Blog

  • Cue the world's smallest violin. Again

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Just a little context for the griping coming from network television circles for having to air Obama's primetime press conference tonight. In the wake of Fox's decision to punt on the press conference, the trade mag Broadcasting & Cable reported:

    While pressers are the bread and butter of cable news, broadcast networks stand to lose millions in advertising revenue by shifting or rescheduling their normal programming.

    The presser is going to cost them "millions" in lost revenue. Of course, the TV nets take in hundreds of millions of advertising annually while using the public airwaves for free, but we're supposed to feel bad about tonight's preemption. Here's the context though, in terms of the "millions" in ad revenue that execs claim are being lost thanks to Obama's interruption. (An argument, btw, that we don't buy.)

    Fox is part of News Corps., which last year posted $32 billion in revenues. ABC is owned by Disney, which enjoyed $37 billion in revenues. CBS's parent company, meanwhile, took in $14 billion. And of course, NBC is owned by corporate behemoth General Electric, which last year produced $183 billion in revenue.

    Combined, the nets' parent companies generated more than $250 billion in revenues last year, but TV execs are whining about a couple million that might or might--might--be lost while broadcasting the White House press conference.

    Not sure that pity party is going to get many takers.

  • The Washington Times vs. reality

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Trust us, it wasn't even close.

    Even if this is a day old, it's still worth pondering, simply because it provides a glimpse into the crumbling GOP Noise Machine and the lengths it will go to prop up anti-Obama memes.

    According to the Times editorial, Obama job approval ratings are "in the basement." He's wildly unpopular as he hits his 100 day mark. Not only unpopular, but Obama's historically unpopular. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't read it with my own eyes:

    At the 100-day mark of his presidency, Mr. Obama is the second-least-popular president in 40 years.

    No, really. And look, the Times (sorta) provided polling data to back up its Alice-in-Wonderland claim:

    According to Gallup's April survey, Americans have a lower approval of Mr. Obama at this point than all but one president since Gallup began tracking this in 1969.

    Which is odd because here's what MSNBC.com reported just days ago, using Gallup's own data [emphasis added]:

    As we approach President Obama's official 100th day in office, his approval rating in the Gallup poll is average compared with past American presidents -- or is it?

    Going back to Eisenhower, Obama's 65% approval rating in the most recent daily Gallup poll is equal to the average Gallup approval for the 10 preceding presidents. Kennedy and Johnson had approval ratings in the low 80s at their 100-day mark. President Ford, in the wake of Watergate and the pardon of President Nixon, had the lowest approval rating at 48%.

    But when we look only at presidents in the past 40 years, Obama is near the top. His approval is 7-10 points higher than the approvals of the last three presidents.

    Here's the Gallup graphic MSNBC printed online:

    Presidents

    Approval %

    Eisenhower

    73%

    Kennedy

    83

    Johnson

    80

    Nixon

    62

    Ford

    48

    Carter

    63

    Reagan

    68

    H.W. Bush

    56

    Clinton

    55

    W. Bush

    57.5

    Avg

    65%

    Compared to previous presidents at the 100 day mark, Obama is more popular than Bush, Clinton, and Bush. Only Reagan polled better, and that was right after he survived an assassination attempt in March of his first year in office. So if you set aside Reagan's rather extraordinary circumstances, Obama is more popular at the 100 day mark than any president since Lyndon Johnson.

    Except, that is, inside the Washington Times newsroom, where it's been decreed that Obama is one of our least popular new presidents. (What a relief for the GOP!)

    FYI, click here for Gallup's daily tracking poll results for Obama's rolling approval rating. He hasn't been below 59 percent since Inauguration Day. And as of Tuesday, Obama's daily measured approval ratings stood at 63 percent.

    Also keep in mind that in mid-April, Gallup released the polling data for Obama's approval rating for his first full quarter in office:

    President Barack Obama averages a 63% approval rating for his first quarter in office -- the highest since President Jimmy Carter averaged 69% in 1977.

    Reality, 1

    Washington Times, 0

    UPDATE: Murdoch's NYPost, lilke WashTimes, does its best to rally the dispirited GOP troops with priceless "100 Days, 100 Mistakes" feature.

    UPDATE: More assuring voices, courtesy of Dick Morris: Obama's support is about to crater.

  • All they have left

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    It must not be easy to be a National Review writer these days, what with the most conservative presidency in memory having thoroughly discredited conservatism to the point that people are falling all over themselves in their rush to leave the Republican Party. So, if you're a National Review writer, what do you do to cheer yourself up? You make a lame Al-Gore-said-he-invented-the-Internet joke:

    Gore Credit-taking Prediction [Jack Fowler]

    I'm calling this way in advance: in 2021 or thereabouts Al Gore will say "I invented the single-molecule nano-vehicle."

    Get it? Get it? Ten years ago, Al Gore said* he invented the Internet, so in 12 years, he's going to claim he invented something else. Ha!

    It's been ten years. It's probably time to give it a rest.

    * No. He didn't.

  • Ari Fleisher pontificates about PA elections; doesn't understand PA election laws

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Fleisher appeared on Fox News this afternoon to criticize Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to jump to the Democratic Party today.

    Specifically, Fleisher thought Specter's move was dishonorable and that Specter should have done what Sen. Joe Lieberman did in CT when he faced a tough inner-party challenge: take his lumps in the primary and then run as an independent in the general election.

    Fleisher:

    You know there is a case where somebody actually did it honorably, and that was Joe Lieberman. He stood his ground, stood his principles, lost his primary and said I have more to offer, and ran as an Independent in a 3-way race, and the people of Connecticut elected him. Sen. Specter could have chosen that path. It would have been the more honorable, principled path.

    Slight problem. According to PA election law, a candidate who loses a primary challenge cannot run in the general election, even if he/she becomes an independent.

  • What Politico is doing to D.C. journalism

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Hint: It ain't good.

    Two recent headlines:

    Gibbs gives nonanswers at briefing

    and

    Obama gets ahead of prompter

    The first 'news' story was about how WH spokesman Robert Gibbs did not fully answers all the questions posed to him at Monday's daily briefing, which, in the longview of WH briefings, is equivalent to the headline, "Sun rises in the east." (Think Scott McClellan and Ari Fleischer for the masters of the nonanswer.) But Gibbs did it this week so according to Politico, it was news.

    The second 'news' item was, sadly, pretty self-explanatory.

    It's like Politico knew I was going to write a column called "100 Days of the media's trivial pursuits."

  • What's in it for Norm?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    With Arlen Specter's switch to the Democratic Party, Al Franken will be the 60thDemocratic Senator Senator caucusing as a Democrat when he is eventually seated. That has led to a lot of media speculation that Norm Coleman, the Republican Senator Franken defeated last Fall, to continue to drag out his lawsuits, preventing Franken from being seated for as long as possible. Now Politico's Glenn Thrush reports that Coleman's campaign has released a statement "regarding Sen. Specter's party switch" in which Coleman's campaign manager insists they will "keep on fighting."

    So, it seems pretty clear that Coleman is not "fighting" to win, but rather to keep Franken from being seated for as long as possible (why else would they have a statement on Specter's switch?) And the media knows this; that has been clear in their comments about Coleman today. So when will they begin asking and investigating the obvious question: What's in it for Coleman? What does he get in return for delaying Franken's seating as long as he can?

  • Is JoeSco a journalist or an activist?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Joe Scarborough on MSNBC, talking about the Specter switch, and sounding more like a Republican Party activist than a journalist (for the second time today):

    The problem is that the Republican Party has become a Southern, conservative party. Our leaders have been George W. Bush from Texas, Tom DeLay from Texas, Newt Gingrich from Georgia, Dick Armey from Texas. We are a party that talks with a Southern twang. There is good reason why we have been culturally disconnected from New England, good reason why we have been culturally disconnected from the Pacific Northwest, good reason why we've been disconnected from California and the Midwest.