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Politico: 'Many Journalists...Participants in Obama Phenomenon' --4/22/2008


1. Politico: 'Many Journalists...Participants in Obama Phenomenon'
The Politico, in an April 18 headline, stated the obvious, "Obama's secret weapon: The media," though it's not much of a "secret" weapon. John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei, both veterans of the Washington Post, noted the backlash against ABC for daring to ask the tough questions during last week's debate evidenced by "the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC's performance as journalistically unsound." Suggesting that "if Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient and uncertain," the two political reporters declared: "The difference seems clear: Many journalists are not merely observers but participants in the Obama phenomenon."

2. CBS's Smith on PA Primary: 'Let's Go for the Goose Bump Moment'
On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported live from the Wilkes University campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and talked to college students planning to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary, one of whom, Raquel Wheby, explained: "Tomorrow morning is -- it's very undecided. It's going to be the goose bump moment when you get in there and then you just pick one and go with it." Smith seemed to like that description of voting for a Democrat because he then exclaimed to the crowd of applauding college students: "Wow, let's go for the goose bump moment tomorrow." Smith began the segment by excitedly declaring: "You guys fired up? We've got some first time voters for us that are going to talk to us right now about what's going on in their lives and what they're going to do when they get a chance to vote."

3. NBC 'Green with Envy' Over Swedes 'Showing Kindness to Planet'
Monday's NBC Nightly News kicked off "Earth Week" by trumpeting Sweden as an environmental and economic paradise that could point the way for the United States. Anchor Brian William contended Swedes "always seem to be so happy and beautiful" and now "there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet, and saving a ton of energy in the process." Sweden certainly enchanted reporter Anne Thompson who rode a bicycle in Stockholm and gushed: "Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green -- from the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car." Thompson focused on how the nation is researching "gasified wood" and putting people onto bicycles. Plus, "alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train." Highlighting that "to reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district," Thompson concluded by touting how "Sweden's most important export" is "real world ways to live green."

4. Tim Robbins Bashes Rush, O'Reilly; Gets Standing Ovation from NAB
So much for the alleged conservative conglomerate media. Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported leftist actor Tim Robbins drew a standing ovation last week before the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas for attacking the corporate media for distracting the country from real (liberal) issues with Britney and Hasselhoff stories. But Robbins also sneered that "talk radio geniuses" like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly called him a "traitor" for opposing the Iraq war, and now he "stands chastened" as everything in Iraq is a utopia of democracy and prosperity. The magazine did not note that in April 2003, ABC touted Robbins claiming a McCarthyesque "chill wind" of censorship was blowing across America.

5. 'Top Ten Signs President Bush Has Too Much Time on His Hands'
Letterman's "Top Ten Signs President Bush Has Too Much Time on His Hands."


Politico: 'Many Journalists...Participants
in Obama Phenomenon'

The Politico, in an April 18 headline, stated the obvious, "Obama's secret weapon: The media," though it's not much of a "secret" weapon. John F. Harris and Jim Vandehei, both veterans of the Washington Post, noted the backlash against ABC for daring to ask the tough questions during last week's debate evidenced by "the piling on from journalists rushing to validate the Obama criticisms and denouncing ABC's performance as journalistically unsound." Suggesting that "if Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient and uncertain," the two political reporters declared: "The difference seems clear: Many journalists are not merely observers but participants in the Obama phenomenon."

Harris, formerly the Washington Post's political editor, called for many journalists to "go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama's political skill" and observed that even co-writer Jim Vandehei "seemed to have been bitten by the bug after the Iowa caucus." Vandehei admitted he found Obama to be "pretty electric."

[This item is based on a posting, by the MRC's Justin McCarthy, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The largest complaint among Obama and his supporters is that there were not enough policy based questions, yet Harris and Vandehei noted "the balance of political questions (15) to policy questions (13) was more substantive than other debates this year that prompted no deluge of protests. The difference is that this time there were more hard questions for Obama than for Clinton."

They elaborated:

Moreover, those questions about Jeremiah Wright, about Obama's association with 1960s radical William Ayers, about apparent contradictions between his past and present views on proven wedge issues like gun control, were entirely in-bounds. If anything, they were overdue for a front-runner and likely nominee.

If Obama was covered like Clinton is, one feels certain the media focus would not have been on the questions, but on a candidate performance that at times seemed tinny, impatient and uncertain.

The difference seems clear: Many journalists are not merely observers but participants in the Obama phenomenon.

END of Excerpt

For the entire April 18 Politico posting: www.politico.com

The January 14 CyberAlert item, "Obama So Enthralled Reporters They 'Needed to Go Through Detox,'" recounted an earlier admission from Harris:

Discussing NBC News reporter Lee Cowan's admission that "it's almost hard to remain objective" in covering Barack Obama, on Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN...ex-Washington Post political editor John Harris revealed Post reporters "needed to go through detox" after coming back to the newsroom enthralled with the liberal Democratic presidential candidate. Recalling his days at the Post before helping to launch The Politico a year ago, Harris told ex-Post colleague and Reliable Sources host Howard Kurtz:

"Almost a couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back: 'Oh, he's so impressive, he's so charismatic," and we're kind of like, 'Down Boy.'"

For the previous CyberAlert article in full: www.mediaresearch.org

In his April 18 Politico posting, Harris repeated himself: "As one who has assigned journalists to cover Obama at both Politico and The Washington Post, I have witnessed the phenomenon several times. Some reporters come back and need to go through detox, to cure their swooning over Obama's political skill. Even VandeHei seemed to have been bitten by the bug after the Iowa caucus."

CBS's Smith on PA Primary: 'Let's Go
for the Goose Bump Moment'

On Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith reported live from the Wilkes University campus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and talked to college students planning to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary, one of whom, Raquel Wheby, explained: "Tomorrow morning is -- it's very undecided. It's going to be the goose bump moment when you get in there and then you just pick one and go with it." Smith seemed to like that description of voting for a Democrat because he then exclaimed to the crowd of applauding college students: "Wow, let's go for the goose bump moment tomorrow."

Smith began the segment by excitedly declaring: "You guys fired up? We've got some first time voters for us that are going to talk to us right now about what's going on in their lives and what they're going to do when they get a chance to vote." He went on to talk to a Hillary Clinton supporter, David Sborz, who said of the New York Senator: "Because I think her inspiration, her focus, her leadership. Her will to break through the glass ceiling has really motivated a spirit in me to really support her." Smith then turned to Patrick Austin, a student supporting Obama who explained his reason for voting: "I'm a Barack Obama supporter. And I support him because I think his policy is realistic. I think he has charisma, he's intellectual, he's well spoken and, you know, he has an aura about him, I think, that most -- draws most people to him."

[This item, by Kyle Drennen, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Following that fawning over Hillary and Obama, Smith talked to Wheby, who was still undecided. Wheby explained why she was torn between the two candidates, while taking the opportunity to mock John McCain at the same time: "I'm at the point where I won't know till I'm in the booth tomorrow. I think this campaign has been one of the first that has the first feasible black candidate, the first feasible female and the oldest running man ever." That line received laughter from the entire crowd of students in the room as well as from Smith himself.

Later, Smith wondered about how lucky the students were to be at the center of the Democratic primary: "Yeah, what has that been like? I mean, here you're in a little college, 2400 students working away. And all of a sudden every major candidate and their surrogates show up. I mean, they're on your doorstep all the time...It's pretty cool. And it's great to have this opportunity to make a difference, to have the Pennsylvania primary really, really as a big deal."

Smith then concluded the segment by discussing the "goose bump moment" of voting for Hillary or Obama with Wheby.

Here is the full transcript of the April 21 segment in the 7:30 half hour:

HARRY SMITH: And we're on the campus of Wilkes University. Let me show you around Wilkes-Barre here just a second. This is a beautiful city of about 50,000 people. We're right on the banks of the Susquehanna River, right at the foot of the Pocono Mountains up against, what did you say they were, the endless mountains? And yeah, there you go. Anyway, here's this beautiful college. 2400 students. Hard working kids from more than 20 states around the country. And we're going to talk to some of them right now about what's going to happen tomorrow. You guys fired up? We've got some first time voters for us that are going to talk to us right now about what's going on in their lives and what they're going to do when they get a chance to vote. David Sborz, Patrick Austin and Raquel Wheby. Good morning to you all.
DAVID SBORZ: Good morning.
SMITH: Alright, who do you support?
SBORZ: Hillary Clinton.
SMITH: And why?
SBORZ: Because I think her inspiration, her focus, her leadership. Her will to break through the glass ceiling has really motivated a spirit in me to really support her.
SMITH: Alright, there you go. Patrick, who are you going to vote for tomorrow?
PATRICK AUSTIN: I'm a Barack Obama supporter. And I support him because I think his policy is realistic. I think he has charisma, he's intellectual, he's well spoken and, you know, he has an aura about him, I think, that most -- draws most people to him.
SMITH: There you go. Alright, Raquel, where you are?
RAQUEL WHEBY: I'm at the point where I won't know till I'm in the booth tomorrow. I think this campaign has been one of the first that has the first feasible black candidate, the first feasible female and the oldest running man ever. So at the point -- this point policies are so similar. It's based off of characteristics at this point.
SMITH: Yeah, wow. Has it been a hard decision for you all? Or was it easy?
SBORZ: I think it has. I've been going back and forth but throughout the last month we had Barack here, we had Hillary here. So, you've been able to make up your mind.
SMITH: Yeah, what has that been like? I mean, here you're in a little college, 2400 students working away. And all of a sudden every major candidate and their surrogates show up. I mean, they're on your doorstep all the time.
AUSTIN: It was unbelievable, you know -- the support for Barack when he came was outstanding. Chelsea Clinton, it was standing room only, you know. It was -- it was great.
SMITH: It's pretty cool. And it's great to have this opportunity to make a difference, to have the Pennsylvania primary really, really as a big deal. So you leaning one way or the other or you don't know what you're going to do tomorrow morning?
WHEBY: Tomorrow morning is -- it's very undecided. It's going to be the goose bump moment when you get in there and then you just pick one and go with it.
SMITH: Wow, let's go for the goose bump moment tomorrow. Alright, we'll have more from Wilkes University in Pennsylvania and the primary when we come back.

NBC 'Green with Envy' Over Swedes 'Showing
Kindness to Planet'

Monday's NBC Nightly News kicked off "Earth Week" by trumpeting Sweden as an environmental and economic paradise that could point the way for the United States. Anchor Brian William contended Swedes "always seem to be so happy and beautiful" and now "there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet, and saving a ton of energy in the process." Sweden certainly enchanted reporter Anne Thompson who rode a bicycle in Stockholm and gushed: "Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green -- from the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car."

Thompson focused on how the nation is researching "gasified wood" and putting people onto bicycles. Plus, "alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train." Highlighting that "to reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district," Thompson concluded by touting how "Sweden's most important export" is "real world ways to live green."

Preceding Thompson's story, NBC Nightly News viewers were treated to a promo playing on the name of the corporate parent, NBC-Universal, and championing the network's activist agenda (which was also displayed by NBC making the MSNBC.com logo green on screen during Nightly News): "Green is Universal. Earth Week. NBC News is committed to making our world a better place to live, changing our future, shaping our planet, one story at a time. On air, on cable, online, everywhere, this week, NBC News."

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The MRC's Brad Wilmouth corrected the closed-captioning against the video to provide this transcript of the final story on the Monday, April 21 NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Have you ever noticed whenever you see those stories about which people are the most contented around the globe, whenever they profile the Swedes, they always seem to be so happy and beautiful? Now there's another reason to be green with envy about the Swedes. We're told they are living green lives, showing kindness to the planet, and saving a ton of energy in the process. Here is our chief environmental affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson.

ANNE THOMPSON: Sweden's official colors are blue and yellow, but it lives green -- from the citizens who can eat the fish from waterways in Stockholm to King Carl XVI Gustaf, who rules the land and drives an ethanol-powered car. Can the rest of the world learn from Sweden?
KING CARL XVI GUSTAF, SWEDEN: If you are willing to, yes.
THOMPSON: To learn, the world travels through Sweden's forest to its living green laboratory Vaxjo. A city of nearly 79,000, it is a pioneer in green living, cutting its carbon emissions by 30 percent per person in the last 15 years while still growing its economy. The crown jewel, its power plant that once burned oil.
What does this big pile do? What is it used for?
LARS EHRLEN, VEAB HEAT AND POWER MANAGER: This pile is our fuel for our district heating and electricity production.
THOMPSON: Wood waste goes from truck to conveyor belt to boiler. Though they need 30 times more wood waste than oil, it only costs one-fifth the price and produces near zero carbon emissions.
EHRLEN: We think that we, by doing this, will not increase the greenhouse effect.
THOMPSON: Because Sweden has no oil of it own, scientists like Anders Bowden (sp?) are trying to turn wood into synthetic fuel.
How long will it take before cars in Sweden can run on gasified wood?
ANDERS BOWDEN, SCIENTIST: I would say within ten years.
THOMPSON, RIDING A BICYCLE: In time to meet Sweden's goal to be fossil fuel free by 2020. But even here in Europe's greenest city, some ways of life are much harder to change, like trying to convince people to ride on two wheels instead of four. Mayor Bo Frank thinks he knows how.
BO FRANK, MAYOR OF VAXJO, SWEDEN: You live with the whip and the carrot. The whip is to make it more expensive to use fossils, and the carrot to make it more inexpensive to use alternatives.
THOMPSON: Alternatives like the fuel made from organic waste that powers this train. Why are Swedes so open to the idea of renewable fuel?
BERTIL CARLSON, SVENKBIOGAS TRAIN PROJECT DIRECTOR: We love the nature. We love what we have around us.
THOMPSON: Even in Stockholm, green works. To reduce traffic, Swedes pay to drive in the business district. A three-mile pedestrian mall runs through the heart of the city. Here it is a way of life, even at the royal palace.
KING CARL XVI GUSTAF: We are not perfect, but we can exchange knowledge and experience and technique.
THOMPSON: Creating, perhaps, Sweden's most important export, real world ways to live green.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN RIDING BICYCLE: Unbeatable biofuel.
THOMPSON: Anne Thompson, NBC News, Stockholm.

Tim Robbins Bashes Rush, O'Reilly; Gets
Standing Ovation from NAB

So much for the alleged conservative conglomerate media. Broadcasting & Cable magazine reported leftist actor Tim Robbins drew a standing ovation last week before the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas for attacking the corporate media for distracting the country from real (liberal) issues with Britney and Hasselhoff stories. But Robbins also sneered that "talk radio geniuses" like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly called him a "traitor" for opposing the Iraq war, and now he "stands chastened" as everything in Iraq is a utopia of democracy and prosperity. The magazine did not note that in April 2003, ABC touted Robbins claiming a McCarthyesque "chill wind" of censorship was blowing across America.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Monday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Broadcasting & Cable critic David Bianculli was supposed to host Robbins for a Q&A at the convention, but when Robbins said he brought a speech that he was told was too preachy and negative to give, broadcasters yelled that he should give the speech, so he did. Far from being miffed at having his moderator's role snuffed, in an April 14 posting Bianculli glowingly recounted the highlights:

And this, as his opener, with even more sarcasm, "apologizing" to Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and other right-wing broadcast pundits [He said "To Rush and Sean, and Billo and Savage and Laura what's-her-name."]

"A few years ago they told America that because I had different opinions on the wisdom of going to war, that I was a traitor, a Saddam lover, a terrorist supporter, undermining the troops.

"I was appealing at the time for the inspectors to have more time to find those Weapons of Mass Destruction. I was a naive dupe of left-wing appeasement. And how right they were. If I had known then what I know now, if I had seen the festive and appreciative faces on the streets of Baghdad today, if I had known then what a robust economy we would be in -- the unity of our people, the wildfire of democracy that has spread across the Mideast -- I would never have said those traitorous, unfounded and irresponsible things.

"I stand chastened in the face of the wisdom of the talk radio geniuses, and I apologize for standing in the way of freedom."

It was a speech Variety described approvingly and at length, calling it "laced with wry irony and winking sarcasm." Other reports from those covering the convention, at this writing, characterized it as "electrifying," "a humorous, profanity-laced attack," and "an historic moment." A few people walked out. At the end, the majority of the crowd gave Robbins a standing ovation.

END of Excerpt

For Bianculli's rundown in full: www.broadcastingcable.com

The Huffington Post has the transcript, unsurprisingly, since it is the home of leftist celebrity rambling: www.huffingtonpost.com

Broadcasting & Cable published a long speech snippet on its Opinion page in the April 21 issue, hailing it as a "pointed, often hilarious poke at the state of the media and its propensity for offering consolidated viewpoints."

Robbins, mustering all the conspiracy theory-mongering that about 17 moviegoers remember from his right-wing-satirizing movie Bob Roberts, took on the voice of a supposed corporate suit desperate to squelch all radical (even taxpayer-funded) opinion, like Pacifica Radio:
"I propose a much simpler solution. First, erase all diversity. Thankfully the majority of what is broadcast is of two opinions and that feels good. That's simple. But unfortunately there is a tiny minority out here on the airwaves expressing a different view outside the Democrats-and- Republicans nexus trying to confuse us all. Can we please shut them up? How expensive could it be to buy Pacifica Radio? These people are driving us apart."

Then Robbins mocked sex scandals (his second ersatz recommendation), especially the "absolute zenith of news, the perfect storm, the shining city on the hill in news coverage," the Monica Lewinsky scandal. That's quite predictable. Then it grew strange again. Apparently, our media want race riots:
"Third, find more racially divisive news and play that constantly. As long as we hate each other we never be bothered with this gnawing lefty obsession with information. Let's make the purpose of the media salacious entertainment, not information. When the nattering nabobs of negativity tell you that the economy is falling apart, that gas costs $4 a gallon, that they are foreclosing on your home, that there is chaos in Iraq, when these propagandists spread this 'information,' it is our moral responsibility to distract. Show me a starlet without panties getting out of a car and suddenly the world seems like a better place. Show me Knight Rider drunk on the floor eating a hamburger, and I won't ask why my kid has no health insurance."

Liberalism would be much better implemented in this country if the American people weren't so dumb and easily distracted, in other words.

Almost exactly five years before his speech, Robbins was featured by ABC reporter Jim Wooten. The April 17, 2003 CyberAlert item, "Chiding Anti-War Celebs Reminds ABC of McCarthy and Blacklists," recounted:

Wooten continued: "A Florida appearance for Sarandon was cancelled as well as a celebration of her and her partner Robbins' film, Bull Durham, at the Baseball Hall of Fame, because the President, who worked in the Reagan White House, decided their views might endanger American troops. He did not explain how."
Tim Robbins, actor, at the National Press Club on Tuesday: "A chill wind is blowing in this nation."

Wooten: "In Washington this week, Robbins criticized the political climate in which his right to express his views has come under attack."

Robbins: "Isn't what we're fighting for there to spread democracy, to give the Iraqis the right to express their opinions in a public forum?"

Wooten then gave credibility to a ridiculous exaggeration: "All this has reminded some of the McCarthy era's blacklists that barred those even accused of communist sympathies for working in films or on television. And actor Mike Farrell believes it could happen again."

Mike Farrell: "We know there have been organized attempts to get people fired from their jobs."

Wooten: "Historian Steven Ross says for showbiz people it's no idle concern."

Professor Steven Ross, University of Southern California: "Movie stars who get bad publicity who are thought to be unpatriotic are going to be perceived as box office poison."

Wooten concluded: "The bad publicity is a fact. How the public responds at the box office remains to be seen. Jim Wooten, ABC News, Washington."

For that CyberAlert article in full: www.mrc.org

The CyberAlert also provided a list of examples of wild-eyed statements from Robbins and other leftist celebs. You can tell the media are liberal when the leftists denounce them, and the media offers them air time, print space, and standing ovations.

'Top Ten Signs President Bush Has Too
Much Time on His Hands'

From the April 21 Late Show with David Letterman, spurred by George Bush's appearance on NBC's Deal or No Deal game show, the "Top Ten Signs President Bush Has Too Much Time on His Hands." Late Show home page: www.cbs.com

10. Spends most of the day looking for friends on Facebook

9. Stops by Cheney's office every five minutes to see if he's still alive

8. Calls leaders of foreign countries yelling, "Baba Booey Baba Booey" (Listen to "The Howard Stern Show" exclusively on Sirius Satellite Radio)

7. Sits on the White House lawn and waves at cars

6. The man is a walking encyclopedia on "The Hills"

5. Gives the 3pm White House tour

4. Earlier today, he washed and waxed Air Force One

3. Doing a three-episode stint as a sexy assistant on "How I Met Your Mother"

2. "President is on the Trampoline" isn't Secret Service code, he's actually on the trampoline

1. Finally catching up on unread intelligence memos

-- Brent Baker