Blitzer Raises Specter of GOP Going 'Willie Horton' Against Obama --2/13/2008
2. Matthews: Obama Speech Caused 'Thrill Going Up My Leg'
3. Bernard Goldberg Notes MSNBC's Double Standard with Olbermann
4. Newsweek Blames Video Games for Causing the Greenhouse Effect?
5. Cover-to-Cover Bias in Sunday's New York Times Book Review
6. 'Top Ten Things Abraham Lincoln Would Say If He Were Alive Today'
The Democratic presidential nomination process isn't even over, yet on Tuesday CNN's Wolf Blitzer raised the media's favorite shorthand for vicious Republicans never forgotten from 1988, a name journalists can be counted on to resurrect every election season in order to discredit criticism of a liberal candidate, as he asked a guest how "worried" he was about Republicans energizing "elements of racism" by producing "Willie Horton kind of commercials... potentially against Barack Obama?" This, just a week after possible racism by Democratic voters was suggested by Obama's ten-point loss in California's primary after polls showed him up by 13 points. Columnist Bob Novak observed: "The way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect."
Blitzer's question came during an interview on The Situation Room with conservative radio talk show host Larry Elder, author of 'Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose,' which Elder explained makes the case for how "white racism is no longer a major problem in America anymore." Blitzer wondered: "Why do Republicans have so much trouble attracting African-American support?" Elder replied by pointing out how "Republicans, as a percentage of the party, more of them voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than did Democrats. Al Gore's dad voted against it" and "those who founded the Klan were, in fact, Democrats, and one of their goals was to stop the spread of Republicanism." But instead of pursuing that sordid history, Blitzer launched into his questions about Republicans using racism to defeat Obama.
The exchange about race (longer transcript below):
WOLF BLITZER: How worried are you, and you're obviously sympathetic to the Republicans, that if Barack Obama gets the Democratic presidential nomination, that there could be elements of racism that come up from the other side?
Amazon's page for Elder's book: www.amazon.com
An excerpt from Bob Novak's Monday column about Obama's loss in California:
....[T]he way Obama lost California raises the specter of the dreaded Bradley Effect.
Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African-American Democrat, in 1982 unexpectedly lost his candidacy for governor of California. His defeat followed voters telling pollsters they prefer a black candidate and then voting the other way. In California's primary last Tuesday, Obama lost by a landslide 10 percentage points after a late survey showed him ahead by 13 points and other polls gave him a smaller lead.
Was this presumed 20-point reversal caused by the Bradley Effect, which has worried Democratic leaders about Obama since he became an obstacle to Hillary Clinton's majestic procession to the Oval Office? It is much too early for that conclusion, but the subject is in the minds and private comments of Democratic politicians pondering the stalemate for the party's presidential nomination....
However, disbelief in racial prejudice by their voters leads Democrats to reject speculation that they lied to pollsters in claiming to support Obama. The Zogby poll showing a big Obama lead in California and the Suffolk and Rasmussen surveys indicating a slight edge, it is argued, were just plain wrong. It is also claimed that the state's final tally was skewed by an unexpectedly low African-American vote.
But early evening Tuesday briefings on exit polls, the product of nonpartisan technicians, cautioned the listeners not to be carried away by favorable Obama numbers around the country because his actual performance often is overstated by exit polls. (Indeed, contrary to early exit poll signals of an Obama upset in New Jersey, Clinton carried the state comfortably.) No explanation was given for this aberration, but many listeners presumed it was the Bradley Effect....
END of Excerpt
For the February 11 column in full: www.townhall.com
The MRC's Brad Wilmouth caught Blitzer's line of questioning from about 5:13 PM EST on the February 12 edition of The Situation Room on CNN, and provided this transcript from the start of the segment:
WOLF BLITZER: He says Democrats want blacks to focus only in on one issue -- that would be race -- and that Republicans have better ideas to actually advance black Americans. Larry Elder is a radio talk show host. He's the author of a new and controversial book entitled Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card and Lose. Larry is here.
[Blitzer went on to further discuss what Elder thinks of the presidential candidates.]
During MSNBC's live coverage of Tuesday's presidential primary elections in Maryland, Virginia and the District, after the speeches of Barack Obama and John McCain had aired, Chris Matthews expressed his latest over the top admiration for Obama's speaking skills as the MSNBC anchor admitted that Obama's speech created a "thrill" in his leg: "It's part of reporting this case, this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama's speech. My, I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often." He then declared: "And that is an objective assessment." Minutes later, Brian Williams poked fun at Matthews' confession: "Let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks...That seems to be the headline of this half hour."
[This item, by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth, was posted early Wednesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At about 10:13pm EST, right after McCain finished his speech, which came after Obama's speech, co-anchor Keith Olbermann remarked that, due to Obama's unusual speaking skills, it was a good idea for any other speaker to speak before the Illinois Democrat instead of after him. Matthews then expressed what he referred to as an "objective assessment" of Obama's speech:
After complimenting Obama for praising McCain's heroism, Matthews delivered a pessimistic assessment of McCain's situation as well as that of the Virginia Republican party:
Olbermann soon brought aboard Williams, who started off making fun of Matthews:
WILLIAMS: Well, let's talk about that feeling Chris gets up his leg when Obama talks, for starters.
Below is a transcript of the relevant portions of the Tuesday, February 12 coverage of the presidential primaries from MSNBC:
KEITH OLBERMANN: John McCain speaking after his three victories in the Potomac primaries tonight, from Alexandria, Virginia, to the tunes of Johnny B. Goode, instrumental only. And in a statement which I hope transcends political orientation and party affiliation and all that, I would think, Chris, as we start to analyze what we have heard here, the rule has to be, if you can, always speak before Barack Obama, not after Barack Obama.
OLBERMANN: Where do we start with this? Brian, we haven't spoken to you tonight. Simply on the results here, are we clearer about where each of these primaries are going, how soon we will get to the nominees in both cases?
Former CBS News correspondent and best selling author Bernard Goldberg noted the clear double standard NBC and MSNBC have on liberal versus conservative commentators. On Monday's O'Reilly Factor, Goldberg discussed MSNBC after the fallout from the David Shuster "pimped out" comment about Chelsea Clinton.
Goldberg alluded to left wing partisan commentator Keith Olbermann, without mentioning him by name, and noted that he has anchored the election night coverage and moderated a presidential debate. Goldberg posed the question: "Would NBC News have Rush Limbaugh anchoring their election night coverage on MSNBC? Would they have an angry, ideological right winger like Michael Savage anchor their election night coverage on MSNBC?" He then answered his own question "of course not!" And added that "they do have a left wing bomb thrower doing it."
[This item was adopted from the NewsBusters post by the MRC's Justin McCarthy: newsbusters.org ]
The entire transcript from 8:24 PM on February 11:
BERNARD GOLDBERG: The people who run GE either don't care or don't realize how they're hurting their brand, how they're corrupting NBC News. They don't realize that it's just plain wrong to have a rabidly partisan commentator who says the President of the United States, and this is an exact quote, "is either a pathological liar or the idiot in chief." You can't have that person anchoring election night coverage and moderating a presidential debate, but they do. They really literally do.
At the end of 1990, Newsweek writer Jerry Adler penned a classic line that summed up the liberal environmentalist's distaste with the ruinous human race: "It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem." In this week's edition of the magazine, Adler reported on a new study showing our time in outdoors recreation is declining. He summarized: "So along with obesity and attention-deficit disorder, you can now, if you choose, blame videogames for the greenhouse effect." But then, he reconsidered the tawdry boorishness of nature-touring humanity, and concluded "maybe we'd all do better to give the World a break from us, so it can heal on its own."
[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Adler touted a study (which he dutifully disclosed was funded by the Nature Conservancy, which has an interest in promoting nature areas) by authors Oliver Pergams and Patricia Zaradic:
The implications the authors draw are dire. "There's a pretty direct pathway from exposure to nature, especially as a child, to caring about it," says Pergams. So along with obesity and attention-deficit disorder, you can now, if you choose, blame videogames for the greenhouse effect.
But is the problem really that too many people are staying home from the wilderness? Some, presumably including Thoreau, would say that the last thing nature needs is more people in it. "I have," he wrote in "Walden," "my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself." In 1850 he was able to find this a few miles outside Boston, but just let him try to duplicate it in Yellowstone park, say, on Memorial Day weekend. Or in Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina's Patagonia region, to which Dominique Browning, a New York editor, made an arduous and expensive pilgrimage recently. In an op-ed piece in The New York Times, she described her trip as a disappointing vista of litter glimpsed between the heads of boorish tourists while the boat's soundtrack echoed among the majestic glaciers. The experience left her, she says, with an appreciation of "the coffee-table book as a mode of travel." The wilderness looks best through the lens of a professional photographer, who can crop the plastic bags out of the trees.
The study didn't consider snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles or other motorized forms of "nature-based recreation," but Zaradic thinks they deserve a place in the wilderness, too, as long as they get people to the out-of-doors. This is, of course, a fairly controversial position in the environmental movement. Her faith in the transformative power of nature is impressive. It would be nice to get kids into the woods once in a while so they can learn, at least, how to swat a mosquito. But maybe we'd all do better to give the World a break from us, so it can heal on its own.
END of Excerpt
For the article in the February 18 issue: www.newsweek.com
Nowhere in the article does Adler consider how perhaps humans think it would be better to stay indoors and avoid the threats of nature, like angry bears or heat exhaustion. The planet comes first. Its inhabitants (or its despoilers) come a distant second -- even though they buy the magazines manufactured from the slaughtered trees.
This week's "politics" issue of the New York Times Book Review followed a pattern: Liberal reviewers praising liberal books and dismissing conservative ones. The Times backed up the truck and unloaded over a dozen recent political books in this week's politics issue of the Sunday Book Review. The cover featured a puzzling graphic of an American flag cut up confetti-style into its component red and white stripes. There was no mistaking the Times' slant, however: The issue demonstrated a pattern of liberal (or former conservative) reviewers giving bad notices to conservative books, and liberals enjoying books by fellow liberals.
For instance, David Greenberg, a liberal history professor and columnist for Slate, favorably reviewed a scathing biography of former Sen. Jesse Helms by William Link, a review that consisted of running down Sen. Helms' controversial career. The headline left no mistake "R, North Carolina -- Senator Jesse Helms helped engineer the far right's ascendancy in the Republican Party."
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's TimesWatch site: www.timeswatch.org ]
Here are the highlights from the February 10 "Politics Issue" of the Sunday Book Review section:
# The Times picked former conservative Michael Lind to review two books, one from former Bush speechwriter and Republican iconoclast Michael Gerson, the other by conservative John Bolton. Neither book passed muster with Lind. The text box summarized: "Gerson is compassionate. Bolton is conservative. Both have missed their moments."
# Alan Erhenhalt of Governing Magazine reviewed conservative writer David Frum's new book "Comeback -- Conservatism That Can Win Again" and found it unoriginal, complaining Frum often "lapses back into vintage Reaganism."
# Tara McKelvey, an editor at the liberal American Prospect magazine, gave a negative review to liberal Washington Post reporter's Dana Milbank's breezy notebook dump "Homo Politicus."
# David Greenberg, a liberal history professor and columnist for Slate, favorably reviewed a scathing biography of former Sen. Jesse Helms by William Link, a review that consisted of running down Sen. Helms' controversial career. The headline left no mistake "R, North Carolina -- Senator Jesse Helms helped engineer the far right's ascendancy in the Republican Party." Actually, Helms started out his political career in the '50s working for Southern Democrats.
# Elsa Dixler, an editor for the Times book review, gave positive notices to two liberal books, one by Carl Oglesby, "Ravens in the Storm: A Personal History of the 1960s Antiwar Movement," the other by Susan Sherman, "America's Child: A Woman's Journey Through the Radical Sixties: A Memoir."
# R. Scott Appleby, director of the Kroc Institute of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame, approved of two books by liberals, Amy Sullivan and E.J. Dionne, both dealing with the new-found tolerance of religion in the Democratic party. The review headline: "Left Wing and a Prayer -- Can Democrats woo back the faithful? Two authors think they've already started."
# Orlando Patterson, professor of sociology at Harvard, threw a bit of a curve by giving a thumbs up to a book by Richard Thompson Ford that challenges liberal assumptions on racism, "The Race Wars -- How Bluffing About Race Makes Race Relations Worse."
# Then it's back to liberal normality as Jill Nelson, who was once a Washington Post reporter, gave predominantly negative notices to two books by black conservatives, "Sellout" by Randall Kennedy, and "A Bound Man" by Shelby Steele on the Barack Obama phenomenon.
# Pro-Democratic contributor Matt Bai enjoyed the autobiography of San Francisco's colorful former mayor, liberal Democrat Willie Brown.
# Finally, New York Observer Editor Alexandra Jacobs didn't see the point of "Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary," a collection of "repetitive" essays by women writers "almost exclusively culled from the East Coast liberal establishment press."
You could level the same accusation toward the Times book review.
END of TimesWatch item
For the latest on liberal bias in the New York Times, check TimesWatch: www.timeswatch.org
From the February 12 Late Show with David Letterman, prompted by the 199th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth on February 12, 1809, the "Top Ten Things Abraham Lincoln Would Say If He Were Alive Today." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com
10. This guy is hilarious, but seriously, who's your president?
9. I'd like to "emancipate" Angelina Jolie
8. Sweet merciful Lord, these Applebee's riblets are delicious
7. I hope the writers' strike is over! I need my 'Desperate Housewives'
6. The framers of the Constitution would care less about who injected what in their ass
5. I'm here to unite our great nation over unbelievable deals on brand-name mattresses
4. Good heavens, McCain is still around?
3. What's with the freakishly short hats?
2. Speaking of ancient dead guys, how's Letterman doing?
1. Seriously, what the hell is happening on 'Lost'?
-- Brent Baker