Hmm, the Mafia and Nixon, that's quite a portrait Time is painting.
To review, it tuns out the Gay Mafia is basically a group of wealthy and influential gay men, dubbed the Cabinet, who have teamed up to raise millions of dollars to give candidates running against anti-gay opponents, and to give to organizations and PAC's that are politically aligned with the men's agenda. So readers can rest easy about that.
But what about this new "Enemies List"? That sounds just as threatening as the Mafia.
The full headline to the Time piece by Alison Stateman reads, "What Happens If You're on the Gay "Enemies List."" The article is about the on-going protests in the wake of California's Prop 8 passage which outlaws gay marriage. Specifically, gay rights activists are targeting donors who gave money to the pro-Prop 8 initiative. The key quote:
"My goal was to make it socially unacceptable to give huge amounts of money to take away the rights of one particular group, a minority group," says Fred Karger, a retired political consultant and founder of Californians Against Hate. "I wanted to make the public aware of who these people are and how much they're giving and then they could make a decision as to whether or not they want to patronize their businesses."
That's pretty much it. Opponents of Prop 8 are upset it passed and are increasing their activism. So what's up with the foreboding "Enemies List" talk, which conjures a particularly dark period from the American past?
Please note that Time put "Enemies List" in its headline and put it in quotes. Also note that the phrase "Enemies List" does not appear anywhere in the article. Meaning, Time editors simply pulled that catch phrase out of the air and assigned to the gay community.
Suggestion to Time: Change the misleading headline.
In case you had any doubts about the economic cheerleading that went on for years on places like CNBC and Fox News and then Fox Business, take a look at the how Peter Shift was practically laughed on sets in 2006 and 2007 when he started talking about the deep, looming recession when consumers were going to stop spending, or when he warned about the coming housing collapse.
We noted earlier the several blotches that appeared in the Friday Times article about the Al Franken/Norm Coleman recount. We didn't' like the way the article was heavily favored in terms of quoting and referencing Coleman supporters, and how the Times gave a platform to the GOP claim (completely unsubstantiated) that the race was being "stolen." And how the newspaper even quoted Sean Hannity, as if his propaganda had any relevance in the recount.
Now we find out that a person quoted in the Times piece and presented as sort of an Everyman Minnesota voter (who, by the way, came down on the side of Coleman), actually has close ties to the GOP. Worse, the Everyman voter says he explained his GOP connection to the Times reporter and that even the Everyman voter was surprised when his GOP ties were not mentioned in the Times article.
Go read more here. It's not pretty folks.
Just before Election Day, we noted that the editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, in preperation for the final showdown between Al Franken and Norm Coleman, ordered the paper's local columnists, whose work appeared in the news pages, to "refrain refrain from partisan political commentary in their columns on the news pages, at least until after the election."
The editor was quite clear:
For the duration of the campaign, we will not run any columns on the news pages that support or attack one candidate or the other or take a strong partisan stand.
We thought that was a bit odd (aren't pundits supposed to opine about campaigns?), but if that was the ground rule set down, so be it. But the question now is, does the edict still stand? Because technically, the election is not over since Minnesota is about to begin a lengthy recount of the hyper-close race.
And if the Strib editor didn't want to overly influence the public's perception of the campaign, wouldn't that still apply during the contentious recount process?
We ask because we saw that Strib's in-house Dem critic, Katherine Kersten, just published a column critical of Minnesota's Democratic Secretary of State who is oveseeing the recournt. Does the Strib have its thumb on the scale?
We understand that Hillary Clinton is back in the news with her name being raised as a possible Secretary of State in the new Obama administration. And of course that's news. But we still can't get past how the press clings to its beloved narrative about how any interaction between Obama and Clinton is now part of an on-going "soap opera," and that she's forever inserting herself into the process.
That's the angle ABC's The Note takes today:
So much for no drama.
Surely a certain soon-to-be-ex-senator knows this by now, but here's the thing about Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: She tends to steal the scenes she's playing in.
Until the subject of her "private business" Thursday in Chicago is resolved -- and maybe until and even beyond the press conference announcing the new secretary who's headed to Foggy Bottom -- it will be 3 am in the transition process.
Note that the 3 am reference suggests that the possibility of Clinton becoming Secretary of State represents some sort of crisis for the new White House. And of course, the reference to scene stealing is meant to imply that Clinton is a diva.
Will Clinton become Secretary of State? We have no idea. Would she be qualified? Most people would likely say yes. Is there any evidence that by reportedly reaching out to her for the post the Obama campaign has created "drama" or a crisis? Of course not.
What is clear is that Obama and Clinton are conducting themselves as adults trying to help lead the country, while the portions of the press corps (sadly, it's the so-called 'elite' portions) continue to behave like juveniles.
UPDATE: Steve Benen writes:
I mean, really. Clinton "tends to steal the scenes"? Her discussion with Obama represents a "potential stumbling block"? The non-existent feud "never gets old"? I'd hoped we were past this.
Dan Kennedy at Media Nation can't recall a time when pointless speculation for the next presidential election cycle basically began 24 hours after the most recent one concluded.
Neither can we. But it seems to be part of the Beltway press' desire for a truly permanent campaign industry. The press, as you recall, criticizes politicians (and especially a certain former Democratic president) for adopting permanent campaign mode. For obsessing over politics and never fully turning their attention to governing.
But now the press, addicted to the attention that campaign seasons bring them (i.e. TV face time and book deals), and coming off an unprecedented 22-month White House campaign season, seems unwilling to walk away.
And note that this desire for endless campaign coverage runs counter to the interest of news consumers. As we mentioned yesterday, when post-election news consumers were recently asked if they'd miss following campaign news, an astounding 82 percent said no.
Of course she does. And that's why ABC is including the right-wing hate talker in a primetime special of the year's most fascinating people. (Be sure to check local listings.)
Because naturally, in a year when the country turned blue ABC should definitely celebrate the success of right-wing radio radio, right?
Of course this is how the how media elites have treated Limbaugh for years; he's not a hate merchant, he's an engaging entertainer. He's not hack, he's influential. Y'know, the way he was able to rally conservatives last winter to reject John McCain as their party's nominee and the way Limbaugh's non-stop attacks on Barack Obama were able to turn the tide of the general election.
Okay, those were complete failures and only highlighted Limbaugh's growing political irrelevance. But for celebrity journalists like Walters, the Limbaugh script was written long ago--he's fascinating. Anxious for his right-wing seal of approval (and spooked by his liberal bias charges), the mainstream press corps has for years treated Limbaugh with undeserved respect, worked to soften his radical edges, and presented him as simply a partisan pundit.
That's why Time's Mark Halperin has labeled Limbaugh an "American iconic" figure, while NBC News anchor Brian Williams fretted that Limbaugh doesn't "get the credit he is due" as a broadcaster.
Do you think there was any other reason the New York Times showered Limbaugh with attention this summer, with a laudatory Sunday magazine cover story (penned by a professional dittohead) that painted him as the brains of the GOP; "a polemicist and public intellectual."
To the 'liberal' New York Times, Limbaugh's a "funny," "public intellectual" who produces "fluent, often clever political talk" and who also "instructs" and "teaches."
And now Babs agrees.
Here's a friendly wager. I'll donate $5 (hey, we're in an economic crisis) to Walters' charity of choice for each of the following questions shes asks Limbaugh in primetime:
*Do you still think that' "what's good for Al Qaeda is good for the Democratic Party in this country today"?
*Can you explain how Obama "loathes America"?
*Do Democrats really "hate this country"?
*What makes you think "Democrats will bend over, grab the ankles, and say, 'Have your way with me' " to African-Americans and gays"?
*What makes you think philanthropist George Soros is a "self-hating Jew"?
*Why did you call Sen. Tom Daschle "an Al Qaeda sympathizer"?
*Are you gong to continue to refer to president Obama as a "Halfrican American"? Or the "little black man child"?
*Do you still think Obama is "not black" and that "he's Arab"?
*Were you able to find any proof that "Islamofascists are actually campaigning for the election of Democrats"?
If Walters ever got up the nerve to confront Limbaugh about his hate speech, now that would be fascinating.
The top of this article seems fine as the reporter outlines the extraordinarily close recount race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman. But boy, the piece completely falls apart as the Times' Christina Capecchi stuffs the second half of the dispatch with right-wing talk points presented by right-wing talking heads.
*The article quotes Coleman's election attorney who accuses the Franken camp of vote-counting ""shenanigans," but requires the attorney to provide not proof/examples.
*In addressing the fact that the Secretary of State overseeing the recount is a Democrat (last time we checked that was allowed), the Times reports that Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Katherine Kersten traced the official's "ties to liberal Democratic groups."
The Times though, doesn't bother to note that Kersten is a right-winger who smeared Franken right before Election Day as a "slanderer of Christianity." She's hardly a source worth citing in the New York Times.
*Speaking of dubious sources, the Times also quotes Sean Hannity who claims there's some "fishy business" unfolding in Minnesota. This has been the right-wing mantra all week: Dems are trying to "steal" the Minnesota election. The proof? There is none, which means there's absolutely no reason for the newspaper to be legitimize that kinds of GOP conspiracy talk.
In total, the Times article quotes or references six Coleman supporters but just one Franken backer.
The Franken/Coleman recount is going to be a lengthy process. Let's hope the Times can improve its coverage.
For the press, it "only seems natural."