- The agency responsible for issuing the permits for and maintaining the safety of the BP rig responsible for the Gulf spill refused to testify before Congress.
- The President’s social staff prevented Rick Bayless, Top Chef Master, from Twittering about his gig as guest chef for the State Dinner for the President of Mexico (sample scary tweet: “Thanks 2 the 100s of well wishers! Ready 4 day 2 n rather small White House kitchen.Chef was challenged by some ingred,but last arrive 2day”)
- A lawyer from the DOJ’s Voting Rights Division quits in protest after the Department prohibited attorneys assigned to the decision from testifying before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. Funny, he actually wanted to avoid being held in contempt.
- In a surprise move, the Administration requested that the National Archives disclose tens of thousands of pages of White House documents on an expedited basis. Not so surprising, they were records generated by the Clinton Administration.
- Perhaps the most ironic event of the Obama Administration thus far: Obama Signs Press Freedom Bill, Refuses to Answer Questions from Media
- And just to make sure the press got the message, the President took just one question, and from a Spanish language reporter, at the joint “press conference” with President Calderon. Normally, presidents take two questions from their own national media during such events. This was apparently change that the media could believe in.
Posts Tagged ‘media’
- Victor Davis Hanson packs so much bright wisdom into these three pages of interweb text, it almost makes you want to look away.
- Obama may be ready to bail out his friends in the media, possibly by turning them into demi-churches — tax-exempt organizations with unique constitutional protection. Of course, that won’t make the press any more sycophantic…. One wonders if he’ll be as even-handed in his offer of federal tax largesse as he is in sharing his time on Sunday mornings.
- My local failing paper tells us that cursive is slowly making its exit. As one who has scribbled into my share of bluebooks, a move to typed tests and essays doesn’t sound like such a bad thing. But it raises this question: why is a society that is so focused radically reducing carbon footprint simultaneously creating a living environment that requires more and more energy to operate? And why aren’t we teaching our kids that sometimes writing out your shopping list instead of saving it on your iPhone is a good idea for all kinds of reasons (including environmental ones)?
- Michael Barone — who is, for me, one of the three must-read writers working today — eviscerates liberals who are attempting to shout down their opponents. Eviscerates them with polite precision, of course. He touches on a very salient point. Liberals are more prone to consider dissent out of bounds, because the places they develop their ideas (universities, unions, think tanks, activist groups, the mainstream media) are echo chambers with carefully-crafted methods of squelching dissent. Upon encountering strength on the right, a liberal is far less likely to know what to do with it, and more likely to assume that some rule has been broken or moral breached. Conservatives, on the other hand, cut their ideological teeth in very different environments. Some pass through those same liberal institutions, but form their arguments in opposition to, or despite, the predetermined liberal view, thus making them well acquainted with tilted playing fields and harsh debates. Others come to conservatism through exposure to the marketplace, the free-wheeling amphitheatre of ideas that has no tolerance for failure and obliterates arbitrary obstacles to truth. Finally, some arrive at their conservatism through faith, which teaches many of us to respect others and their views while believing that their side is right. But because religious conservatives (and I am one of them) have a much stronger tendency toward insularity and greater confidence in their rectitude, they are also less skilled at countering the opposition and more prone to rule it out of bounds.
As you may have heard, our Secretary of Health & Human Services (and presumably our Administration) believes that Congress should honor the memory of Sen. Kennedy by taking over one-sixth of the American economy:
“Hopefully, at every step of the way, people will ask themselves: ‘What would Teddy do?’ and move it forward,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“If people are truly interested in honoring his legacy,” she added, “the best possible legacy is to pass health reform this year and get President Obama a bill he can sign.”
What a gracious gesture! But passing health care reform may not be enough to fully capture Ted Kennedy’s impact on American government. Thus, I propose five more things that one can do to honor the memory of the liberal Lion of the Senate:
1. Consummate a Manchurian Candidacy. Since Kennedy thought it appropriate to enlist the Soviet Union’s assistance for his own presidential aspirations in exchange for help in tearing down the Reagan Administration from within, it’s only fitting that some enterprising pol promise Iran some nuclear appeasement in exchange for assistance in winning office.
2. Make a slanderous, incendiary, public address against someone you don’t care for. It was good enough for Robert Bork, so why not for your personal enemy? Preferably, your scurrilous accusations should have an impact on his career.
3. Call something you dislike its originator’s “Vietnam.” Kennedy, who came of age during and earned his political stripes opposing his brother’s war in Vietnam, kept trying to relive those golden days by declaring subsequent missions he opposed to be “Vietnams.” Iraq was “George Bush’s Vietnam,” and Northern Ireland was “Britain’s Vietnam.” Try it yourself! Windows Vista is “Microsoft’s Vietnam.” Your over-mayonnaised sandwich is “the kitchen’s Vietnam.” Your daughter’s unkempt playroom is “Julie’s Vietnam.” You’ll find that it’s incredibly satisfying, it requires almost no effort or accuracy, and the media will be remarkably receptive.
4. Manipulate a neutral rule to benefit your political party. Senator Kennedy has been hailed as a master of the legislative process and a key broker of bipartisan compromise. That may be true, but he was at his best when he was fixing the game in his team’s favor. Need an example? On the eve of what he believed to be his friend John Kerry’s election to the presidency, he got the Massachusetts legislature to change the rule allowing a governor to select an interim Senator to one requiring a special election. The governor at the time was Mitt Romney, a Republican; an election would have invariably resulted in a Democratic Senator. When he was on his deathbed, however, Kennedy asked the legislature to switch it back — to make sure that his fellow Democrats in Washington had a 60th vote to pass health reform (the governor was now a Democrat). How can you top that kind of cynical mendacity? Some recommendations include censoring the mailings of your political opponents; effectively banning the primary media outlet of the opposition; or fixing the Census to overcount your most reliable voters (and undercount the terminally-misguided).
5. Convince someone of your approach, then blame them when it fails. In 2001, all the political world hailed President Bush and Senator Kennedy’s joint effort on the No Child Left Behind Act. Billions more for education; accountability for schools; new programs for teachers – it was a revolution in federal education policy, and it was largely the realization of Kennedy’s long-held wish list for education reform. But once parents and teachers started to complain about the high-stakes tests, the absurd assumptions, the unfunded mandates, the byzantine rules, and the total lack of local control, Kennedy blamed the Bush Administration for “poor administration” of the program and a failure to fund it. No matter that his Congress holds the purse-strings, or that the program was a fairly faithful implementation of his vision – if a government program doesn’t work, it’s a Republican’s fault or it needs more money. Kennedy didn’t even do a good job of shifting blame for his mistake – I’m sure you can do better.
So ask yourself, “What would Teddy do?,” and get to work! If the answer doesn’t make you a favorite of the Washington elite, it might just get you a disease, a DUI, or a trillion-dollar deficit. Any others to add to the list?
A study reported by Reuters today reveals that the Obama presidential saga has received more news coverage than “Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the global financial meltdown in 2008, the Iraq War in 2003 and the September 11 attacks on New York and Washington.”
Yes, the same September 11th attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. Those September 11th attacks, that took us to war, brought us together, and have torn us apart. The worst moment of my generation of Americans was worth fewer column inches than the election of our 44th President. That’s like the third election of FDR getting more ink than the attack on Pearl Harbor.
But let’s not forget that these same September 11th attacks were judged by some to be “overdone.” Thomas Friedman tells us that the events of 9/11 and the coverage thereof “made us stupid,” and have “knocked America completely out of balance.”
Does that mean we’re a few months away from this guy bemoaning that our President, like 9/11, has become “a brand name, a [Democratic] campaign slogan, propaganda of the lowest form?”
Hm. Okay, maybe we’re already there. People. Let’s get some perspective.
P.S. – If an Obama fan says this President has attracted more public attention than any other, remind her that more people watched Reagan’s inauguration than Obama’s (41.8 million vs. 37.8 million). And there were about 80 million fewer Americans in 1980. A silent majority, indeed.
Pity the media. After years of sexy and fascinating scandals committed by Republicans in power, now they are being forced — FORCED I tell you — to report on the exceedingly dull peccadilloes of Democrats. That’s what Sara K. Smith of NBC (Wonkette Division), would have us believe.
This is remarkable honesty from Smith. Few journalists have been so blunt — if unintentionally so — about their ironclad double standard for political indiscretions.
Rep. Mark Foley had some illicit instant message conversations with a male page (but no physical contact, by all accounts), and that was worthy of headline status in the “culture of corruption” that brought down GOP control of Congress. Rep. Barney Frank paid a male prostitute for sex, then let said prostitute run a house of ill repute out of his apartment. For this, Frank was reprimanded and became Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, lauded as the “smartest guy in Congress,” a “maestro” in charge of fixing the banking system (after he spent the last decade driving it to ruin).
Need another one? Sen. Ted Stevens, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was treated to thousands of dollars of home repairs by a wealthy contributor, likely in exchange for favorable earmarks. He was indicted, convicted, told that he would not be re-seated if he won re-election, then lost his election to a virtual unknown. Throughout, he was torched (appropriately) by the media for unconscionable public corruption. Almost simultaneously, it became apparent that Sen. Chris Dodd, Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, was given incredibly favorable terms (likely saving him thousands of dollars) on his home mortgage because he was a “friend of Angelo.” “Angelo” was Angelo Mozilo, the CEO of Countrywide, the largely-discredited subprime lender that was regulated by Sen. Dodd’s committee. Funny thing, Dodd was a staunch defender of lenders like Countrywide. But I am unable to find any article or editorial where he has been called upon to resign either his seat or his chairmanship by any major media outlet. Nor has he been deemed unfit to shepherd the financial industry through one of its roughest periods in the nation’s history. Rather, he was given an open mic to take Republicans to task for not going along with his vision for the bailout. Because his last vision for the industry worked out so well.
Congressman Bill Jefferson caught on video in an FBI sting with $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer? Indicted for crimes totaling 235 years in prison? Many media seemed more outraged with the raid itself than his apparent crimes, and I was unable to find a single major newspaper editorial calling for him to resign, nor taking him to task when he refused to. Compare that to the scorn rained down upon Republican Congressmen Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham, both of whom plead guilty and resigned from Congress after unseemly pay-for-play schemes were uncovered. Again, I’m glad that these men are no longer in Congress, and the derision they received was well-deserved. But where’s the hate for the Democrat, who was first discovered to be on the take in 2006, was re-elected, and almost won again before the voters of his district ended the farce? (Oh, and by the way, he only lost because the white voters in his district are racists.)
We know virtually everything about the bathroom stall where Larry Craig danced his seductive two-step. But how many reporters have given us the detailed dish about the curtains in House tax-writer-in-chief Charlie Rangel’s four rent-controlled pads in Harlem? Or the patio furniture at his $1,000+ per night tax-free vacation villa in Punta Cana? Or the view from his former property in Sunny Isles, Florida, which he may have sold for $500,000 more than he reported? Or the rebounding neighborhood around his former home in Washington, D.C., which sale he failed to report in its entirety? (To the New York Times’ credit, it has encouraged Rangel to step down from his chairmanship while these allegations are investigated)
Not the nationwide mainstream media, but why would they? These scandals, they’re, ugh, so relentlessly banal. Who could possibly care if the guy who wants to raise taxes by $1 trillion has dodged his own tax bill for decades? No one will ever buy a newspaper that tells the cloak-and-dagger tale of an FBI investigation that found cold cash in a politician’s kitchen, just after he took the funds for a bribe. And the only way to describe the public’s reaction to a story of Senators making policy on the basis of contributions (and personal gain) is utter ennui.
Well, at least one Democratic politician was kind enough to be spectacular in his corruption. Ride it for all you can, men and women of the media. Just don’t mention he’s a Democrat. Until you can come up with a reason to ignore it altogether.