boasted. Didn't that play into the festering press meme that Gore was an insecure embellisher? It sure did. I wrote a goading piece saying this was a test of whether reporters could trash a Dem as they had said they would. (It was a test they passed.)
Since a butterfly flapping its wings could have tipped the 2000 election the other way, and since Gore would have been a better president than Bush, I've been feeling guilty about that piece. It's true that a) there were other reasons Gore "lost" the debate among viewers--he grunted and sighed obnoxiously, something I couldn't hear in the press area. And b) every Dem political pro I've talked with thinks it was inexcusable-- and telling--that Gore boasted about Witt when he knew and was surely told that any new little boast would kill him. Still ... flap, flap ....
Ok. First of all, Gore didn't lose the debate among viewers. Polls taken immediately after the debate found that Gore won the debate among viewers. He "lost" the debate after reporters like Mickey Kaus began nit-picking his performance to death. Nit-picking that Kaus now admits was off-base. Still, he can't bring himself to tell the truth: Debate viewers thought Gore won. Reporters like Kaus undid that victory via what even Kaus admits was lousy reporting.
Second, how obnoxious could Gore's grunts and sighs have really been if Kaus wasn't even aware of them at the time?
Third: Every Dem political pro Kaus talks to is wrong to blame Gore. Had Gore said nothing even remotely inaccurate, the media would have made some thing up. Don't believe me? Review the Love Canal fiasco. Go ahead; I'll just sit over here, slamming my head against the wall while I wait.
Ok. Finally: Mickey Kaus thought it was an open question in October of 2000 whether reporters would "trash a Dem"? Seriously? What planet had he been living on rock had he been living under? Had he somehow missed eight years of harassment of Bill Clinton? Had he missed the Love Canal and Love Story and Internet debacles? Had he been asleep for the entire presidential campaign up until that point? If Mickey Kaus has a purpose in the world, it is that he is (supposedly) a savvy observer of the media - and he really wasn't sure by October of 2000 whether reporters would "trash a Dem"? That's a level of cluelessness that should be disqualifying.
BooMan on Milbank:
There was a brief period of time, probably in 2004, when I thought Dana Milbank was doing a decent job of showing a sane level of skepticism about the Bush administration's pronouncements and behavior. He wasn't striking for his wit or his moral outrage. He just stood out as someone who was occasionally willing to call bullshit in a town where that seemed never to happen. His schtick appeared to be irreverence of a kind slightly more substantive than that provided by Lady Dowd. But something changed. If I had to guess, what changed is that Milbank started getting invites to be on the cable news. And that made him somebody. He joined the Big Boys like Howard Fineman and Ron Brownstein. His opinion was supposed to move the national discourse. ...
He lost his outsiderish up-and-coming edge. His condescension stopped reaching up and started hammering down. Instead of telling us that our betters are full of crap, he told us that his lessers were unworthy. And, at some point he reached a stage of inness where he felt comfortable enough to wallow in his sense of accomplishment and to develop a sense of entitlement.
I have long thought that the worst thing that can happen to a journalist (from a quality-of-journalism standpoint, not from a paycheck standpoint) is becoming a regular guest on cable news. The way to get on, say, Hardball, is for Chris Matthews to think you have smart things to say. The way to get Chris Matthews to think you have smart things to say is to say things Chris Matthews agrees with. This has obvious flaws. It also, I think, contributes to a homogenization of viewpoints available in the media.
Theories about television aside, BooMan's contention that Milbank seems to have shifted from afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted to the opposite seems right. Milbank's defenders often point out, as Howard Kurtz did today, that he was critical of the Bush administration. True -- though the Bush administration made it pretty hard not to do so. But those defenders never seem to remember Milbank's mockery of people who were trying to hold the Bush administration accountable, which drew rare criticism from the Washington Post's assistant managing editor and ombudsman.