In my most recent column, I looked at some of the absurd claims by journalists and pundits that Barack Obama's staffing choices are inconsistent with the idea of "change."
Yesterday, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez offered the dumbest claim that Obama is failing to bring change that we've yet seen:
The Director of Emily's List Will Be The Face of the New Administration
And that's change you can believe in from the Democrats? Establishing the Obama administration as the voice pro-abortion Left?
Lopez refers to the announcement that EMILY's List executive director Ellen Moran will be Obama's White House communications director. But the White House communications director is rarely thought of as "the face of the administration." The President might be thought of that way, to be sure. And the press secretary - who delivers daily televised news briefings - is often described that way. Depending on the context, the Secretary of State could be called the "face of the administration." But the communications director? Not so much -- unless you consider Kevin Sullivan the face of the Bush administration. It seems Kathryn Jean Lopez knows less about White House roles than does a casual viewer of the West Wing.
More substantively: Lopez thinks the choice of a pro-choice communications director is inconsistent with Obama's promise of change? That's a simply nonsensical complaint. The current administration opposes abortion rights, so as a literal matter, a pro-choice administration is "change." More broadly: how many people does Kathryn Jean Lopez think voted for Barack Obama, but will be shocked that Obama has chosen a pro-choice communications director, and convinced that the choice conflicts with his message of change?
Lopez seems to be conflating "change" with "things I, Kathryn Jean Lopez, approve of." They are not one and the same. Indeed, given her ideological leanings and the election outcome, they are likely to be very different things.
Glenn Greenwald catches National Review's Andrew McCarthy making a clear factual error, points it out, emails McCarthy asking for a correction, and ... waits.
Three and a half days later, he's still waiting.
The conservative writer claims, "Back in the primaries, Obama argued that we should not return to the Clinton years." (Note York doesn't provide a quote where Obama supposedly made that claim in the primaries.)
York mocks Obama because he has tapped so many Clinton administration vets. Why the derision? Because, claims York, Obama's campaign was all about change. And look! Now's he's hiring Clinton pals.
If nothing else, York's column provided us with a chuckle. We chuckled over the fact that York, who spent the last year covering the election, still can't figure out what Obama's campaign was about. Yes, it was about "change." It was about delivering the country from change from the Bush years.
When you think about it, it really is just beyond belief that our press corps, even the partisan GOP press corps, can be this clueless. Again, here's York laying it on thick:
Too many times to count during the campaign, he promised voters change. We've had it with the old Washington ways, he said. It's time for something different.
Yeah Byron, different from Bush and Republicans.
But for Clinton-obsessed pundits like York (and trust me he was not alone), the Obama campaign was all about delivering change from the Clintons.
So we'll ask again, why can't the press quit the Clintons?
We've noted before that The Drudge Report had a difficult campaign season since its influence on unfolding events pretty much evaporated. Plus, there was the rather embarrassing fact that the liberal upstart, The Huffington Post, managed to double Drudge's daily traffic down the stretch.
Could that be why Drudge so badly manhandled this headline? "PAPER: BAILOUT FOR HUFFINGTON; QUEEN OF BLOG GETS $15M LIFELINE..."
Sounds bad, right? HuffPo needs a "bailout" and the new cash represents a "lifeline." Oh my. Turns out the article simply details new backers who are investing in HuffPo to help it expand.
WaPo ombudsman Deborah Howell does readers a service this week when she highlights great journalism from the previous year, as she meditates on "what makes a good reporter." Answer? "Endless curiosity and a deep need to know what is happening. Then, the ability to hear a small clue and follow it."
We have to say that it was telling that in her column, which singled out nearly a dozen journalists for good reporting on a wide array of topics, Howell doesn't site a single example from the just-complete campaign season.
Can't say we blame her.
Media bias was more intense in the 2008 election than in any other national campaign in recent history, Time magazine's Mark Halperin said Friday at the Politico/USC conference on the 2008 election.
"It's the most disgusting failure of people in our business since the Iraq war," Halperin said at a panel of media analysts. "It was extreme bias, extreme pro-Obama coverage."
Honestly, only a Betlway media insider who thinks campaigns are the country's most important endeavor would even think of comparing alleged media bias in an election season with journalism malpractice that led our country to war; a war that, arguably, is helping to bankrupt the nation. Yeah, those two events are about the same.
But any way, Halperin's up in arms. Why he remained mostly silent on this issue during the campaign, and while he ran a campaign news site (The Page), we're not sure.
See Bob Cesca's "Hackery Hall of Fame Inductee" for more.
In an article about Obama's governing style, the Times addresses Clinton as SoS and reports [emphasis added]:
During the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton went out of their way to point out their foreign policy differences, with Mrs. Clinton portraying herself as a hawkish Democrat and defending her decision to vote in favor of the 2002 resolution that Mr. Bush later considered an authorization to use military force against Saddam Hussein. (Later, she said she fully expected Mr. Bush to use diplomacy first - and was shocked that he did not.)
NPR from March, 2008:
Clinton has said many times since that she regrets her vote and that she would vote differently knowing what she knows now, but she has never apologized for position in 2002 (although other Democrats have).
Blogger and syndicated columnist David Sirota was among the first to notice the immediate post-election media chatter about how America, despite its very blue Election Day, remained a "center-right" country.
Now he's tracked the flood of mentions and shows how the term was virtually ignored by the press prior to Nov. 4. Then, literally within hours of the Democrat's White House victory, the "center-right" faucet was turned on.
This reminds us of when Beltway sleuth Woodward waiting like two years before he announced to the world that he'd been sitting on a Libby Scooter scoop. Thanks for that Bob.
Now, we hear (thanks to Drudge hype) that Village elder Woodward apparently had nasty things to say about Hillary Clinton as SoS while taping one of the weekend talk shows. Y'know, after word leaked that it was a done deal.
Writes Josh Orton at MyDD under our favorite headline of the week, "Woodward: Concern Troll":
Look, the Clintons are certainly big players in the Democratic party - not really surprising given that Hillary's a Senator and that Bill is, you know, a former President.
And a huge amount of the Clinton's public image is a media creation, fabricated disproportionately from a crowd of celebrity journalists that have lived and breathed DC for decades.
Do I think the Clinton's are perfect? No politician is. But I do think Hillary Clinton will make an excellent Secretary of State. I also have complete confidence that the man we elected President doesn't share the Village's view of an administration as a huge, real-life game of Risk.
Writing at The Daily Beast, Daphne Merkin noted:
But here's something to give pause: The special election issue of The New Yorker has five male writers commenting on its implications; there is only one woman featured in the issue (although she has two pieces, as if in compensation). Similarly, the November issues of Harper's and The Atlantic are top-heavy with male writers, notwithstanding the fact that The Atlantic cover touts a story headlined "Should Women Rule the World?" which turns out to be a rather cutesy review of a book by DeeDee Myers with that title, not a serious consideration of the question at all.