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  • ABC's The Note, where all news can be bad news for Dems

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    It's an iron-clad rule. So, watch how the Note twists and turns until it finds the downside to the recent GOP implosion; until the Note finds its beloved yes/but narrative for the Obama era [emphasis added]:

    To go with this flow, this is what going rogue gets you: As scandals begat stunners -- as Ensign morphed into Sanford, and then all got swirled into your very Palin holiday weekend -- Democrats have been given a series of gifts that also happen to be burdens.

    The disorder in the Republican Party, coupled with the long-delayed resolution of a Senate race that give Democrats 60 votes starting this week, gives Democrats control of the court, the clock, and maybe the scoreboard (to borrow yet another metaphor).

    But it also puts complete governing responsibility on the party that isn't imploding at the moment, the one that controls all the levers of government and even has fewer high-profile opponents to deal with on the other side.

    Prominent Republican from Nevada admits to having an affair? Check.

    Prominent Republican from S.C. admits to using taxpayer money to carry out affair? Check.

    Prominent Republican from Alaska quits her job as governor and holds baffling press conference? Check.

    Democrats finally grab 60 seats in the Senate? Check.

    But, that might mean bad news for Dems.

  • The Red Scare Index: 16

    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 last Friday, July 3, 2009:

    TOTAL: 16
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 9
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
    Marxism/Marxist: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 5

    By Network:

    CNN: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    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: 10
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 6
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 4

    MSNBC: 4
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 2
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 1
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 1

    CNBC: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    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.

  • NYT's Douthat strains to defend Palin

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    New York Times columnist Ross Douthat seems to think that if only Sarah Palin had declined the opportunity to run for Vice President last year, she'd be a widely popular and problem-free governor:

    Had she refused John McCain, Palin would still be a popular female governor in a Republican Party starved for future stars. Her scandals would be the stuff of local politics, her daughter's pregnancy a minor story in the Lower 48, her son Trig's parentage a nonissue even for conspiracy theorists. There would still be plenty of time to ease into the national spotlight, to bone up on the issues, and to craft a persona more appealing than the Mrs. Spiro Agnew role the McCain campaign assigned to her.

    This is absurdly generous.

    It seems quite clear that Sarah Palin's problem isn't that she didn't have time to "bone up on the issues," it's that she has a shocking disregard for the truth. Surely she didn't need to "bone up on" whether she had actually rejected funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere"? That isn't some obscure federal program no governor could be expected to be familiar with; that's her own action. And what Sarah Palin repeatedly said about it was very, very false. That wasn't the result of insufficient time to study, that was a result of insufficient appreciation for the truth, and it extends to many of the other comments that got her in trouble.

    Her inability to name a newspaper that she read wasn't a result of a lack of cramming time, either. And by now, it is quite clear that Palin's problem was less that she lacked the time to prepare than that she has a George W. Bush-esque overly simplistic approach to policy.

    As for the Mrs. Spiro Agnew role, Ross Douthat appears to be the last person in America who doesn't realize that Palin embraces that role.

    More Douthat:

    And now, seemingly, it's over. Oh, maybe not forever: she's only 45, young enough (and, yes, talented enough) to have a second act. But last Friday's bizarre, rambling resignation speech should take her off the political map for the duration of the Obama era.

    What, exactly, does it mean to say that Palin is "talented enough," particularly coming so soon after her bizarre, rambling, shaky, incoherent, internally inconsistent speech in which she quit the governorship with 18 months to go for unspecified reasons? Is that what a "talented" politician does?

    Douthat:

    Palin's popularity has as much to do with class as it does with ideology. ... Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal - that anyone can grow up to be a great success story without graduating from Columbia and Harvard.

    This ideal has had a tough 10 months. It's been tarnished by Palin herself, obviously. With her missteps, scandals, dreadful interviews and self-pitying monologues, she's botched an essential democratic role - the ordinary citizen who takes on the elites, the up-by-your-bootstraps role embodied by politicians from Andrew Jackson down to Harry Truman.

    Let's keep in mind that the way Sarah Palin represents the democratic ideal and takes on the elites is by offering the elites massive tax cuts at the expense of those trying to lift themselves up by their bootstraps, shall we?

    Douthat then offers up a selective appraisal of Palin's record for the purposes of portraying it as more moderate than it is. Douthat denies that she "inject[ed] creationism into public schools," but omits that she supports doing so (actual Palin quote: "Teach both. You know, don't be afraid of information. Healthy debate is so important and it's so valuable in our schools. I am a proponent of teaching both.") Douthat writes, "Palin did not insist on abstinence-only sex education," but forgets to mention that she initially supported such programs. Maybe her ability to take both sides of issues like creationism and abstinence-only education is what Douthat meant by "talented enough"?

    Left unmentioned: Palin's belief that the Iraq war is a "task from God."

  • Kettle? Black

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Right-wing blogs all atwitter that Sarah Palin's attorney has pretty much threatened legal action against any news outlet that prints false information about the prominent public figure. (Good luck with that.) And especially news outlets that re-print a corruption rumor about Palin aired by a supposedly evil liberal blogger, Shannyn Moore.

    If I have to spell out the deep irony here, I will: Right-wing bloggers, who traffic in misinformation about public (and private) figures pretty much 24/7, are now putting liberals on notice that if they print or post anything nasty about Sarah Palin--if they slander her--they're in for deep trouble.

    That's rich.

    And who's out front leading the truth-telling pack? Gateway Pundit, a site which, if forced to post only items that were actually fact-checked, might have nothing to publish at all.

    If right-wing blogs want to be taken seriously as the press police, if they want to lecture journalists about how to do their jobs, it might help if they didn't spend so much of their time concocting loopy, dead-end conspiracy theories.

    Just a thought.

  • The Washington Times and John Boehner, joined at the hip

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    A couple weeks ago, the Washington Times sent out a fundraising email on behalf of a right-wing group opposing the Sotomayor nomination. Then, last Thursday, Washington Times email list subscribers received this:

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

    Forget, for a moment, the question of whether the Washington Times should use its email lists in this way. What does it say about the "newspaper" that it is comfortable assuming that it will not alienate its readers by sending out partisan fundraising appeals for the House Republican Leader?

  • David Broder is not making sense

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    The Dean of the Washington Press Corps writes:

    Many who have heard Republican leaders in Congress proclaim their opposition to almost every piece of Obama's program are saying, "To hell with them." Instead of seeking to enlist Republican support, they urge Obama to tailor everything to the wishes of his Democratic allies.

    Yet when it comes to the big initiatives -- energy, health care and the rest -- the risks of such a choice are obvious. When no Republican votes are in play, the price individual Democratic legislators can extract from the White House goes up. We saw plenty of that with the stimulus bill and the energy bill, both of which were weakened substantively by the concessions Obama had to make to get the last Democratic votes.

    This simply does not make any sense. Broder thinks that the stimulus and energy bill were weakened substantially by concessions made to get the last Democratic votes, which is why Obama should seek Republican votes.

    Huh? Does Broder really think "big initiatives" would be weakened less if Obama were attempting to woo Republican Senators? And if so, is there really anybody at the Washington Post who honestly believes that David Broder's increasingly nonsensical observations deliver greater value to readers than, say, Dan Froomkin's White House Watch?

    Broder continues:

    That record has been clouded by a fog of rhetoric -- especially the excesses of Republicans decrying the president's "socialist" schemes and the Democrats calling the GOP the "party of no."

    Democrats call the GOP the "party of no" because they've been opposing everything, en masse, and rarely offering up more than a bumper-sticker of an alternative. Republicans have been calling Obama's plans "socialist" because ... well, because they feel like it, and because they know gullible and weak journalists like David Broder will fail to call them on the absurdity of the claim, not because Obama's plans actually constitute socialism. And yet, to David Broder, those two rhetorical gambits are equivalent. Again: this is nothing short of nonsense.

  • The Red Scare Index: 18

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Red Scare Index: 18

    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, Wednesday, July 01, 2009:

    TOTAL: 18
    Socialism, Socialist, Socialistic: 11
    Communism, Communist, Communistic: 2
    Marxism/Marxist: 5
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

    By Network:

    CNN: 0
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 0
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    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: 10
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 6
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 1
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 3
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

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

    MSNBC: 4
    Socialism, Socialist/s, Socialistic: 4
    Communism, Communist/s, Communistic: 0
    Marxism, Marxist/s: 0
    Fascism, Fascist/s, Fascistic: 0

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

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

  • Howard Kurtz's terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad week

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz has:

    * Done no original reporting on the Washington Post's firing of Dan Froomkin

    * Failed to ask Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank about a controversy over whether Milbank called another reporter a nasty name during a taping of Kurtz' television show

    * Gotten scooped by a rival publication on an explosive story about the Washington Post auctioning off access to its reporters and editors to lobbyists and other interest groups.

    Is it really too much to expect the nation's most famous media critic to be able to cover significant media stories that happen right under his own nose?

    Incredibly, it might actually be more than Kurtz can handle, as I explain in my column today.

    UPDATE: More from Marcy Wheeler on flaws in Kurtz's (eventual) article about the Post/lobbyist scheme. And from Adam Serwer on what Kurtz was writing about while Politico was drinking his milkshake.

  • Fox Nation breaks out doctored Franken photo

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    Franken

    As Think Progress noted, during the 2006 elections, the Ohio Republican Party included the doctored "2004 AP photo" of Al Franken - now the Senator-elect from Minnesota -- in a press release attacking then-Senate candidate Sherrod Brown (D) and Franken, who was campaigning for Brown at the time. From Think Progress:

    Franken

    Previously:

    Drudge smears "joker" Franken with doctored photo

    Fox News Unhinged Over Franken Victory