Lots of reaction today to the Time piece about the White House pushing back against what it sees as a press corps that's failing to do its job; that's not adhering to traditional reporting standards. The main take-away is that the White House is targeting Fox News. But it's not Fox News exclusively.
For instance, Politico reports [emphasis added]:
Time White House correspondent Michael Scherer writes that in the face of criticism from the right, "the White House decided it would become a player, issuing biting attacks on those pundits, politicians and outlets that make what the White House believes to be misleading or simply false claims."
But if you read the Time piece, White House advisers pointed to three specific examples of very bad journalism-- three examples that convinced them something was seriously wrong with political reporting--and two of the three came courtesy of the New York Times and the Washington Post. (The third example was more general and not attached to a specific media outlet.)
From the administration's point of view, the Beltway press corps in general is failing, and a lot of those failures seem to be driven by Fox News and the GOP Noise Machine. Meaning, those players are being allowed to push the Times and the Post around, and getting them to cover completely bogus stories, such as Obama-wants-to-indoctrinate-school-kids.
So while most of the noise today centers around the White House pushing back against Fox News, it's clear that the effort, and the administration's concern about journalism, is more encompassing that that.
Maybe it's the right-wing haste to ridicule and condemn Obama's Nobel Peace Prize that caused Drudge to make such a sloppy error.
On the Drudge site, one of the many Nobel-related headlines reads:
MIXED REVIEWS; 'EMBARRASSING JOKE'
Boy, that sounds bad for Obama. But when readers click on the link, it takes them to a Reuters article about Obama's prize, and the "embarrassing joke" quote is nowhere to be found in the article. In fact, the words "embarrassing" and "joke" never appear in the linked report.
UPDATED: Drudge is now linking to a much longer version of that Reuters article, which includes the "embarrassing joke" quote from a member the conservative religious party in Pakistan,
From an October 9 Politico article:
Conservatives pounced on the the Nobel Prize committee's decision to award President Barack Obama the Nobel Peace Prize, with talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh calling it a "greater embarrassment" than losing the Olympics.
"This fully exposes the illusion that is Barack Obama," Limbaugh told POLITICO in an e-mail. "And with this 'award' the elites of the world are urging Obama, THE MAN OF PEACE, to not do the surge in Afghanistan, not take action against Iran and its nuclear program and to basically continue his intentions to emasculate the United States."
Limbaugh continued: "They love a weakened, neutered U.S and this is their way of promoting that concept. I think God has a great sense of humor, too."
Well, at least conservatives are consistent in their open disdain for American achievement under Obama.
Reminiscent of the Friday Freakout that followed the glorious news that Chicago, and the United States, had been denied the honor of hosing the Summer Olympic Games (Hallelujah!), the same Obama-hating voices in the right-wing media are outraged that the President of the United States has won the Nobel Prize.
In other words, Obama/America loses = good. Obama/America wins = bad.
And no, unhinged critics aren't simply wondering if it's too early in Obama's first term to win such a prestigious award. They're letting loose the divisive hate rhetoric (you'd expect anything less?), and demeaning the international achievement.
In the right-wing blogosphere, Obama's global honor is unfolding like a nightmare.
Question: Why does the conservative media hate America?
From RedState.com managing editor Erick Erickson's October 9 post, headlined, "Common Decency Suggests We Should Not Have to Deal With This, But We Must Now Confront A White House Supportive of NAMBLA" [emphasis added]:
Sadly, NAMBLA is very real and today steps right out of the darkest pits of immoral human behavior and straight into the White House. Sean Hannity has been all over this story and we are just now coming to terms with how sick and demented the thinkings and associations of White House Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings are.
To be sure, the left wing Media Matters, which is run by former conservative turned homosexual activist and left-wing icon David Brock, is screaming from the rooftops that Sean Hannity is lying.
Hannity is not lying. Kevin Jennings is a profoundly sick and immoral human being - a proponent of statutory rape, an opponent of the Boy Scouts of America, and a zealous advocate of NAMBLA.
He is Barack Obama's Safe Schools Czar.
He is a supporter of men who openly and vocally support pedophilia.
Media Matters threw out a few talking points to defend Van Jones. But Media Matters is giving a full throated, aggressive defense of Kevin Jennings. Why? Well, to paraphrase Wonkette, gay is the new black.
Van Jones was just a black guy. With a black President, resources did not need to be brought to bear to defend him. Kevin Jennings, however, is not just a gay man, but a man who believes in the full gay rights agenda, where men and boys can have sexual relationships free of prudish moral people frowning.
Jennings has championed NAMBLA's causes and lauded a pedophilia advocate.
He even wrote the forward to a book called "Queering Elementary Education." That's right, Jennings wrote the forward to a book that, in its own description advocates the aggressive homosexual agenda among elementary school students. From the book: "queering education happens when we look at schooling upside down and view childhood from the inside out." No irony is intended apparently in that description.
Americans of moral decency should be stunned to know the President of the United States would put in charge of "safe schools," a man who encourages predatory relationships between young boys and grown men.
Barack Obama has done exactly that. Has he no shame?
Conservative media backtrack, alter thoroughly debunked claim that Jennings failed to report "statutory rape"
In vicious new smear, Rove falsely claims Jennings advocated for NAMBLA
Hannity escalates anti-gay bigotry, asks "Does Kevin Jennings support the group NAMBLA?"
Conservative media unleash anti-gay rhetoric in attacks on Jennings
Because a (Democratic) White House isn't supposed to call out lies or push back against rampant misinformation, smear campaigns and character assassination. The White House, apparently, is just supposed to take it. At least that's the odd conclusion of a couple online essays in the wake of the Time piece that details how the Obama administration (gasp!) isn't going sit idly by while Fox News spreads misinformation 24/7. (The White House is pushing back against the mainstream press, as well.)
It's funny, because traditionally when the GOP plays hardball with journalists and denounces them as unfair, the Beltway press is deeply impressed and often in awe, as it was with the Bush White House for many of its eight years. But when Obama's team decides to, y'know, fact-check Fox News, the press doesn't think that's such a good idea. It's a "loser's strategy," writes Jeff Bercovici.
Apparently fact-checking--setting the record straight--is beneath the White House. (Bercovici doesn't like the "public barbs.") Glynnis MacNicol at Mediaite.com also thinks the fact-checking route is a total loser and would prefer if the White House didn't respond to any of Fox News' false charges:
Is it really a good thing? Doesn't deciding to respond to Glenn Beck et al. in kind merely elevate much of the nonsense Beck spews and simultaneously lower the White House a few rungs down the credibility ladder? Wouldn't the more prudent approach be to figure out how Glenn Beck has out-Obama'd Obama, pinpoint what it is exactly that is so appealing about Beck and than address that fear instead (preferably with a chalk board!)? One more voice in the politico online din, even if it's the White House's, is going to end up being just that: one more voice.
Beside, all Fox News is doing is "needling" the administration, right? I mean what's so bad about that? At least that's the overly polite conclusion Bercovici draws. "Needling"? Well, if by "needling" Bercovici means that Fox News is now in the midst of an hysterical and homophobic, two-week-long smear campaign as it falsely paints an openly gay member of the Obama administration as a statutory rape-loving "pervert," than yeah, I guess some people would call that "needling." Most however, would label it something else.
I find the blame-the-victim press analysis to be revealing. Obama, his advisers, and his policies have been relentlessly slimed on television by Fox News the way no other administration has in American history, as the cable channel has clearly morphed itself into the Opposition Party in America. Fox News many months ago left the realm of journalism and became a purely political entity, with a broadcast day that's devoted to attacking, usually falsely, the Obama administration.
What does the press during this unprecedented transformation in American journalism and politics? The press plays dumbs and pretends Fox is still in the news business. And then when the White House advisers have the audacity to fact-check Fox News, they're tagged as the bad guys; as the bullies. It's not Fox News that's acting out of the ordinary, it's the White House.
UPDATED: This makes our head hurt, courtesy Mediaite:
How does the White House manage to become a player? Looks like they may have finally got their own Glenn Beck (sans the chalk board) in the form of a veteran campaign strategist Anita Dunn who is a "devoted consumer of conservative-media reports and a fierce critic of Fox News, leading the Administration's effort to block officials, including Obama, from appearing on the network."
Anita Dunn is a senior communications official at the White House who's leading a push to fact-check Fox News.
By contrast, Glenn Beck thinks Obama is a racist who hates white people. Beck claims tyranny is looming and that Obama "will slowly but surely take away your gun." Beck fears a Reischstag moment, death camps, flu vaccines, and the U.S. becoming a member of the Axis Power.
So yeah, Dunn and Beck are exactly alike.
UPDATED: BTW, we saw this same hand-wringing press reaction during the Clinton years whenever the White House publicly fact-checked some of the most egregious Whitewater-era reporting. The Village always responded with horror and demanded to know who gave Democrats the right to criticize the press?!
From Erickson's October 9 RedState.com blog post:
Friday, October 9th at 8:22AM EDT
I did not realize the Nobel Peace Prize had an affirmative action quota for, but that is the only thing I can think of for this news.
The deadline for nominations was two weeks after he was sworn in as President.
So in less than two weeks of entering office, Obama did something to qualify. What was it? Not closing Gitmo? Continuing the Bush administration's policies in the War on Terror but no longer using the name? Or pronouncing a policy of abject American capitulation to our enemies?
The Peace Prize reaffirms it s a joke. But now a sad joke.
Somewhere Bill Clinton's head just exploded.
So far, 80 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 of white people." Here are his October 8 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
On October 8, Fox News' Greta Van Susteren posted on her blog:
The Miss America Organization (MAO) announced today that Rush Limbaugh has been named as one of the national judges for the 2010 Miss America Pageant, which will be held at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday, January 30 and broadcast live on TLC. Limbaugh will be one of a panel of seven distinguished judges that will help decide which of the 53 contestants will capture the Miss America 2010 title and serve as the Goodwill Ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network, as well as introduce the first Go Green platform for MAO.