The Sun's David Zurawik has made quite a splash online in recent weeks as he relentlessly attacks the White House for criticizing Fox News and calling it out as illegitimate. While defending Fox News, Zurawik claims the fact that White House aides have an opinion about Murdoch's faux news channel means administration officials are attacking journalism across the board; that critiquing the press now represents a chilling campaign of intimidation.
Zurawik has trotted out the comically inaccurate Nixon's "enemies list" comparison, and generally laid on the rhetoric quite thick: "This campaign by the Obama administration is dangerous to press freedom, and it should concern everyone in the press, not just Fox."
Last night Zurawik was rewarded for his pro-Fox News campaign, in which he completely ignores the "news" product produced under its name, and was invited onto The O'Reilly Factor, where he and the host were in heated agreement that the White House's decision to fact check Fox News was insane. (How original.)
On O'Reilly's show, Zurawik also hit his latest talking point that Fox News is just like MSNBC, and if the WH is critiquing Fox News it ought to take on MSNBC for being unprofessional. We've seen this lazy analogy a lot in the last couple weeks; because MSNBC has a couple liberal hosts, that means its around-the-clock product is exactly the same as MSNBC. Except it's not, which I previously noted:
I don't remember either Olbermann or Maddow comparing MSNBC employees to persecuted Jews during the Holocaust, which was the twisted comparison [Glenn] Beck recently made regarding the Fox News staff.
In other words, I don't recall Olbermann or Maddow going bat shit crazy on national television, scribbling away on a chalkboard as they fantasized about connecting George Bush to every conceivable strain of historical evil. And I don't remember either MSNBC host launching hateful and hollow witch hunts against semi-obscure administration officials, the way Hannity has latched onto the homophobic attacks against Kevin Jennings.
But for Zurawik, because MSNBC plays hosts a couple liberal talkers, it's just like Fox News. Of course, MSNBC also devotes its entire morning programming to a show hosted by conservative, former Republican member of Congress, but Zurawik doesn't address that fact; Zurawik can't point to the daily Fox News show that's hosted by a proud liberal.
But since the TV critic is so sure that MSNBC is just like Fox News, I'd like him to back up the claim. Last week, I produced this cheat sheet for the WashPost's Ruth Marcus and ABC's Jake Tapper *after both seemed to imply that Fox News was similar to MSNBC and ABC News, respectively.
But here's an example of how the Fox News family isn't quite like MSNBC. Here's another another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another, and another.
If Zurawik is so sure MSNBC is just like Fox News, than he ought to produce a similar, detailed list showcasing obvious examples of how MSNBC has walked away from the traditions of mainstream journalism and has purposefully pushed falsehoods, lies and smears under the guise of news. I'm not looking for Zurawik to explain that Olbermann and Maddow lean left. Everybody knows that. And the White House isn't attacking Fox News because it leans right.
The White House is attacking Fox News because it no longer functions as a legitimate news org. I'd like Zurawik to match my two dozen examples above, most pulled from 2009, and show everybody how MSNBC is just like Fox News.
UPDATED: Earlier this year, Zurawik attacked MSNBC this way [emphasis added]:
Even Rachel Maddow, who is the nicest, with her snide smile and arched eyebrow and mocking, they target people and hold them up for ridicule. It's exactly what happened in propaganda in the '30s in Europe. I'm not kidding you.
But today, Zurawik, a media critic, defends Fox News.
UPDATED: Ironic. From last month:
*I updated the original language, which claimed ABC' Tapper had insisted Fox News was "just like" ABC News. That was too literal. Instead, Tapper last week wondered if it was "appropriate" for the White House to suggest Fox News was not legitimate, and pressed White House spokesman Robert Gibbs to explain how Fox News was "any different" from ABC News.
As if President Barack Obama didn't have enough on his plate with health care and Afghanistan, he's now faced with the problem that can't be solved: Women.
Right. From the latest Marist poll:
55% [of women] approve of the president's job performance while 38% disapprove.
And from Gallup's latest detailed look at the topic:
Among women, Democrats maintain a solid double-digit advantage in party identification over Republicans, 41% to 27%.
I'm guessing that last November, Sen. John McCain wished had the kind of "problem" with women that Obama supposedly has today.
During the October 28 edition of her Fox News show, Greta Van Susteren purported to host "a healthy debate" about health care reform.
During the first 35 minutes of the show, Van Susteren interviewed Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ), and -- for 10 minutes -- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to discuss health care reform. (Van Susteren also interviewed Fox News contributor and former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum and Jeff Birnbaum of The Washington Times about issues not related to health care reform.)
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 of white people." Here are his October 28 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
Here's Chris Matthews tonight, dismissing the relevance of a thesis written by Bob McDonnell, who is currently the Republican nominee in the Virginia governor's race, when he was 34:
It's hard to build a whole campaign on somebody else's term paper. He's [Creigh Deeds, McDonnell's opponent] going after the other guy for writing some right-wing stuff about 25 years ago.
Emphasis very much Matthews' -- his voice dripped with contempt as he spat out the phrase "term paper."
Now, here's what Chris Matthews said about the thesis -- not "term paper" -- back on September 1:
MATTHEWS: Here's a guy that said as follows. In his thesis, he wrote, of federal money for child care programs -- quote -- "Further expenditures would be used to subsidize a dynamic new trend of working women and feminists that is ultimately detrimental to the family by entrenching status quo, the entrenchings of status quo, of non-parental primary nurtured children."
In other words he's saying that, if you give tax cuts or tax breaks for people for child care, you're encouraging the wrong pattern in American life, women in the workplace.
MICHELLE BERNARD, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes.
MATTHEWS: That's a bad thing.
BERNARD: Yes. Yes, from his perspective -- or at least from his perspective when he was 34 years old. Here's the dynamic you have to look at. Sometimes, you might say, well, you can't say that somebody believes the things that they wrote or that they have not evolved if they wrote a thesis, say, at age 21 or 22. He was a 34-year-old -- 34-year-old man when he wrote this.
MATTHEWS: This wasn't the indiscretion of youth.
BERNARD: Exactly. It absolutely wasn't the indiscretion of youth.
Second question, then, is, did he write this because he thought this would be appealing to the teachers at Pat Robertson's school, a very far- right conservative school, or did he write this because he actually believes it? Women are one of the most important voting blocs in the country.
MATTHEWS: What do you think of the character of a person who writes something that the teacher might like in a major essay, a major thesis? This isn't something you knock off in a pop quiz.
MATTHEWS: This is something you devote yourself to for at least a year.
MATTHEWS: Anybody in grad school knows what I'm talking about.
It's a major commitment of -- of who you are. You write something you believe is useful to the academic discipline, something you believe, or else why write it?
That was September 1. Now, McDonnell looks likely to win, so Matthews dismisses the thesis as a mere "term paper."
Politico is trying to make a scandal out of a "defaced flag" video submitted to an Organizing for America health care video contest. Why? Because someone who entered the contest is bitter about not being named a finalist. No, really: that's the whole story.
One of the 20 finalists in health care video contest run by Barack Obama's campaign arm features a mural of an America flag splattered with health care graffiti until it's covered completely by black paint.
In the video - which is accompanied by the sound of a heart monitor pumping and then flat-lining - words such as "pre-existing conditions," "homeless" and "death panel" ultimately obliterate the flag, which reappears on screen seconds later with the words "Health Will Bring Our Country Back to Life" on the blue field where the 50 stars usually are.
According to the Organizing for American Web site, the 20 finalists in the "Health Reform Video Challenge" were chosen by a panel of "qualified" Democratic National Committee "employee judges."
A contestant whose video didn't make the final-20 cut complains that a video "defacing the flag" won't do much to help President Barack Obama or the Democrats sell health care reform.
"They should never pick that," said the contestant, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "It makes the Democrats look really, really bad."
That's literally all it takes to get a Politico hit piece these days: an anonymous complaint from a contest loser. And a fairly tepid complaint, at that.
I'm not sure what's more pathetic -- that Politico published this obvious (and so far unsuccessful) bit of Drudge-bait, or that it took two people (Jonathan Allen and Daniel Libit) to write it.
But you have to wonder why Politico thought this nonsense was newsworthy after having ignored the blatantly racist photo hosted on the RNC's Facebook page.
UPDATE: Looks like -- in this case, at least -- Politico isn't too dumb for Drudge, after all; he finally gave this "story" a link.
After their attacks this summer on then-Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor over comments she made about the importance of diversity on the federal bench, the conservative media is now targeting Judge Edward Chen, President Obama's nominee for the district court in Northern California, for previous comments he's made on the subject. In doing so, conservatives have twisted the statements of both Sotomayor and Chen to attack them. It is worth noting, however, that in 2003, while debating President Bush's nomination of Miguel Estrada to be a judge, then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that "Hispanics have reinvigorated the American dream, and I expect they will bring new understandings of our nationhood, that some of us ... might not fully see with tired eyes."
In 2003, Hatch said:
The Hispanic experience, in fact, sheds new light on the debate we have been having about ideology in judicial confirmations. Many new Hispanic Americans have left countries without independent judiciaries, and they are all too familiar with countries with political parties that claim cradle-to-grave rights over their allegiances and futures.
I have a special affinity for Hispanics and for the potential of the Latin culture in influencing the future of this country. Polls show that Latinos are among the hardest working Americans . That is because like many immigrant cultures in this country, Hispanics often have two and even three jobs. Surveys show they have strong family values and a real attachment to their faith traditions and they value education as the vehicle to success for their children.
In short, Hispanics have reinvigorated the American dream, and I expect they will bring new understandings of our nationhood, that some of us some of us, Madam President--might not fully see with tired eyes.
Without trumpeting the overused word ''diversity,'' I have made it my business to support the nominations of talented Hispanics for my entire career in the Senate. I hope that the desire for diversity that many of my Democrat colleagues say they share with me will trump the reckless and destructive pursuit of injecting ideology into the judicial confirmations process as we move forward on this particular nomination.
In Spanish-speaking churches all over this country and in every denomination, Hispanics sing a song called DE COLORES. This means OF MANY COLORS. It celebrates the many colors in which we all are created.
Hispanics know they come in many colors, with all kinds of backgrounds. They enjoy among themselves a wide diversity already. They left behind countries filled with ideologues that would chain them to single political parties. Latinos share a commonsense appreciation of each other's achievements in this country without any regard whatsoever to ideology, over which some Americans have the luxury of obsessing. [Senate floor speech 2/5/03]
Today's honors go to U.S. News' Bonnie Erbe, as she pontificates lamely about this week's manufactured Beltway embarrassment. Shorthand: Obama doesn't like women!
President Obama drew heat last week for a story that surfaced outing his private White House male-only b-ball games. The story was that even though two female members of his cabinet were members of their college basketball teams, they were excluded, as were all women, from this most private of male-only clubs. The story became a metaphor for how the president views women generally and threatened to reveal some inconvenient truths about the man.
Now we see reports that gender-insensitivity charges have resonated with the Obama White House. According to Politics Daily, the president dragged chief domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes to the golf course on Sunday, and she became the first female to join his golf foursome since he took office. The event produced a photo op of global proportions.
Got that? Obama "excluded" women from a White House pick-up basketball game. When that became a thing, when it was magically transformed by shallow pundits into "metaphor for how the president views women generally," Obama then invited a White House female adviser to play golf.
Problem addressed and a wrong belatedly corrected, right? No! According to Erbe, Obama didn't invite a female colleague to play golf, he dragged her out in public for a "photo op." She was his "faux" golf partner. (What does that even mean??)
Told you it would make your head hurt.
UPDATED: How many times, as president, did George W. Bush play golf with women? Erbe has no idea.
UPDATED: Who's the one "uncomfortable" with women? That's the claim Erbe keeps making in her errant attempt at analysis. But I'm wondering if she's the one with the problem. Note this hateful passage as Erbe mocks Michelle Obama as "his clearly career-oriented mate who has been toned down and remorphed into a Stepford Wife."
UPDATED: No joke, Erbe repeatedly compares Obama to Jesse Helms in her painful piece of hackery.
Earlier today, I noted that lousy media coverage of health care reform has played a significant role in the public's confusion about the issue. Like clockwork, MSNBC's Contessa Brewer just demonstrated how that works in an interview with Republican Senator Judd Gregg, in which Gregg offered up a barrage of misleading claims and outright falsehoods -- none of which were directly challenged by Brewer.
Gregg began by claiming "I think most people understand that a government-forced insurance plan, or government takeover of insurance is basically going to be bad for them because it's going to put a bureaucrat between them and their doctor. People want to be able to choose their doctor, they want to be able to choose their health plan, they don't want to have government running health care."
Now, basically none of that is true.
The public option is not a "government-forced insurance plan" -- it's optional. It's right there in the name: "The public option."
It's not "government takeover of insurance" -- private insurance companies will still exist, and most people will still use them.
People will be able to choose their doctor, to choose their health plan. Government won't be running health insurance, much less "running health care."
But Brewer didn't call Gregg on any of that. Nor did she ask Gregg to explain why it's worse to have a government "bureaucrat" between you and your doctor than to have a profit-driven insurance company bureaucrat between you and your doctor.
In his next comment, Gregg claimed his opposition to a public option "isn't about protecting insurance companies, it's about giving individuals the capacity to make choices, and choose the doctors they want, choose the health care systems they want."
Brewer didn't call Gregg on the seeming inconsistency of saying he's trying to give people the ability to choose the health care system they want by refusing to give them the ability to choose a public health insurance option.
Instead, Brewer asked Gregg a nice, friendly softball: "If people are frustrated with what they are hearing right now in terms of this legislation, what can they do?"
In response to that, Gregg implied that the Reid bill will not be scored by CBO before it comes to the floor. In fact, it's being scored by CBO right now. Brewer, of course, didn't mention that -- nor did she mention that previous versions of the public option scored by CBO have been cost-effective.
Gregg went on to again characterize public option as "a national--takeover of the system by the government ... putting the government between you and your doctor." No pushback from Brewer.
Then Gregg claimed Canada proves a public option will reduce the quality of care. No pushback from Brewer; no mention of the efficacy of public health care systems in other nations.
Then Gregg suggested the government cannot possibly "get health care right" -- to which Brewer seemed to agree, rather than asking Gregg if he thinks the government should get out of the business of Medicare and providing veterans health care, too.
Finally, Gregg insisted a public option would add to the deficit. To that, Brewer responded "I hear your skepticism." She did not point out that CBO scoring of other versions of health care reform including a public option find that this is not true.
Ever wonder how so many right-wing books become "bestsellers"? This may help explain it:
Normally you have to wait until the public displays pretty strong disinterest in a book before you can pick up the hardcover for $4.97. But thanks to Richard Scaife's right-wing Newsmax.com, you can get Sarah Palin's book for that low price -- and it hasn't even been released yet.
Just keep this in mind if the media starts breathlessly reporting Palin's strong sales numbers.