In the wake of Obama foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes boasting about how he managed to hoodwink the news media and the public regarding the negotiations with Iran, this disgusting display is not so much surprising and it is clarifying.
Monday’s edition of the Charlie Rose show on PBS featured Charlie chatting with former Obama speechwriters David Litt, Jon Favreau, and Jon Lovett to discuss their collaboration with the President to assist his (over-praised) communication skills. Much of the discussion centered on Obama’s stand-up comedy chops—Ah, what might have been! I’d gladly take my chances in that alternate universe—until the discussion turned to this:
CHARLIE ROSE: My point is do you have equal impact on serious speeches? Because it’s about style, use of language, etcetera?
JON LOVETT, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: I really like, I was very — the joke speeches is the most fun part of this. But the things I’m the most proud of were the most serious speeches, I think. Health care, economic speeches.
JON FAVREAU, FORMER OBAMA SPEECH WRITER: Lovett wrote the line about “If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”
LOVETT: How dare you!
LOVETT: And you know what? It’s still true! No.
Observations, somewhat diminished because this made MY HEAD EXPLODE: Continue reading
In commenting on today’s early post about Mediaite inexplicably neglecting to mention that the “ethics watchdog”now accusing Rep. Louis Gohmert of skimming off his campaign funds is in fact part of the Media Matters left-wing hit squad, commenter Steve-O-in-NJ observed…
“As has been pointed out many, many times on this site both by yourself and others, most Americans have some shade of partisan goggles on that makes it harder to see ethical violations by those they are sympathetic to and easier to see them by those they are not. It doesn’t help that there are any number of partisan dyes (racism, sexism, patriotism) we can release to further cloud the waters we swim in with these goggles on. Eventually there’s so much dye in the water and the lenses become so tinted that everyone forgets what clear water actually looks like.”
Truer words were never uttered. To prove Steve’s point from the other side of the political spectrum, I present Newsbusters, which holds a higher level of esteem from me than CREW by being transparent about its skewed perspective: the site, part of arch conservative Brent Bozell’s empire, acknowledges that it exists to show liberal bias in the news media, and Lord knows, there is plenty to show. Unfortunately, Newsbusters is addicted to the same silly routine its counterpart Media Matters employs, the “X spent this much time on this story but only this much time on this story that exposes the rank incompetence and corruption of a politician/program/party we hate” bit. The complaint has legitimacy when the news media is deliberately burying an important development and hiding facts from the public, as the mainstream media has done with the IRS scandal and attempted to do with Jonathan Gruber’s revelations, or as Fox did with results of the Congressional investigation of Benghazi. More often, however, the real complaint is “Why don’t the biased news sources adopt our biases instead of their biases?”
Today brings a classic example on Newsbusters: Continue reading
See, Congressman, it works this way: if you were a Democrat, CREW would ignore your junket to London, and so would Mediaite. Fox News, however, would be all over your ass…
Did Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-Tx)*, one of the prominent conservatives in the Republican-led Congress, misuse over $6,000 in campaign funds on a speaking trip to London? Maybe; it sounds like one of those typical gray election law controversies, and one of the lesser ones, except that Gohmert is on a lot of partisan hit lists. If he did misuse the funds, I’d want to see him fined, or whatever the violation warrants, and chastened too.
That’s not my concern right now, though. What interests me is that the alleged misuse of funds was flagged by Citizens For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and in reporting it, Mediaite said, in a story headlined, Ethics Watchdog Accuses Gohmert of Misusing Campaign Funds:
“An ethics watchdog group has filed a complaint against Rep. Louie Gohmert, accusing the Texas Republican of misusing campaign funds to foot the bill for a trip to England that included a 5-star hotel and a $200-plus taxi ride.The complaint, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), was addressed to the staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics and demands an investigation into whether Gohmert violated House rules by using campaign money for a trip that seemingly had nothing to do with his campaign.”
CREW, as I have repeatedly pointed out for years, is no “ethics watchdog.” Continue reading
I guess it all began with Allen Funt.
If Allen knew what he would be starting, he would have opened a deli.
Back in the Fifties, he came up with the idea of using a hidden camera to record the reactions of innocent bystanders “in the act of being themselves.” He staged situations, sometimes Twilight Zones set-ups like a door that opened for everyone but the target, and filmed the results, first for a guest segment on TV talk shows and finally on his own, long running hit, “Candid Camera.” Funt would never have dreamed of using actors and faking the reactions, because first, he didn’t need to; second, if he was caught, it would ruin him; and third, he was an honest professional. The idea, however, has thoroughly metastasized in all directions, to “practical joke shows,” reality shows, and such monstrosities as ABC’s “What Would You Do?” and James O’Keefe. Perversions were limited as long as the shows were restricted to television, but now YouTube makes everyone a potential producer, and among the thousands trying to create a viral video, there are many, perhaps most, who are not decent, ethical professionals like Allen Funt, but just greedy jerks who will gladly cheat, lie to and humiliate others to gain fame and fortune. Continue reading
Yes, David Brock really does wear his hair like that, and yes, I admit to being biased against anyone who does.
There is a real need for a fair, non-partisan, non-ideological ethics watchdog organization in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, what we are stuck with is the Center For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, headed by Melanie Sloan, and it is none of these things. The only clue on the group’s website, however, is the fact that Republicans are somehow found to be engaging in unethical conduct at a rate of about three times that of Democrats, and the Democrats CREW does criticize are so blatantly unethical that an old, blind and deaf watch dog would be disgusted by the stench. The mainstream news media, and which on the whole is about as unbiased as CREW is, still cites the Center as a “non partisan” source, all the better to attack Republicans with a semblance, though a deceptive one, of objectivity. CREW has operated, and quite dishonestly, as a nonprofit registered under a section of the Tax Code — 501(c)3, which prohibited partisan activity.
To be clear: CREW has done some excellent work flagging unethical conduct by Republicans officials. It is the lying about being objective that makes it an unethical organization. I wrote about CREW’s facade here
, and here
, and also noted
when it briefly dropped is pose when Sloan briefly joined that famously objective operative and lobbyist Lanny Davis’s firm—this is the same Lanny Davis who became a familiar fixture on TV spinning his friend and client Bill Clinton’s conduct during the Monica scandal—shortly after CREW blatantly pushed the interests of Davis’s clients on its website.
Remarkably, Norman Rockwell accurately predicted how news would be reported in 2013!
Last week, the Huffington Post breathlessly reported that McDonald’s could double its workers wages, thus giving them a “living wage,” by raising the price of a Big Mac by a mere 68 cents. This obviously had appeal to the HuffPo’s liberal sensibilities, more proof of how a big corporation was needlessly lining its pockets while exploiting the lowest rungs of the workforce. The “proof” was in a study that had been represented as a being run by a “University of Kansas researcher.” The study results looked so good that the fine progressives at the site just knew it had to be right—after all, it perfectly confirmed their own beliefs. This, I’m sure you have guessed by now, is confirmation bias in its purest form.
The Huffington post writer and editors didn’t check the source, and didn’t check the study. And as some non-biased, at least in the same direction, reviewers quickly found out when they did, neither held up. The “researcher” was an undergraduate (Arnobio Morelix, whose wonderful name alone would have made me want to check him out) , and the “study” might have been a term paper. The paper’s assumptions, conclusions and math didn’t hold up, as is fairly common for undergraduate papers. The Huffington Post had to retract its story, five days later.
Alas, too late! Continue reading
Caught by Newbusters: ABC’s David Muir referred to Alec Baldwin’s tweet calling Daily News reporter George Stark a “toxic little queen” as an “alleged slur,” while omitting any mention of Baldwin’s follow-up tweet announcing that the actor would “put my foot up your f–king ass, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much.”
Baldwin’s slur isn’t alleged, it’s preserved in screen shots all over the internet. Muir’s claim that the obvious slur is only alleged can only mean “toxic little queen” in the context of an exchange alluding to the male target enjoying violent anal penetration can be reasonably interpreted as anything else. It cannot.
I didn’t notice—did ABC also refer to Paula Deen’s admitted use of the term “nigger” as an “alleged slur”? If it did, I apologize: Muir isn’t biased…he’s just an idiot, following ABC’s idiotic policy. But if it did not—-and it didn’t-–then Muir’s effort to go easy on a fellow liberal’s bigotry is just one more of the little bits of proof of how left-biased the news media is that slips out periodically if one is objective and paying attention.
Of course, the Democrats and liberals among us who benefit from having the news slanted to support their candidates and issues only see alleged media bias when these smoking guns appear—just as Muir sees “toxic little queen” as an alleged slur.
Pointer and Sources: Newsbusters
Marc Lamont Hill—biased journalist, honest man.
While much of the mainstream news media has been floating rationalizations and excuses for its failure to cover the Gosnell trial, a cynical process nicely dissected by James Taranto here, at least one liberal commentator has the integrity to admit the obvious. He is the Huffington Post’s Marc Lamont Hill, and on a live webcast, he said this:
“For what it’s worth, I do think that those of us on the left have made a decision not to cover this trial because we worry that it’ll compromise abortion rights. Whether you agree with abortion or not, I do think there’s a direct connection between the media’s failure to cover this and our own political commitments on the left. I think it’s a bad idea, I think it’s dangerous, but I think that’s the way it is.” Continue reading