• It's like Rahm Emanuel can see the future, or something

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    Emanuel on CBS's Face the Nation re: GOP and Limbaugh:

    Whenever a Republican criticizes him, they have to run back and apologize to him and say they were misunderstood.

    GOP chief Michael Steele on Monday, after calling Limbaugh's show "ugly" over the weekend:

    My intent was not to go after Rush – I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh. I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. … There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership.

    Question: Why did Politico leave out Rahm's bulls-eye quote when reporting on Steele's bow down to Limbaugh?

  • Revisiting his Limbaugh comments, Steele reportedly says, "There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership"

    Blog ››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

    The Politico reports:

    Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele says he has reached out to Rush Limbaugh to tell him he meant no offense when he referred to the popular conservative radio host as an "entertainer" whose show can be "incendiary."

    "My intent was not to go after Rush - I have enormous respect for Rush Limbaugh," Steele said in a telephone interview. "I was maybe a little bit inarticulate. ... There was no attempt on my part to diminish his voice or his leadership."


    Steele, who won a hard-fought chairman's race on Jan. 30, told Politico he telephoned Limbaugh after his show on Monday afternoon and hoped that they would connect soon.

    "I went back at that tape and I realized words that I said weren't what I was thinking," Steele said. "It was one of those things where I thinking I was saying one thing, and it came out differently. What I was trying to say was a lot of people ... want to make Rush the scapegoat, the bogeyman, and he's not."

    "I'm not going to engage these guys and sit back and provide them the popcorn for a fight between me and Rush Limbaugh," Steele added. "No such thing is going to happen. ... I wasn't trying to slam him or anything."


    In the interview with Politico, Steele called Limbaugh "a very valuable conservative voice for our party."

    "He brings a very important message to the American people to wake up and pay attention to what the administration is doing," Steele said. "Number two, there are those out there who want to look at what he's saying as incendiary and divisive and ugly. That's what I was trying to say. It didn't come out that way. ... He does what he does best, which is provoke: He provokes thought, he provokes the left. And they're clearly the ones who are most excited about him."

    Asked if he planned to apologize, Steele said: "I wasn't trying to offend anybody. So, yeah, if he's offended, I'd say: Look, I'm not in the business of hurting people's feelings here. ... My job is to try to bring us all together."

  • Does Michelle Malkin not understand what "ugly" and "incendiary" mean?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    While offering the RNC chief, Michael Steele, some "friendly advice" (nothing condescending there, right?), Malkin writes:

    There's nothing wrong with criticizing Rush Limbaugh. But if you are going to go on Obamedia outlets like CNN and throw around words like "incendiary" and "ugly," you better back them up.

    Malkin seems to suggest that if he had to, Steele could not back up those adjectives, so it was a mistake for him to use them. We chuckled. Did Malkin really want Steele to add meat to the Limbaugh's "ugly" and "incendiary" bones on live, national TV? Malkin would have preferred it if Steele had detailed Limbaugh's brand of loony hate?

    If anyone's curious about what Steele was referring to in terms of the "ugly" and "incendiary" nature of Limbaugh's show, they can start by clicking here.

  • Flashback to 2007: Possible Senate challenger Kudlow accused Dodd of "harping about income inequality" during "Bush/Bernanke boom"

    Blog ››› ››› MARCIA KUNTZ

    Amid reports that MSNBC's Larry Kudlow is considering a run against Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, Media Matters for America decided to check out what Kudlow has said about Dodd in the past. We came across this column from 2007, which is interesting for a couple of reasons: Describing a hearing in which Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke testified about the then-strong economy, Kudlow accuses Dodd of "harping about income inequality and wage stagnation, trying to change the subject from the excellent economic news and pave the way for a tax hike on the top, most successful American earners."

    So, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying before Congress, officially threw in with Goldilocks - moderate growth, declining inflation.

    The stock market loved it, up 100 points. Stocks soared in all sectors and around the world.

    Strong business, rising exports to the rest of the world, healthy consumers, low unemployment, wages on their best run in years - these were Bernanke's key bullet points.

    Senate Democrats like Christopher Dodd and Chuck Schumer kept harping about income inequality and wage stagnation, trying to change the subject from the excellent economic news and pave the way for a tax hike on the top, most successful American earners. But wages are booming. And the rest of the inequality story is so much statistical illusion and faux arithmetic. (Just ask Washington economics scholar Alan Reynolds).

  • Down for the Count: The Real Fight for 2012

    Blog ››› ››› KARL FRISCH

    My latest column is now online. The piece, titled Down for the Count: The Real Fight for 2012, which has already been picked up by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, looks at media coverage of the emerging battle over the 2010 U.S. Census which will have a profound impact in 2012 potentially deciding the control of Congress for years to come. Check it out and be sure to post a comment and let me know what you think.

    Down for the Count: The Real Fight for 2012

    By Karl Frisch

    The fight for 2012 is here. Beltway media insiders rejoice!

    Who's it going to be? Spunky Sarah? Moneyed Mitt? Holy Huckabee? Some dark-horse candidate flying under the radar? One thing is for sure: While the media clamors for every tiny detail in the looming battle for the Republican presidential nomination, the real fight for 2012 is taking place right before their very eyes.

    Continue Reading...

  • Politico, relentlessly out of touch

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    Here's how Politico begins an article about the ban on gays serving openly in the military:

    It is precisely the sort of knife fight no president wants to get into, especially in his first 100 days. But it seems that President Barack Obama is about to get dragged down the same dark alley as Bill Clinton when he was forced to confront the highly charged issue of gays in the military early in his term.

    Politico didn't bother including any polling data on public attitudes towards gays serving openly in the military. Maybe that's because the polling undermines the entire premise of the Politico article.

    An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted last July found that 75 percent of Americans favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military - up from just 44 percent in 1993. The poll even found 64 percent of Republicans in favor. 64 percent of conservatives, too - and 59 percent of conservative Republicans.

    And yet, here's Politico insisting - without data - that the issue is dangerous for Obama:

    The issue is risky for Obama, too, political analysts said, threatening to galvanize social conservatives and other political opponents, strain the new president's relations with the military, and force him to squander valuable political capital that is needed on more pressing matters, particularly his economic agenda.

    Another problem: Politico says the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulation "allows gays to serve in the military, as long as they don't flout their homosexuality." First, I'm pretty sure they meant "flaunt," not "flout." Second, members of the military need not "flaunt" their homosexuality in order to be discharged under DADT. They need only acknowledge it.

    Politico is developing something of a habit of portraying wildly popular policy positions as out of the mainstream. A few weeks ago, Politico's Glenn Thrush portrayed public funding for contraceptives as part of a "far left agenda," despite the fact that polls show around 80 percent support for such funding.

    If they're going to call themselves Politico and focus on politics rather than policy, is it really asking too much for them to have at least a general sense of where public opinion is on issues before publishing this nonsense?

    UPDATE: Some have questioned whether Thrush personally suggested that funding for contraceptives is a "far left" position, or whether he merely indicated that conservatives would portray it as such. Here's his exact wording; decide for yourself: "Third -- and most dangerous to Pelosi personally -- it undercuts her carefully crafted image as a measured centrist, playing into the right wing caricature of Pelosi as a Bay Area liberal who will abuse her power to push her far left agenda."

  • Frum: Limbaugh "cannot be allowed to be the public face" of conservative movement

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    David Frum writes:

    Rush knows what he is doing. The worse conservatives do, the more important Rush becomes as leader of the ardent remnant. The better conservatives succeed, the more we become a broad national governing coalition, the more Rush will be sidelined.

    But do the rest of us understand what we are doing to ourselves by accepting this leadership? Rush is to the Republicanism of the 2000s what Jesse Jackson was to the Democratic party in the 1980s. He plays an important role in our coalition, and of course he and his supporters have to be treated with respect. But he cannot be allowed to be the public face of the enterprise - and we have to find ways of assuring the public that he is just one Republican voice among many, and very far from the most important.

    Whenever CNN manages to find two Democrats who disagree about where to go for lunch, it breaks out the "DEMS IN DISARRAY" chyron and goes wall-to-wall with the idea of the Democratic Party in turmoil.

    Just sayin'.

  • Rush Limbaugh, Scholar

    Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

    During his CPAC speech, Rush Limbaugh said conservatives "believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life, Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness."

    Conservatives may believe that, but it just isn't so. The language Limbaugh was referring to actually appears (more or less; he made some changes) in the Declaration of Independence.

  • Who cares what Newt Gingrich thinks?

    Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

    I don't mean that in a partisan sense. But rather I ask the question in terms of journalism and newsworthiness.

    Reading the New York Times Magazine's star treatment of Newt Gingrich this weekend, I kept waiting for the massive 8,000-word article to answer the very simple question, who cares what Newt Gingrich thinks? He hasn't been in office for more than a decade. I can't think of a single Bush era initiative that had Gingrich's fingerprints on it. He didn't run for president. And even the Times article details how House Republicans completely ignored Newt's advice on how to deal with the new president Obama in terms of his stimulus package. And yet....

    And yet there Newt is on the cover of the Times magazine with the headline, "The Anti-Obama," which clearly tried to elevate the failed Speaker of the House to the level of the new president. We're supposed to believe that Newt's now calling the shots inside Washington, D.C. among Republicans. But again, where's the proof? Newt obviously has no control whatsoever over the legislative process and he's not running for office.

    But he emails colleagues lots of ideas! Okay.....

    From the Times profile:

    There's not really any unified, easily distillable argument in these and other proposals, no ideology that might be charted on a continuum and labeled accordingly...Gingrich told me he has identified about 100 ideas and positions that command anywhere from 62 percent to 93 percent support among such a cross-section of voters: giving out tax credits for installing alternative heating sources in your home (90 percent); awarding cash prizes to anyone who invents a car that gets 100 miles to the gallon (77 percent); keeping God in the Pledge of Allegiance (88 percent).

    Gingrich has been doing the deep thinker/ideas shtick for nearly 15 years, and the press loves it. Gingrich's ideas don't ever really go anywhere. But for the Beltway press corps, he's a big deal. He's serious and he's important and of course the out-of-power wannabe pol should be the subject of a massive Times profile, right?

    Plus, the state of the the GOP is just a hugely important topic, and how could readers survive without fresh quotes from Frank Luntz about how stupendous Gingrich is, and quotes from Grover Norquist about what a liar Obama a liar, right?

    BTW: If you'd like a little context, which was missing from the Times piece, when Republican voters were polled in September 2007 and asked who they'd support to be the party's nominee, Grinch, in this WSJ poll, came in last place.

    But of course in 2009, Gingrich is a very important person. Or put another way, when should we expect to see the Times' 8,000-word feature on Democratic idea man Dennis Kucinich?