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  • It took two people to write this?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From the New York Daily News' Kenneth R. Bazinet and David Saltonstall the article headlined, "Shades of inauguration as President Obama begins with gaffe':

    President Obama delivered a smooth speech Tuesday night. But just like Inauguration Day, it began with a gaffe. After Obama ended his high-fiving march to the podium, the rookie President started to launch into his address. "Madam Speaker," he began. What he forgot is that the House speaker always introduces the President first. And Nancy Pelosi wasn't about to let her moment pass - she quickly cut him off to give her formal introduction.

    Did Obama suffer a gaffe at Inauguration Day when Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the oath? Not really. Was Obama's start to his speech Tuesday night in any way newsworthy? Of course not.

  • The Washington Times, loyal to the end

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    It might seem like nobody liked Bobby Jindal's speech last night. Few seem able to muster higher praise for it than Politico's insistence that Jindal "didn't exactly lay an egg" - and that came in the midst of an article that quoted several people trashing the speech.

    In situations like this, the RNC must be relieved it has an in-house newsletter to keep the troops' spirits high. I refer, of course, to the Washington Times. Here's how the Times assessed Jindal's speech:

    In an inspirational tone reminiscent of the president's speech, Mr. Jindal tried to assure Americans - and potential voters - that the country has the ability to overcome its current troubles.

    But the Times was apparently unable to find anyone else who shared that view. The paper quoted only two people other than Jindal in the article - both conservatives - but neither praised Jindal's speech.

    The result was a bizarre article in which a paid Republican party spokesperson offered a relatively neutral assessment of Jindal -- "a rising star and is a part of a new generation of leadership within the Republican Party" -- while a theoretically-neutral newspaper offered praise that even staunch conservatives don't seem to be willing to agree with.

  • Does ABC's The Note read ABC's own polling?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    From today's edition of The Note [emphasis added]:

    Add to that Obama's broader problem: that he remains far more popular than the ideas he needs to sell.

    Really? According to ABC's own polling information:

    Sixty-four percent of respondents supported the administration's $787 billion economic stimulus package and the same percentage backed his proposal to prevent housing foreclosures.

  • Funding for solar power? Sounds like something Hitler would do.

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Wall Street Journal editorial board member Holman Jenkins didn't like Barack Obama's comments about developing renewable energy sources:

    Put away the "energy independence" conceit. This notion, a favorite of Tojo and Hitler, was debunked by Churchill, who reasoned that true energy security came from a diversity of suppliers, not the foolish pursuit of self-sufficiency.

  • Politico comes to Jindal's defense

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In a rather odd turn of editorializing that completely contradicts the assembled facts in a news article, the Politico's Andy Barr collected lots of quotes for a piece article about Gov. Bobby Jindal's response to Obama's speech last night; all the quotes claimed Jindal blew it.

    But then Barr brushed the analysis aside to announce [emphasis added]:

    While Jindal may have missed a prime opportunity to establish himself as a leading Republican presidential contender in 2012, he didn't exactly lay an egg.

    Really? Here's what people in Barr's own article said about Jindal's ' performance:

    *"I think he had a really poor performance tonight, I'm sorry to say."

    *"The delivery was not exactly perfect."

    *"His basic message was sound but his language was hackneyed and his performance was wooden."

    *"His speech came across as unserious in content and condescending in its tone."

    There was not a single quote in the article that defended or praised Jindal. But don't worry governor, Politico says you didn't lay an egg.

  • UPDATED: Politico's Thrush, ABC's Klein compete for Drudge link

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Politico's Glenn Thrush is up with an awfully meaty post following the President's first address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. It says, in full:

    46 minutes

    It took President Obama 46 minutes to mention terrorism, the military or foreign affairs.

    By Glenn Thrush 09:57 PM

    I kid you not. He seems to be saying, "Please Matt Drudge, please link to me, pretty please..."

    Not to be outdone, Rick Klein makes the same pointless assessment during his live blogging of the speech on ABC's The Note:

    9:58 pm ET: Took a LONG while to get to foreign policy, no?

    I wonder how long it will take Drudge to read these love notes and post his own note in return -- in the form of a link.

    Bring on the traffic... daddy's gotta pay the bills (through online ad impressions.)

    UPDATE: It looks like Thrush and Klein may be trolling the Twitters for help in their quest for Drudge's affection.

  • Will media repeat Jindal's false attack on Obama, or correct it?

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    According to Ben Smith, Bobby Jindal will accuse Obama of pessimism tonight, saying:

    A few weeks ago, the President warned that our nation is facing a crisis that he said 'we may not be able to reverse.' Our troubles are real, to be sure. But don't let anyone tell you that we cannot recover - or that America's best days are behind her.

    Smith didn't mention this, but Jindal's claim is false. Obama didn't say "we may not be able to reverse" the crisis; he said if we continue to do nothing, it may reach a point where it cannot be reversed. And he didn't say "we cannot recover" or that "America's best days are behind her." Simply didn't happen.

    Here's Obama's February 5 op-ed:

    What Americans expect from Washington is action that matches the urgency they feel in their daily lives -- action that's swift, bold and wise enough for us to climb out of this crisis.

    Because each day we wait to begin the work of turning our economy around, more people lose their jobs, their savings and their homes. And if nothing is done, this recession might linger for years. Our economy will lose 5 million more jobs. Unemployment will approach double digits. Our nation will sink deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.

    That's why I feel such a sense of urgency about the recovery plan before Congress. With it, we will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next two years, provide immediate tax relief to 95 percent of American workers, ignite spending by businesses and consumers alike, and take steps to strengthen our country for years to come.

    UPDATE: Salon's Alex Koppelman is all over this:

    That's misleading, at best, though it's a cute little frame. ("Obama doesn't believe in you!") In context, it's clear that the quote Jindal refers to means almost exactly the opposite of what he says it does.

  • At Politico, only Dems are to blame

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    In their article today, John Harris and Mike Allen report on how the volatile stock market often reacts negatively when politicians discuss public policy. But in the article, Politico reporters only point the finger at Dems for making traders nervous with recent Beltway comments, not Republicans, even though Republicans have been uniformly trash talking Obama's recovery plan.

    Write Harris and Allen:

    In the past, the main object of Washington public relations was to try to make news, grab a headline and maneuver for better position in the daily scramble for power and partisan advantage. Usually, no one was much affected beyond the jawboning politicians themselves. In the current financial crisis, the PR game is serious business.

    They go on to highlight Sen. Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer, claiming comments they made caused jitters on the Street, as well as recent pronouncement made by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and VP Joe Biden. Basically, the more Dems talk, the worse the Dow does, seemed to be the Politico's point.

    Politico then relied on at least one Republican source who backed up the article's claim that loose-lipped Dems were harming the economy and giving Wall Street fits.

    But what about Republican politicians in recent weeks? Has their collective drumbeat of criticism of the Obama recovery plan had no impact whatsoever on Wall Street, or the spread of despair about the economy? How can Republican politicians be making all kinds of doomsday claims about how Obama's plan to fix the economy will surely fail, yet Politico completely ignores that trend in an article looking at the connection between pols affecting the economy?

    It seems unlikely that only Democrats are causing the jitters.

  • Environmental groups, Media Matters team-up calling on WaPo ombudsman for George Will correction

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    Today, Media Matters President Eric Burns joined Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope, League of Conservation Voters President Gene Karpinski, and Friends of the Earth President Brent Blackwelder in issuing a letter (PDF) to Washington Post ombudsman Andy Alexander asking him to address several blatant falsehoods in George Will's February 15 column about global warming. The joint letter rebuts several falsehoods in Will's column.

    As Media Matters recently noted, Alexander reportedly responded to one of these claims with further distortions of the facts.

    Jason Linkins at the Huffington Post has more on the story:

    Pressure on the Washington Post over a controversial George Will column, entitled "Dark Green Doomsayers," has escalated from being the passion project of media watchdog groups to a core concern of environmental leaders. These figures have launched a coordinated campaign against the Washington Post, seeking a correction of the record.

    […]

    The basic thrust of the column in question, published on February 15, 2009, goes something like this: a long time ago, scientists thought that the planet was poised to undergo a calamitous period of "global cooling," and also some other scary stuff about armadillo migration and the price of copper, and all of this proves that as the scientific community is so prone to lapsing into trendy, chi-chi "doomsaying," there's no real need to heed any concerns about global warming.

    Basically, it's an attempt to zero the balance of Will's objections to environmental initiatives by asserting, "once upon a time, these higher minds thought precisely the opposite, so this is just some great comedy." In reality, the article only proves that if you multiply a germ of scientific inquiry with George Will, you get zero. Throughout his piece, Will misuses his cited sources, misrepresents their findings, and omits the essential conclusions they reached.

    In addition to the joint letter, the League of Conservation Voters blog notes:

    We do not expect Mr. Will to apologize for the failings of his column. We do hope that the Washington Post, one of America's great bastions of top-notch journalism, will publicly retract and correct inaccurate information that appeared in its pages.

    Despite several documented inaccuracies, Post Ombudsman Andy Alexander continues to stand by Mr. Will's column. That's why the folks over at Media Matters brought together the leaders of the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, and LCV: to try one more time to set the record straight.

    While Friends of the Earth encourages their members to take action and email the Post ombudsman:

    George Will's February 15 Washington Post column, "Dark Green Doomsayers," contained numerous factual errors that painted a highly misleading picture of scientific knowledge about global warming. This is not the first time the Washington Post has published demonstrably false statements written by propagandists who wish to deny climate science.

    Please use the form below to send a message to the ombudsman of the Washington Post – the paper's "internal critic" whose "job is to represent the interests of readers, hold The Post to high standards and explain its inner workings to an often-suspicious public" – to demand that the paper formally correct Will's column and stop publishing falsehoods.

    Does your local paper carry George Will's column? Have you contacted the Washington Post and asked that they correct Will's column?