The Washington Independent's David Weigel catches Politico's Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen calling Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray "a centrist Republican." Weigel explains:
Bilbray was a member of the class of 1994 who lost his old House seat in 2000, then stayed in Washington as a lobbyist for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocates "a temporary moratorium on all immigration except spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens and a limited number of refugees." Bilbray returned to Congress in a 2006 special election, which he won in part by accusing his Democratic opponent of soliciting votes from illegal aliens. Since then, Bilbray has maintained a 92% rating from the American Conservative Union, which makes him an "ACU Conservative" in their ranking system. He voted against increasing the minimum wage, voted to repeal the Washington, D.C. gun ban, voted against a ban on anti-gay job discrimination, and voted against expanding SCHIP.
Voting against a minimum wage increase, expanding health insurance for kids, and against banning workplace discrimination puts Bilbray far out of the mainstream of the American people. And in the last Congress, Bilbray's voting record put him far to the right of most of his colleagues, too -- he was the 79th most conservative member of the House of Representatives, out of a total of 435. That means Bilbray's voting record was more conservative than more than 80 percent of all members of Congress.
To Politico, that makes him a "centrist." Just like MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell thinks Diane Feinstein is one of the "most liberal" Senators. And Time's Jay Newton-Small thinks Lindsey Graham is a "moderate."
It's almost as though the media has no idea where the "center" really is.
Mike Allen on MSNBC, describing the circumstances of his interview with Sarah Palin:
"I somehow woke up to my phone, and it was one of her aides, who said "if we put Governor Palin on the phone, will you only ask her two questions?' And I said, 'Sure.' And so I was so sleepy that, after she answered the one about the divorce, I forgot what the other thing was that I was allowed to ask her, and she said 'Just go ahead, ask me anything you want.'"
Wait: Mike Allen not only agreed to ask only two questions -- he was only "allowed" to ask about certain topics?
Don't tell Dana Milbank.
Mike Allen claimed that the budget deficit reaching $1 trillion "is an awesome issue for Republicans." However, as numerous economists have noted, Bush administration policies are responsible for a large portion of the deficit.
From the June 30th edition of MSNBC's Hardball:
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Numerous media figures followed a Politico article in noting that President Obama did not use the words "terror," "terrorism," "terrorist," or "war on terror" during his speech at Cairo University, suggesting the omission was notable, but did not discuss possible reasons why Obama chose other words.
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The Politico reported that Dennis Blair stated that harsh interrogation techniques yielded "high-value information" but did not note Blair's reported statement that the costs of those techniques "far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us."
Since President Obama's announcement of a new strategy in Afghanistan, the media have revived the label "Obama's war," despite Obama's having inherited the 7-year-old conflict.
Since initial reporting that President-elect Barack Obama was considering naming Sen. Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, many in the media have raised the specter of personal and political "drama" -- which they claim follows Hillary and Bill Clinton wherever they go -- negatively affecting the Obama administration. The Chicago Tribune's Clarence Page acknowledged that the media are hoping for "drama" resulting from a Clinton appointment; Page responded to the question of how Obama is "going to keep the drama at bay" by saying: "Well, do we want that? We're journalists."
Politico's Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin uncritically reported Sen. John McCain's assertion during an "exclusive" interview: "Lobbyists don't come to my office. Because they know they're not going to be an earmark. They know they're not going to get a pork-barrel project. Senator Obama's gotten lots of 'em." Allen and Martin did not note that, to the contrary, lobbyists have reportedly received considerable benefits from McCain on behalf of their clients.
During an appearance at Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, responding to a question about "the most gut-wrenching decision you've ever made," Sen. John McCain cited his refusal to accept an early release from a North Vietnamese prison camp. The Politico claimed that McCain's answer "shows the power of his biography, and a new willingness to publicly discuss it." In fact, McCain has repeatedly referred to his Vietnam war experiences and has specifically cited his refusal to accept an early release in a book, interviews, speeches, and campaign ads since 1999.
On Hugh Hewitt's show, the Politico's Mike Allen said that "Senator [John] McCain had a good week last week" and stated it may be because of the McCain campaign's "Celebrity" ad, which "suggested [Sen. Barack] Obama is going to raise taxes." Allen did not note that the claim is false. In fact, Obama has proposed cutting taxes for low- and middle-income families, and McCain's own chief economic adviser has reportedly said it is inaccurate to say that "Barack Obama raises taxes."
Politico's Mike Allen reported on the content of a Republican National Committee attack ad against Sen. Barack Obama, yet failed to report the Obama campaign's response. Blog posts about the ad at The Washington Post and The New York Times, meanwhile, noted the Obama campaign's response to it.
On Mike Gallagher's radio show, Mike Allen said of Scott McClellan's new book: "Scott does adopt the vocabulary, rhetoric of the left-wing haters. Can you believe it in here he says that the White House press corps was too deferential to the administration ... in the run-up to the war?" By contrast, two of Allen's former colleagues echoed the media criticism of Allen's so-called "left-wing haters." Michael Dobbs asserted that "on the question of whether the American press did its job properly during the run-up to the Iraq war, it is difficult to argue with his conclusions. We failed you." Similarly, Howard Kurtz stated that print coverage during the run-up to the war was "flawed," adding: "It was only when violence surged in Iraq and public opinion began turning against the war that ABC, CBS, NBC, and the rest of the media turned more skeptical."
Reporting on a speech by Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, Politico's Mike Allen misrepresented Obama's April 16 debate response on "disown[ing]" Wright's controversial remarks by writing, "Obama referred to Wright as 'somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned,' then clarified that to say he had disowned the comments." Allen left out the first part of Obama's sentence: "[T]he notion that somehow that the American people are going to be distracted once again by comments not made by me but somebody who is associated with me that I have disowned, I think doesn't give the American people enough credit."