NBC and Newsweek Liken Obama to Spock: Both Victims of Prejudice --5/8/2009
2. ABC's Diane Sawyer Waves 'Mission Accomplished' Sign for Obama
3. 'Robber Baron' Becomes 'Shrewd Businessman' After Loan to NY Times
4. CNN's Acosta: Just Say Yes to Travel and Trade with Communist Cuba
5. Newsweek's Disrespectful Treatment of 'Amateur Econo-Cultist' Kemp
6. You Read It Here First: Hannity Cites Revolving Door Examples
Concluding a Thursday NBC Nightly News story on summer movies, correspondent George Lewis previewed the new Star Trek film, set to open on Friday, and found it relevant to highlight how "some Trekkies have compared the Spock character, the product of a mixed marriage between a human and a Vulcan, to President Obama." Those "some Trekkies" would be Newsweek's Steve Daly, author of last week's cover story, "We're All Trekkies Now," who proposed in a soundbite: "In a certain sense, Spock the character has dealt with some of the same prejudices and problems that our new President does."
In the piece for the May 4 edition of the magazine, Daly asserted: "Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House." And "like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result." Daly also hailed how "with the willfully hegemonic Bush administration now gone, the tenets of [original Star Trek creator Gene] Roddenberry's fictional universe feel very much in step with current events," since: "The Obama foreign policy, at least for now, emphasizes cross-cultural exchange and eschews imperialistic swagger. That sounds very much in sync with the Federation's Prime Directive, which stipulates that humanity should observe but never interfere with alien cultures (no Iraq-style invasions, in other words)."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
From the end of the last story on the Thursday, May 7 NBC Nightly News:
GEORGE LEWIS: Some Trekkies have compared the Spock character, the product of a mixed marriage between a human and a Vulcan, to President Obama, who said on the campaign trail last year-
A brief excerpt from the May 4 cover story, "We're All Trekkies Now: 'Star Trek' is way cool. How'd that happen? Because the geeks have inherited the earth, and the White House":
....Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama's unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock's. But as Spock's complicated racial backstory is spun out in detail in the new "Trek" -- right back into childhood -- the Obama parallels keep deepening. Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result.
As played by Zachary Quinto, the young Spock loves his human mother, but longs to assimilate completely into his Vulcan father Sarek's ways, eschewing messy emotions the way all Vulcans do. Young Spock is constantly being told by Vulcans and humans alike that he's either seething with inappropriate emotions -- indeed, he takes Kirk by the throat at one point'€"or that he's not emotional enough and shouldn't be so repressed. Obama may or may not be a fan'€"the White House says he isn't, but Trekkies have claimed him as one of their breed ever since he said, "I grew up on 'Star Trek' -- I believe in the final frontier," at a campaign stop last year. If he does check out the new movie, I can imagine he might feel a special empathy for Spock's position, given the chattering class's insistence that he needs to show more emotion, too.
There's one more intriguing allegorical overtone to the new "Trek," perhaps completely accidental. With the willfully hegemonic Bush administration now gone, the tenets of Roddenberry's fictional universe feel very much in step with current events. Whether you're happy about it or not, the Obama foreign policy, at least for now, emphasizes cross-cultural exchange and eschews imperialistic swagger. That sounds very much in sync with the Federation's Prime Directive, which stipulates that humanity should observe but never interfere with alien cultures (no Iraq-style invasions, in other words)....
END of Excerpt
For the article in full: www.newsweek.com
At this point, Sawyer engaged in some belated bashing of George W. Bush. In an allusion to the banner above President Bush during his 2003 visit to an aircraft carrier, the host held up a sign that read "mission accomplished." She joked, "And dare I say, I had this sign made just for you. Dare they say it?" Joining in, Stephanopoulos, the This Week host and former Clinton aide, quipped: "You're the last person who is ever going to hold up one of those signs. I think President Bush ruined it for everybody."
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
At no point in the Stephanopoulos segment did anyone suggest that Obama's handling of the bank and economic situation might be anything less than superb. In a previous piece that set up the segment, reporter Bianna Golodryga graded all of the bailed out banks a "B" or "A." She cheered the government-released stress tests as a sign of good things to come, saying, "It's a good day. And a lot of these banks aren't requiring as much money as people had feared. So, the market likes this. These banks are not insolvent. And Warren Buffett reminded us of that over the weekend."
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:06am on May 7, follows:
DIANE SAWYER: And If we were ever in need of a bottom line and a big picture, it's today. Here's chief Washington correspondent, host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos, to bring it to us. So, George, is this the day that this administration can say, on the banking front, they've sailed through the eye of the needle? They've landed a Hail Mary pass? And dare I say- I had this sign made just for you. Dare they say it? [Holds up a sign that reads "mission accomplished."]
Carlos Slim, described in 2007 as a "thief" and "robber baron" by a Times editorial writer, is now "a very shrewd businessman with an appreciation for great brands," according to the paper's publisher. What changed? A $250 million loan from Slim to the NYT Co., for one.
Contributing to Time Magazine's 2009 "Time 100" list, Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. sucked up to Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim (who has coincidentally purchased 6% of NYT Co. shares and lent the company $250 million recently). After acknowledging Slim's investment in NYT Co., Sulzberger gushed: "Carlos, a very shrewd businessman with an appreciation for great brands, showed a deep understanding of the role that news, information and education play in our interconnected global society....As he spoke at our meeting, he conveyed the quiet but fierce confidence that has enabled him to have a profound and lasting effect on millions of individuals in Mexico and neighboring countries. Carlos knows very well how much one person with courage, determination and vision can achieve."
Sulzberger in Time magazine: www.time.com
Geez. That slobbering is quite a change from the paper's attitude toward Slim less than two years ago, when Eduardo Porter labeled the Mexican mogul a thief and robber baron in an August 2007 editorial.
[This item, by Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: www.timeswatch.org ]
An excerpt from the earlier take:
Indeed, by this measure, Mr. Slim is richer even than the robber barons of the gilded age. John D. Rockefeller, America's richest man, was worth the equivalent of about 1.5 percent of the nation's G.D.P.
It takes about nine of the captains of industry and finance of the 19th and early 20th centuries -- Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, John J. Astor, Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Stewart, Frederick Weyerhaeuser, Jay Gould and Marshall Field -- to replicate the footprint that Mr. Slim has left on Mexico.
But the momentous scale is not the most galling aspect of Mr. Slim's riches. There's the issue of theft.
Like many a robber baron -- or Russian oligarch, or Enron executive -- Mr. Slim calls to mind the words of Honoré de Balzac: "Behind every great fortune there is a crime." Mr. Slim's sin, if not technically criminal, is like that of Rockefeller, the sin of the monopolist.
END of Excerpt
For the 2007 "Editorial Observer" article: www.nytimes.com
Correspondent Jim Acosta, "carrying the CNN flag" on the island of Cuba, filed several reports for the American Morning program during the first week of May which slanted favorably towards an end to the trade embargo with the communist country. His May 1 report on the policy that allows Cuban-Americans to travel to their homeland featured no critics of the Castro regime, nor did it mention the government's human rights abuses. This was also the case during a May 4 report about tourism to the island and how economic competitors of the U.S. are taking advantage of the country's resources. Acosta even referred to the ailing dictator emeritus Fidel Castro as a "Cuban icon."
Acosta's May 1 report, which aired 21 minutes into the 6 am hour of the CNN program, highlighted the Obama administration's loosening of restrictions for Cuban-Americans who wish to return to the native soil. The correspondent featured one woman who was "taking bundles of food, clothing, and even toys back to her brother and sister on the island," and emphasized the popularity of charter flights back to Cuba.
[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Near the end of his report, Acosta underlined the strategy behind this new policy, while making his reference to Fidel Castro as an "icon:"
ACOSTA: For most Cuban-Americans, this new-found freedom to see their homeland is part of a White House strategy to get a diplomatic conversation going -- first Cuban to Cuban-American, then maybe nation-to-nation. Cuba has been off-limits to most Americans ever since the U.S. embargo on the island that began in the years following Fidel Castro's rise to power. It's a policy that has aged along with the Cuban icon, who has been hospitalized in poor health. But with Fidel's younger and more pragmatic brother Raul now in charge-
After his report reran near the end of the 7 pm hour, Acosta went hyperbolic about the effect of the new administration on relations between the United States and Cuba:
ROBERTS: And this is your first time in Cuba. What's it like? What's your first reaction?
Three days later on the May 4 edition of American Morning, anchor Kiran Chetry introduced Acosta's report about how "the rest of the world is already cashing in" with Cuba. The correspondent lined up gushing tourists from other English-speaking countries, and included a sound bite from Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan, a noted critic of the longstanding embargo, who was not identified on-screen. As with his earlier reports, there were no Castro critics, nor where there defenders of the embargo.
KIRAN CHETRY: Welcome back to the Most News in the Morning. Thirty-nine minutes past the hour now. We've heard President Obama talk about a new beginning in relations with Cuba, and while Washington tries to improve ties with the communist island, the rest of the world is already cashing in. CNN's Jim Acosta is live in Havana right now with a look at how this is really, you know, a tourist Mecca for much of the world except us.
Two days after the death of GOP icon Jack Kemp, Newsweek Senior Editor Michael Hirsh posted a classless obituary on Monday, "The Dangers of Amateurism," calling the football player, politician, and self-taught economist Kemp an "amateur econo-cultist."
[This item, by the MRC's Clay Waters, was posted Thursday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
One does not want to be disrespectful of the dead, and Jack Kemp was an admirable man in many ways. If the Republican Party had only followed his advice about reaching out to the inner cities and underclass -- and ignored his happy talk about supply-side economics -- the GOP might not be in nearly the fix it is today. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Kemp, a consummate professional as a football player, was a classic case of an amateur econo-cultist whose understanding never reached quite deep enough. In mid-life, when he decided to switch from sports to politics, Kemp became enamored of simplistic free-market ideas, in particular a toxic combination of Arthur Laffer and Ayn Rand. He then sold another gifted amateur, Ronald Reagan, on the idea that drastic tax cuts would so stimulate the economy that the ensuing growth would more than make up for the loss in revenues....Kemp was such an economic purist -- i.e., amateur -- that he argued with Reagan himself a number of times when the president decided that perhaps he'd cut taxes enough.
END of Excerpt
For Hirsh's May 4 post: blog.newsweek.com
By the way, Reagan's "drastic tax cuts" of 1981 amounted to a 25% across-the-board cut in personal marginal tax rates -- a healthy cut, but hardly apocalyptic. After all, tax revenues continued to rise throughout the Reagan years, despite the reduction in tax rates.
And speaking of amateurism -- what are Al Gore's environmental science credentials again? Gore has no scientific training or background; he is a self-taught activist in his field, just like Kemp was. But Hirsh, far from criticizing Gore's environmental amateurism, lamented in a December 2007 post that Gore would not be running for the 2008 presidency: "Why isn't Al Gore -- Nobel laureate and enviro rock star, embodiment of the alternative history that never was, winner of the largest popular-vote total in U.S. presidential history (at the time) -- seeking the job that many people still think should have been his in 2000?" See: www.newsweek.com
Hirsh concluded his Kemp tribute by portraying today's "economic disaster" as the most enduring part of Kemp's legacy: "All of which brings us up to the present economic disaster, which now includes what is the largest projected budget deficit since World War II. It's not fair to blame Jack Kemp, who died over the weekend, for all this -- and I don't -- but it is fair to say that this is the Kemp legacy that will likely remain with us the longest. It's the missing piece you didn't see in the obits."
In his Wednesday night "Media Mash" segment, FNC's Sean Hannity picked up on a Tuesday night NewsBusters post, that was also in Wednesday's CyberAlert, about the latest journalists to spin through the revolving door to work in the Obama administration. Hannity informed his viewers of how the press corps are "losing three more of their own to the Obama administration. Now, at the outset of the President's term, several of the so-called objective journalists left their jobs to join the administration. Now NewsBusters.org points out that a few more are following suit." Hannity named some names:
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Thursday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The item in full on the May 6 edition of Hannity's America:
In tonight's Media Mash, breaking news from the press corps: They're losing three more of their own to the Obama administration. Now, at the outset of the President's term, several of the so-called objective journalists left their jobs to join the administration. Now NewsBusters.org points out that a few more are following suit. Senior CNN politics producer Sasha Johnson -- by the way, that makes her the third CNN staffer to join the President's team. Chicago Tribune reporter Jill Zuckman and veteran ABC News reporter Beverley Lumpkin. Now that brings the total number of so-called mainstream media journalists who have rushed to join the Obama administration to ten. Now congratulations to the President, though, for recruiting more members for Team Socialism.
The May 6 CyberAlert item, "CNN and ABC Vets Join Obama's Team, So Revolving Door Up to Ten," recounted:
Following the path of CNN Middle East correspondent Aneesh Raman and producer Kate Albright-Hanna, who both jumped aboard the Obama campaign last year, senior political producer Sasha Johnson this week announced she's leaving the network's Washington bureau to take the Press Secretary slot at the Department of Transportation. She won't be the only media vet in that shop. As The Politico's Michael Calderone noted Monday night in reporting Johnson's move, former Chicago Tribune Washington correspondent Jill Zuckman "already headed to Transportation in February, becoming Director of Public Affairs and assistant to Secretary Ray LaHood."
Plus, in the past month or so, two other DC journalists accepted administration positions. ABC's long-time Justice Department correspondent, Beverley Lumpkin, who mostly handled radio news, in April joined the very department she covered for so many years, prompting a Washington Post blogger to quip on Tuesday that she's "turning sources into colleagues." Speaking of the Washington Post, its former science reporter, Rick Weiss, is now advancing Obama policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology.
So far, by my count, at least ten mainstream media journalists have revolved into positions toiling for the Obama campaign, transition or administration. And that doesn't count CNN's Sanjay Gupta, whom the administration courted for Surgeon General; nor long-time NBC News anchor and reporter Jane Pauley who campaigned for Obama last fall in her native Indiana.
Full rundown of all ten names: www.mediaresearch.org
-- Brent Baker