Last week, I explained that Newsbuster's Tom Blumer had a bit of trouble reading an AP article he criticized. See, Blumer quoted a paragraph that was clearly referring to Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer - and then attacked it for downplaying Tim Geithner's tax troubles.
But the paragraph didn't have anything to do with Geithner. Here's the first clue: the paragraph began, "An old story, with new actors, played out Tuesday." Guess what? The Geithner story played out before last Tuesday. And here's how the paragraph ended: "rather than spend more valuable time and political capital defending the appointees, the administration dropped them and moved on." Guess what? The administration didn't drop Geithner; it stood by him, and he was confirmed as Treasury Secretary.
In other words, it is completely obvious that the paragraph wasn't about Tim Geithner in any way. Yet Blumer huffed that it was "beyond risible" because the AP reporter "knows full well that Tim Geithner's and Tom Daschle's tax problems went way, way beyond 'household help or other services.'"
Well, it turns out that Tom Blumer responded to my post. Incredibly, he stands by his misreading of the paragraph in question. Well, sort of.
The New York Daily News reports that Ann Coulter is under investigation by the Connecticut Elections Enforcement Commission for allegedly voting in that state while registered to vote in New York City.
Coulter was investigated and cleared of wrongdoing in 2006 for allegedly violating Florida's voter registration laws by voting in the wrong precinct.
But Brad Friedman of BradBlog.com reports that Coulter was never actually cleared; the Florida Election Commission dropped the case after deciding that the two-year statute of limitations had run out.
Chris Bowers over at Open Left offers up a five point plan for the "Stimulus Aftermath" and how progressives can do better next time. Including this tidbit:
5. Join Media Matters for America: Again, this one is straightforward, but still important. The media coverage of the Obama administration has clearly become a huge problem, and there just aren't many progressive organizations other than Media Matters working to correct it. If you want to help out, join MMFA now.
And really, support progressive media in general. Click on ads on progressive websites, and make donations to progressive media organizations of all types when they hold fundraisers. If we want a better media, we need to not only put pressure on existing, national media institutions, but to actively support emerging media of all sorts.
Profiling Rush Limbaugh, the Times made reference to the AM talker's "contentious commentary." But for some reason the Times left out Limbaugh's famous quote, recently aired during an interview with Fox News. It's a quote that perfectly captured the hate speech that Limbaugh peddles, but it's a quote the mainstream press just isn't comfortable repeating. So, as with the Times article, the offensive quote got flushed down the memory hole.
Here's what the Times didn't include in its Limbaugh profile: "We are being told that we have to hope [Obama] succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles...becaue his father was black."
And yes, the Times won't touch it but that Limbaugh quote picked up on the theme the talker aired during the general election, about how "Democrats will bend over, grab the ankles, and say, 'Have your way with me'" to African-Americans and gays.
The traditional press seems very anxious to document Limbaugh's power, but very uncomfortable reporting what the host actually says.
MSNBC -- among other news outlets -- is showing signs of obsessing over Alex Rodriguez' steroid use.
Here's betting that their coverage doesn't spend much time on the fact that Rodriguez' test results were supposed to remain confidential, and the labor relations implications of the fact that they didn't. Millions of employees across the country are subjected to drug testing, presumably with some assurances that the results will be private. If employers don't keep those assurances to millionaire baseball players, why should anyone think they will be any more careful with a minimum-wage-earning janitor? What consequences will there be for Major League Baseball's failure to keep Rodriguez' test results confidential?
Rather than merely focusing on the fact that someone who was already one of the 2 or 3 best baseball players in the world used steroids for a few years, news reports -- particularly those that don't appear in the sports pages -- should keep in mind that there's more to this story than what Alex Rodriguez did, regardless of what you think of him. Maybe they could sprinkle in the occasional privacy expert among the indignant sports radio hosts.
Hullabaloo's Digby and Washington Monthly's Steve Benen look at the media hysterics surrounding tonight's Presidential press conference on the economy – they networks are upset because broadcasting the press conference will amount to $9 million in lost ad revenue.
I for one – and I may get in trouble for saying this – think the nets are right. The Bachelor, The Big Bang Theory, House and Chuck, are obviously far more important than a major presidential press conference about the dire economic condition of our nation.
Two quick thoughts on this. First, I'm a little surprised by these results. Not only have conservative Republicans been dominating the discourse, but the critics' talking points have been largely internalized by journalists covering the debate. There's at least some data suggesting Americans actually want less stimulus in the stimulus bill. It's at least possible, then, that the Gallup results are an outlier. (It's also possible that the numbers are connected to Obama's personal popularity -- Rasmussen doesn't include the president's name in its stimulus polling, while Gallup did.)
Second, Gallup noted "the degree to which Obama appears to be maintaining the upper hand over his opponents." If only that were true. Given what we've seen of late, there's no reason to believe Republicans' conduct is in any way connected to the demands of voters. The president would have the upper hand if the minority party were swayed by public opinion, but at least for now, the GOP is more interested in standing on the party's "core principles" than anything else.
From Truth Dig:
...watching TV news may actually shrink your brain. Well, that's not fair, but it certainly won't teach you much about stimulating the economy. That's because the personalities that populate the airwaves—and not just Fox News—are given license to repeat untruths over and over again.
That's what blogger Bob Cesca wonders, noting that's it's become clear Republicans, with the help of Matt Drudge, seem to be purposely conflating Obama's stimulus bill with the separate, pending attempt to bailout out struggling banks.
Recently, there's been pundit chatter about how some Americans are inadvertently confusing the two (very different) government plans. It now appears as if the Republicans will be seizing upon this confusion in order to further diminish public support for the recovery bill.
News Hounds takes apart Ann Coulter's recent appearance on Fox News' Hannity:
It seems that on FOX News, the only credentials a guest needs are a willingness to viciously malign Democrats. How else to explain the appearance of Ann "Boombox" Coulter on last night's (2/6/09) Hannity as an expert to discuss the Senate's compromise on the stimulus plan?
…Coulter, who has no discernible expertise in economics, provided just the kind of thoughtful and insightful analysis of the stimulus plan you'd expect from her.
First, she declared the three Republican Senators (Snowe, Collins and Specter) who are supporting the Democratic plan, "literally, a couple of the stupidest, most traitorous Republicans."
Then Coulter displayed her money mojo. "The government doesn't do anything," Coulter said. "It doesn't make money."
Next, Coulter revealed her grasp of international economics – by repeating a false conservative talking point: "Japan tried it and if the Japanese can't pull it off..." She switched gears to add this patriotic thought, "As Charles Murray has pointed out, they DO have higher IQ's. If they can't pull off this kind of spending your way into an economic recovery, then we certainly can't."
Earlier, I noted that a Gallup poll showing broad public support for President Obama's handing of the stimulus package and broad disapproval of the GOP's performance undermines the media meme that it is the Democrats who have been insufficiently "bipartisan" in their approach.
Turns out a CNN poll provides even better evidence that the media and the public are far apart:
Three out of four poll respondents said that Obama is doing enough to cooperate with Republicans in Congress, but only 39 percent feel that congressional Republicans are cooperating enough with the president.