So, heaven forbid, there’s a “secret video” out of Romney (provided, reportedly, by James Earl Carter IV, who, ironically, is out of work) saying things that show what he really feels about Americans, (insert gasp here) etc., etc., – que the liberal outrage of the week and the latest in the left’s distract and disrupt campaign.
As to the remarks videoed by someone at this event, here’s how Mother Jones characterized what it saw as the big 3 quotes (that, one assumes, hurts Romney).
On the 47 percent of Americans “who will vote for the president no matter what.”
On the dividends of his anticipated November 6 victory: “we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.”
On the “almost unthinkable prospects” for Mideast peace: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway…and I say there’s just no way.”
Oh my. Romney thinks that are “47% ” of Americans who will vote for Obama, “no matter what”.
Well here’s a shocker — so do I. Are they the same 47% who pay not income taxes (and save your breath, all those who beam in with payroll and sales taxes – “income” is before “taxes” because we’re talking about a specific tax, thankyouverymuch). No. But that’s sort of irrelevant. I do indeed believe that around 47% will indeed vote for Obama “no matter what”. Just as I believe there is about 45% who will vote for Romney, “no matter what”. Shock! The political term “yellow dog” is applied to both sides, folks, for a very good reason. They exist – in large quantities.
Of course the war is for the final 8% isn’t it? It always is. Why anyone is outraged by this number and his point is beyond me … or anyone who has any freaking idea of how politics have worked in this country for ages. It’s always been about wooing the final 8-10%. Obama’s problem is, since being elected, he’s rarely if ever been beyond 49%.
As to the damage? Well I think James Taranto sums that up pretty darn well:
Romney’s comment has been compared with Obama’s infamous 2008 remark, also at a private meeting with donors, about Pennsylvania voters who get bitter and cling to guns and religion. To our mind the difference is that those people, traditionally Democratic voters, could easily tell that Obama was referring to them. Most of the 47% will not see themselves in Romney’s description–and those who do, would probably not have considered voting for him anyway.
Bingo. Not that the Democratic dog isn’t going to worry this bone as much as it can.
Quote two about the economy. Context is always nice:
Audience member: When the [unintelligible] in September, the markets are going to be looking—marginal tax rates going up, overheads going, fine, but sequestration under the debt ceiling deal—what do they call it?
Audience member: Yeah, they call it that. The Obamacare, taxes on dividends and capital gains—I mean, the markets are going to be speaking very wildly in October on all of those issues.
Romney: They’ll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends, of course, which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is, if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back, and we’ll see—without actually doing anything—we’ll actually get a boost in the economy. If the president gets reelected, I don’t know what will happen. I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected. But my own view is that if we get the—the “Taxageddon,” as they call it, January 1st, with this president, and with a Congress that can’t work together, it really is frightening, really frightening in my view.
Again, an “oh, my … wait, what?” You mean he wasn’t talking about the economy improving and him being able to take credit “without actually doing something” as implied by the out of context quote?
Context – what a concept. He’s talking about how the markets will react to his election, that’s all. And, as in the previous quote – he’s right.
Finally, the Palestinian question. He’s three for three – they don’t want peace, they want the destruction of Israel and always have. And when offered a 95% deal, their leader (another Nobel Peace Prize winner) Yassir Arafat, turned it down. These are the people who parade their children around in fake suicide vests and launch rockets, weekly, into Israel.
As to what he said in full:
And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way. And so what you do is you say you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that it’s going to remain an unsolved problem. I mean, we look at that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation, but we sort of live with it. And we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve. We don’t go to war to try and resolve it.
On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state—and I won’t mention which one it was—but this individual said to me, “You know, I think there’s a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections.” I said, “Really?” And his answer was, “Yes, I think there’s some prospect.” And I didn’t delve into it but you know, I always keep open the idea of, I have to tell ya, the idea of pushing on the Israelis?—to give something up, to get the Palestinians to act, is the worst idea in the world. We have done that time and time and time again. It does not work. So, the only answer is show your strength. Again, American strength, American resolve, as the Palestinians someday reach the point where they want peace more than we’re trying to push peace on them—and then it’s worth having the discussion. Until then, it’s just wishful thinking.
Can’t disagree. Won’t disagree. It’s essentially true. When, and only when, the Palestinians get serious about real peace can such a process go forward. They’re still not there. In fact, they’re not even close.
Anyway, there you go. The outrage is just nonsense as usual, but certainly helpful in the disrupt and distract campagin. Not reported on? This part of the conversation:
Audience member: The debates are gonna be coming, and I hope at the right moment you can turn to President Obama, look at the American people, and say, “If you vote to reelect President Obama, you’re voting to bankrupt the United States.” I hope you keep that in your quiver because that’s what gonna happen. And I think it’s going to be very effective. Just wanted to give you that.
Romney: Yeah, it’s interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we’re issuing—which they’ve been doing, the Fed’s buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that’s over, he said we’re going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up. We’re living in this borrowed fantasy world, where the government keeps on borrowing money. You know, we borrow this extra trillion a year, we wonder who’s loaning us the trillion? The Chinese aren’t loaning us anymore. The Russians aren’t loaning it to us anymore. So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer is we’re just making it up. The Federal Reserve is just taking it and saying, “Here, we’re giving it.’ It’s just made up money, and this does not augur well for our economic future.
You know, some of these things are complex enough it’s not easy for people to understand, but your point of saying, bankruptcy usually concentrates the mind. Yeah, George.
Audience member, “George”: Governor, to your point on complexity. How is—you’ve traveled around America and talked to people in larger groups and perhaps people with different backgrounds, and people in this room: To what extent do people really understand that we’re hurtling toward a cliff, and to what extent do people understand the severity of the fiscal situation we’re in. Do people get it?
Romney: They don’t. By and large people don’t get it. People in our party, and part of—it’s our fault because we’ve been talking about deficits and debt for about 25 or 30 years as a party, and so they’ve heard us say it and say it and say it. The fact that Greece is going what it’s going through, and they read about France and Italy and Spain, has finally made this issue topical for the American people. And so when you do polls, and you ask people what is the biggest issue in the 2012 election, No. 1 is the economy and jobs by a wide margin. But No. 2 is the deficit. But debt, that doesn’t calculate for folks, but the deficit does. They recognize you can’t go on forever like this. Although the people who recognize that tend to be Republicans, and the people who don’t recognize that tend to be Democrats. And what we have to get is that 5 or 10 percent in the middle who sometimes vote Republican, sometimes vote Democrat, and have them understand how important this is. It’s a challenge. I did the calculation for folks today, and USA Today publishes this every year. It’s a front-page story: the headline once a year, it somehow escapes people’s attention, and that is, if you take the total national debt and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, the amount of debt plus unfunded liabilities per household in America is $520,000. Per household.
Audience member: It’s like 12 times their income, right?
Romney: At least. 10, 12 times their income. Even though we’re not going to be writing the check for that amount per household, they’re going to be paying the interest on that. You’ll be paying the interest on that. [Audience laughs.] Because we—my generation will be long gone, and you’ll be paying the interest. And so you’ll be paying taxes, not only for the things you want in your generation, but for all the things we spent money on, which is just—it’s extraordinary to think the tax rates, someone calculated what would happen. If we don’t change Medicare or Social Security, the tax rate—you know what the payroll tax is now, it’s 15.3 percent—if we don’t change those programs, that tax rate will have to ultimately rise to 44 percent. The payroll tax. Then there’s the income tax on top, which the president wants to take to 40 percent. Then there’s state tax in most states. And sales tax. So you end up having to take 100 percent of people’s income. And yet the president, three and a half years in, won’t talk about reforming Social Security or Medicare. And when the Republicans do, it’s “Oh, you’re throwing granny off the cliff.” It’s like you’re killing the kids. The biggest surprise that I have is that young people will vote for Democrats. They look at this and say, “Holy cow! The only guys who are worried about the future of our country and our future are Republicans.” But the Democrats, they talk about social issues, draw in the young people, and they vote on that issue. It’s like, I mean, there won’t be any houses like this if we stay on the road we’re on.
Now that is important stuff. That is what this elections should be about.
Not this other crap that MJ and the left chose to quote out of context. But then, what choice do they have but to resort to that given their candidate of choice’s record.
By the way, there’s now a controversy brewing about the possibility that the secret video might have been edited. Or, perhaps the gap is more like the Nixon tapes. Regardless, charges are flying back and forth. David Corn at MJ says they’re complete. But a bunch aren’t buying that. By the way, MJ blasted James O’Keefe for “edited” ACORN tapes if you’ll remember.
So, it’s politics in the media as usual. Wonderful stuff, no?
Aren’t we being well served?
Mitt Romney stopped and bought Girl Scout cookies during a campaign stop this morning. He bought two boxes of Do-si-dos and a box of Trefoil butter cookies.
Debbie Wasserman-Shultz derided the incident as yet more evidence that Romney is out of touch with average Americans. "He didn’t get a single box of Samoas or Thin Mints? That’s unpardonable. Those are the Girl Scout Cookie varieties Americans love. Mitt Romney has proven again that he’s not fit to lead America during this tough economy."
Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Romney a racist over the flap. "He didn’t buy anything that has any chocolate in it. Not only did he turn down the totally brown Thin Mints, he wouldn’t even take the partially brown Samoas. The only reason I can think of for such blatant insensitivity is outright racism."
Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said a friend in the Girl Scouts told him Romney had never purchased Samoas or Thin Mints. "The facts are clear. Unless Romney releases his purchase records of Girl Scout cookies for the last twenty years, we’ll all know exactly what to think."
A Romney campaign spokesman pointed out that the group of Girl Scouts selling cookies outside a supermarket was out of Samoas and Thin Mints. "We were all disappointed that there were no Samoas, but that’s not Mitt Romney’s fault. The Obama economy with its high unemployment has made it impossible for the Girl Scouts to predict how many cookies of each variety to order. I really wanted some Samoas with vanilla ice cream on top, but, hey, that’s just how it goes."
Politifact looked at the Romney campaign’s claim that they didn’t buy Samoas or Thin Mints because they were not available that day. Since there were some Samoas and Thin Mints available from other scouts elsewhere in the country, they rated the claim "mostly false".
OK, guys, you’ve delayed long enough. Head on over to Facebook and like QandO (it didn’t kill Kyle8).
We’re actually calling it QandO Plus because we’re popping up links to content you don’t find over here.
So go do it (we’re trying to get over 100 today and over 200 by the weekend … so help out, will ya?).
This can’t help the mainstream media’s already battered reputation or it’s constant claim of objective political reporting:
Likely voters, by a five-to-one margin, believe that America’s media is in President Obama’s pocket and will treat his candidacy better than challenger Mitt Romney’s as the election nears, according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll.
The startling numbers point to an even more disturbing trend for the media: Reporters just aren’t trusted to deliver the news in an unbiased fashion. The proof: Rasmussen found that when it comes to information about the presidential campaign, 48 percent of likely voters trust friends and family while just 26 percent trust reporters.
In fact, it’s even worse than those two lead paragraphs in the story:
The poll found that 59 percent of likely voters believe that the media has given Obama better treatment than Romney, a view Team Obama doesn’t agree with. Just 18 percent believe the media has treated Romney better.
Whether or not “Team Obama” agrees is irrelevant. In politics, perception is reality. And the reality is a large majority of likely voters (the key demographic) find the media both bias and wanting in terms of fair, objective and balanced political reporting.
So what is the impact of this?
Well, for one, tuning the media out. Few people are likely to keep listening to or watching coverage don’t trust. One of the reasons for the rise of the new media is it provides an important “other side” to the coverage of politics.
Despite their protestations to the contrary, the mainstream media has been unable to convince almost 60% of the likely voters they’re unbiased and trustworthy. That has to come from somewhere when you talk those numbers. And it is unlikely it is only a figment of that 60%’s imagination. They see the bias as real and they don’t like it or trust what they consider the biased outlets.
If you’re wondering why CNN’s numbers are at an all time low or why newspapers are failing this is part of it. Meanwhile the new media is thriving. It may not be objective, but readers and viewers know that, because new media outlets make no bones about it. What these outlets provide is “the rest of the story”. And when the rest of the story comes out, and all the facts are on the table, not just what the mainstream media chose to use, it makes the mainstream medias bias apparent.
Another reason the mainstream media is considered to be in Obama’s pocket is that instead of asking hard questions and follow up, and researching a story, they’ve become a transcription service. Whatever the campaign or White House put out is dutifully published or announced with little or any questioning. When that is shot full of holes by blogs and on-line news services and pundits, they again look to be biased (when, in many cases, they’re just not doing their job).
The question, of course, is with almost 60% of likely voters believing that the mainstream media is in Obama’s pocket, what effect will that have on the election.
In the past the media has, of course, played a large role in helping determine who the next president would be. Will the 60% disregard and ignore the media? Will they treat it as a propaganda arm of the campaign and seek their information elsewhere? Because of the perception held by a majority of the likely voters, will the media play a diminished role in this election?
All interesting and entertaining questions which we’ll have to monitor during this election cycle.
I remember years ago, after QandO got started and blogs began having some visibility and impact, media organizations sniffing down their arrogant noses at these upstarts who dared to question their dominance and reminding everyone the difference between some loser in the basement in his pajamas churning out his stuff and a professional organization, with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors.
Well as it turns out, that difference hasn’t mattered. The pajama clad are still around (and pretty well established now) and the professional organizations with trained journalists and 3 layers of editors have seen their reputations and followings dwindle.
You’d think, by now, they’d be clued into the ‘why’, but apparently its like economics to the left – it just doesn’t compute.
Market Watch writer Al Lewis opines:
The Great Depression that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke claims to have averted has been part of the background radiation of our economy since at least 2008.
It’s just that like radiation — it’s invisible.
Uh, no. It’s no. It is simply a word, a description, that most of the media refuses to use.
Here, try it out. “Depression.” See, it’s not so hard.
In fact anyone who takes an objective look at what we’ve been suffering has concluded that while our current condition may not fit the arbitrary definition of whatever is considered a depression today, our economy certainly isn’t in any condition to be called recovered or even “recovering”. In fact, it is a disaster:
In a new research note, JPMorgan points out that since 1970, Japan, Finland and Sweden have all gone through what the U.S. is currently going through. And all three of them had recoveries stronger than America’s. The above chart compares the economic recovery — as measured by real GDP per capita — of each nation at different points after the trough of their recessions. And the U.S. is in dead last after 12 quarters from the bottom.
Take a particular look at Japan. That is the economy during the “lost decade” that we’re currently underperforming. Says JP Morgan’s Michael Feroli:
The poster child for slow growth coming out of a debt-fuelled financial crisis has to be Japan, which ever since the early 1990s has had trouble getting a head of steam. The recession which kicked off Japan’s “lost decade” lasted from 1991 to 1993. Including the recovery experience from that recession is sobering: we are currently faring worse than Japan at the same point in their lost decade.
So what’s the plan? How are we going to work ourselves out of this position? What policies will we institute to begin the actual, not pseudo, recovery? Well, it’s an election year. Don’t expect to hear the hard truths from this administration. Instead, prepare to be reminded “its working”. That in spite of reality:
As the economy reels, the national debt approaches $16 trillion, and we hear fears of Congress jumping off a fiscal cliff by year-end. Many states and local governments are struggling with massive deficits, too. Three California cities have filed bankruptcies.
U.S. companies are warning of slower growth amid Europe’s meltdown, yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average has crossed the 13,000 mark, and some observers are predicting new highs for the index soon.
The rising stock market is as counterintuitive as interest rates falling to new lows after the U.S. lost its triple-A debt rating last year. It isn’t that investors aren’t wary. It’s just that every place else makes them more wary. This isn’t the definition of a recovery.
No, it’s not. But then Lewis doubles down with stupid:
The cure for our battered economy has been to allow our disasters to occur more slowly through taxpayer bailouts and extraordinary interventions from the Fed. So far, this strategy has worked. We have averted a sudden crash in favor of a depressingly slower one.
As we said from the very beginning, you can either let the economy takes its course and suffer the results quickly, get over it and recover, or you can find a way to extend it to where the effect may not be as dramatic but will linger and linger and linger.
We chose the latter path and it hasn’t at all worked out the way it was predicted (remember, at this point, unemployment was supposed to be in the 5% area if the stimulus was approved and 8% area if it wasn’t – so it’s hard to say “it worked”, isn’t it?).
The spin says the downturn was softened. But again, I point to the promises vs. the reality. We are no better off in terms of unemployment than it was claimed we’d be if we didn’t go an additional trillion dollars in debt.
And the economy isn’t recovering, it’s bouncing along the bottom of a trough with the possibility of going even lower if Europe implodes.
Yet the only plan I’ve seen or heard about is to repeat what failed previously with the Fed talking about a QE3 while we’re already awash in about 10 trillion dollars in funds it has already injected. I don’t know about you but I simply haven’t much confidence in Ben Bernanke’s assurances that he can wring all that cash out of the system without triggering another economic downturn or hyperinflation. History is not on his side.
I think Ace points to the truth of the matter that the media and politicians simply won’t touch:
This is the worst "recovery" by any nation since 1970, and it could be partly due to a category error: We’re not recovering from a recession, we’re still in the depths of a depression.
That’s right, it isn’t the “worst recovery”. There hasn’t been a recovery. There have been “bright spots” here and there which quickly faded, but overall, we’re in the same place economically we’ve been for months and years. And it isn’t an “invisible” depression to the unemployed and those who’ve given up hope and dropped out of the job market. It is very visible. And most likely they remember the promises and the results.
Of course, instead of facing this and holding politicians accountable, our media will continue to play to the distractions, the nonsense and the irrelevant instead of asking the hard questions, demanding answers and informing voters.
Unfortunately, such is life in America today.
According to the Atlantic’s Rebecca Rosen, Greenland is in the middle of an “extreme ice melt”. You can read the article and consider the point. I’ll give her credit. She reports it pretty objectively including this as a reason for the melt:
NASA says that it is normal for Greenland’s ice to melt a bit in the summer; what is abnormal is the extent. Normally, only about half of the ice sheet’s surface sees any melting. This year, that proportion just about doubled. NASA additionally said that its satellites were recording uncharacteristically high temperatures over the island. Those warmer temperatures were brought by a bubble of warm air (a "heat dome"), the latest in a series of such ridges that have moved over Greenland this year.
In other words, a regional event.
She also mentions:
The last such melt event occurred in 1889, according to data from ice cores, and scientists say they would expect such an event about every 150 years. They’ll be monitoring the ice closely in the years ahead to see if this turns out to be a regular aberration, or an irregular one.
Got it. Thanks for noting the event which appears to have a history (I’ll cover how much of a history below).
The UK’s Guardian kicks it up a notch with the use of the word “unprecedented” in their title.
“Greenland ice sheet melted at unprecedented rate during July”
No. It didn’t. As we see from the Atlantic’s treatment, this event isn’t at all “unprecedented.” In fact, if I have any gripe about the Atlantic’s coverage is it stopped short of noting a longer history of Greenland’s ice melts:
Greenland, as you can see, has seen periods as warm or warmer than now in its history. One could logically assume then that it would have had the same sorts of weather events during those periods as it experienced during the recent week in early July.
BTW, here’s an explanation of the numbers you see above:
“Unprecedented” is obviously a incorrect characterization of the event. Why did the Guardian seize on the word?
Because some scientist conveniently used it:
However, scientists were still coming to grips with the shocking images on Tuesday. "I think it’s fair to say that this is unprecedented," Jay Zwally, a glaciologist at Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center, told the Guardian.
Again, no, it isn’t “unprecedented”. And obviously the Guardian didn’t take the time to find out if it really was. A simple Wikipedia check would have produced the above graph.
So why the acceptance of the scientist’s characterization without checking? I think that too is obvious – it’s scarier than admitting it has a long history of occurring, many times prior to the industrial revolution. It lends more immediacy to the story. The fact that throughout its history Greenland has seen a cycle of warmer and colder weather is “inconvenient” to the scare factor related to AGW. Certainly the Guardian is careful not to come right out and scream global warming, but by noting this “unprecedented” event, it certainly is clear that global warming, and specifically AGW, is the dot to which they want you to connect this to.
The NY Times, on the other hand, notes the melt and takes a different approach. While noting the melt and the high pressure ridge, the Times throws this into the mix:
Nonetheless, the scientists said, the melt was significant because Greenland’s ice sheet is unequivocally shrinking as a result of the warming of the world’s oceans, and the event could help broaden their insights into climate change and earth systems.
While they don’t claim that AGW is the cause for warming oceans (don’t worry, there are plenty of others out there that do), they don’t endeavor to explain why oceans have been warming for the past 100 years.
Here’s a pretty significant clue. It’s a 2,300 year Hallstatt solar variation cycles graph:
Anyone notice what has been rising for the last 1,000 or so years?
In fact, says Sami Solanki, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany
The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures… the brighter sun and higher levels of so-called "greenhouse gases" both contributed to the change in the Earth’s temperature, but it was impossible to say which had the greater impact.
As it is turning out, it appears it may be the Sun. CO2 has always been a lagging indicator in warming history until it was recently elevated by some “scientists” to a leading cause. It has not shown the effect on temperature predicted by warmist models, however. In fact, it hasn’t even been close even while the ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere has continued to rise.
The point of all of this? It appears that those traditionally associated with the AGW scaremongering are toning down their rhetoric even while still attempting, through half-truths, incomplete reporting and implication, to push the AGW agenda, albeit much more subtly now.
Don’t let them get away with it.
UPDATE: And then, of course, there are those who don’t have a clue and don’t care, especially when they can use this to club the GOP.
If you live on Florida’s Space Coast, I’ll be on AM 1300 WMEL around 3PM Eastern, to talk about the economy and stuff. If you’re not on the Space Coast, you can listen live, worldwide, here.
UPDATE: If you’d like to listen, here is the whole interview I did on WMEL today. I cut out all the commercial breaks and whatnot, but even so, it’s still 36:20 long, so consider it an extra podcast for the week.
I don’t consider myself a "renowned economist", however. Or even an economist at all. I mean, I got me the book learnin’ in it, and I know my ciphers and my figurin’ and whatnot, but my work in the field has been in economic journalism, rather than formal work as an economist.
But the WMEL guys were very nice to me, and I appreciate it.
How little interest has the media show in the actual facts of Barack Obama’s history?
The simple answer is “very little”. For instance I expect a minute and basically negative examination of the Mormon religion when Mitt Romney is officially nominated. That’s already being set up by numerous of those type articles already beginning to surface.
But Obama’s 20 years in a church with a reverend who basically preached anti-Americanism and black liberation theology? Meh.
A great example of what I’m talking about is covered by Jonathan Tobin in Commentary’s “Contentions” blog. It is about the story oft repeated by Obama. It is his version of his mother death of cancer because those nasty old insurance companies wouldn’t pay.
It’s a lie. Again, I use the word “lie” much less frequently than do many in the press or around the blogosphere. A lie is a knowing falsehood. I try to restrict my usage to that tight definition. As it turns out, the story Obama has told repeatedly as the truth about his mother’s death is, in fact, a lie. Oh, and the mainstream media knows it.
Proof? Well, they said so.
Never let it be said the New York Times is afraid to tackle an unflattering story about President Obama, even if it’s often a delayed reaction. The paper’s political blog The Caucus deigned to notice today that the new biography of the president by David Maraniss uncovered the fact that much of Dreams From My Father, the highly praised Barack Obama autobiography, is either fabricated or exaggerated. The Times’s Michael Shear opines that having its author now sitting in the White House has brought Dreams more scrutiny than its author could have envisioned when he wrote it in 1995. But the problem with contemporary analyses of the questionable personal history in the book is not so much the peril associated with being a famous political author but whether the book provides proof of a pattern of falsehoods and distortions about his past that has been one of the hallmarks of the president’s public career.
The answer to that question is contained near the bottom of the piece in which Shear lets drop that proof of such a pattern was already provided by his own newspaper last year. Though the Times buried the story when it broke and then never followed up or editorialized on the scandal, it was their own reporter Janny Scott whose research on the life of the president’s mother Ann Dunham revealed that the oft-told story of her dying because of the failure of her health insurance company to pay for her cancer treatment was a flat out lie. But while Shear is right that this year’s election will not turn on how Maraniss’s book is received, the unwillingness of the Times and other mainstream publications to call out Obama for writing fiction and calling it autobiography gives us a good indication of how much of an advantage having a quiescent media is for an incumbent president. [emphasis mine]
You know the standard line here: imagine them discovering something like this about someone on the right. Do you suppose it would not be followed up or be editorialized? Do you suppose they’d skip pointing out it seems to indicate a pattern?
As to that pattern and the specifics of his mother’s death:
The fables Obama seems to have told about his alienation, his girlfriends and the rest of his over-intellectualized voyage of self-discovery actually pale in comparison to the whopper he told when running for election in 2008 that his mother died because she had been denied coverage and treatment of her disease. Scott revealed that in fact the expenses relating to her cancer had been paid by her insurance. Though she had a separate and totally unrelated dispute relating to disability coverage, Scott’s research proved that Obama’s statement during the 2008 presidential debate was fiction:
“For my mother to die of cancer at the age of 53 and have to spend the last months of her life in the hospital room arguing with insurance companies because they’re saying that this may be a pre-existing condition and they don’t have to pay her treatment, there’s something fundamentally wrong about that.”
It bears repeating that the president knew this account was false because he served as his mother’s attorney in all her dealings with the insurance company. [emphasis mine]
And where did the Times run this revelation? What was the White House reaction?
When the Times ran that story (on page 14 rather than on the front page), the White House chose not to deny the truth of Scott’s reporting. But that didn’t stop the Obama campaign from refloating the same falsehoods about Ms. Dunham having perished for lack of insurance coverage in an autobiographical campaign film narrated by Tom Hanks.
So the Times discovered what would be a bombshell revelation were it anyone else, they plop it out on page 14, the White House denies it and that ends it?
Now that’s journalism isn’t it? Duty fulfilled, even halfheartedly, and now safe to ignore. Meanwhile the lie lives on and no one even bothers to address the fact that’s what it is. It is pure political propaganda designed to demonize an industry in order to gain popular consent to all but wreck it and have government take its place.
Yet, it’s only worth page 14 in the “paper of record” and zero followup.
Not only has the president never apologized for lying to the American people about his mother’s plight, he rightly assumed that even though the truth was uncovered by the New York Times, neither that paper nor the rest of the mainstream media would follow up on it as they undoubtedly would had a Republican ever tried to sell the voters such a transparent whopper.
There’s the bottom line.
Another example of how poorly a biased media is serving the public. Yet they wonder why the public’s confidence in them continues to drop and newspapers all over the country are dying.
As anyone who follows politics knows, MSNBC “leans forward” or, has all but publically announced it is the liberal news network.
Fine. I have no problem with that. In fact, I’m comfortable with it because it allows me to put into context anything they say or report.
However, a disturbing trend has emerged with the network. It’s one thing to have a particular bias to your reporting. It is another thing to report things dishonestly. And MSNBC has been caught red handed doing that at least twice here fairly recently. Ed Shultz edited a tape of Rick Perry in such a way as to make what he said sound like a racial slur. Then there was the edited George Zimmerman tape.
Now we have the “Wawa” tape. In it, Mitt Romney is made to appear “amazed” by some technology in the store with the obvious intent of recreating the George H. W. Bush grocery store scanner moment. The point, of course, was to make Romney look like Bush who, the left contended, was so out of touch that he hadn’t been in a grocery store in so long he was unaware they used scanners.
Of course, as with most things, context is key. In the case of Bush, he indeed hadn’t been in a grocery store and was indeed amazed by the scanner. The “out-of-touch” claim had some validity. And, politically, it also hurt him.
That last sentence is key. And the MSNBC logic seems elementary as well as obviously transparent. If that hurt Bush, let’s gin this up to hurt Romney.
But there were multiple problems with MSNBC’s attempt to smear the presumptive GOP presidential candidate. First and foremost, what they were trying to portray wasn’t true. Secondly, they seem to have forgotten that there are an army of watchdogs in the new media that inspect everything they say or do. Third, they seem unaware they aren’t the only organization with video of the event in question. And finally, they’re arrogant and believe they can pull off crap like this despite one through three.
So how did it go down? Well, in a short clip shown by MSNBC, Romney, who had visited a convenience store named Wawa, talked about ordering a sandwich:
“It’s amazing," Romney said, as the Pennsylvania crowd appeared to laugh. Then viewers saw Romney say, "You have a touchtone keypad, and you touch that, touch this, go pay the cashier, there’s your sandwich.”
It was presented as a Bush moment with both Andrea Mitchell and Chris Cillizza laughing at how out-of-touch Romney was. And, as expected:
Mitchell invoked an old perceived campaign stumble by George Bush, who supposedly marveled at a supermarket scanner at a grocers’ convention during his failed 1992 re-election bid.
But that wasn’t at all the context for Romney’s remark. Here’s what he said prior to that line:
What viewers didn’t see or hear was nearly three minutes of Romney discussing the nightmare of paperwork faced by an optometrist he’d talked to in trying to get the post office to change his address. He expressed mock amazement at Wawa’s efficiency to underscore how the private sector often runs circles around the clumsy bureaucracy.
"We went to Wawas and it was instructive to me, because I saw the difference between the private sector and the governmental sector. People who work in government are good people and I respect what they do, but you see, the challenge with government is that it doesn’t have competition,” Romney said in a portion edited out of the segment.
Wow … that sort of context seems pretty important to the story if you’re actually a reporter and not a hack.
And that’s sort of the point of all this. MSNBC continues to damage itself (self- inflicted wounds) to the point that no one is going to take them as a credible news source anymore (many of us already dismiss what they say unless vetted by a more reliable source). Instead, they’ll be considered a propaganda outlet. What they did with the Romney and Perry tapes certainly seem to be attempts at propaganda vs. news.
By the way, it’s not like other cable networks don’t have their own credibility issues (the left views Fox as the right views MSNBC). But MSNBC seems to be the worst of the lot, at least at this point. But, as someone recently said, as their viewership shrinks in the wake of these scandals, the only demographic that may be increasing for them is conservative and GOP viewers. MSNBC has become an entertainment channel for them.
Today a reporter for the Daily Caller interrupted the President in a Rose Garden announcement about his decision to selectively enforce the law of the land based on his whim (and pure political calculation not to mention a flip-flop).
The guy who saw fit to interrupt twice the President’s address in the Rose Garden on his new immigration policy, which was being carried live by the cable nets, was actually a reporter for The Daily Caller named Neil Munro.
The left is appalled by the reporter’s behavior (apparently deciding what parts of laws you’ll enforce, though, is ok). The
Emperor President was not amused.
Good thing he didn’t throw his shoes at Obama. I’m sure, as they did the last time that happened to a President, the left would have found that hilarious.