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  • Obama's "Fitness Flip-Flop"

    Blog ››› ››› SARAH PAVLUS

    Predictable. You just can't win with Dowd and Politico. Today, Dowd wrote that Obama would be wise to showcase healthy food in his next photo-op because that's what "America really needs." Politico44 then linked to her column with the headline "Fitness flip-flop?"

    (You know, just asking!)

    Dowd wrote:

    [M]aybe when Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer come next week to broadcast a special on health care from inside the White House, the president should forgo the photo-op of the grease-stained bovine bag and take the TV stars out for what he really wants and America really needs: some steamed fish with a side of snap peas.

    Yes, that's the same person who wrote:

    As Margaret Carlson told Mike Barnicle on "Hardball," in a segment called "Is Obama Too Cool?" about whether he relates to average Americans, sometimes you just want to tell the guy, "Eat the doughnut."

    The person who wrote:

    At the Wilbur chocolate shop in Lititz Monday, he spent most of his time skittering away from chocolate goodies, as though he were a starlet obsessing on a svelte waistline.

    Yes, that's coming from the same person who offered the following advice just last year:

    If Obama offers only eat-your-arugula chiding and chilly earnestness, he becomes an otherworldly type, not the regular guy he needs to be.

    He's already in danger of seeming too prissy about food - a perception heightened when The Wall Street Journal reported that the planners for Obama's convention have hired the first-ever "director of greening," the environmental activist Andrea Robinson.

  • Should what Sen. Ensign advocated in Washington stay in Washington?

    Blog ››› ››› JOHN V. SANTORE

    For years, personal indiscretions by elected officials have been viewed as fair game by the press. The political impact of the ensuing stories is left to the public, which must determine whether a particular aspect of an individual's private life is relevant to their public one.

    When reporting on personal issues, the press owes the people a full and accurate accounting, especially when suggesting reasons why a certain action might be relevant to voters. But today's print coverage of Senator John Ensign's affair demonstrates how often stories concerning personal problems miss a central part of the tale.

    If Mr. Ensign's actions are indeed newsworthy (an idea some would dispute), it is because they represent hypocrisy on behalf of a lawmaker with future political ambitions. To that end, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times noted in their articles that Sen. Ensign had been highly critical of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig for his alleged actions in a Minneapolis bathroom, adding that Ensign had also called on Bill Clinton to resign during the Monica Lewinsky affair. Reuters and the Associated Press included the Craig connection, but failed to mention the statements regarding Clinton. The New York Times, to its discredit, chose not to mention Ensign's reaction to either event.

    But more importantly, not one of these news organizations felt compelled to note that Senator Ensign has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage, as well as being a public and proud supporter of the Defense of Marriage Amendment (DOMA). As a readily available press release on Mr. Ensign's website makes clear, for him, "Marriage is an extremely important institution in this country and protecting it is, in my mind, worth the extraordinary step of amending our constitution."

    This obvious and highly consequential hypocrisy was immediately picked up on by several progressive blogs, such as DailyKos and Think Progress.

    An editorial in today's Las Vegas Review-Journal shows why this major omission on behalf of print journalism's standard bearers is so galling. Not content merely to ignore all of Senator Ensign's past statements on the behavior (and marriage rights) of others, it defended him by illogically shifting the focus onto the "leftists" who couldn't recognize that this was a "personal matter":

    [D]espite the predictable cries of "hypocrisy" from leftists who are only spared the label because so little is expected of them, it's worth pointing out that this is a personal matter -- not the kind of betrayal of official trust Democrats demonstrate every time they sacrifice the public welfare to satiate their paymasters, the trial lawyers or the public employee unions.

    For the Review-Journal, it is worth noting, Bill Clinton's personal behavior was anything but personal.

    The piece follows this purely partisan attack by noting that "Sen. Ensign remains one of the more principled spokesmen now on the Washington stage for a government limited in size and intrusiveness into our lives." Apparently, federally mandating which consenting adults can and cannot marry one another fits the "limited intrusiveness" guidelines.

    Nevada readers are regrettably exposed to such poorly reasoned conservative dogma every day, much to their detriment. As such, more responsible news organizations with a national reach have a responsibility to pick up the pieces and provide them with the full story.

    The omission of Sen. Ensign's support of DOMA from coverage both at the national and state level therefore represents the kind of failure that does a disservice to readers and voters, and must not be repeated.

  • UPDATED: Maybe this explains the right-wing attack on ABC News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    We noted this morning that the right-wing's rather unhinged response to an ABC News special that hasn't even aired or been taped yet might be driven by the fact conservatives in the press don't want to see any kind of thoughtful debate on the issue of health care because, according to recent polls, it's such a big loser for the GOP.

    That reading of the manufactured ABC News controversy is further supported by this:

    (h/t Greg Sargent)

  • WND's Porter: If we don't stop Obama "dictatorship ... we'll lose our lives"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    In her June 16 WorldNetDaily.com column, radio host Janet Porter writes that the Obama "dictatorship must be stopped. And it must be stopped now. If we don't, we'll lose more than our strongest ally in the Middle East and the free market - we'll lose our lives." From her column:

    In the same way he doesn't want to interfere with the so-called "elections" in Iran, he doesn't want to interfere with Tehran's efforts to obtain nuclear power. He'll give them until the end of the year to gain all the nuclear power they need to obtain their fundamental goal of wiping Israel off the map. But, rest assured, after that, he'll engage in some serious dialogue.

    No, Obama doesn't want to dictate to other nations what they should do. Unless that nation is Israel. When it comes to Israel, he wants full dictatorship. I wouldn't be surprised if he were to appoint another unaccountable czar to rule over them.

    [...]

    In the same "Apology tour" highlighting America's arrogance for "dictating" policy, Obama also used his political power to try and force the European Union to admit Muslim Turkey into their midst. Thankfully, France and Germany wisely opposed his dictates.

    And while we're on the subject of the arrogance of such "dictates," Obama, who said he wasn't interested in taking over the Auto industry, has done just - closing dealerships based not on their success, but on their politics. Those who opposed his candidacy are out of business, and those who gave him the most money remain open, even if their dealerships weren't successful. Auto czars and pay czars that answer to no one but the dictator in chief are making policy as we speak. They have taken over the banks, and now they want to run your health care.

    This dictatorship must be stopped. And it must be stopped now. If we don't, we'll lose more than our strongest ally in the Middle East and the free market - we'll lose our lives.

    Previously:

    Conservatives link Obama's purported "class warfare," positioning "America against the Jewish state" to Holocaust Museum shooting

    Hat-tip: Right Wing Watch

  • FLASHBACK: When Fox News boasted about its "unprecedented" access to the Bush White House

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Suddenly ABC News has become "state controlled" media because it's working closely with the Obama White House on a primetime program. At least that's how Michelle Malkin and her friends explain the world to their outraged readers.

    So if ABC News is now government controlled, what did that make Fox News in 2008? [Emphasis added]

    FOX News' Bret Baier was granted unprecedented access by George W. Bush as the president begins the final year of his extraordinarily consequential tenure.

    This historic documentary - shot in high definition - takes you inside the Oval Office, to the president's Texas ranch, aboard Air Force One and into his private sanctums in the White House residence.

    You get the idea.

  • WATCH: Conservative Media Paranoia Over Health Care Reform

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH & BRIAN FREDERICK

    A while back I wrote about healthcare reform noting:

    No issue incurs the wrath of these modern-day Red hunters more than health-care reform. For more than 75 years, conservatives have smeared progressive attempts to reform our faltering health-care system as "socialized medicine."

    [...]

    Since the 1930s, conservatives have assailed at least 16 different progressive health-care reform initiatives as "socialized medicine" or as a step that would inevitably lead in that direction.

    What exactly has constituted "socialized medicine" to conservatives over the past seven-plus decades?

    How about Franklin Roosevelt's consideration of government health insurance when crafting the 1935 bill that created Social Security, or Lyndon Johnson's 1965 amendment to the Social Security Act establishing Medicare? Both raised the ire of conservatives, who were quick to run with the "socialized medicine" smear.

    In fact, back in 1964, Ronald Reagan, then stumping for GOP presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, said of Medicare, "Will you resist the temptation to get a government handout for your community? Realize that the doctor's fight against socialized medicine is your fight. We can't socialize the doctors without socializing the patients."

    Like Roosevelt and Johnson decades before him, Bill Clinton's health-care initiative in 1993 and 1994 and his work to create the State Children's Health Insurance Program in 1997 were attacked time and again as "socialized medicine."

    Pick a progressive president. Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Clinton, and now Obama -- they've all faced the stale "socialized medicine" routine from the right.

    So, what's the climate been like for President Obama?

    Previously:

  • I'm pretty sure this is why Juan Williams isn't allowed to associate himself with NPR when he appears on The O'Reilly Factor

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    If folks didn't see this clip from Monday night, it's a beaut. Not only does the reliable O'Reilly backstop Juan Williams eagerly assure the host that he was right to attack Salon editor Joan Walsh for having "blood on her hands" for defending murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller (don't ask), but Williams also managed to liken anti-abortion crusaders with civil rights protesters from the 1950's. (Because how many civil rights marchers were ever charged with murdering their political opponents Juan?)

    In fact, this is precisely why NPR bosses informed Williams in February that he was not allowed to be identified as an NPR contributor when making his O'Reilly appearances. They did it because Williams was embarrassing NPR, plain and simple.

    BTW, don't you love how Williams politely described O'Reilly's anti-Tiller rhetoric as "dramatic." I suppose that's one (purposefully misleading) way of putting it.

    "Deranged" might be another:

    • "In the state of Kansas, there is a doctor, George Tiller, who will execute babies for $5,000."
    • "For $5,000, 'Tiller the Baby Killer' -- as some call him -- will perform a late-term abortion for just about any reason."
    • "Tiller has killed thousands, thousands of late-term fetuses without explanation."
    • "No question, Dr. Tiller has blood on his hands."
    • " 'Tiller the Baby Killer' out in Kansas, acquitted, acquitted today of murdering babies."
    • "This guy will kill your baby for $5,000, any reason. Any reason."
    • "If we allow Dr. George Tiller and his acolytes to continue, we can no longer pass judgment on any behavior by anybody."
    • "If we allow this, America will no longer be a noble nation."
  • The Red Scare Index: 38

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Here is today's daily Red Scare Index -- our search of CNN, CNN Headline News, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, MSNBC and CNBC for uses of the following terms: Socialism, Socialist, Socialists, Socialistic, Communism, Communist, Communists, Communistic, Marxism, Marxist, Marxists, Marxistic, Fascism, Fascist, Fascists and Fascistic.

    Here are the numbers for yesterday, Tuesday, June 16, 2009:

    TOTAL: 38
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 18
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 18
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    By Network:

    CNN: 11
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 6
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 5
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    CNN Headline News: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox News Channel: 2
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 1
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 1
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    Fox Business Network: 9
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 7
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    MSNBC: 13
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 9
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 2
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 2

    CNBC: 3
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 3
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    The above numbers are the result of a TVeyes.com power search for these terms on these networks.

  • Maybe this explains the right-wing attack on ABC News

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From PollingReport.com:

    The GOP Noise Machine continues to launch its pre-emptive attack on ABC News for having the audacity to turn over a chunk of its primetime to address the pressing national issue of health care reform. (The nerve!) Maybe what conservatives really fear is the fact that an overwhelming majority of Americans favor health care reform. Maybe the Noise Machine wants to shut down any debate because it realizes it's on the losing side.

  • Pat Buchanan doesn't think TV personalities should be accountable for their rhetoric

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Here's Pat Buchanan on MSNBC, moments ago:

    If David Letterman had said that about Sasha Obama and Alex Rodriguez, he'd be out of a job now, and he'd be begging to get his job back. But Sarah Palin and her daughters are fair game. And it really does show there is a terrible double-standard here. But I will say this: Letterman has apologized, and she has accepted it. I hope we don't go on with it. I think we ought to go forward, because Letterman is less of a problem, frankly, than the people out there who are the censors, trying to get people on the left or on the right thrown off of TV shows because of what they say.

    Shocking that Pat Buchanan doesn't want anyone to consider his rhetoric in deciding whether to keep paying him to talk on TV, isn't it?

    But what criteria do Buchanan think people should use in assessing whether someone should be on television, if not "what they say"? Or does he think TV Pundit should be a lifetime appointment, like the Supreme Court?