Saturday, 24 October 2009

THE WHITE HOUSE WAR ON FOX NEWS (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

Here is an excellent analysis of the White House's war on Fox News, from an unlikely source:  Jeff Greenfield, writing for CBS News:

Oct. 23, 2009

President Obama's Feud with FOX News

After Months of Taking Heat from FOX News Stars, the White House is Firing Back

By Jeff Greenfield

 

 (CBS)  After months of taking incoming fire from the prime-time stars of Fox News, the Obama White House is firing back, charging that FOX News is different from all other news.

"FOX News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican party," said Anita Dunn, White House communications director.

"If media is operating basically as a talk radio format, then that's one thing, and if it's operating as a news outlet, then that's another," Mr. Obama said.

And the White House has gone beyond words, reports CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield. Last Sept. 20, the president went on every Sunday news show - except Chris Wallace's show on FOX. And on Thursday, the Treasury Department tried to exclude FOX News from pool coverage of interviews with a key official. It backed down after strong protests from the press.

"All the networks said, that's it, you've crossed the line," said CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid.

Tension between presidents and the press is as old as the Republic. FDR was so incensed by the war reporting of one New York Daily News correspondent he tried to present him with an Iron Cross from Nazi Germany. John Kennedy tried to get New York Timesman David Halberstam pulled out of Vietnam; and Vice-President Spiro Agnew's assaults on the network press is legendary.

"We have more than our share of nattering nabobs of negativism," Agnew said.

What gives this dust-up special irony is that FOX News success comes in no small part from its ability to convince its viewers that the "mainstream" media are slanted to the left. Now, the White House is arguing that the network is not a real news organization at all, and that has brought some mainstream media voices to its defense.

There's no question that FOX's prime-time voices come from the right. Moreover, its owner, Rupert Murdoch is a staunch conservative, and its first and only CEO, Roger Ailes, is a veteran of Republican media wars.

But MSNBC in prime-time has its own lineup of commentators - all of whom are on the left side of the spectrum, some of whom met with the president the White House this week.

So why is the White House out to "de-legitimize" FOX? Not because it has opinions, but because its opinion voices are so hostile to Mr. Obama - and because FOX News is, as it has been for a decade, by far the most watched of the cable news networks. In fact, its ratings have increased 13 percent this summer. So if FOX is feeling any pain from the White House's stance, it's crying all the way to the bank.

Wow.  Right on the nose.

Every day this juvenile Chicago-machine-style war is waged, the White House looks more ridiculous.

Time to grow up, guys.  Even your pals in the media are embarrassed for you now.


THE COUNTRYWIDE MORTGAGE SCANDAL: MEDIA BIAS? NAAAAAHHHH

Ken Berwitz

Suppose there was a scandal involving a group of congresspeople, all of whom were Republicans. 

-Suppose Republicans held a majority in the house of representatives and refused to investigate the scandal. 

-Suppose they walked out of the room rather than deal with the oversight they were entrusted to perform, leaving the Democrats sitting there, ready to do their jobs, but unable to because the majority was not present? 

-Suppose the Republicans then locked out the Democrats - and changed the locks to the committee room - to avoid discussing the Republican scandal.

What do you figure the mainstream media would do with that?  How many lead stories would it generate?  How many outraged commentaries?  How many features on the Today Show?  How many exploding-head "special comments" would keith olbermann give it.

Well, the scandal is Countrywide Mortgage, and the congresspeople are all Democrats.  So are things running the way they would have if it were Republicans on the hot seat?  Here, from www.sweetness-light.com, is your answer:

Dems Lock Out The GOP Media Laughs

October 23rd, 2009

 

From a bemused Washington Post:

 

Partisan anger in House brings lockout of committee Republicans

By Ben Pershing
Friday, October 23, 2009

 

The House of Representatives, ever the rowdier and more populist of the two chambers of Congress, has been the scene of incessant partisan warfare in 2009, as each party appears to be in a near-constant state of outrage over the behavior of the other.

 

The picture got uglier this week when Democrats on a House committee changed the locks on a hearing room door in retaliation for an embarrassing video posted online by panel Republicans. What started as a dispute over an oversight probe blossomed into a mini-melodrama, with each side accusing the other of petty and childish behavior.

 

This latest blow to interparty relations started last week in the Rayburn House Office Building.

 

Last Thursday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee was set to hold a routine business meeting. Before the session, its ranking Republican, Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), made clear that he planned to call for the panel to subpoena Bank of America for documents related to Countrywide Financial Corp.s infamous "Friends of Angelo" VIP mortgage program

When Thursdays committee meeting began, however, the Democrats were absent, and Republican members said they waited for more than half an hour before being told the session had been canceled because of scheduling conflicts. Democrats, meanwhile, were meeting in a private room behind the hearing room.

 

A Republican aide videotaped Democratic lawmakers leaving that gathering through a back door. The GOP interspersed that tape with footage of empty chairs from the main hearing room, and posted the video on the committees minority Web site (and YouTube), set to the tune, "Hit the Road, Jack."

 

The majority was not pleased.

On Monday, panel Democrats had the lock changed on the door leading from the GOPs office space into the main hearing room. They did so, Towns office said, because Republicans "dont know how to behave."

 

To critics, the scuffle is the latest symptom of the chambers poisonous atmosphere.

 

"Its been the worst since I started my career on Capitol Hill in 1959," said David Abshire, a former House aide and expert on civility who heads the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.

 

Squabbling over committee rooms is not new on Capitol Hill. In 2003, the House Ways and Means Committee erupted into warfare after the panels chairman, Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), summoned the Capitol Police to evict Democrats from a committee room in which they were huddling during a contentious markup of a pension reform bill. (Amid the bickering, one Democratic lawmaker repeatedly called a Republican a "fruitcake.") Thomas ended up delivering a tearful apology on the House floor.

 

But these days even apologies seem scarce. Democrats wanted but did not receive an apology in September from Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who yelled "You lie!" at President Obama during an address to a joint session of Congress. A few weeks later, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) declined to apologize for saying of the GOPs health-care plans: "Republicans want you to die quickly."

 

As for the latest dispute, tempers have cooled. Issa and Towns met Wednesday to chart a way forward in the Countrywide investigation, and by Thursday, committee Republicans had taken down the offending video.

 

The hearing room door remained locked.

Note how a story about Democrats locking Republicans out of a hearing room is so concerned about given us a full explanation of the slights on both sides.

 

Democrats control every branch of government. And yet they are resorting to unprecedented bullying tactics, such as cutting off microphones and lights, jimmying procedural rules to cut Republicans out of the legislative process.

 

And now they are locking the opposition out of hearing rooms in the House of Representatives.

 

This should outrage an independent press. But, alas, our watchdog media is owned lock stock and barrel by the Democrat party. So we get watered down accounts like this.

 

You see, both sides do it.

 

And after all, partisanship is to blame.

Now:  How many lead stories, how many outraged commentaries and how many morning news features have you seen about this from our wonderful "neutral" media?

The double standard is breathtaking.

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


RADICAL ISLAM: WHY WE FIGHT (CONT.)

Ken Berwitz

Here is another installment of why we fight radical Islam.  It comes to us from the Associated Press, via Yahoo.news:

Saudi female journalist gets 60 lashes for TV show

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia A Saudi court on Saturday convicted a female journalist for her involvement in a TV show, in which a Saudi man publicly talked about sex, and sentenced her to 60 lashes.

 

Rozanna al-Yami is believed to be the first Saudi woman journalist to be given such a punishment. The charges against her included involvement in the preparation of the program and advertising the segment on the Internet.

 

Abdul-Rahman al-Hazza, the spokesman of the Ministry of Culture and Information, told The Associated Press he had no details of the sentencing and could not comment on it.

 

In the program, which aired in July on the Lebanese LBC satellite channel, Mazen Abdul-Jawad appears to describe an active sex life and shows sex toys that were blurred by the station. The same court sentenced Abdul-Jawad earlier this month to five years in jail and 1,000 lashes.

 

The man's lawyer, Sulaiman al-Jumeii, maintains his client was duped by the TV station and was unaware in many cases he was being recorded.

 

On Saturday, he told the AP that not trying his client or al-Yami before a court specialized in media matters at the Ministry of Culture and Information was a violation of Saudi law.

 

"It is a precedent to try a journalist before a summary court for an issue that concerns the nature of his job," he said.

 

The case has scandalized this ultraconservative country where such public talk about sex is taboo and the sexes are strictly segregated.

 

The government moved swiftly in the wake of the case, shutting down LBC's two offices in the kingdom and arresting Abdul-Jawad, who works for the national airline.

 

Three other men who appeared on the show, "Bold Red Line," were also convicted of discussing sex publicly and sentenced to two years imprisonment and 300 lashes each.

We can choose to fight radical Islam and either win or lose.  Or we can choose not fight radical Islam and most assuredly lose.  Because, either way, radical Islam is going to keep fighting. 

And if we lose, western civilization will be ended.  To be replaced by what?  A society where people, men and women both, are lashed 60 - 1000 times and tossed in jail for five years, for the "crime" of talking about sex?

 

There are people who want to live this way.  Thats their business and they're welcome to it.  I know I dont, and I assume you dont either. 

 

Thats why we fight.


THE HEALTH CARE SAVINGS LIE

Ken Berwitz

I've asked this over and over again:  How can any intelligent person believe that we can add 30 - 50 million uninsured people to health care (the number depends on which Democrat is talking at any given time) without raising the costs of health care?

It doesn't compute.  It doesn't compute any more than the idea that the quality of care will not diminish - i.e. adding 30-50 million new patients, without any new doctors, won't affect a thing.

And if you think those don't compute, try the concept that a government-run health care system will save money rather than cost more.  Can you name any government program that did not wind up costing more than the suckers..er, voters, were told?  Neither can I. 

Simply stated, you would have to be a potato to believe the Obama administration's claims about health care.

This brings us to an Associated Press article today, the beginning of which I am posting below.  Read it and have a taste of the reality it provides:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Health care legislation taking shape in the House carries a price tag of at least $1 trillion over a decade, significantly higher than the target President Barack Obama has set, congressional officials said Friday as they struggled to finish work on the measure for a vote early next month.

Democrats have touted an unreleased Congressional Budget Office estimate of $871 billion in recent days, a total that numerous officials acknowledge understates the bill's true cost by $150 billion or more. That figure excludes several items designed to improve benefits for Medicare and Medicaid recipients and providers, as well as public health programs and more, they added.

The officials who disclosed the details did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not authorized to discuss them publicly.

The people, from the President on down, who tell you "ObamaCare" is going to save money, are liars.  They are lying to your face.  Just as they are lying when they say the so-called "public option" will give you choices.

The only choices the "public option" will provide are 1) for employers to save money by taking the government plan, because since it doesn't have to worry about operating at a loss it can undercut the cost of insurance companies that have to operate in the real world, and 2) for you to be forced to take the government plan if you change jobs or change job status within your company. 

In other words, the real choice you get is to take government health care (with all of government's fabled efficiencies and economies, of course) and put private insurance companies out of business.  Helluuva choice.

For god sake, don't be a potato.  See through this BS, and be sure to make your opinions known.  You are far from alone.


CORZINE AND FERRIERO - A MEDIA BURIAL (ALMOST)

Ken Berwitz

Thank you New York Post.

Thank you for not burying this story, as a great many (not all but a great many) of your media counterparts did.

The story is about Jon Corzine and his almost half-million dollar stake in the corrupt, just-convicted Joseph Ferriero.

Read all about it here.  The corruption is Ferriero's, the aiding and abetting of his corruption is Corzine's, and the bold print is mine:

Corzine, cash & corruption

 

Last Updated: 4:37 AM, October 24, 2009

Posted: October 24, 2009

New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine really has no shame.

Just hours after Bergen County's longtime Democratic machine boss, Joseph Ferriero, was convicted Thursday on three federal felony corruption counts -- which could land him in prison for 20 years -- New Jersey's governor proudly defended having written him personal checks totaling nearly a half-million dollars.

That's right: Corzine, the Wall Street multimillionaire, and his family have funneled no less than $441,600 of their own money to keep Ferriero's arrogant political machine rolling.

And Corzine claims to be leading the charge of ethics reform in the state.

Right.

During Thursday night's final gubernatorial debate, Corzine claimed -- with a straight face -- that "when I have written checks to the Bergen County Democratic Organization, it is not to Joe Ferriero."

Tell that to anyone who knows Jersey politics; Ferriero practically ran Bergen County single-handedly.

Corzine insisted that he "took on Joe Ferriero myself, long before the federal prosecutors."

Yet, as one observer put it, if taking on Ferriero meant giving him nearly $500,000, feel free to take us on anytime.

In fact, even as Ferriero was being probed by the grand jury, Corzine sent out a statewide glossy flier that not only endorsed the Bergen boss, but praised his political tactics.

As GOP candidate Chris Christie -- the corruption-busting prosecutor who initiated the investigation that snared Ferriero and so many other corrupt public officials -- said: "Corzine's money enabled Joe Ferriero to be a dictator. If he wanted Ferriero out of power and out of influence, he should have closed his checkbook."

Was Corzine putting political loyalties over good ethics? It sure seems that way.

So much for his anti-corruption talk.

The sad reality is that, if this scandalous horror story were given the level of coverage it so richly deserves, Corzine probably would lose next Tuesday.  But since so many of our wonderful "neutral" media - the New York Post and some other venues excepted - are determined to protect Corzine from his direct involvement in the Ferriero scandal, he probably will win.

Then they wonder why people call them biased?

I'm not sure whether the biggest scandal is Corzine's malfeasance with Ferriero, or media's malfeasance in not reporting it.


GALLUP'S STRANGE ANALYSIS

Ken Berwitz

Do you enjoy reading really strange findings from a reputable research company?  If so you're going to get quite a kick out of this blog.

From www.gallup.com:

Americans Views on Obama and the Nobel Peace Prize

October 23, 2009 

The majority of Americans (61%) say President Obama did not deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but as many Americans say they are glad he received it (46%) as say they are not glad (47%). Attitudes are predictably divided by partisanship.

I was with them until the comment that "attitudes are predictably divided by partisanship.  That seemed odd to me, given that Gallup, along with every other polling organization, indicates there are more Democrats out there than Republicans - and plenty of independents as well.  How does Barack Obama get that 61% negative number strictly on partisanship when Republicans are so small a part of the mix?

So I looked further, and this is what I saw:

Did Barack Obama Deserve to Win the Nobel Peace Prize, by Party ID

Emotional reactions to the award ("glad" versus "not glad") are somewhat more positive than perceptions of whether Obama deserved the award, across each of the three partisan groups. Seventy-six percent of Democrats are glad Obama received the award, as are 38% of independents and 21% of Republicans.

Are You, Personally, Glad Barack Obama Won the Nobel Peace Prize, by Party ID

 

Hmmm.  Sure, it is true that Republicans are a great deal less taken with Obama's Nobel Peace Prize than Democrats.  But a) over one-third of all Democrats think he didn't deserve it too, and b) a large majority of independents (more than two in three) feel the same way.

Does that look like nothing more than partisan response to you?

And it is the same deal with who is glad about Mr. Obama getting the Nobel Prize.  The (non-partisan) independents are not in the middle;  they are a good deal closer to the Republican position than the Democratic position.

Maybe the problem lies with how Gallup views Independents.  Its analysis refers to Republicans, Independents and Democrats as "the three partisan groups".  Can someone explain to me how Independents can be partisan?

Like I said, strange analysis......


THE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE OF OBAMA'S FOREIGN POLICY

Ken Berwitz

We're willing to talk (and talk and talk) with Iran while it runs a fraudulent election, violently suppresses protests against that election and, all the while, continues to build the nuclear weaponry it promises to use on our ally, Israel.

We pull the plug on a promised missle shield to protect the Czech Republic and other eastern European democracies from Iran, to the delight of Russia, which  seems intent on trying to rebuild the USSR that dismantled almost 20 years ago.

And we continually snub the heads of state of the United Kingdom and France -- sometimes so blatantly that it seems to go beyond President Obama's innate naivete about foreign affairs and stands as premeditated actions.

Placate your enemies and antagonize your allies.  That, folks, is an upside down cake of foreign policy.

Here is a very good account of our situation with France from Reuters, via John Hinderaker of www.newsbusters.org:

Another Self-Inflicted Wound

October 23, 2009 Posted by John at 6:38 PM

 

The Obama administration has an uncanny ability to alienate America's friends, most recently French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Reuters reports:

 

French President Nicolas Sarkozy, initially dubbed Sarko the American for his pro-U.S. stance, is finding it much tougher to deal with Washington than he had anticipated and is recalibrating his policies accordingly.

 

Stung by perceived snubs from U.S. President Barack Obama and encouraged by the growing importance of the G20, Sarkozy is increasingly reaching out to non-aligned states in an effort to extend France's international influence. ...

These initiatives are being played out against a discordant tone in Franco-American relations. This lack of harmony does not constitute a crisis, but is nonetheless raising eyebrows.

 

"Sarkozy has clearly been thrown off course in his relations with America," said Didier Billion, a senior researcher at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS). ...

 

Following his election in 2007, Sarkozy swiftly established a close friendship with the-then U.S. president, George W. Bush, and buried the U.S.-French row over the 2003 invasion of Iraq. When Obama took office in January, Sarkozy was still glowing from the praise he had received for his accomplished handling of the European Union presidency, and was convinced that he was the natural partner for the new U.S. leader on the world stage. ...

 

Sarkozy's critics say he is jealous of Obama's high profile and hurt by public putdowns -- such as the U.S. president's refusal to dine with him during a visit to Paris last June. Officials say the disconnect is centred on real issues, such as Obama's attitude to Iran's nuclear ambitions, which has been less hardline than Sarkozy's hawkish stance.

 

"There is an annoyance about what the French see as naivety in the Obama administration," said Bruno Tertrais, a senior research fellow at the Foundation for Strategic Research.

 

A lot of things in foreign policy are hard, but not going out of your way to alienate allies doesn't seem like one of them.

Does anyone in this administration have the slightest clue what they are doing?  Do they still think that Barack Obama's smooth delivery and winning smile is enough? 

This is more than a disgrace.  It is severely damaging us. 

These geniuses campaigned on the premise that the world hated us under President Bush.  Even if they were right (a premise I strongly dispute), at least the world gave a damn what we did, and our enemies worried about the consequences of acting against us.

Do they worry now?


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