Thursday, 05 March 2015


Ken Berwitz

Today's paragraph comes to us from the reliably leftward, reliably pro-Obama Washington Post columnist, E.J. Dionne.

And, it may surprise you to know, I agree with it completely.

From Mr. Dionne's latest column, which discusses Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speech to a joint session of congress:

Netanyahu may have spoken the words, "We appreciate all that President Obama has done for Israel," but the rest of his speech painted the president as foolish and on the verge of being duped on a nuclear deal by the mullahs in Tehran.

Yes, Mr. Dionne.  EXACTLY.

The only difference between us is that you wrote that paragraph as a blunt, extremely negative assessment of Benjamin Netanyahu, and I read it as a blunt, extremely negative assessment of Barack Obama.

I award E. J. Dionne Paragraph Of The Day honors for the entertainment value of writing something meant as an attack on Israel's Prime Minister...which, instead, makes me (and I'll bet tens of millions of other citizens) wish to hell Netanyahu was doing the negotiating instead of our hapless, helpless, hopeless President.

Riva But it sounds like a good idea. You are so passionate about Israel - have you considered going there? (03/06/15)

Warren I don't see a lot of debate on this blog. Criticism and name-calling, but not debate. (03/06/15)

Justin Well, there are other countries you could live in. (03/05/15)

Ken Berwitz I see. If I criticize Obama I should leave. Thanks for the heads up (where that would put someone's head up is a little too graphic for me to post here). Did you feel the same way when Bush was President for 8 years...or was it ok, then, to criticize a sitting President without emigrating. This is childish, Justin. (03/05/15)

Warren Zeke - shall we refer you back to your comment about Hillary Clinton? I think you used almost every derogatory name possible. (03/06/15)

Zeke . . . . . . . . . . . . . I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you're not patriotic, and we should stand up and say, "We are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!" - - - - - - - - - - - Hillary Rodham, April 28, 2003 at the annual Democratic Party Jefferson-Jackson-Bailey Day . . . . . . . . (03/05/15)

(Anon) . . . . . . . . . . @ Justin, . . @ Riva . . . . . . . . Warren wants you contribute comments of substance, rather than the 4th grade put downs. . . . . . On reflection, you will see that your 'gedouttaheah' attempts are juvenile and contribute nothing. . . . . . . . . Please listen to Warren's plea, as that might some day encourage him to share his compelling logic with us. . . . . . . . . . . . . (03/06/15)

Zeke . . . . . . . . . . @ Justin, . . @ Riva . . . . . . . . Warren wants you contribute comments of substance, rather than the 4th grade put downs. . . . . . On reflection, you will see that your 'gedouttaheah' attempts are juvenile and contribute nothing. . . . . . . . . Please listen to Warren's plea, as that might some day encourage him to share his compelling logic with us. . . . . . . . . . . . . (03/06/15)


Ken Berwitz

Today's quote comes to us from Chris Matthews - MSNBC show host, and Suckup Supreme to Democrats, most especially the Obamas and the Clintons.

Here is his remarkably lame explanation for Hillary Clinton keeping her emails while Secretary Of State private, rather than using the Federal system she was specifically told to use:

"I always look at these stories and I say, well, there's got to be a backstory here.... Is it this supposition on the part of her critics and maybe standby critics, just people watching her over the years, that she is very private about her person. Not wrongdoing or something like that. She just doesn't like to be totally exposed in what she does everyday. It's her instinct based upon, perhaps, years of being attacked by the Right when she was down in Arkansas and since then. A built-in instinct for self-protection, a built-in instinct for privacy which this displays. I just wonder if that isn't coloring this story and the news interest in it..."

Got that?  Hillary Clinton breaks the law because....the (Right Wing) devil made her do it.  All those years of being attacked by the opposition caused her to remove her emails, as Secretary Of State, from federal accountability. 

Hey, it's obviously those damn right wingers and their Hillary hatred, isn't it?  I mean, when has any other national political figure been attacked by the opposition?  Did you ever hear of such a thing until Hillary?

Amazing, isn't it, that the Clinton kiss-butts like Matthews spend so much of their time telling us what a strong, competent woman she is...until she's caught in something like this, at which time they shamelessly turn on a dime and tell us how frail and vulnerable she is.

I award Chris Matthews Quote Of The Day honors for thinking that this kind of unadulterated slop qualifies as a way, however absurd, of getting past a scandal so significant that even the mainstream media which usually fawn over Ms. Clinton can't bring themselves to do it this time.

Well earned.

Zeke . . . . . . . . . It was a HALF - VAST Left Wing Conspiracy. . . . . . . . (say it out loud) . . . . . (03/05/15)


Ken Berwitz

Mark Halperin is a Senior Political Analyst at Time Magazine, and a regular political analyst on MSNBC's "Morning Joe".

He was just interviewed during the Today show, and asked his opinion of the Hillary Clinton email scandal.

Here is what the usually Democrat-friendly Halperin had to say:

"It's like the third snowstorm out of ten in Boston.  It's destructive, it's distractive, and you know there's more coming"

Does that sum it up nicely, or what?

But Mr. Halperin wasn't through.  He also pointed out - and this, to me, is the key issue - that the email scandal plays directly into the worst things that are said about Ms. Clinton:  she is secretive about her activities, and plays by her own rules.

Another direct hit that is right on target.

And before you say "oh, come on, this is just another Republican hit job on Hillary and it is going to roll right off just like the other ones":

-What about the possibility that there are damning emails regarding Benghazi:  emails which make clear what so many of us already believe, which is that she has lied to our faces about the degree of readiness at that compound and how she handled the situation once the attack took place? 

-And what about the possibility (and this is one I somewhat expect) that she will produce virtually no significant emails about Benghazi during that period?  Who, besides the most unconditional Hillary supporters, will believe they weren't scrubbed - and who, besides the most unconditional Hillary supporters, will not conclude that the reason they were scrubbed was that they were damaging to Her Royal Highness?

There is little doubt in Halperin's mind - or mine - that Democrats are scared excrementless of this.  Because if it brings Hillary Clinton down, what is their Plan B?  Who runs if she doesn't? 

Remember last year when Democrats were snarking out that Republicans don't have a candidate for 2016?  You don't hear much of that snark anymore, do you? 

Think of it as a political offshoot of "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones".


Ken Berwitz

You cannot make this stuff up.

From yesterday's press conference with the Harf-witted Marie Harf:

QUESTION: And then one follow-up question from yesterday: Do you have anything further on whether there's going to be a comprehensive review of the contents of these emails or how it is that you've reached the, I guess, decision that there was no classified information included?

MS. HARF: Well, obviously - and part of this is coming up because 300 of her emails were provided to the select committee, so somebody obviously had to go through all 55,000 pages and determine if there was anything that was deemed responsive to the select committee's request. So that process for that request was undertaken. If other requests come in the future, they will be gone through as well, to see if there's anything responsive and appropriate to be provided. She and her team has said that it was not used for anything but unclassified work. We don't undergo scans of everyone's unclassified email to make sure they're only doing unclassified work, so I don't think there was any indication she was doing anything but here, so I don't think it's really a pertinent question.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) claim definitively that there was nothing classified in there because --

MS. HARF: You can't claim that about anyone's unclassified email.

QUESTION: Right. But --

MS. HARF: So I'm not sure why this would be anything different. She has said she - her team has said she only did - I don't know why this would be held to a different standard.

QUESTION: It's different because it's a cabinet member using an unclassified email, and most people --

MS. HARF: But we all use unclassified emails. Would it be different if she --

QUESTION: No, most people use - most of their work is on a work email.

MS. HARF: But on the work email, that's not scanned for classified information either, Brad. If she had had a email, there wouldn't have been a classification review to make sure everything on that email was unclassified.

QUESTION: Understand, but it would have --

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: -- the security in place to handle classified material, as opposed --

MS. HARF: Absolutely not. That is patently false. An unclassified email system at the State Department does not have security to handle classified information.

QUESTION: We weren't talking about an unclassified - she would have a classified capacity in her email.

MS. HARF: Which is a complete - no, no, no.


MS. HARF: The classified (inaudible) even in - no, no, wait. This is --

QUESTION: We're splitting hairs here.

MS. HARF: No, we're not. We are actually not. I have both; I can tell you. They are two separate work machines, they are two separate systems.


MS. HARF: Anyone can have a - people who have unclassified emails here, those aren't scanned for classified information, and they are not set up, from a security perspective, to handle classified information. They are not.

QUESTION: But you were saying she did not have a classified or unclassified email at the State Department. Is that correct?

MS. HARF: Yes, so - yes.

QUESTION: So presumably, if she had done her business at the State Department, she could've used a classified email system. No?

MS. HARF: She had - as - I mean, she --

QUESTION: I mean, that would've been available to her.

MS. HARF: In theory, but she had other ways of communicating through classified email through her assistants or her staff with people when she needed to use a classified setting. What I was saying is our unclassified email systems at the State Department are not the same system as the classified, and they are not equipped from a security perspective to handle classified information, even if they're a account on the unclass system. So Im just - we all use unclass systems, they don't have classified on them.


MS. HARF: I'm not --

QUESTION: Her question wasn't pertinent to unclassified email at State.

MS. HARF: Her - was not pertinent? I'm sorry. I think we're --

QUESTION: Let's move on.

MS. HARF: -- tying each other up in knots.

QUESTION: Let's move on.

MS. HARF: I will answer the question. I'm just not sure we --


MS. HARF: Did I get - sorry, let's stay with --

QUESTION: I think that that got to it, but I'm still a little unclear --

MS. HARF: As to what?

QUESTION: Maybe we can - someone else can ask a question and we can get back to me.

MS. HARF: Okay. If there are things that are unclear, I'm happy to try to address them.

What's that?  You can't believe you just read that Harf barf?  I can't say as I blame you, so click here for the video.

I would not hire this woman to be an administrative assistant.  But she's a State Department spokesperson.

And  I do not trust the Secretary Of State she is referring to as far as I could throw her.

Anything else you need to know about this administration?

Zeke . . . . . . . . Who's on First ? . . . . . . .. . [hat tip to Abbott & Costello] . . . . . . . . . (03/05/15)


Ken Berwitz

It is an old - and true - maxim in Public Relations that the single best thing is good publicity...and the next best thing is bad publicity.

Which brings us straight to Bill O'Reilly.

O'Reilly has been the single most watched cable news personality for well over a decade now, and remains way ahead of the competition to this day.

But in the last two or so weeks, he has been bombarded with Brian Williams-like accusations that he embellished his news career by claiming to be places where he wasn't - such as being in a war zone during the Falkland Islands battle between the UK and Argentina, witnessing Irish terrorist bombings in Belfast and witnessing nuns being murdered in El Salvador (O'Reilly stands by the Falkland Island story but has "adjusted" his remembrance of the other two).

Is O'Reilly telling the truth about personally being there for these events - as opposed to covering them as a then-newsperson but not actually witnessing them?  To me it seems clear that - whether due to faulty memory, or because he lied to make himself look more impressive - he was not. 

So how has it affected him?

Work-wise, there isn't any effect.  Fox has not suspended O'Reilly - presumably because his ratings are so high, coupled with the fact that, unlike Brian Williams, he functions as a commentator rather than a newsman - so, in this phase of his professional life, that kind of accuracy is less meaningful (remember:  this is not my opinion, it is what I imagine Fox's rationale to be).

But what about ratings?  Has The O'Reilly Factor taken a major hit over this? 

According to Lisa de Moraes's article at

The Fox News Channel host last night logged his biggest audience of 2015 to date - 3.3 million viewers. He also averaged 590,000 viewers in the news demo. That's 166% bigger than the crowd he clocked same night last year, and 100% better in the demo viewers.

OReilly's ratings appears to be inversely related to the pelting he's undergone about claims he made regarding his involvement covering major news events in the past.

For that first full week, The O'Reilly Factor averaged 3.381 million viewers, and 590,000 in the demo - a 25% jump and 41% demo pop.

Meanwhile, Anderson Cooper's numbers at CNN  for the week - 530,000 viewers and 209,000 demo viewers - are up a lesser 16% and 6%, respectively. And Chris Hayes' MSNBC crowd for the week in the timeslot - 767,000 and 168,000 respectively -  are down, a slight 2% in total viewers, but a noticeable 28% in the news demo.

And before you sneer out something like "Oh, well, that's just those gullible buffoons who watch Fox News".....let's keep in mind that a rise in ratings occurs when people who weren't watching decide to tune in.

Despite the memory lapses and his continually talking over guests - even bullying them - it seems that there is nothing, at present, which can dislodge Bill O'Reilly from his perch at the top of the cage. 

Bad publicity. Sometimes the second best thing ain't that bad at all.

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