Everybody knows Republican obstructionism and economic sabotage is the problem, but the media won’t go near it with a ten foot pole. Of course, because ombudsmen like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, etc. will declare it biased, and Beltway hacks are scared to death of them. Authors Mann and Ornstein were respected DC insiders before, but were immediately locked out of the kool kidz klub upon violating standards of rudeness by displeasing those titans of polite discourse.
I don’t know what holds back MSNBC here, as only Chris Hayes has had Mann and Ornstein on, but seriously.
That discussion should be happening over and over again.
There’s an argument for weakness there, but weakness sucks. You punch back when you get punched, and harder, and more often. Democrats are too busy trying to play fisticuffs when the Republicans are going full unregulated MMA on them, groin shots and all. And guess what? The referee is happy to hold each to their own standards. There is no fair play here. Why? Because the press isn’t afraid of fisticuffs either. Democrats still scatter for the hills when the Beltway tsk tsks them, and the Beltway scatters for the hills when the bloodthirsty Republican mob comes after them.
Republicans define liberal bias as the willingness of any news outlet to report news that is not purposefully meant to flatter Republicans. As we well know, only FOX succeeds at meeting their standard of fairness, whereas FOX is a Republican-funded video outlet of the RNC. Only that standard will escape criticism. Democrats need only ask for journalism to be done to prosper.
Can’t sum it up better than this. Maybe, “Should we start including peanuts in our peanut butter?”
I must giggle a bit that Mitt Romney’s stupendous campaign of constant, unskillful lying has pressed the NYT to confront some of its attitudes towards stenographic journalism. After two Gee Dubya campaigns, the euphemization of torture, and Sarah Palin I didn’t think the press had any boundaries on reprinting bald-faced lies, but there ya go, a limit.
Nowhere in it will you find an address of the merits of the case. I really mean it, because this is the only sentence the merits are touched upon:
We made no judgments on the merits of the Ryan plan; we just said that the characterization by the Democrats was false.
That’s correct, the only line that mentions the merits of the criticism specifically states that the merits were not considered. Thus it does not matter whether or not the Ryan plan would end Medicare in all but name. It doesn’t matter if it hands out each senior a magic healing stone with “Medicare” carved on it. The merits of the plan are not to be considered.
What was considered? As you can see in the article, the usual tropes about oh, what sad partisan times we live in, and excuses that the Washington Post did it too so it’s okay.
The facts were not allowed in a fact-check. And everybody else should just suck it in and take it except Politifact, apparently.
How quickly people rise from nowhere into vaunted infallible hubristic disrepair.
What Obama failed to mention was that the House voted to repeal a 3 percent withholding tax on contractors — a proposal similar to one included in the president’s American Jobs Act. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called for the Senate to take it up next week.
It is a minor element of Obama’s overall plan, but one that allowed Republicans to highlight as proof that they are willing to work with Democrats
Well, it “allows” this in that Politico allows it by publishing sentences like that. Common sense, logic, reason, and truth certainly don’t allow it. Nor does math. Peeling off a Blue Dog Democrat isn’t proof of anything except that Blue Dogs are finger-in-the-wind corporate chickenshits who jump whenever Republicans say boo. Plus, it used to be normal that votes peeled off a few of the other side, it’s only that Republicans have become such lock-step saboteurs.
Republicans passed one tiny element of the jobs plan, a plan that itself was already modest, except that it came from Teh Great Usurper Barry Soetero. Cherry picking one thing does not cooperation make. The entire jobs plan was projected to add about 2 million jobs by Moody’s, so passing one minor measure is doomed to have minor effects. Excuse me for not seeing a flock doves.
As the Republicans’ threat to burn the economy down to the ground, i.e. not raise the debt ceiling, marches closer to the day of suicidal conflageration, those with the Beltway-itis (I gots it real bad, Mama!) are starting to stir from their slumber. PM Carpenter goes after one usual culprit, Ruth Marcus (at Ground Zero of the Beltway infection, the Washington Post):
The Post’s Ruth Marcus is, at long last, “alarmed” that the Republican Speaker of the United States House of Representatives is, when it comes to economics, grotesquely guileful. “Even more alarming,” she writes, “is the incoherent, impervious-to-facts economic philosophy undergirding Boehner’s remarks.”
Marcus cites several of these ideological Boehnerisms, which run from “The recent stimulus spending binge hurt our economy” to “A tax hike would wreak havoc … on our ability to tackle the national debt.”
One would almost think this is something new, but this is pretty much standard GOP boilerplate dogma, dialed to 11 since the thunderous collapse of 2008 pretty much eviscerated most Republican economic theories. They can’t leave, so they double-down. So where has Marcus been all this time?
What did alarm — indeed, what appalled — in Marcus’ column this morning was this:
Reporters naturally tend to ignore this boilerplate. Journalistically, that makes sense. Boehner’s economic comments [to the New York Economic Club] were nothing particularly new. Indeed, they reflect what has become the mainstream thinking of the Republican Party. But that’s exactly the point. We become so inured to hearing this thinking that we neglect to point out how wrong it is.
Let’s review that line of journalistic … logic. It “makes sense” journalistically to “ignore” profoundly misguided and inescapably harmful economic theories in national vogue because the ideological pols who tout these squalid theories have succeeded in bamboozling millions of voters who don’t comprehend just how profoundly misguided and inescapably harmful they are, because journalists have ignored the theories’ imbecilities, because they’re “inured” to the theories’ national vogue.
Even a freshman, D- student of logic would laff at this circular drivel; and virtually any honorable student of journalism would no doubt promise herself that should she ever “become so inured” to politicians’ self-serving swill of national sabotage that she “neglect[s] to point out how wrong it is,” then she’d quit her profession and just move to Madison Avenue or K Street, where she could, in better conscience, practice an older one.
Whoopty-doodles…Marcus is like most with the Beltway careerist paralysis. She can’t identify what’s going wrong with America without admitting she’s been twiddling her journalistic thumbs. Oh, those silly people are actually a serious threat?
Meting out revenge on Marcus and others like her isn’t so important, except that there’s no reason to believe they won’t go right back to sleep the second we clear this particular hurdle. Yes, you have sinned, Ms. Marcus, but you must sin no more! And part of that is understanding the scope of your past transgressions.
Do you finally feel the horrible regret, Ms. Marcus?
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Republicans shrieked in horror that President Obama was being “partisan” after he pointed out certain facts like their intent to dismantle Medicare (however hard that may be to get them to admit, you can if you press long enough or, y’know, actually spend any time hanging around Republican chat forums), and Mark Halperin, always mindful that his future seat at FOX be kept warm, leads the charge for the Beltway press to dutifully regurgitate whatever Republican strategists say. Miraculously, Obama is getting some serious street cred from a lot in the media for actually proposing a halfway sane budget solution instead of Ryan’s wet kiss to the Tea Party nutbaggers, but let’s examine, oh so briefly, the claim in dispute-
… America is on the mend, but this recovery could be stopped dead in its tracks if big spenders in the Congress have their way….
Right now, House liberals are pushing a budget — the so-called liberal Democratic budget — that, if implemented, would reverse the progress we’ve made and wreck our program to rebuild the economy. They want to throw out the window much of the domestic budget savings we’ve achieved over the last 2 years. And they would go much further, seeking $181 billion in higher domestic spending over the next 5 years, excesses that would send the budget, prices, and interest rates soaring out of control and our economy into a tailspin.
To cite just one example, Medicare would be driven into bankruptcy by the failure of their budget to address its problems….
Now, how do they propose to pay for their reckless binge? Two ways: by compromising America’s defense security and by slapping massive new tax increases on every working family. Ignoring the Soviets’ tremendous advantage in military forces, the liberals would cripple our efforts to modernize America’s defenses. To put it bluntly, their budget gambles with our security and safety….
I dunno. Simply believing a single word the Republicans say puts you at risk of utterly debasing yourself, yet good people just can’t accept that and keep trying to lend them good faith. But they’re always, always, always gaming the message. Taking them at face value is simply surrendering your intelligence and choosing fear. The slightest scrutiny always, always, always sends them running.
Comments Off on I got the Beltway-itis real bad, Poppa!
Are House Republicans serious about dealing with the deficit?
When was it established that they were ever serious?
Now they’ve used their political clout from the legendary victory of 2010 to blow a trillion dollar hole in the deficit and have proudly announced their intention to completely de-link tax cuts from deficit calculations.
Y’know, Wal-Mart lowers their prices because it gets more butts in the store. When the government effectively lowers its prices, and says you can have all this wonderful infrastructure and aid, not to mention the world’s largest military complex (in order to play global chess) for less, people will get their butts in that government store. By telling people that if they want a program, they’re going to have to pay taxes for it, I’m being responsible. By telling people they don’t have to pay taxes for anything, and they swear to get around to making some cuts in the future, the Republicans pulled off quite a con job in 2010.
If it appears they weren’t able to foresee a single thing past Election Day, your eyes aren’t lying.
That said, I expect the press to spend the next two years still asking themselves this question. There are narratives to consider, you know.
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Think about what it says about Richard Cohen that he knows the economy is terrible, that unemployment has been too high for too long — but what he’s really concerned about is Barack Obama’s “persona.” How out of touch do you have to be to repeatedly gloss over a terrible economy in favor of a lengthy discussion of presidential style points?
It’s the unemployment, stupid. Then Republicans say, “Obama’s policies made it worse!” when expert consensus says Obama’s policies helped, just not enough, and the elites spend their days with their usual stupid soap operas about presidential posing. God, how they quivered when Bush swaggered while ruining the country.
Obama, in the eyes of media elites like Halperin, is not allowed to fight back against his political opponents. Why? Because it’s unseemly. Apparently it’s not that unseemly when his opponents accuse him of being a racist and a Nazi and tyrant and a liar and a terrorist-sympathizer and foreign-born. It’s unseemly when Obama answers his critics. It’s unseemly when he defends himself.
One would think that the burden should rest on the people lying, but oh no, in the Beltway that wouldn’t be polite to point out that it’s the Republicans and the media who have failed America in the past two years, and that Democrats have at worst relented to the pressure. In the Beltway, Republicans get to say insane shit. If you attack them, you’re attacking poor “real Americans,” who have “real concerns.” Nobody can get a straight answer out of them, of course. But the emotion is real! And, of course, Americans on the left just don’t matter.
Everybody knew when Obama and the Democrats won in 2008 that we had an uphill struggle ahead of us. The Republicans were bitching from Jan 2009, of course, about how we weren’t already at the top. They knew that they could spend the next two years beating up on Democrats with little hope for a rebound. Most gobsmacking, it’s inarguably true that the recovery actually worked for the real Republican constituency, Corporate America. Republican philosophy would dictate that recovery for Wall Street means recovery for Main Street is right around the corner, but please. I say “Republican philosophy” to mean “recent campaign slogans.” They spend a lot of time bragging about their principles in order to mask the fact that they have few true principles that they could be openly public about.
I mean, one can expect Republicans to be continuously full of shit, but isn’t the job of our elite media to filter and distance themselves a little bit? Instead, it always sounds like a bunch of catty cheerleaders, pompous twits who are still sore Obama went to his daughter’s soccer match without letting the press tag along.
Maybe they should just stick to trying to convince us Glenn Beck is Martin Jesus King Sr. when he opposes everything MLK stood for. Naturally, FOX won’t mention Beck was the guy who called President Barack Obama a racist who literally hates white people.
Mark Halperin practically invented it. Go ahead and read the link if you want to find out why President Obama is wrong to point out that Republicans want to target Social Security. Short version: It’ll make Republicans grumpy and unlikely to compromise.
Okay, Halperin, you asshole. What explains the past two years of record-breaking obstructionism after Obama came at the Republicans with nothing but olive branches and premature compromises? After two years of “OBAMA IS TEH SOCIALIST DICTATOR!” Obama has to watch out for hurting their feelings by describing their dream policies accurately?
You can go ahead and read it to see where Halperin points out Obama is wrong on the facts. You won’t find anything. Just the insistence that Obama hunker down and smile while Republicans kick his teeth in.
Comments Off on The sickly corruption of Beltway-itis.
The most interesting part of my job is that I get to observe powerful people at close quarters.
Like David, I am privileged in many ways to be able to meet and talk to a lot of powerful figures. David and I have been at many functions of this sort together, but I have to say I disagree. These interactions are the least interesting part of my job, and often the most misleading. Every now and then, you discover a nugget that adds something. But in general, you get the schtick and spin, larded with a few anecdotes to make you feel flattered to be included in the salons of power. And what still amazes me is how deferent most of even the A-list journos are (with a few glorious exceptions). In fact, the definition of an A-list journalist in Washington is the person who is chummiest and closest to the people they cover. They have risen to the top in part because they know what questions the powerful really don’t want to answer – and decide not to ask them.
As Chomsky said, there’s really no need for a conspiracy. It’s just a simple question of incentives and human nature. Those with power almost by definition don’t want the press to be too inquisitive or challenging, because doing so undermines that power. That’s the precise point of journalism, to be a check on power. So what do those in power have to challenge the press? In fascist societies they can simply jail or kill those who ask too many questions, but in our society the powerful simply mete out what they have: power. Access. The illusion of hot insider info, which usually turns out to be planned leaks or superficial. In a free society, our leaders simply don’t have to invite in a challenging journalist when they can invite over a “bigger” journalist who will be nicer.
The least amazing thing about a powerful person should be that they’re charismatic and dynamic. Outside of societies where power is decreed by bloodline, such will ever be the case. Odds are that no matter how horrible a leader somebody in America is, they’re likely pretty easy to get along with in person, because they’re politicians, and that applies to high-ranking military as well. I’m sure George W. Bush would shake my hand and give me a pat on the back, and we could throw some small talk around, and I’d probably enjoy the actual encounter itself. At the same time, he was one of the worst presidents in our nation’s history and we will spend decades cleaning up the damage he did to both our land and our government.
A journalist’s job is to look past the charm and get to the facts, the things that actually matter to us as a country, as citizens who want to keep their leaders in-bounds. I don’t care if there’s a gang of rude assholes in D.C. as long as they’re doing the right thing.
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To answer my third question, there is. You simply say, not that there’s anything wrong with being a big rug-munching lesbo, but Elena Kagan doesn’t happen to be one. Okay, try it like that without the rug-munching comments, else Republicans suddenly decide they’re going to be offended on behalf of lesbians.
If Elena Kagan is gay, it would behoove the WH to stand by her and stand by her sexuality and let the hate come out. Don’t add to it.
And yes, Howie Kurtz is a hack.
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The little catty bitches never seem to get it. It’s not about them. After groveling and chortling for eight years of the liars Bush paraded in front of them (Ari Fleischer, Scott McClellan, Tony Snow, Dana Perino), now the WH press has finally found a reason to be mad at a WH press secretary: Not kissing their asses. The result? This hit piece, somehow delivered as serious analysis.
In reality, it’s all a bunch of self-centered whining from the press corps over petty business. Apparently it’s Gibbs’ job to make the press feel good about themselves and insure that they get all scoops first. Releasing info via Twitter? Not taking silly questions seriously? Asking to get back to reporters with info later? The horror never ends.
This is all treated as “contempt for the press,” but there’s little to make the case that there’s any contempt for journalism. Were the WH press a little more interested in doing that, as they clearly weren’t during eight years of stenography for the Bush press secretaries, and as they still aren’t, fainting about Obama going to his daughter’s soccer game without the press, perhaps they’d be treated a bit more seriously.
Do yourself a disfavor and read it yourself. If you spot an ounce of substance, feel free to let me know.
I’m sure mea culpas will be in the mail from Andrew Breitbart and Fox News for their crusade against ACORN based on the O’Keefe tapes, and their tirades against the NYT for missing this “huge” non-story:
Really, can anybody be surprised anymore? I’m worn out. Day after day, year after year, all I’ve learned is that if you give rightwingers credit for even one thing, you will be made a fool of. I knew already about the one employee immediately contacting the police after the shady proposal O’Keefe made, but I hadn’t heard enough to vindicate the lady who was trying to be nice to O’Keefe.
So when the headline should have been, “Right wing smear merchants try to gin up a fake scandal with edited video and omitted facts,” we had to listen to the disgusting cunt Andrew Breitbart lecture the NYT about journalism. Truly, the fact that a few low-level employees might have veered off the beaten path wasn’t very surprising or big news to begin with, but now we find out it was even less than that. The real story here is the right’s complete lack of any professional standards whatsoever. They don’t believe in journalism. They believe in propaganda, period. Everything else is just noise. They were mad at the NYT because something they found politically useful didn’t get treated as headline news. Seriously, had anyone heard of ACORN before the right started making up things continuously about them?
People on the left just want journalists to do their job: fact check, question, scrutinize, report. The right has lectured actual journalists for years and the end result is a channel designed for nothing other than to be the Republican Pravda and a fiercely loud idiot like Breitbart championing a goon with some creatively edited video. Did Breitbart even look at the unedited tapes?
While it took an immunity deal for O’Keefe and cohort to get them to turn over the unedited tapes, they are still vulnerable to civil law. Ultimately, though, the truth is out, and yet will we be any wiser? Or will journalists still keep running with their tails tucked between their legs, doing the bidding of rightwingers in order to prevent that which cannot be prevented, being labeled “liberal.” You’re either with the conservatives or against them in their eyes. Thus if you’re not actively propagandizing, you’re a liberal. A journalist’s only real choice is to do their job and let the chips fall.
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Jason Mattera will surely be championed as a conservative hero for this:
Mattera does upset Franken. Franken tries repeatedly to get Mattera to stop talking and listen like an honest human being, but Mattera just keeps yammering away with his talking point.
Fortunately, Franken was right and Mattera was wrong. The bill does not allocate $7 billion for jungle gyms. Not that anything is wrong with jungle gyms, as they are excellent for child health and development. But it’s merely one item in a non-exclusive list about what schools can do to improve children’s health, including providing healthier menus, activity programs, etc. You can see the appropriate section of the bill here.
Mattera finds some crazy rightwing talking point, and then comes after a public figure with a video camera and keeps repeating it over and over again without really responding to anything said to him in return. Check out this video, which Mattera promotes, of him being completely manhandled and judo-flipped by a supernaturally calm Robert Gibbs:
Personally, I would have gotten pissed much earlier. At least Old Me would have. Been working on New Me, who is much more into the Gibbs approach. Occasionally I lapse into Franken…
All of me, however must laugh at what happens when Mattera gets pinned down and asked a hard question:
Look, I realize that not every discussion on a show like this is going to be substantive, sophisticated, and policy focused. Not every post I write for this site is going to highlight critically important issues, either. There’s nothing wrong with including heavier and lighter subjects in the same public affairs forum.
But this panel discussion covered exactly four subjects this morning: health care reform, Charlie Rangel’s ethics problem, David Paterson’s latest troubles, and the fate of the former White House social secretary (and where she’s from, what her clothes looked like, what her next job is likely to be, etc.), which hardly seems relevant to anyone who doesn’t actually attend social events at the White House.
In this same discussion, there was nothing about the jobs bill that passed the Senate this week, nothing about the incredibly important Zazi guilty plea this week (and the fact that it makes Republican talking points look ridiculous), nothing about Jim Bunning single-handedly delaying unemployment insurance for those who need it.
You know, at least with Huffington Post and the rest of the internet, you have so many stories to print and endless pages on which to print them. On televised politics shows meant to bring the talk of the capital to American living rooms, the three or four topics that get talked about in an hour take up a lot of broadcasting real estate. Devoting it to cocktail circuit irrelevancies does Americans interested in good government a disservice.
This is one of my favorite demonstrations of what Gerard Alexander would refer to as “liberal condescension”. Daniel Ellsberg eviscerating the Very Serious ideas of great conservative thinker William Kristol.
Isn’t it a tragedy that liberals like Ellsberg arrogantly brushed aside the sage advice of this wise and humble man? Perhaps someday in a more civilized and intellectually honest future, conservative greats like Kristol, Krauthammer, Broder, Kaplan, Kagan, Vandehei, Barnes and Hanson can have a platform from which to speak freely.
Comments Off on More disgusting liberal condescension.
Five articles on the front page of Politico about Harry Reid back in ’08 saying Obama had a good chance of winning because he didn’t have “a Negro dialect.”
I mean, Reid probably shouldn’t have used the word, “Negro,” but his point was that the public wouldn’t be kind to a brother who spoke like a brother. Which is a comment on the country’s racism, not a racist sentiment itself by any stretch of the imagination.
But five articles? One with three sub-articles?
I guess they’re lacking for more exclusive musings from Dick Cheney they can copy down and print uncritically?
p.s. Prepare yourself for the giggles as Republicans are outraged on behalf of black people. Turns out, it was just like when Trent Lott was sorry we didn’t have segregation anymore!
Still pulling, hoping, and wishing for the Green Revolution in Iran to keep snowballing.
The violence has increased, but the protesters have overwhelmed government forces numerous times. Andrew Sullivan should get a Peabody for coverage of the tumult in Iran this past year. He’s been the one-stop shop of the war coverage. If you’ve been trying to follow it on cable news…why?
I keep hearing how the inclement weather in Europe caused the channel tunnel passenger lines to shut down and stand travelers which made me a little curious about what exactly is happening over there weather-wise. To the Google! Bam! NYT front page! But instead of providing us with the details of just how cold or how adverse the weather conditions have to be to disrupt service, the NYT printed an entire article of weather-porn anecdotes. I understand how frustrating travel limbo can be but is asking for a little context too much? A temperature reading, perhaps?
John Cole notes that Ezra Klein is ruffling Lieberman’s feathers by calling a spade a spade, and that the pathetically rightwing Beltway servant freaks that dominate the WaPo editorial space are likely to be hunting for Klein’s scalp soon. Cole notes that Klein has few friends, and has somehow inspired ire among lefties for reasons unclear to me.
Personally, Klein’s WaPo blog has been 100% essential reading for parsing the health care reform debate, and anybody who considers themselves a liberal ought to be glad his voice is still being heard there. It’s utterly bizarre that Sarah Palin or John Boehner can get top billing on the WaPo op-ed page to sputter constant incoherent fallacies and naked politicking, but somebody like Ezra has to watch his ass in case he steps on the toes of the transparent scumbag Joe Lieberman, with notorious piece of shit Marshall Wittman playing enforcer.
Democrats aside, I really don’t know how any “centrist” can stomach the recent obvious flip-flopping betrayals of Lieberman. The rule really is this: if it makes liberals happy, he’s against it. The health care reform that we so desperately need will be postponed, while President Lieberman makes sure Democrats are really, really sorry for campaigning against him in 2006, and Democrats make sure they don’t touch him or his precious committee chairmanship with a feather for being the 41st Republican.
I thought they were going to start firing staff for on-air flubs?
I hadn’t been paying attention to the semantics but it’s no surprise that the Republican party’s cable network would try to assert that George W. Bush’s tenure began after September 11th and that the Fort Hood shootings constituted a terrorist attack. Republicans have been praying since last January that something would happen that they could point to as an example of Obama’s lack of diligence and God answered them with Fort Hood (or Allah since there wouldn’t be a story had the shooter been Caucasian). Never mind the fact that men and women actively serving in the military can’t by definition be considered victims of terrorism. What’s important is that Obama wasn’t there to stop the bullets Jack Bauer style and has therefore not “kept the nation safe”. It’s a not so subtle shuck; you have to insinuate that Obama is blameworthy for Fort Hood yet at the same time excuse Bush who was clearly forewarned prior to 9/11. But then again, Flight Suit Boy wasn’t responsible for anything that happened after 9/11 so why should he accept responsibility for anything that happened before?
The network pool crew noticed Fox wasn’t on the list, was told that they hadn’t asked and the crew said they needed to be included. Treasury called the White House and asked top Obama adviser Anita Dunn. Dunn said yes and Fox’s Major Garrett was among the correspondents to interview Feinberg last night.
Simple as that, we’re told, and the networks don’t want to be seen as heroes for Fox.
Whoops, they were granted the interview anyway. I mean, it’s Ken Feinberg, not exactly the most interesting interview subject for ratings. Perhaps they thought Fox was too busy asking Ann Coulter to run her mouth off about the War On FOX (leave none alive, I say!). When asked, Major Garrett got to interview him.
Remember all those interviews with combative oppo-journalists Dubya did? Remember how Katie Couric asking Sarah Palin basic, softball questions was “gotcha” journalism?
The Obama administration did take a chance to chide Fox:
“This White House has demonstrated our willingness to exclude Fox News from newsmaking interviews, but yesterday we did not,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Obama’s position is of disinterest in Fox. Nothing’s been ruled out, Obama is saying he simply doesn’t care much what is said on or by Fox. Fox has had access before, they’ll have it again, but the channel is a political outfit and everybody knows it. The “War on Fox” is this year’s “War on Christmas.” Mostly smoke and mirrors drummed up for ratings. The Obama admin simply sees no reason to jump through hoops for Fox. And they shouldn’t, because they’re going bonkers bananas on that channel (see post below).
The next Republican president should be expected to give daily interviews to the Huffington Post. Not that Huffington Post is as crooked as Fox, but everybody understands they are liberal, and HuffPo doesn’t try to pretend any different. They never expected a sit-down from Dubya. And they don’t run around panicking like nervous paranoiacs that Dick Cheney is happy to appear on Fox but won’t talk to them.
The classic techniques used by Cheney – sleep deprivation, cold cells, hypothermia, stress positions, forced nudity and “walling” – were described by the NYT in the past very plainly, using the term “mental torture,” or in the recent obit (obviously written before Cheney p.c. came in) of an American airman, captured by the Communist Chinese, simply “torture.” In reporting on the similar techniques used Agabuse by the British in Northern Ireland in 1972, the NYT called them “torture and brainwashing”, which is exactly what the Cheney techniques are designed to accomplish. In 1996, the NYT ran a story on reports of “torture” in Brazil, which included “being kept naked in a cold cell,” the Gestapo specialty that Cheney made standard procedure for the US. In 1997, in reporting on the CIA’s record in training torturers in Latin America in the early 1980s, the NYT used the terms “psychological torture” and “mental torture” to describe long-time standing, stress positions, “deep exhaustion”, and solitary confinement.
In 1998, the NYT reported on the CIA’s training of Palestinian security forces. The Times reported that the CIA had dropped all last-resort use of physical torture in 1985, but also what they called “mental torture.” In discussing allegations of torture by the Palestinian security services, the NYT noted a relevant fact as support for the claim: 18 prisoners had died in custody during interrogation. Even after a hundred deaths have now been recorded under the Cheney torture regime, the NYT refuses to call it torture. In 1999, in contrast, the NYT reported on “allegations of torture” in China that amounted to “beatings and solitary confinement”.
The right has no explanation how “teh librul media” can behave this way, because their media theories are entirely self-serving and incomplete.
It is hard to underestimate the strength of the forces working against single payer health care even being mentioned in the health care reform plan, both from lobbyists and the corporate media. Yet when people speak out…
Meanwhile, the drones in Congress and the media are moving to try killing public health care even as an option, because it’s just not fair that it would be cheaper than private health care. Without a doubt, the debate is thoroughly skewed. After all, if there isn’t a public option, what the hell is being reformed? Americans are growing convinced that the entire system is broken, and want a new one. Incrementalism will kill us.
While the voices of people like Noam Chomsky, who outlined the propaganda model and how it works in the corporate media, are the ones the public needs to hear to help combat the assault against their needs being carried out, we are given silence. On the other hand, every stupid bleating from discredited hacks like Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh or Newt Gingrich gets covered.
And while Democrats are busy shooting themselves in the foot, an outlet like the Huffington Post jumps in covering these idiots too instead of delivering the reporting needed to jumpstart indentured reporters and force them to cover what their bosses don’t like being covered. Somebody let me know when the liberal media arrives.
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It really is astounding that this is happening. Less astounding that few Democrats are calling “chicken” on the Cheneys. It shall remain a mystery to common folk like myself why people in the Beltway are so terrified of anybody named “Cheney.”
Comments Off on How awesome is it that Dick Cheney gets unlimited media time without challenge?
Opened up the news this morning and saw that Obama’d given a speech in Cairo, and that the transcript was online. Thought I’d try a little experiment: I’m going to cut & paste the first paragraph, and predict how the wingnutosphere reacts to the graf in question. Bear in mind: I have not looked at any blogs at all this morning, right or left, except for the Iowa Liberal dashboard; anything I get right must be attributed to my incredible psychic powers and/or the awesome predictability of wingutticus americanus.
President Obama: I am honored to be in the timeless city of Cairo, and to be hosted by two remarkable institutions. wingnutticus americanus: Teleprompt! Teleprompt! Teleprompt!
[Note that some scientists believe this call is a form of territorial marking, and that the word is uttered reflexively by W.A. without the speaker actually knowing what it means.]
President Obama: For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, wingnutticus americanus: “Islamic learning”? Like learning to blow up schoolbuses and kill American soldiers? Some “learning.” No thanks! Oh, they invented algebra? LOL I hate math! Everyone I know does! What do you mean I couldn’t use this computer without math? I never do math on it! Wait, what: libraries that preserved manuscripts that would have been lost in the dark ages? LOL who even goes to the library any more! Besides, I never heard of this Al-Azhar until today, but I bet I can find bad people who went there! Gosh, that’ll be fun!
President Obama: and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement. Together, you represent the harmony between tradition and progress. wingnutticus americanus: Progress? What planet is this guy from? In Egypt, they [insert statistic spoon-fed by neocon thinktank to wingnutosphere as soon as word got out that the speech would take place in Cairo]. Is that really “progress”?
[note: this one will be so popular that every time something bad happens in Egypt between now and 2016, wingnutticus americanus will link to the story with the word “progress,” and scientists will continue to study w.a.’s incredibly selective instinct for spotting irony.]
President Obama: I am grateful for your hospitality, and the hospitality of the people of Egypt. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum.
wingnutticus americanus: ZOMG OH NOES TERROR PANIC RAAAAAAAGE GLOOM DESPAIR AND AGONY ON ME DEEP DARK DEPRESSION EXCESSIVE MISERY IF IT WEREN’T FOR BAD LUCK I’D HAVE NO LUCK AT ALL GLOOM DESPAIR AND AGONY ON MEEEE ISLAMOFASCISM BIRTH CERTIFICATE VINCE FOSTER GRASSY KNOLL THREAT OF GLOBAL COMMUNISM ASDFGHJKL;ASDFGHJKL;ASDF.
[note: tragically, many members of the species wingnutticus americanus will be injured reacting to the President’s greeting when they try to mash the buttons on their keyboard too fast. please give to the Strained Wingnutticus Americanus Foundation today!]
How’m I doin’, Malkin-readers? Want me to guess what number you’re thinking of next? Bet I can: 2012, right?
(update: having read the rest of the speech, I feel secure in saying we are going to be treated to a full fusillade of wingnuts in total explosive meltdown today. It’s gonna look like the 4th of July out there!)
Rightwing radio host Mancow Muller made news last week when he said he’d engage in waterboarding to prove it wasn’t torture. Six seconds later, he was singing a different tune.
Now the website Gawker reports that an initial e-mail exchange with Mancow’s publicist indicated the waterboarding was meant to be a stunt.
Redstate.com, an admittedly easy target, took the bait. Their evidence that it wasn’t “real” waterboarding? It was different than Hitchens’ waterboarding!
Ah, but guys? Hey, you do remember that Hitchens also declared waterboarding to be “absolutely torture” afterward, right? Not exactly a counterexample, is it? Anyway, the history of waterboarding and the different ways it is employed is here. Guess what? It’s pretty much all the same, whether you have a cloth over the mouth and nose or not, or you’re dunking their head, the purpose is to create the sensation of drowning.
Mancow responds on Olbermann, in a manner that leaves refutation in short supply.
I am happy to report that intellectual honesty has been sighted on Hotair.com. Allahpundit:
Question: If Mancow — who scoffed at waterboarding for years and even now in his Big Hollywood post insists he’d authorize it against terrorists to try to stop an attack — was going to fake his waterboarding, why wouldn’t he have popped up at the end and declared that it’s not torture?
Exactly. Mancow waltzed in thinking he was gonna show them lefties and that punk bitch Hitchens. He walked out with his tail between his legs. And if anybody at Redstate has a problem with that, I’d suggest they try being waterboarded. To make the stakes higher, if they don’t think it’s torture after being waterboarded, let’s waterboard them again, until they confess!
As a final note, let’s remember that waterboarding is merely the most controversial (*cough*CheneyLimbaughbullshit*cough*) method of torture, and that a variety of forms of torture were used, all falling under the definition of torture, all used widely and repeatedly.
When Allied forces liberated the Nazi death camps in World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied commander, ordered German citizens to walk through the concentration camps to see the victims’ bodies. He wanted them to witness what their government had done as proof against denials the Holocaust had occurred.
President Obama should follow Eisenhower’s example and let Americans confront the visual evidence of the horrors committed in our name. Verbal accounts are not enough to silence those who will deny or minimize this abuse.
Republicans, obviously, want fewer photos, because pictures overwhelm their words. Can you imagine the spin we’d hear about Abu Ghraib without the pictures?
While release of the photos depicting torture by United States military personnel may “further inflame anti-American opinion” and endanger troops, the torture itself is what truly inflames our enemies and allies.
The question is, why is President Obama buying into this claptrap? Is he afraid of Dick Cheney, like it seems everybody else in D.C. is?
Dick Cheney presents Americans with the false choice of the ideologue: if we don’t torture, Americans will die. Ideologues propose false choices because the tactic rhetorically transforms their radical ideas into the only plausible and acceptable ones.
Question: Why do people keep granting Dick Cheney access to disseminate propaganda, instead of making him debate? We allowed him to do that for eight years as VP when we shouldn’t have…what forces us to accept his words uncritically now?
In the Physicians for Human Rights 2008 report “Broken Law, Broken Lives,” my colleagues and I documented the profound physical and psychological suffering resulting from the torture and abuse of 12 people, all of whom were ultimately released without charges, but not before being subjected to beatings, sexual humiliation, sleep deprivation, death threats and extremes of heat and cold. In other words, they were tortured.
And then another obvious unmentionable slips in:
As the debate over torture heats up, it seems the Republican response is always to remind us that Bush & Company “kept us safe since 9/11.” That’s terrific, and the Bush administration surely gets some credit for that. But wouldn’t it have been even better if it had also kept us safe on 9/11? Why is it that 9/11 doesn’t count when Dick Cheney and the Republicans are bragging about their safety record?
I’d love to see one actual reporter ask Dick Cheney how he excuses himself for dropping the ball and letting thousands of Americans die.
More Dick Cheney Fellatio Watch: Andrew Sullivan gives credit to, then destroys the fawning John King, who seems to absorb GOP/Beltway memes like Bounty.
In King’s words, the black sites were simply “where they interrogate terror suspects,” in almost the exact same terms that the last president used to conceal what was done there. King then follows up by saying that Obama has “defined waterboarding as torture”, where the truth is that Obama has no more power to define waterboarding as torture than Cheney has in denying it. The law has always clearly and categorically defined it as torture.
But telling the truth – and confronting the powerful with it – ruins the aura of objectivity; and offends sources whom one needs for future scoops. It makes an interview unpleasant and confrontational, when both Cheney and King go out of their way to signal their familiarity and almost friendship with one another.
What did Dick Cheney do to turn the Washington press corps into a gang of wide-eyed aw-shucks golly-gee teenagers who want to be just like him when they grow up? How many times do these things need to be pointed out for John King to gain some self-awareness and sense of shame?
If you have time to kill and need a laugh, flipping through old articles about Wall Street before the crash is always good for a chuckle. Followed by projectile vomiting. The “best and brightest” make for easy pickings, so I’ll ding another one off the head of wonder boy Andrew Sorkin for some of his corporate stenography in July:
It’s a controversial hypothesis, which others have put forward before, and it has sparked plenty of debate within the industry. But Mr. Schwarzman is convinced that the rule — known as FAS 157 — is forcing bookkeepers to overstate the problems at the nation’s largest banks.
“From the C.E.O.’s I talk with,” Mr. Schwarzman said during an interview on Monday morning, “the rule is accentuating and amplifying potential losses. It’s a significant contributing factor.”
Some of his bigwig pals in finance believe that Wall Street is in much better shape than the balance sheets suggest, Mr. Schwarzman said. The president of Blackstone, Hamilton E. James, goes even further. FAS 157, he said, is not just misleading: “It’s dangerous.”
Huh? So the Citigroups and Merrill Lynches of the world are writing off billions of dollars — but they haven’t actually lost the money?
Okay, honestly Sorkin does seem to cast doubt on the hypothesis over the course of the article, allowing opposing viewpoints to get their word in and noting that dubious subprimes may indeed be worthless. However, doesn’t this strike you as a bit of, “Is it actually dangerous to play pogo-stick with a loaded shotgun?”
Let’s remember who saw it coming and who twiddled their thumbs, smirking.
Richard Cohen is responsible for some of the worst op-eds in existence. He’s so reliably offended when comedians puncture the Beltway/Wall St. bubble. Poor Jim Cramer didn’t know what was going down on Wall Street, as they didn’t know it was going to fail so soon and lost face/money…in other words, because he and other wealthy investors thought they could keep the whole con game going longer.
Glenn Greenwald provides the context Cohen ignores: Cramer admitted that he often knew corporations were lying to him and let it go. Cramer admitted he had engaged in dubious acts himself. The Beltway/Wall Street types are getting their panties in a bunch because Stewart is breaking the rule they have indoctrinated themselves with: Thou shall not question the powerful. Greenwald reminds the press that this is their job.
America sides with Stewart, and after America gets done kicking AIG’s ass, Cramer, the people at CNBC, the Beltway corporate media, and Wall Street would do well to heed the warning: Do not fuck me with a toilet plunger and tell me you’re shaking my hand.
TVNewser reports that “MSNBC producers were asked not to incorporate the Jim Cramer/Jon Stewart interview into their shows today.” By TVNewser’s count, Cramer’s Daily Show interview was only mentioned once on MSNBC today and that was during the White House press conference when a reporter asked for Obama’s reaction.
The Washington Post delivers a virtually news-free op-ed disguised as journalism scolding Obama for pointing out the simple fact that he inherited Bush’s broken economy. This is “petty” and “divisive.”
Never mind that Republicans have been engaged in a campaign to fight Obama from day one for no reason other than pure politics. Now they’re ramping up efforts to portray Bush’s recession as Obama’s, something nobody could possibly take seriously. Again, however, the media’s idea of being non-partisan is to lay back and let Republicans say whatever they want about Democrats.
Rahm Emanuel is quoted for a reality check:
“The truth is that 98 percent of his speeches are about the future, and 2 percent are about inheritance,” Emanuel said. “Whereas I think for Republicans it’s 2 percent about the future, and 98 percent hope that the people have amnesia.”
The op-ed immediately follows with:
Until recently, the job of reminding the country of the Bush-era legacy had been left mostly to senior administration officials…
Because it certainly wouldn’t do for the Washington Post to remind people that we just got rid of Bush after 8 long years of fail, and that we knew six months ago that the problems he created would hang over most of Obama’s first term.
And while only Rahm Emanuel is quoted to counter the article’s intent, not only are two Republicans quoted, the idiot liar Eric Cantor and the crafty liar Ari Fleischer. Any insight? No, just crafted bullshit, dutifully and uncritically recited by the Post as the final word on the subject.
Tellingly, not one economist is cited. Thanks, WaPo, for blowing it.