Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing during today's online Q&A:
Obama and other Democrats have made a point recently of arguing that some of the GOP's ideas are already incorporated into the Democrats' bills -- that the existing bills already represent compromises, so it makes no sense to scrap them. Ezra Klein wrote a good post on this yesterday.
Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing, a few questions later:
It's hard to say which side is putting preconditions on the health-care summit. Is it Obama, who says he won't throw out the existing bills (that passed both chambers already)? Or is it Republicans, since the Boehner-Cantor letter contained several specific preconditions for the meeting? Seems that both sides are digging in their heels. It's almost as though neither party really wants to compromise ...
Impressive how Pershing so quickly goes from noting that the existing bill already contains Republican ideas and constitutes a compromise to suggesting that "both sides are digging in their heels" and "neither party really wants to compromise," isn't it?
Here's the background:
House Republican Leader John Boehner and Whip Eric Cantor sent White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel a letter about the summit in which they asked the White House to take "off the table" the prospect of passing health care legislation through the reconciliation process and to "agree to start over," "scrapping the House and Senate health care bills." Their letter included not a single word expressing openness to progressive health care proposals, or a willingness to make concessions.
In response, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs issued a statement saying "The President looks forward to reviewing Republican proposals that meet the goals he laid out at the beginning of this process, and as recently as the State of the Union Address. He's open to including any good ideas that stand up to objective scrutiny."
And yet Ben Pershing thinks it's "hard to say which side is putting preconditions on the health-care summit."
I suppose "we'll only negotiate if you scrap your proposals entirely" and "no, everything should be on the table" are both technically "preconditions." But there's a vast difference between the two, and Pershing does not serve Washington Post readers, or the truth, by pretending there isn't.
(The Boehner/Cantor letter and the Gibbs response are both conveniently available on the Washington Post's web page.)
This morning, NBC's Chuck Todd went on Morning Joe to continue his upbraiding of Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon, who said on Fox News Sunday this past weekend that the mainstream media "hate" Sarah Palin and the Tea Parties. Todd expanded his critique of Sammon to Fox News in general, implying that the network has an "agenda" to "undermine the 90% of journalists who are just simply trying to cover stories out there," adding: "It is a business for some media organizations to undermine the quote-unquote mainstream media because it's good for their business."
Well, NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein was none too pleased with Todd's remarks, and seemed incredulous that Fox News would ever pursue a business agenda that sought to undermine their competition with accusations of bias:
Fox News has a business strategy of seeking to "undermine" the MSM by alleging that it has a liberal bias. That was the allegation that Chuck Todd made on Morning Joe today.
Todd didn't indicate which media on the left are trying to undermine the MSM, but in the context it was clear that in speaking of media organizations on the right, he was accusing Fox News of trying to "undermine" the MSM for business purposes.
You know what? Finkelstein is right. Where in the world would Chuck Todd get the idea that Fox News uses accusations of left-wing bias to undermine their mainstream media competitors?
For their part, NewsBusters lauded Fox News for the above advertisement, writing that it "point[s] a huge and unmistakably accusatory finger at its liberal competitors."
In her ridiculous defense of Rush Limbaugh's use of the word "retards" -- and her criticism of Rahm Emanuel for using the same word -- Sarah Palin also repeatedly called for an end to "name-calling." Palin said that "name-calling, using language that is insensitive, by anyone, male, female, Republican, Democrat, is unnecessary. It's inappropriate." She added: "Let's all just grow up."
However, Palin obviously would make another exception for Limbaugh. After all, name-calling and use of insensitive language are Limbaugh's favorite tricks.
Consider these recent examples, just since the new year:
Uh-oh, turns out Greg Pollowitz, the media blogger at National Review Online who criticizes the 'liberal' news media for a living, does not appreciate the fact that I've been highlighting his reckless and erroneous claim from last week that the Secret Service was involved in a "hit-and-run" when one of its agents allegedly hit a conservative blogger as he crossed a street in Washington, D.C..
In truth, the Secret Service was not involved in the incident, and there was no hit-and-run. But other than that, Pollowitz's blog post was dead-on.
I highlighted his blunder as a way to show that "conservative journalists" don't really play by the same rules as actual journalists. They rarely take responsibility for their factual errors, and often gravitate toward anti-government conspiracy theories. And yes, Pollowitz has helped proven my case.
Because here was Pollowitz's Monday response [emphasis added]:
Memo to Eric Boehlert: There will be no correction as there is nothing to correct. Rather than continuing your ridiculous commentary on my blogging about Jim Treacher's car accident, simply scroll down to see everything I've written on the matter.
Honestly. George Soros needs to ask for his money back if this is considered a top issue for Media Matters to cover.
Let me re-print what Pollowitz, without independently confirming a single fact or citing any news source, first wrote about the incident [emphasis added]:
Jim Treacher, a very funny blogger for Tucker Carlson's new Daily Caller website, was involved in a hit-and-run car accident yesterday -- involving the Secret Service.
Pollowitz now claims there is nothing to correct even though (I'll type this part slowly for him) the Secret Service was not involved in the accident and there was no "hit-and-run." But hey, at least Pollowitz got the name of Treacher's employer correct. (BTW, not even the Daily Caller claims that the Secret Service was involved in a Treacher "hit-and-run.")
Of course, Pollowitz's continued refusal to correct his plainly erroneous post only highlights my original point about "conservative journalism," and specifically the state of today's National Review. So for that, I thank him, although I doubt that members of the Secret Service, who are charged with protecting the President of the United States and who Pollowitz casually slandered when it fit his partisan interest, feel the same way.
From RedState.com contributing editor and American Spectator contributor Caleb Howe's Twitter:
Gee, nothing loaded in this one, right?
Obama's health care summit: Just for show?
Honestly, can GOP talking points appear more transparently in the form of an AP headline?
Keep in mind there is no reporting within the article to substantiate the sneering premise; that the White House has invited Republicans to a health care summit simply for theatrics, and that the White House has absolutely no intention of trying to accomplish anything.
Make no mistake, that is the GOP spin about the summit, but should the AP really be in the business of treating spin as fact?
Meanwhile, get a load of the this piece of priceless AP analysis [emphasis added]:
Still, there are a couple of issues on which Obama could try to nudge both sides.
He could officially bury the government insurance plan sought by liberals. A major obstacle for Republicans, the public option never had the votes to pass in the Senate. Yet Obama has hesitated to declare it dead.
The president could also follow through with curbs on medical malpractice litigation. Although he agrees with Republicans that fear of lawsuits leads doctors to practice defensive medicine and drives up costs, Obama has not insisted that limits on litigation be in the bill.
Any step toward limits — fiercely opposed by the nation's trial lawyers — is certain to draw solid Democratic resistance in a midtern election year. It's unclear how much such a gesture by Obama would help at this point.
Is this a joke? The AP sets out to explain ways that Obama could nudge "both sides" towards a health compromise. But then the AP only mentions initiatives that Republicans favor.
Or maybe that's the Beltway's media's new definition of bipartisanship -- doing whatever Republcians want.
UPDATED: Behold the Obama bipartisan trap. For a year, the Beltway press has been blaming Democrats (and Dems only) for the fact that Republicans oppose virtually every White House initiative. Now, when Obama overtly reaches out to the other side for a bipartisan summit, the AP suggests it's "just for show."
From the February 8 Washington Times editorial, titled, "Snowmageddon is nigh":
As Washington digs itself out from under the Snowpocalypse, the region braces for yet more flurries. At least 18 inches of snow lie on the ground at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and some places were blanketed under as much as three feet. More arctic blasts this week could drive 2010 into the history books as the capital's snowiest winter ever.
The news must send chills up the spines of global warming adherents, for whom this winter has been marked by discontent. Several of the movement's high priests have been exposed as charlatans. The famed "hockey stick" chart - cited as indisputable evidence that the planet has been warming for a century owing to carbon emissions - was exposed for fraudulently doctoring data to "hide the decline" in global temperatures. When the the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that glaciers were melting as a result of the selfishness of mankind, the claim turned out to be a complete fabrication.
Those who value freedom should thank Mother Nature for her sense of humor, undermining the case for global warming one flake at a time. So although we're quite tired of shoveling, we say, "Bring on the blizzard."
Tonight, Bill O'Reilly attempted to step outside the laws of space and time in order to defend his newest Fox News colleague, Sarah Palin. As O'Reilly noted, Palin delivered the keynote address at the first Tea Party Nation convention. After showing video of Palin criticizing congressional Democrats and the Obama administration, O'Reilly claimed, "It took just moments after that before the left-wing media replied, hammering Governor Palin." O'Reilly then showed a clip of Democratic consultant Bob Shrum telling MSNBC's Ed Schultz that Palin's Tea Party convention comments were "a masterful exercise -- masterful -- in paranoid politics."
But the Palin comments O'Reilly aired weren't made at the Tea Party convention. Rather, they came during Palin's interview with Chris Wallace, which aired on the February 7 edition of Fox News Sunday, a day after Shrum criticized her remarks at the Tea Party convention.
O'Reilly's video trick effectively granted Palin a reprieve for the comments Shrum actually was criticizing -- specifically, numerous false and dubious claims Palin made during her February 6 speech:
SHRUM: What we heard tonight was more a masterful exercise -- masterful -- in paranoid politics. I mean, she came across to me as a merchant of hate with an "Oh gosh" smile. I mean, go down the things she said. Barack Obama has never talked about the war on terrorism. Yes, he has. The way the shoe bomber was handled on Christmas Day. Those were under the rules set up by -- not the shoe bomber, the underpants bomber -- those were under the rules set up and applied to the shoe bomber by the Bush administration. Small business needs tax cut. Ed, who's proposing the tax cuts for small business?
SCHULTZ: Barack Obama is.
SHRUM: Barack Obama. Who's opposing them? The Republicans. It's the technique that believes that you can say anything and get away with it, as long as you stir up the base.
It would appear that technique is right at home at Fox News.
Glenn Beck today said that President Obama was "as fiscally responsible as a real housewife of Orange County at a Louis Vuitton sample sale." As evidence, Beck produced a chart of FDR's presidential spending as a percentage of GDP, claiming "the highest, if you see, in 1941, you might remember that date because it's supposed to live in infamy, 1941, 12 percent of GDP." Beck compared that figure to estimates from Obama's 2011 budget proposal: "Here's the lowest at 22.8 percent."
Beck then warned his viewers that this level of spending might lead to an all-out collapse of the American economy:
BECK: May I ask, how is this sustainable? Forget sustainable, how is this even sensible? How is this not suicidal for our country? How is this not going to turn us into, I don't know, Greece?
The only problem is that the U.S. Government Printing Office keeps track of these kinds of things.
What, then, are we to make of the budgets of fiscal conservative idol Ronald Reagan? See, federal spending during the Reagan administration never fell below 20 percent of GDP and peaked at 23.5 percent in 1983. Will Beck now attack Reagan's pursuit of fiscal policies that were "suicidal" for America?