Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Ken Berwitz

The ugly news just came out that Senator Ted Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor.

"Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe," the doctors said in a statement, adding that treatment would likely include "combinations of various forms of radiation and chemotherapy."

Politics take a back seat - way, way back - to situations like this.  I don't care if you are Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal.  Let Mr. Kennedy be well again.

Realistically the odds are long against him beating this condition.  But I hope he does beat it completely and lives many more productive years.  And I hope you agree.


Ken Berwitz

Here are two postings from the wonderful site www.powerlineblog.com, both of which demonstrate just how much Barack Obama is getting away with from our "neutral" media. 

The first, written by Scott Johnson, details Mr. Obama's in-your-face lie about whether he was advocating negotiations with Iran's head of state, ahmadinejad:

Take me to your leader (whoever he may be)

Michael Goldfarb finds Barack Obama foreign policy adviser Susan Rice providing the nuance to Wolf Blitzer on Obama's commitment to meet with Iran's leader:

BLITZER: How does Senator Obama defend that decision to meet without preconditions with a leader like Ahmadinejad?

RICE: Well, first of all, he said he'd meet with the appropriate Iranian leaders. He hasn't named who that leader will be. It may, in fact be that by the middle of next of year, Ahmadinejad is long gone.

BLITZER: Lets be precise because when they criticize Barack Obama, not only John McCain but others, for suggesting that he would meet without preconditions with Ahmadinejad, who only last week on Israel's 60th anniversary called Israel a "stinking corpse." The question that they ask is what is Barack Obama going to talk with him about?

RICE: Well, first of all as I said, it would be the appropriate Iranian leadership at the appropriate time not necessarily Ahmadinejad.

It isn't very difficult to dig up the reports of Obama's commitment to meet with Ahmadinejad specifically, as indicated in this USA Today report and this CBS News Horserace report. As John Hinderaker asked yesterday: Can someone explain why it is, exactly, that Barack Obama is not a laughingstock?

The second is from John Hinderaker and concerns Obama's 180 turnaround, in one day flat, regarding how significant a threat Iran is:

Obama Gets Whiplash

Barack Obama, last night in Portland, on Iran: "They don't pose a serious threat to us."

Barack Obama, today, in Billings, Montana, on Iran: "I've made it clear for years that the threat from Iran is grave."

Can someone explain why it is, exactly, that Barack Obama is not a laughingstock?

Both posts end by asking why Barack Obama is not a laughingstock.  Unfortunately, the answer is not at all funny.  Obama is not a laughingstock because media are, for the most part, declining to tell you about his lies, even when they are this blatant.

They are trying to make fools of the voters.  They are making sure you don't know that Mr. Obama changes his position completely the minute it becomes obvious that the new position will be more beneficial to him.  The Powerline blog has shown you two specific instances of this in just the last couple of days.

Are you fooled?


Ken Berwitz

It is not quite 8PM, and I made the mistake of putting on MSNBC to check the election results. 

Hillary Clinton is running away with Kentucky, as expected.  But what was not expected was Andrea Mitchell's comment that some states have Katherine Harris types (she was the Attorney General of Florida in 2000) and therefore Obama has to worry about the "Republican Establishment" giving him a fair shake.

If Ms. Mitchell is going to insinuate that Barack Obama is going to be cheated by Republicans she better do two things: 

1) She better explain what Katharine Harris did to cheat - because to the best of my knowledge, what she did do was follow Florida law;

2) And she better tell us where she thinks Obama is going to be cheated by corrupt Republicans and what their names are.  That is a SERIOUS CHARGE, and to just flip it out without any basis whatsoever - and no challenge at all by Chris Mouthews, who she was talking to (did you really expect him to question an attaci against Republicans?) is an an absolute disgrace.

But, then again, this is MSNBC.  So disgrace may not be an issue. 

IMMEDIATE UPDATE:  As I finished this blog, Norah O'Donnell came on and was asked to analyze the Kentucky results.  She said that in Kentucky, like in West Virginia, race was a major factor in Hillary Clinton's win (translation - people voting by race are giving her these states). 

When does O'Donnell or any of the other MSNBC "commentators" ever mention the factor that race has played in OBAMA winning states?  How did he win North Carolina, for example?  Georgia?  Mississippi?  Etc. etc. etc. 

Wherever there is a large number of Black voters, Mr. Obama benefits enormously because, based on the exit polls, over 90% of all Blacks are voting for him.  Percentage-wise, that is a ton more than there are White voters voting for Hillary Clinton.

Is this race related?  Well, if it isn't, they better erase all the dictionaries out there and redefine the word.  But on the Obama-rooting MSNBC it goes unmentioned. 

What a surprise.

Zeke Katherine Harris was Florida's Secretary of State in November, 2000. Harris certified that the Republican candidate, then-Texas Governor George W. Bush, had defeated the Democratic candidate, then-Vice President Al Gore, in the popular vote of Florida and thus certified the Republican slate of electors. Her ruling was challenged and overturned on appeal by Florida's Supreme Court; this decision, however, was itself reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore. That Court ruled (5-4) that Gore's request to extend Florida's statutory deadline for ballot re-counts had no merit, because no Florida law at the time provided for that option. This ruling nullified the state court's decision, upholding Harris' certification. The decision foreclosed any further court challenges by Gore and resulted in Bush's margin of victory in Florida being officially tallied at 537 votes. Therefore, Florida's electoral votes — and the Presidency — went to George W. Bush. (wikipedia) (05/21/08)

free I was listening to fox news radio the other day and Spencer said something like, 'whenever a black republican loses or has there policies questioned it is never called racism but if you don't support obama it is automatically racism' . hell i would go even farther and point out if it is a black republican you can call them vile names like oreo or uncle tom and they wont even call you a racist. I think the media is pathetic and what they have been doing not just on politics but the economy the war and most other important topics is flat out FRAUD! They have and are damaging this country and all because they want to discredit Bush and get a Dem in the white house. makes me sick! (05/20/08)

Ken Berwitz Zeke -- As I think we agree, Attorney General Harris acted entirely within the law (to the dismay of Democrats trying to steal the election). But it is important to remember that the Supreme Court ruling on the constitutionality of a recount was 7-2, not 5-4 as the Gore supporters have claimed all these years. Here are the facts: ---------- Noting that the Equal Protection clause guarantees individuals that their ballots cannot be devalued by "later arbitrary and disparate treatment," the per curiam opinion held 7-2 that the Florida Supreme Court's scheme for recounting ballots was unconstitutional. Even if the recount was fair in theory, it was unfair in practice. The record suggested that different standards were applied from ballot to ballot, precinct to precinct, and county to county. ---------- There was also a 5-4 vote, but that was on whether there was enough time to create a constitutional way to recount the ballots. If Gore and his pals had asked for a full, FAIR, recount of the entire state instead of just the counties that would help him, this wouldn't have been an issue. Gore's problem was that a full state recount would keep him a loser, but a selective recount of a few Democratic counties would make him a winner. So he tried the selective recount in the hope that somehow the courts would allow it, and the USSC, correctly, knocked it down. (05/21/08)


Ken Berwitz

This is actually comical.

On the eve of the Kentucky and Oregon primaries, Bill Clinton, speaking for his wife Hillary, has attacked the news media for being slanted against his wife.

That's right.  The Clintons, who arguably were the beneficiaries of 8 years of acquiescent coverage by most mainstream media, are now complaining bitterly about the coverage of mainstream media.

Here is the CBS news report:

Bill Clinton Blames Slanted Press Coverage for Obama's Delegate Lead

From CBS News' Ryan Corsaro:

LOUISVILLE, KY. -- If it wasn't the night before the Kentucky and Oregon primaries, it would have been a standard Hillary Clinton speech. She talked about health care. She talked about jobs. She talked about bringing broadband to communities that dont have it. She talked about all of the issues shes talked about for the past nine months -- everything you can read about on her website or see her say on YouTube.

She had all of the lines the crowd loves to hear. Getting the two big oilmen out of the White House.

I dont understand what people didnt like about the 90s, was it the peace or the prosperity?

And the other crowd favorite, not being able to wait for the day when that moving van pulls away from the White House and heads back to Texas.

However, the Clintons know that their audience isnt just the crowds of voters hearing these lines for the first time its national media who have heard her speeches hundreds of times, some of whom travel for months with the campaign and report anything new about what Clinton says on the road.

But the only new thing the Clintons had to say on primary eve came from her husband, who accused the press of not caring about the needs of voters and favoring other candidates over his wife.

Bill Clinton echoed statements Hillary herself made in the past few days, verifying that attacking the media has now become a Clinton campaign talking point.

Every time you turn on the television and you listen one of those people dissing her, they all have a college degree, theyve all got a new job, theyve all got healthcare, and they're not going broke putting filling up their gas tank," said Bill Clinton.

Just two days before, Hillary Clinton told a crowd in Mayfield, Ky., All those people on TV who are telling you and everybody else that this race is over and I should just be, you know, graceful and say Oh its over even though Ive won more votes. Those are all people who have a job. Those are all people who have healthcare. Those are all people who can afford to send their kids to college. Those are all people who can pay whatever is charged at the gas pump."

Around 1,300 supporters mostly women came out to see Hillary Clinton speak last night in Lexington on the eve of the Kentucky primary when her husband came out to give her introduction, which he called "the easy job."

"Just remember, all these people who are telling you it's over..." instructed the former president as several women began to scream "No!" in protest.

"First of all, by their own admission, this has been the most slanted press coverage in American history. Secondly, they declared her dead more times than a cats got lives."

He went out to point at poll numbers in New Hampshire, which many media outlets reported early on to show Clinton could lose the race. In the end, the polls were proven wrong, with Hillary Clinton winning that state's primary in early January.

Clinton said the same thing had happened in West Virginia, claiming the "people on television" had told voters in that state to stay at home.

"People in West Virginia didn't appreciate being talked to like that," he said.

Bill Clinton finished his introduction of his wife with an anecdote he has used on the road while campaigning for during the past few weeks, saying his daughter Chelsea called to tell him she told a questioner "yes" when the person asked if her mother would be a better president than her father.

"She said, 'They asked me a direct question and I gave them a direct answer,'" Bill Clinton recounted.

Hillary Clinton later hugged her husband after his remarks, calling him her "number one campaigner in chief."

While he does not have any version of such a title officially with her campaign, it appears Bill Clinton has had an influence on Hillary's new volleys at the media. On May 10th, ABCNews.com reported that Bill Clinton had began taking shots at the media while visiting Ripley, WV.

"They make a lot of fun of me because I like to campaign in places like this, they say I have been exiled to rural America, as if that was a problem. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be here than listening to that stuff I have to hear on television, I'd rather be with you. There is a simple reason: You need a president a lot more than those people telling you not to vote for her."

The Clintons seem to think attacks on the media gave a big boost to Clinton's double-digit win over Obama in West Virginia, and they're trying to make the same case in rural parts of Kentucky with the same voters as those who put them way over the top last Tuesday.

Hillary Clinton made similar statements about television critics in Mayfield, Prestonsburg, and Loretto, Ky. - all with large populations of blue-collar, white working families. She also ran a television ad in Kentucky going after members of the media including Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Tim Russert, and one of Bill Clinton's former staffers, George Stephanopoulos.

Hillary Clinton will hold an event tonight in Louisville after the results of Kentucky's primary, which she is expected to win over Obama.

Remember when the problem was restricted to just being a "vast rightwing conspiracy"?  Well now the conspiracy has apparently expanded to mainstream media too. 

So a vast conspiracy has become a vaster conspiracy and a right wing conspiracy has become a right wing and mainstream media conspiracy. 

What's next?  Interplanetary?

steve schneider the clintons now know what its like to be a republican. steve (05/20/08)


Ken Berwitz

They send her out to campaign.  She is an integral part of the Obama election team.

She makes comments that are at best stupid and at worst indicative of a hatred of the country she would be first lady of.

But Barack Obama has now told the Republican party to "lay off Michelle".   I kid you not.  Here are the particulars, courtesy of an excerpted article from www.abcnews.go.com:

Obama Warns GOP "Lay Off My Wife"

Obama Loses Argument With Wife Over Getting a Dog


May 19, 2008

Sen. Barack Obama ripped into a Republican ad today that targets comments made by his wife, Michelle, and called the GOP tactic "low class" and "detestable."

The Illinois senator told "Good Morning America" that he expects hardball tactics from the Republicans if he becomes the Democratic presidential nominee.

"But I also think these folks should lay off my wife," he told "GMA" as his wife chuckled beside him.

Obama told "GMA" that he believes he will win a majority of the Democratic delegates once the votes are counted after Tuesday's primaries in Kentucky and Oregon. Obama is favored in Oregon while rival Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York is expected to win Kentucky.

Obama was careful not to act as if he had already clinched the nomination, but he also tried to present himself as the candidate who will be taking on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the fall.

The Republicans seem to have come to the same conclusion and a GOP Internet campaign in Tennessee has an ad featuring Michelle Obama's comments during the long Democratic campaign that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country."

Michelle Obama was asked about the ad on "GMA," but her husband said, "Let me just interject on this."

"The GOP, should I be the nominee, I think can say whatever they want to say about me, my track record," Obama said. "I've been in public life for 20 years. I expect them to pore through everything that I've said, every utterance, every statement. And to paint it in the most undesirable light possible. That's what they do."

"But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. Because that I find unacceptable," he said.

Obama praised his wife's patriotism and said that for Republicans "to try to distort or to play snippets of her remarks in ways that are unflattering to her I think is just low class ... and especially for people who purport to be promoters of family values, who claim that they are protectors of the values and ideals and the decency of the American people to start attacking my wife in a political campaign I think is detestable."

Obama later added, "I think that the American people also would like to see some restoration of decency to this process. And when you start attacking family members, there's a lack of decency there." .

Unbelievable arrogance.  He sends her out to campaign for him, but she's off limits?  Has Bill Clinton been off limits to the Obama campaign?

Here's a hint for Senator Obama:  When people vote for President they also vote for first lady.  Whether he, or they, like it or not.  If the wife of a presidential candidate says she has been ashamed of her country for her entire adult life until now, and that the USA is "downright mean", among other negative things, people want to know about it.  They want to know who they are putting in our White House.

Senator Obama:  If you send her to campaign, she is NOT off limits.  Even if you are concerned, maybe even desperate, that her words not be made public.  You were the one who made her fair game.  Now live with it.


Ken Berwitz

Would you like to feel superior?  Here's a way to do it:  read about something so stupid and so counterproductive that you know you have to be smarter than the people who thought it was a good idea.

With that, I give you the following excerpts from a Reuters story over the wire today:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation on Tuesday allowing the Justice Department to sue OPEC members for limiting oil supplies and working together to st crude prices, but the White House threatened to veto the measure.

The bill would subject OPEC oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela, to the same antitrust laws that U.S. companies must follow.

The measure passed in a 324-84 vote, a big enough margin to override a presidential veto.

The legislation also creates a Justice Department task force to aggressively investigate gasoline price gouging and energy market manipulation.

"This bill guarantees that oil prices will reflect supply and demand economic rules, instead of wildly speculative and perhaps illegal activities," said Democratic Rep. Steve Kagen of Wisconsin, who sponsored the legislation.

The lawmaker said Americans "are at the mercy" of OPEC for how much they pay for gasoline, which this week hit a record average of $3.79 a gallon.

The White House opposes the bill, saying that targeting OPEC investment in the United States as a source for damage awards "would likely spur retaliatory action against American interests in those countries and lead to a reduction in oil available to U.S. refiners."

Are these people defective?

First congress puts us at the mercy of OPEC by voting down (as recently as this month) any serious attempt at using our own vast energy resources.  Then they figure they'll take care of the problem by threatening the people they've put us at the mercy of?

If that isn't defective, what is?

And I blame Republicans right along with Democrats.  I have not seen the roll call, but with only 84 nay votes a majority of Republicans must have joined with Democrats on this idiotic legislation.

I would like to think they are smarter than this.  I would like to think they know this is as idiotic as it is.  But to believe that means to also believe that they are cynically playing the voters, by putting on a dog and pony show to pretend they are getting tough on oil, while knowing all the while that it is a complete waste of time.

Hmmmm.  This is congress. Maybe I can stop right there.

free Usually i agree with you Ken but not on this one. Many of the OPEC countries belong to the WTO and other international organizations and according to the rules they agreed to they can be held accountable for what they are doing. The EU has been suing American companies for years now, why should only American companies have to follow the rules? (05/20/08)


Ken Berwitz

This article, written by the highly insightful Ralph Peters, details the extent of our success (that's right, success) in Iraq.  It is from today's New York Post.  It is not from today's network news or New York Times, or Today show or any of that wonderfully "neutral crew at MSNBC:


Sadr: Hides in Iran as his Iraq minions lose.
Sadr: Hides in Iran as his Iraq minions lose.

Ralph Peters

May 20, 2008 -- DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.

To be fair to the quit-Iraq-and-save-the-terrorists media, they have covered a few recent stories from Iraq:

* When a rogue US soldier used a Koran for target practice, journalists pulled out all the stops to turn it into "Abu Ghraib, The Sequel."

Unforgivably, the Army handled the situation well. The "atrocity" didn't get the traction the whorespondents hoped for.

* When a battered, bleeding al Qaeda managed to set off a few bombs targeting Sunni Arabs who'd turned against terror, that, too, received delighted media play.

* As long as Baghdad-based journalists could hope that the joint US-Iraqi move into Sadr City would end disastrously, we were treated to a brief flurry of headlines.

* A few weeks back, we heard about another Iraqi company - 100 or so men - who declined to fight. The story was just delicious, as far as the media were concerned.

Then tragedy struck: As in Basra the month before, absent-without-leave (and hiding in Iran) Muqtada al Sadr quit under pressure from Iraqi and US troops. The missile and mortar attacks on the Green Zone stopped. There's peace in the streets.

Today, Iraqi soldiers, not militia thugs, patrol the lanes of Sadr City, where waste has replaced roadside bombs as the greatest danger to careless footsteps. US advisers and troops support the effort, but Iraq's government has taken another giant step forward in establishing law and order.

My fellow Americans, have you read or seen a single interview with any of the millions of Iraqis in Sadr City or Basra who are thrilled that the gangster militias are gone from their neighborhoods?

Didn't think so. The basic mission of the American media between now and November is to convince you, the voter, that Iraq's still a hopeless mess.

Meanwhile, they've performed yet another amazing magic trick - making Kurdistan disappear.

Remember the Kurds? Our allies in northern Iraq? When last sighted, they were living in peace and building a robust economy with regular elections, burgeoning universities and municipal services that worked.

After Israel, the most livable, decent place in the greater Middle East is Iraqi Kurdistan. Wouldn't want that news getting out.

If the Kurds would only start slaughtering their neighbors and bombing Coalition troops, they might get some attention. Unfortunately, there are no US or allied combat units in Kurdistan for Kurds to bomb. They weren't needed. And (benighted people that they are) the Kurds are pro-American - despite the virulent anti-Kurdish prejudices prevalent in our Saudi-smooching State Department.

Developments just keep getting grimmer for the MoveOn.org fan base in the media. Iraq's Sunni Arabs, who had supported al Qaeda and homegrown insurgents, now support their government and welcome US troops. And, in southern Iraq, the Iranians lost their bid for control to Iraq's government.

Bury those stories on Page 36.

Our troops deserve better. The Iraqis deserve better. You deserve better. The forces of freedom are winning.

Here in the Land of the Free, of course, freedom of the press means the freedom to boycott good news from Iraq. But the truth does have a way of coming out.

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy's taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn't get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there's a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People's Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?

Ralph Peters' new book, "Looking For Trouble: Adventures in a Broken World," hits stores on July 4. .

These are facts that mainstream media, by and large, will not tell you.  Mr. Peters feels this is because it destroys their story line - i.e. failure in Iraq, thus (presumably) incompetence of the Bush administration, incompetence of John McCain for supporting the troop surge..... and the ineluctable correctness of Barack Obama.

I agree with him, because I can't think of any other explanation.  Can you?


Ken Berwitz

The Media Research Center caught this one, which is brought to us by of www.newsbusters.org.  It is a classic:

CNN Ignored Own Tape, Pushed False Partisan Shot at McCain

By NB Staff | May 20, 2008 - 11:22 ET

The Worst of the Week from the Media Research Center: On the May 16 American Morning, CNN permitted Clinton campaign advisor Jamie Rubin to slam Republican John McCain as a "flip-flopper" and a "hypocrite," all based on a tightly-edited 41-second video clip supplied by Rubin himself. After summarizing McCain's recent jabs at Democrat Barack Obama's Middle East policies, fill-in co-anchor Kyra Phillips touted: "But there's word this morning that McCain hasn't actually been consistent in his opposition to [the Palestinian terrorist group] Hamas."

CNN then showed the edited clip of Rubin's January 28, 2006 SkyNews interview with McCain, in which he seemed to suggest dealing with Hamas without preconditions. In a six-minute interview with Phillips, Rubin blasted McCain's supposed change in positions as "the ultimate flip-flop in American politics" and "the height of hypocrisy." No Republican appeared to balance Rubin, and Phillips never indicated whether CNN even sought a response from McCain. [Audio/video (1:56):
Windows Media (7.14 MB) and MP3 audio (539 kB)]

But CNN could easily have checked for themselves the network interviewed McCain the exact same day he spoke to Rubin. At the time, CNN reporter Elaine Quijano said McCain was taking a hard line: "One prominent senator says it's an untenable position to have a government in the Middle East led by a group committed to the destruction of its neighbor, Israel." Then a clip of McCain: "Hopefully, that Hamas, now that they are going to govern, will be motivated to renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again....It's very, very important, though, that they renounce this commitment." [Audio/video (0:35): Windows Media (2.09 MB) and MP3 audio (152 kB)]

Eleven hours later, CNN's Lou Dobbs discovered
McCain had told Rubin pretty much the same thing ("The U.S. should take a step back and see what they do....Part of the relationship will be dictated by how Hamas acts, not how the U.S. acts."), but that portion was removed from the edited clip Rubin gave CNN that morning. "Well, that seems certainly to...substantiate precisely what Senator McCain is saying," Dobbs told reporter Dana Bash.

But for most of the day, CNN had trusted their partisan source and ignored their own tape. How convenient for Democrats and disturbing for those hoping for fair and balanced campaign coverage this year.


CNN ignored its own tape and allowed a partisan Democrat (Clinton operative Jamie Rubin) to show an edited hatchet job on John McCain.  Then they left it out there for the entire day, until Lou Dobbs mentioned that it was a hot steamy load of BS that night.

Are you waiting for an apology from CNN?  Kiss that one goodbye.  It's not happening.

For years and years they have called CNN the Clinton News Network.  If you ever wondered why, this might give you a bit of insight.


Ken Berwitz

This little item appeared as a  "Page Six" item in yesterday's New York Post.  Keeping in  mind that the owner of the Post is also the owner of Fox News, which Olbermann hates pathologically, here it is:


May 19, 2008 -- IS Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's top-rated anchor, on the verge of yet another professional meltdown? His feuding with "Hardball" host Chris Matthews is nothing new. But now we're told notoriously odd Olbermann is lashing out at the rest of his network's talking heads. During West Virginia primary coverage the other night, Olbermann began pounding the table when lead White House reporter David Gregory didn't wrap his segment quickly enough to satisfy him. Olbermann recently encouraged management to oust the cable channel's lone conservative, Tucker Carlson, and it's also no secret among producers that Olbermann refuses to introduce Dan Abrams' show, which follows his own. Olbermann walked out of MSNBC years ago in a huff after also blowing up at ESPN, so TV insiders are curious if this recent behavior is a sign that history will repeat itself. MSNBC did not respond to our calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Olbermann appears to be a deeply troubled man.  There have been times when I watched him and got a flash of Michael Keaton's classic lunatic character, "Beetlejuice", when he's advertising his services on TV.  Beetlejuice says "I've got demons runnin' all through me" and then does a little crazy-dance. 

I know it's Michael Keaton, but I keep seeing Olbermann's face in that scene.


Ken Berwitz

On Sunday, Barack Obama drew an amazing 75,000 to a rally.

Or did he?

Here is the real story, reported by Robert Knight of www.newsbusters.org .  Read it, and then think about whether media reports told you what really happened:

Free Concert by Popular Band Preceded Obamas Big Rally

By Robert Knight | May 20, 2008 - 17:16 ET

From CNN to the New York Times, the media hyped Barack Obama's Portland, Oregon rally on Sunday, some comparing him to a rock star.

Unmentioned in national reporting was the fact that Obama was preceded by a rare, 45-minute free concert by actual rock stars The Decemberists. The Portland-based band has drawn rave reviews from Rolling Stone magazine, which gave their 2005 album Picaresque four and a half stars (out of five), and another four and a half stars for 2007's The Crane Wife.

How many of the people showed up to hear Obama, and how many to hear the band?

Here's how the local paper The Oregonian, which estimated the crowd at 72,000, reported the rally:

"Obama was the biggest star at Sunday's gathering -- though a popular Portland band, The Decemberists, provided the warmup act. With blue skies and temperatures in the 80s, many in the crowd said Waterfront Park was simply the place to be."

CNN headlined its 10 p.m. segment on May 18 with "Barack Obama: Achieving Rock Star Status in Oregon."

The New York Times, which ran a color photo of the crowd, estimated the throng at 75,000, noting that it was "the largest crowd of his campaign so far." There was no mention of The Decemberists, and the Times described the weather as "an unseasonably hot day."

Indie rock Web sites were abuzz with news of the impending concert, which was also announced on the Obama campaign's Web site.

Here's the report from the Indie rock Web site Pitchfork:

By land and by sea, they came to see the great man speak. An estimated 75,000 in all turned out to see presidential hopeful Barack Obama at Portland's Waterfront Park yesterday afternoon-- a record crowd for Obama's own campaign, according to The New York Times, and a record crowd for Oregon political events, according to The Oregonian. Just look at them all!

And hey, they got to see a pretty sweet opening act too. Calling themselves the Decemberists and led by lovably literate Steve Novick endorser Colin Meloy, this feisty fivepiece charmed the gathered for a good 45 minutes before Senator Obama took the stump. They even closed out with a sing-along entitled "Sons & Daughters", which had the masses joining the band to declare "Here all the bombs fade away..." Something tells me this Decemberists band is going places. Just like Senator Obama.

Here's how Pitchfork primed the pump for the concert/rally:

Indie rock's #1 candidate crush Barack Obama is sittin' quite a bit prettier than he was a few weeks ago when the Arcade Fire and Bruce Springsteen went to bat for him, but the dashing junior Senator hasn't quite clinched the Democratic party nomination yet. Next up on the primary agenda are Oregon and Kentucky, whose voters hit the polls Tuesday, May 20. Should Obama win a heaping majority of the delegates up for grabs that day, he'll be within inches of securing the hotly-contested nom.

And look who's arrived to give Obama the extra push he needs to get on the ballot in November. Why, it's none other than those kings and queens of the month after, the Decemberists!

There's nothing wrong with a candidate using celebrity power to draw a crowd, but the media have a responsibility to report their presence. By ignoring the free concert, the Times and other outlets made it appear that 75,000 people were drawn only by Sen. Obama's considerable charisma.

Did your newspaper or TV news show tell you that a hugely popular local band did a 45 minute set before Mr. Obama spoke? 

Well, my newspaper, the one I have delivered every morning, is the New York Times.  And I sure didn't know.  Unless it was buried in the detail (with the Times it might have been, it's a trick they often pull to cover themselves), all I knew was that Barack Obama attracted a rock-star sized crowd.

What they didn't tell me is that ROCK STARS attracted the rock-star sized crowd.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

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