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Barack Obama was booed at a McCain Town Hall in Waukesha, Wisconsin yesterday.

That’s right. I’m not joking. A crowd of Republicans actually had the audacity, the temerity, the gumption to show their displeasure when the name of The Messiah was uttered.

And according to this breathless, fearful account published in the Washington Post this morning, that’s not all they did:

There were shouts of “Nobama” and “Socialist” at the mention of the Democratic presidential nominee. There were boos, middle fingers turned up and thumbs turned down as a media caravan moved through the crowd Thursday for a midday town hall gathering featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin.

I weep for America. In God’s name, what are we coming to? To actually show disdain and unhappiness at the mention of The One? And what’s this about giving the finger to our friends in the press? Don’t they know that a free press is vital to our democracy? How dare they make such a vulgar display in the direction of those who toil so unselfishly in service to the republic.

Gee – you’d think the crowd believed the press was the enemy or something.

I regret to inform my readers that, in fact, there is more disturbing news to report from recent rallies featuring John McCain. Apparently, according to unnamed sources, the people attending these rallies are angry.

In recent days, a campaign that embraced the mantra of “Country First” but is flagging in the polls and scrambling for a way to close the gap as the nation’s economy slides into shambles has found itself at the center of an outpouring of raw emotion rare in a presidential race.

“There’s 26 days and people are looking at the very serious possibility that there’s a chance that Obama might get in, and they don’t like that,” said Ian Eltrich, 28, as he filed out of the crowded sports complex.

“I’m mad! I’m really mad!” another man said, taking the microphone and refusing to surrender it easily, even when McCain tried to agree with him.

I fear for this country. An ordinary citizen – a McCain supporter – is “really mad.” And what makes this even more outrageous, more frightening (if that’s possible) is that John McCain and Sarah Palin just stood there like statues and did nothing when the crowd booed Barack Obama’s name. They showed no remorse whatsoever.

I would like to digress here and thank the Washington Post for bringing this to our attention. Clearly, this is unheard of in American politics and deserves scrutiny. I mean really now, would partisans at a Democratic rally boo the very mention of George Bush’s name?

sarcasm off/ (finally)

I can’t tell you how much contempt I have for the Post and other media outlets who have been pushing this meme – that it is somehow dangerous, or racist, or indicative of something horribly ugly in the mindset of GOP supporters to show strong emotion at the mention of Obama. Not when similiar outbursts happen at Democratic rallies. Not when Democratic party partisans on the internet and elsewhere have whipped up a frenzy of hate against John McCain.

Has there ever been someone who screamed out about McCain “Kill him!” at an Obama rally? We don’t know because the idea that the press would report what one, lone, idiot shouts out at a rally of thousands is ludicrous – except if it is a McCain rally and then it becomes front page news.

And evidently, it has become verboten to even take the name of Obama in vain – his middle name, that is:

Seems like almost every day now there’s a McCain-Palin rally where the campaign has the candidates introduced by someone who hits on “Barack Hussein Obama”. Just happened again in Bethlehem, PA. After the fifth or sixth time you pretty much know on the orders of the campaign. It is obviously with tacit approval (to believe anything else is to be a dupe at this point); and quite probably on the campaign’s specific instructions.

Given the regularity of the cries of “treason” and “terrorist” and the like, and the frequency with which the screamers seem in oddly convenient proximity to the mics, we should probably be considering the possibly that these folks are campaign plants. It happens all the time. It’s just that usually they don’t scream out accusations of capital crimes.

Late Update: A thought. At what point do they start burning Obama in effigy at the Palin rallies?

“A thought” by Josh Marshall? Well, at least that’s an improvement over what we’ve seen recently from the former web journalist turned lying, hyper partisan hack. I thought that Marshall’s last electroencephalogram revealed no brain activity at all. At least this is progress.

But not much judging by his cockamamie notion that Republicans would do to Obama what Democrats and liberals have been doing to Bush for the last 8 years.


(Courtesy of Zombietime)

Perhaps Republicans could get a few tips from Democrats on the proper way to burn someone in effigy. Maybe Marshall could publish them on his website.

As for taking the middle name of our Lord in vain, I would simply say that those who are inclined to believe the idiocy that Obama is a Muslim will not be swayed by anything John McCain would say. Or Sarah Palin for that matter. The idea that speaking Obama’s middle name is in and of itself racist or bigoted presupposes that making the charge gives the accuser insight into another’s soul – nice job if you can get it but something that liberals do on a regular basis so they have a lot of practice. All liberals are mind readers and psychics.

The question is it done deliberately in order to inspire feelings of fear and revulsion against Obama I would have to answer almost certainly yes. But this is a political campaign not a society ball. Raising the specter of fear if McCain is elected is part and parcel of the Obama campaign as well. It’s how elections have been conducted since Jeffersonians warned the re-election of Adams would lead to the establishment of a monarchy.

Denying this singular fact of life in political campaigns only shows liberals to be naive and ignorant. For 4 years, the left has been screaming at their own candidates to get tough on Republicans. Well congratulations, you’ve found your man in Obama. Schooled as he was in the rough and tumble, corrupt Machine politics of Chicago where you don’t defeat your opponent, you bury them, Obama needs little urging to hint at McCain’s advanced years, mock his war injuries, bring up past questionable associations, level charges of personal malfeasance – all the while piously insisting that he is staying above the fray. That kind of hypocrisy is enabled by his partisans and syncophants in the party and the press who never seem to find the time, the space, or the guts to call Obama out for his descent into the politics of personal destruction.

So get over it and get on with it.

Speaking of getting on with it, many of us were wondering when the race card, heretofore used only sparingly would become more prominently used by the Obama campaign.

We needn’t have wondered:

As the McCain campaign ratchets up the intensity of its attacks on Barack Obama, some black elected officials are calling the tactics desperate, unseemly and racist.

“They are trying to throw out these codes,” said Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York.

“He’s ‘not one of us?’” Mr. Meeks said, referring to a comment Sarah Palin made at a campaign rally on Oct. 6 in Florida. “That’s racial. That’s fear. They know they can’t win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear.”

“Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it’s unfortunate,” said Representative Ed Towns, also from New York.

In recent days, as polls have shown a steady lead for the Democratic ticket, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have used reports of Mr. Obama’s loose association with Bill Ayers, a former member of the ’60s radical group the Weather Underground, as evidence that he is different from them.

“Our opponent,” Ms. Palin told donors in Englewood, Colo., “is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”

She added, “This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America,” she said. “We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism.”

An Associated Press analysis characterized those remarks as “unsubstantiated” and carrying “a racially tinged subtext.”

Actually, if we are to believe Obama, he too sees America as a “force for good” in the world. The question asked is can we take him at his word? Given his numerous, unbelievable prevarications involving people who don’t see America as a force for good in the world – Ayers, Wright, Meeks to a name a few – it is eminently practical and logical to ask if he is telling the truth when he says it. This goes to the heart of the reason his associations with radicals is so problematic. We all have friends and associates we disagree with on politics. But the level of hatred of America espoused by people like Wright and Ayers begs the question of why Obama has had such long term associations with these nutcases.

I have answered that question to my own satisfaction – Obama does indeed love America and he is not a radical in the sense that he shares most of the views of Ayers-Wright. But is it legitimate to ask if Obama’s idea of America is the same as mine and most Americans? This is a perfectly reasonable question to be answered by each of us individually based on what we see and hear from each candidate.

It is not racist to ask this question nor is it a personal attack. We are about to elect a president who is going to take charge amidst economic carnage the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Depression. It would be immensely helpful if voters had a good sense of what kind of America each man would like to see emerge from the wreckage. We will be a different country, of that I have no doubt. My own concerns center on whether the next president will seek to save the free market or throw it out with the rest of the bad paper that must have its way with us economically before an upturn in our fortunes can begin.

So how each candidate sees America is vitally important. And by playing the race card, the Obama campaign only causes us to ask more questions along those lines. I can’t believe people will be shamed into voting for our next president – not with what’s at stake. I can’t imagine voters being fearful of being called racist for failing to vote for Obama – a fear deliberately fostered by Obama playing the race card. In our current situation, it is understandable why Obama would do so, the race card being an extremely potent weapon. But will it play with the voter? I would hope that the voter has other criteria by which to judge the candidates.

“Angry” GOP crowds notwithstanding, all Americans are upset and fearful of the future. It is a fact of life that politicians would seek to capitalize on this fear. Both sides are trying to do it and both have done it in the past. Many voters no doubt will give in to this fear. Perhaps many more will not and it is among those voters that the election will be decided.


My boss, Tom Lifson,  at American Thinker writes about proof that there are Democratic plants at McCain rallies holding signs and shouting stuff about Obama.

And I just watched the video of the guy getting up and saying he was “mad – really mad” and let me tell you something friends. Any rational, objective observer watching the crowd in that video would violently disagree that they were an “angry mob.”

This is really pathetic. Transparent and stupid. And we have got to make sure that the American people don’t fall for it.

By: Rick Moran at 8:08 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (47)

The Anchoress linked with ACORN, Media & the Angry Right...
Sierra Faith linked with Hypocrites of the Left Laughing...

If John McCain’s “Lipstick on a Pig” attack was criticized for being petty and irrelevant to the “real issues” of the campaign, what should we make of this stellar piece of investigative reporting?

Sarah Palin brought one unusual accessory to the Alaska Governor’s mansion after moving in last year: A tanning bed.

Al Giordano’s NarcoNews first reported that Palin had the apparatus installed in the mansion in Juneau, and a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, Roger Wetherell, confirmed the account to Politico.

“She paid for it with her own money,” Wetherell said in an email.

It does get awful dark up there in Alaska, but health authorities like the American Cancer Society generally frown on tanning beds as cancer risks.

The McCain-Palin campaign didn’t have an immediate comment on the purchase.

Matthew Yglesias, true to form, puts the tanning bed caper in “proper context” by pointing out that only those weird, hillbilly Alaskans who eat stuff like “Moose Stew” would think it middle class to have a tanning bed:
But that’s all pretty weird. Normal Americans don’t live in Alaska, don’t experience 22 straight hours of darkness ever, and don’t own personal tanning beds. Long story short, tanning beds are about as all-American as moose stew, which is not to say not all-American at all but rather idiosyncratic elements of the culture of an odd state located northwest of Canada.

I thought that kind of venomous, class conscious, dripping condescension went out of style for the left when Gus Hall moved on to that great proletariat gig in the sky. Jesus Lord God and they wonder why those of us in flyover country believe people like Yglesias to be effete, elitist snobs? Substitute “moose” for “rabbit” or “squirrel” or even “possum” and you have a delicacy enjoyed by millions of hunters and just plain folk all over the south and mountain west – two regions where Democrats, not surprisingly, are as scarce as hen’s teeth.

But the point isn’t that Yglesias and other lefties are out of touch. It’s hysterically funny that they threw a tantrum over McCain’s “Lipstick” attack for being irrelevant to the campaign and now they are attacking Palin for having a tanning bed that she paid for herself?

What is Obama’s position on tanning beds? A vital issue like this and Obama hasn’t formulated a position? How many tanning bed advisors does he have? I would say that’s just one more piece of evidence showing that he is unfit to be president.

Then there’s the latest Obama ad that comes right out and says McCain is “lying” about Obama’s record. The press, rousing itself temporarily from its peripatetic slumber, has suddenly realized that John McCain is indeed making a mockery of the campaign by attacking Obama mercilessly, exaggerating his record beyond recognition. To their mind, it is unfair – especially since it seems to be working. The pushback on the editorial pages and even by friendly columnists has probably hurt McCain or at the very least, blunted his momentum.

But the question is: Are they going to referee this contest and call both candidates out when they exaggerate or lie about their opponents record?

They didn’t do very well when Obama was using McCain’s “100 years” quote to falsely claim his opponent wanted to fight a war in Iraq for 100 years. In fact, most of these same columnists who are tsk-tsking and wagging an accusing finger in McCain’s direction never lifted a pen to take Obama to task for that hugely unfair portrayal of what McCain was saying.

But now that the press is awake and have presumably had their morning coffee, perhaps they’d like to do something about the lying being done by both Biden and Obama regarding McCain’s common sense statement yesterday that the fundamentals of the economy are sound:

“You know that there’s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall St. And it is—people are frightened by these events. Our economy, I think still—the fundamentals of our economy are strong. But these are very, very difficult times.”

What does McCain mean by “fundamentals?” Old Wall Street hand Mayor Bloomberg of New York, agreeing with McCain, helps the clueless Democrats and liberals out:
“I do agree that fundamentally America has an economy that is strong,” he said. “America’s great strength is its diversity, its hard work, its good financial statements, its broad capital markets,its enormous natural resources” and its work ethic, he said at an afternoon press conference devoted to reassuring New Yorkers that the city’s finances and its economy are intact.

“I’d rather play America’s hand than any other country,” he said. “Without problems? No.”

Obama and Biden both twisted McCain’s words and made it sound like he was saying all was well, that the economy was doing great. First Biden yesterday:
I believe that’s why Senator McCain could say with a straight face, as recently as this morning, and I quote “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.” That, “We’ve made great progress economically” during the Bush years. But friends, I could walk from here to Lansing, and I wouldn’t run into a single person who thought our economy was doing well, unless I ran into John McCain.

John McCain just doesn’t seem to understand what middle class people are going through today. I don’t doubt that he cares. He just doesn’t think that we have any responsibility to help people who are hurting.

That statement is a vicious, false lie. First, McCain did not say “as recently as this morning” that “We’ve made great progress economically…” That is an out and out lie since McCain said it months ago. Secondly, McCain did not say the “economy was doing well.” In fact, he took great pains to say the opposite. What he said was that the underpinnings of the economy – imports, exports (McCain was wrong in saying we’re the #1 exporting country – Germany is), capital markets, and the most productive work force in the history of human civilization – are still strong. There is nothing myopic about this statement. It is a fact despite Obama and Biden’s attempt to lie about what McCain actually said.

Obama’s lies were even worse:

Why else would he say that the economy isn’t something he understands as well as he should? Why else would he say, today, of all days – just a few hours ago – that the fundamentals of the economy are still strong?

Senator – what economy are you talking about?

What’s more fundamental than the ability to find a job that pays the bills and can raise a family? What’s more fundamental than knowing that your life savings is secure, and that you can retire with dignity? What’s more fundamental than knowing that you’ll have a roof over your head at the end of the day? What’s more fundamental than that?

The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great – that promise that America is the place where you can make it if you try – a promise that is the only reason that we are standing here today.

Obama is not describing the “fundamentals” of the economy and he knows it. He is, in fact, talking about the micro of all micro parts of the economy – the individual citizen’s pocketbook. Obama knows damn well McCain’s statement was about the macro economy. It was not only common sense to say what McCain said. It was the sign of a responsible leader that on a day when hyperbole and lies were coming from Democrats about a serious but manageable crisis on Wall Street, John McCain stood up and sought to remind people that despite the turmoil, we were not going into a depression. He didn’t seek to minimize what was going on. He didn’t try and sugar coat what was happening. But his common sense words sought to keep people calm and try to reassure them that there was nothing to panic about, that the Federal Reserve and the government were on the job.

He never said the economy was doing well. He never said individual Americans weren’t suffering. He said that the economy was not going to collapse – something the statesman Obama did not do and instead, the messiah tried to use scare tactics by totally misrepresenting what McCain said.

So where’s the press? How about a little fairness here? Obama and Biden have shamelessly lied about what John McCain said and not a peep from our guardians of truth in the media. They have reported what Obama and Biden said yesterday without any mention of the fact that they lied through their teeth.

That’s the problem, of course. They never will – especially now that they’ve called McCain out for lying, they are going to allow Obama to get away with even more exaggeration and hyperbole. This is “fairness” as far as the press is concerned.

By: Rick Moran at 9:08 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20) Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Palin Excites Parents of Disabled Kids...

I would have thought by now that the Obama campaign would have figured out how to effectively attack Sarah Palin and bring her down a peg or two. But it appears that rather than take a studied, reflective approach to determining their best strategy for assaulting her, they have continued to flail about wildly, throwing everything against the wall and watching to see if anything sticks.

So far, no dice. They tried the old “smear and fear” approach but only ended up getting so many facts wrong while appearing mean and stupid that Palin skated merrily away, garnering sympathy for having to endure the baseless, outrageous lies and falsehoods about her family from the press and liberal blogs.

Their efforts to paint Palin as an extremist were even less successful. Even referred to the charges that she cut funds for special needs children, banned books, endorsed Pat Buchanan, and belonged to the secession-minded Alaskan Independence Party as “sliming” Palin. She also does not support teaching creationism in public schools although she’s one of those “let’s allow the kids to debate evolution and creationism” folks that makes me want to throw my copy of Origin of the Species through the wall. And her pastor apparently believes that gay people can be “cured” – of what, I’m not sure except he might want to pray for himself so that God allows him to move forward in time so that he can live in the 19th century.

No word on whether Palin believes the same thing and until someone asks her, we won’t know. But don’t you find it a touch ironic that GOP efforts to tie Obama to his kooky preacher are met with cries of “guilt by association” by the left while it is apparently perfectly alright to make Palin’s preacher and his views fair game?

No matter. The Democrats seem to have realized the backlash created by their smears and have now tried a few other tacks – at least one of which has backfired almost as badly as the smears against her family.

I’m talking about “Troopergate” where Palin apparently pressured the Public Safety Commissioner to fire her state trooper ex-brother in law. The press tried to paint the entire matter as Palin improperly interfering in an internal police matter because she was being vindictive. Unfortunately for the Democrats, the truth came out about her sister’s ex drinking on the job, tasering his 12 year old stepson, and finally threatening her father’s life.

Funny how those details were included in stories about “Troopergate” as insignificant asides – or not included at all. At any rate, Palin may indeed be censured because technically, it appears she exercised influence where she shouldn’t have. The Democrat’s problem is that no one blames her for doing so because of the threats and the beastly behavior of the ex.

I note on Memeorandum that stories of “Troopergate” have disappeared entirely. They have been replaced by articles about how Sarah Palin is lying when she says she fought the “Bridge to Nowhere” which actually was a “Bridge to Somewhere” – specifically an island with 7,500 inhabitants. Palin says wants to use state funds to build it but a couple of years ago, she was singing a different tune:

“We need to come to the defense of Southeast Alaska when proposals are on the table like the bridge,” Gov. Palin said in August 2006, according to the local newspaper, “and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative.” The bridge would have linked Ketchikan to the airport on Gravina Island. Travelers from Ketchikan (pop. 7,500) now rely on ferries.

Apparently, she eventually did kick the residents of Southeast Alaska under the bus and oppose the bridge – but only after conservative bloggers had made it a cause celebre.

OMIGOD STOP THE PRESSES! A politician is exaggerating! Maybe even lying. I would find this a cause for concern if liberal bloggers and the media were one tenth – make that one one hundredth – as interested in Obama’s whoppers and exaggerations as they are Palin’s.

Face it guys. Politicians are liars. They lie for a living. They lie at the drop of a hat and will continue lying because it works. To suddenly acquire religion and decry politicians lying is an absurdity I didn’t think even the left was capable.

Only 12 year old children and liberals believe politicians like Obama which is why they can become so disillusioned with politics. When their heroes are shown to have feet of clay, they don’t blame their own naivete and child like belief in those who seek great power but rather they blame the “system” or they become even more infantile and blame their hero’s opponent for making him something less than what he purports to be. I’ve seen it for nearly 40 years and it never ceases to amaze me.

So the Plain fib about opposing the Bridge to Nowhere is getting them exactly that – nowhere. Josh Marshall is hopeful.

We’ve now had a week of blaring headlines and one-liners about Sarah Palin as the mavericky, pork-busting reformer from Alaska. But we seem to be witnessing the first stirrings of a backlash and a dawning realization that the ‘Sarah Palin’ we’ve heard so much about over the last few days is a fraud of truly comical dimensions.

The McCain camp has made her signature issue shutting down the Bridge to Nowhere. But as The New Republic put it today that’s just “a naked lie.” And pretty much the same thing has been written today in Newsweek, the Washington Post, the AP, the Wall Street Journal. Yesterday even Fox’s Chris Wallace called out Rick Davis on it. (Do send more examples when you find them.)

On earmarks she’s an even bigger crock. On the trail with McCain they’re telling everyone that she’s some kind of earmark slayer when actually, when she was mayor and governor, in both offices, she requested and got more earmarks than virtually any city or state in the country.

As you can tell, Josh has been using the Hadron Collider to split hairs about what constitutes Palin “fraud” and what is revealed as lefty hyperbole. Exaggerating accomplishments and diminishing negatives is a part of politics. Grow up Josh. Or better yet, be a journalist and start listing Obama lies and whoppers on your site. I won’t hold my breath for that.

Nor will I waste my time waiting for Marshall to list our “Change and Hope” candidate’s hundreds of millions in earmarks – some of which went to his political cronies and his wife’s employer. This doesn’t include using his influence while state senator to enrich his patrone, convicted felon Tony Rezko. These items seem to disappear into the ether between Marshall’s claim to be a “journalist” and the rank partisan stench that emanates from his blog.

But Josh has a weird habit of thinking that whatever people inside the beltway believe about an issue or a candidate that the rest of the country shares those attitudes. I daresay he will be greatly disappointed if he thinks that Palin’s convenient dodge about the BTN will resonate with anyone save his fellow lefties.

So far, nothing appears to be sticking to Palin that would destroy her or even lessen her popularity. And despite efforts to paint her otherwise, she appears to be a genuine reformer. And it is an historical fact that she ran against the establishment Republicans and won. The parsing of words, the effort to blow up the most insignificant appearance of impropriety into a major scandal, and the still whispered smears against her and her family have all failed to make a dent in Palin’s shining armor much less throw her off her white charger.

By: Rick Moran at 11:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)


The ghosts of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley can rest easy now.

The two NBC news icons who for years consistently topped CBS and Walter Cronkite in the ratings and set a standard for political coverage unmatched since, no doubt would have been flabbergasted at the idea of a former sportscaster and unabashed liberal screamer being taken seriously as the anchor of the network’s political news coverage. That “experiment” is now over as Olbermann, along with his loudmouthed, ignorant sidekick Chris Matthews, have been tossed from anchoring political coverage on MSNBC.

Thankfully, both men died before Keith Olbermann began to run MSNBC. In this New York Times article, a staffer is quoted as saying what anyone could see; that the inmate was running the asylum; “They have banked the entirety of the network on Keith Olbermann,” said the staffer.

Any network news executive who would build political coverage around that shrill, partisan, conspiratorial-minded boob should first, have their head examined to see if there is any gray matter present and then summarily fired.

God knows what the worst imitator of Edward R. Murrow in history would have made of the wry wit and incisive analysis of a David Brinkley or the authoritative voice of knowledge and experience of a Chet Huntley. No doubt he would have given them short shrift since they wouldn’t have been in the tank enough for Barack Obama. And if he shared the stage with either of those two, he would have been exposed as … well, a former sportscaster who doesn’t know anything about politics.

But Olbermann didn’t need Huntley or Brinkley to reveal his ignorance. He does it on a daily basis all by himself, thank you. It still would have been priceless to see Brinkley – who was known to be brutal in correcting errors of correspondents on air during election night telecasts – throw a few wry observations about the role of a news anchor at the clueless Olbermann.

MSNBC was obviously trying to duplicate the success of Fox News and their sometimes biased news coverage that slants toward conservatives and Republicans. But what MSNBC President Phil Griffin just doesn’t get is that Fox News also does a lot of straight news programming as well with respected journalists like Brit Hume and Chris Wallace playing it pretty much down the middle most of the time. Instead, Griffin believes that all news should have an ideological bent: “In a rapidly changing media environment, this is the great philosophical debate,” he says.

This is pure baloney. There is nothing philosophical in trying to save newspapers or garner more rating point and please don’t insult our intelligence by pretending otherwise. This is a debate about the bottom line and whether it is worth the loss of integrity in order to pander to one side or the other. The idea is tempting because it is the way news used to be disseminated. In the days before radio and TV, newspapers and magazines as a matter of tradition were either Democratic or Republican organs. There were a few independent outlets but they were never as popular as the party rags that waged political war on the front pages of their newspapers. The publishers took great pride in their ability to move people through fear and smear tactics to vote for their preferred candidates.

This was in the day when large cities routinely had at least a dozen or more dailies – both morning and evening editions – and papers fought to sensationalize everything. The more partisan the slant, the more readers. And yet, there was also a healthy dose of straight news reporting as well – mostly on local matters. But very little news from Washington or the state capitol was unbiased.

Then around the turn of the 20th century, that began to change as the progressives sought to make journalism if not unbiased then certainly less partisan. The people responded by rewarding those publications that offered a more balanced view of politics with more success and gradually, the rank partisanship of most news outlets became less obvious and was generally confined to the Op-Ed pages.

The new medium of TV had barely any news programming at all and what there was of it consisted of a news reader sitting at a desk, facing the camera and largely reading wire service copy. Edward R. Murrow at CBS changed that, bringing in his “boys” who revolutionized radio journalism in the 1930’s. Murrow was even more liberal than Olbermann and made no bones of it on his show See it Now.

But Murrow had two things going for him that Keith Olbermann could never dream of having; integrity and an overriding sense of fairness. Where Olbermann was overheard during the convention trying to cut off a GOP strategist Mike Murphy with his “Let’s wrap him up” aside that was caught by a live mike, Murrow made it a point of immense pride that he gave equal time to the targets of his show. He saw the enormous potential power of TV news and felt that too much partisanship would destroy the credibility of the new medium.

But MSNBC’s Griffin thinks that this “great philosophical debate” over whether to throw journalistic integrity to the winds in order to improve the bottom line should be foisted on an unsuspecting public:

Mr. Griffin, MSNBC’s president, denies that it has an ideology. “I think ideology means we think one way, and we don’t,” he said. Rather than label MSNBC’s prime time as left-leaning, he says it has passion and point of view.

But MSNBC is the cable arm of NBC News, the dispassionate news division of NBC Universal. MSNBC, “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” share some staff members, workspace and content. And some critics are claiming they also share a political affiliation.

Indeed, Griffin thinks that simply putting Olbermann in the anchor chair defines the ranting nutcase as “unbiased:”
In May, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in an interview that during live events Olbermann and Matthews “put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem.”

But NBC News journalists, who often appear on the cable channel, did see a problem, arguing behind the scenes that MSNBC’s move to the left—which includes a new show, debuting tonight, for Air America radio host Rachel Maddow—was tarnishing their reputation for fairness. Tom Brokaw, the interim host of “Meet the Press,” said that at times Olbermann and Matthews went too far.

How an adult can look at Olbermann and see a non-biased observer is a mystery. Jennifer Rubin asks the same thing:
The Left has compared MSNBC to Fox, but the analogy has always fallen on exactly this point: Fox separated talk-show partisans (e.g. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly) from news anchors and reporters ( e.g. Brit Hume, Chris Wallace) while MSNBC did not. This move is a small but essential corrective step.

From the outside one can easily ask, “What took so long?” But the temptation to give into bullies and to seek some small ratings/monetary advantage is great. It is no easy thing to say “enough” and somebody –or somebodies — at MSNBC/NBC did just that. But whether this is part of a greater course correction, one that will be reflected in more than a shuffling of the anchor chairs on the deck of the MSM Titanic remains to be seen.

When even the sane left agrees that Olbermann as anchor was a loony idea, you realize the titanic blunder made by Griffin and other MSNBC execs. Jeralyn Merritt:
Sure, it was his and Matthews’ abysmal coverage of the primaries that ensured millions of viewers wouldn’t be back. But it’s more than that. Who wants to watch an hour of Keith Olbermann’s opinions, backed up by reporters and pundits selected only because they share his view? It’s no different than watching Laura Ingraham or Lou Dobbs.

Good for MSNBC for recognizing, however belatedly, that news coverage of live events like debates and election night, should be anchored by journalists with an assist from pundits on both sides. They shouldn’t be the main event.

Ron Chusid:
Having Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews anchor political coverage was often more interesting than the other networks, but it was, to be mild, journalistically flawed. This especially proved to be a problem as the reputation of MSNBC also affected the reputation of NBC. The New York Times reports that Olbermann and Matthews are to be removed as anchors for the remainder of the coverage of the election.

Matthews, who at times seemed to be trying to match Olbermann’s partisanship, never belonged on an anchor desk either. But at least he knows something about politics. Watching Olbermann’s painfully amateurish and simple minded “analysis” was actually funny at times. He seemed like a little boy who had wandered by accident into the after dinner gathering of adult men who were smoking cigars and drinking Courvoisier while talking talking politics and world affairs. He was wearing short pants in a long pants world.

David Gregory, who will take over the anchor duties for the debates and election night, is an improvement but hardly someone who has demonstrated fairness in his coverage of the campaigns. But he has an excellent grasp of politics and the issues and should at least give the viewer the benefit of some expert analysis.

Meanwhile, one wonders how MSNBC can get its soul back. A good start would be to fire Griffin and bring in a genuine news executive. After all, Griffin is the man who gave Keith Olbermann his head and allowed him to run the NBC News brand into the toilet. Someone should pay for that or the ghosts of Huntley and Brinkley may haunt the network for eternity.

By: Rick Moran at 11:10 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)


These are the days that I truly hate the internet and how it has affected our politics.

Don’t get me wrong. The “Jesse Jackson ate Obama’s testicles” story is a lot of fun to write about – as you can tell already. And I make no claim to being above it all when it comes to latching on to an internet feeding frenzy and participating in these Bloggasm memes.

But really now, just what is this story about? Does anyone seriously believe The Good Reverend is going to withdraw his support from Obama or work one whit less energetically to get him elected? Can anyone possibly claim this has any relevance whatsoever to the campaign, any issue of the campaign, or is even tangentially related to presidential politics?

Of course not. This is basically a story about a racialist who sees an ascendant Obama as a threat to his little white guilt extortion racket and expressed his frustration at the fact that if Obama is elected, it will be harder to maintain his position in the African American community and hence,  the lifestyle to which he has become accustomed.

Electing Obama will not prove there is no racism in America. But if Obama continues to push themes of personal responsibility for African Americans and if he continues his efforts to alter the cultural bias against obeying the law, staying in school, and getting a good education, the days of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the rest of the Victimhood Society being able to afford $2000 suits and live high off the hog will be numbered.

Taking responsibility for one’s own life be it accepting the obligations that come with fathering a child or staying away from drugs and the poisonous culture of gangs is a liberating experience – the last thing that the Jacksons and Sharptons of the world want. Absolute dependency on government for African Americans is their ally and any efforts to throw off that oppressive yoke threatens their raison d’être.

But back to Jackson’s mock threat to make a eunuch out of Obama. Or, more accurately, make Obama more of a squish than he already is. Here is Jackson’s colorful sotto voce threat while being filmed by Fox News and, unbeknownst to Jackson, a live mic:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson apologized Wednesday for saying Barack Obama is “talking down to black people” during what Jackson thought was a private conversation before a FOX News interview Sunday.

Jackson was speaking to a guest at the time about Obama’s speeches in black churches and his support for faith-based charities. Jackson added before going live, “I want to cut his nuts off.”

His microphone picked up the remarks.

Here’s a link to the video.

To emphasize “cutting off” the remnants of Obama’s manhood, Jackson actually gave a slight “stick it to ‘em” fist pump as if he relished the idea of taking a rusty blade to said body part. One wonders in more private venues what body parts he would look forward to removing from someone like President Bush or one of the group of writers and reporters who have delved into his personal and professional life to reveal the Good Reverend as nothing more than a philandering bunko artist.

And no one has chronicled the outrageous activities of this charlatan better than Kenneth Timmerman whose unauthorized biography of Jackson revealed shocking facts not only about The Good Reverend, but also his enablers in business and government who were terrified of Jackson’s threats of being branded “racist” for not giving in to his extortion schemes.

Shakedown” chronicles in excruciating detail what Jackson is all about:

As Timmerman’s chronicle makes explicit, there were few if any things that Jackson failed to exploit for monetary value. The book’s title, Shakedown, refers to the process by which Jackson would “shake down” or extort corporations for money, threatening to call for a boycott of their products by black Americans unless they provided a certain number of jobs to minorities and made hefty donations to Jackson’s various non-profit organizations. Fearful of being labeled racists and becoming embroiled in public relations scandals, many corporate CEO’s gladly acquiesced to Jackson’s demands, doling out funds and rewarding Jackson’s business “partners,” usually wealthy black businessmen, with lucrative jobs. Left out of this process were ordinary black men and women, the ones whose collective power to boycott lay behind Jackson’s threats.

One particularly obvious “shakedown” occurred in 1999 when Jackson’s organization Rainbow/PUSH opposed the proposed merger of telecommunications giants AT&T and TCI, claiming that the companies had a “questionable employment record.” AT&T CEO Michael Armstrong instructed his company to donate $425,000 to the Jackson-controlled non-profit group, Citizenship Education Fund [CEF]. Jackson’s opposition to the merger was immediately halted. Then, when the bond deal between the companies was announced, Armstrong personally requested that the small black-owned investment bank, Blaylock & Partners be named co-manager of the record-breaking deal. Blaylock personally benefited to the tune of $1.4 million from the deal, “its biggest deal ever.” Blaylock’s CEO, Ron Blaylock then gave Jackson a $30,000 donation.

While the shakedown of AT&T benefited Jackson and Blaylock, it did nothing for the ordinary men and women on whose behalf Jackson was supposedly acting when he inquired about the “questionable employment record” of AT&T and TCI. “Jesse was brokering deals for a closely knit black elite, and it rankled many black businessmen who never made it into his inner circle-either because they refused to contribute to Jesse Inc. or because they simply weren’t big enough to count,” writes Timmerman.

One can see how an Obama presidency might cut into Jesse’s racketeering by empowering those “little people” beyond anything Jackson has ever delivered. So while Jackson feels a certain obligation to campaign for Obama and place his candidacy in a political/historical context, he doesn’t have to like it. Those “faith based initiatives” would really put a crimp in Jackson’s, Sharpton’s, and others ability to soak corporate American and hold up Congress for funds.

That’s the backstory but where’s the connection to Campaign ‘08? It isn’t there and you won’t find any. The story got legs simply because Jackson used a street metaphor to express his feelings about Obama moving in on his bailiwick by offering an alternative to the African American community on how they can find a seat at the American table.

Jackson and his friends feel the heat. And yet they don’t dare submarine Obama’s candidacy lest they be revealed as the charlatans they truly are. So they hang around the fringes of the Obama campaign until they say something outrageous like Jackson did the other day. Then we get the non-apology for causing a non-distraction at a non-event.

Remind me again why I’m writing about this…?

By: Rick Moran at 8:00 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)


Last week when the Heller decision came down, Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley suggested that the states should repeal the 2nd amendment.Now those of us fortunate to live in Chicago or its beautiful suburbs and ex-urbs have gotten used to hizzoner’s moods. Daley can be sarcastic in front of reporters and can usually be counted on to deliver at least one colorful quote.

Whether he really means it when he says we shoud tear up the Constitution is suspect. Daley, who came out of the womb a politician (his father Richard J. Daley was Mayor of Chicago for two decades), no doubt realizes it would be political suicide to even suggest such a stupid thing.

Then there’s the Chicago Tribune. While Daley might have as excuse for proposing the wipe out of gun rights in that he was emotional about what will probably happen to a similar law in Chicago, the Trib has no such reason for what they write here under the headline “Repeal the Second Amendment:”

No, we don’t suppose that’s going to happen any time soon. But it should.The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is evidence that, while the founding fathers were brilliant men, they could have used an editor.

Funny, I was going to say exactly the same thing about the Trib – which makes the rest of their editorial all the more ironic:
If the founders had limited themselves to the final 14 words, the amendment would have been an unambiguous declaration of the right to possess firearms. But they didn’t, and it isn’t. The amendment was intended to protect the authority of the states to organize militias. The inartful wording has left the amendment open to public debate for more than 200 years. But in its last major decision on gun rights, in 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found that that was the correct interpretation.

On Tuesday, five members of the court edited the 2nd Amendment. In essence, they said: Scratch the preamble, only 14 words count.

In doing so, they have curtailed the power of the legislatures and the city councils to protect their citizens.

Why is it the default position of the anti-gun crowd that allowing law abiding citizens the opportunity to defend themselves will place them in greater danger? The illogic – on its face – of this position is astounding.The gun control crowd readily admits that handgun bans like that struck down in DC and soon to be history in Chicago do not, in the slightest, prevent criminals from getting guns. All the handgun bans do is keep them out of the hands of law abiding citizens who wish to use the weapon for self defense – against criminals who can get guns regardless of what stupid law is passed by idiot politicians.In short, where is the logic in saying citizens who are now able to possess handguns legally are in more danger from criminals who could always get handguns regardless of what law was on the books?


No matter. How’s this for pretzel logic by the Trib:

We can argue about the effectiveness of municipal handgun bans such as those in Washington and Chicago. They have, at best, had limited impact. People don’t have to go far beyond the city borders to buy a weapon that’s prohibited within the city.

But neither are these laws overly restrictive. Citizens have had the right to protect themselves in their homes with other weapons, such as shotguns.

Some view this court decision as an affirmation of individual rights. But the damage in this ruling is that it takes a significant public policy issue out of the hands of citizens. The people of Washington no longer have the authority to decide that, as a matter of public safety, they will prohibit handgun possession within their borders.

Oh really? Is that a fact? Let’s follow this by the numbers.

1. Handgun bans don’t work. Criminals can easily still get guns.

2. Handgun bans are fine anyway because citizens can use a “shotgun” to “protect themselves – even though I would have a hard time fitting a shotgun in my nightstand (no children in the house) not to mention spraying the house with buckshot if I was ever forced into using it thus endangering a loved one.

3. Public policy decisions are taken “out of the hands of citizens” (they mean “anti-gun citizen groups”). And if it were a matter of “public safety,” being placed “into the hands of citizens” wouldn’t allowing the purchase of handguns fill that bill nicely?

The Trib can be counted on as being one of the few major newspapers in the country to occasionally endorse Republicans for office and they have a stellar record of reporting on the corruption of city government, digging deep to ferret out dirty aldermen, judges, policemen, and others.

But this editorial is just plain silly. Not to mention the fact that any politician who would propose such insanity as repealing the second amendment better have a one way ticket back home because the chances of his being sent back to Washington would be slim and none.

This article originally appeared in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 11:44 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)


As if awakening from a long, languorous slumber where dreams of the perfect liberal being comfortably ensconced in the White House made it impossible for the press to get up, rub their eyes, and return to the real world, it seems that the American media has finally decided to start treating Barack Obama with a little of the curmudgeonly cynicism that has been the hallmark of political reporting in this country for much of its existence.

The press likes to think of themselves as the “Fourth Estate” – the gatekeepers who protect American democracy from the ravages of crooked pols, greedy businessmen, religious charlatans, and most especially, unqualified presidential candidates.

Of course, many of my fellow conservatives don’t think of the press as the “Fourth Estate” as much as they see the media as a “Fifth Column,” deliberately undermining American policy abroad and either ignoring or savaging conservatives at home.

But that judgment may be too harsh. Overall, the press may hold liberal positions on the issues but their real failure lies in their total insularity from views different than their own.

Bernard Goldberg:

The problem is that there is a bubble that these media elites live in. They live in it in Manhattan & Washington. It’s a very comfortable bubble and they almost never run into people inside it who have differing points of view. They can go through a whole day, a whole week, a whole month, without running into someone who has a differing view on the big social issues of our time…

If you take into consideration how consolidated the media is today and the fact that most local newspapers and TV networks depend on the big boys for national and foreign news reporting, you can see how just a handful of insulated liberals can affect the way news is reported across a wide swath of the American media landscape.

So it is not surprising that the glowing, almost worshipful coverage of the Obama campaign would have powered the Illinois senator through the primaries to a now virtual lock on the Democratic nomination.

But as Howard Kurtz points out, the dynamic of press coverage has now changed:

After more than a year of mostly glowing coverage, Barack Obama is having to defend his relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, his temerity in not sporting a flag pin, even his arugula-loving, bad-bowling, let-me-eat-my-waffle persona that fostered what Newsweek has branded “the Bubba Gap.”

“The media have decided to get tougher on Obama,” says St. Petersburg Times media critic Eric Deggans. “There was so much talk about him getting such an easy ride that some journalists got tired of it.”

And the catalyst for this turnabout came from a very unexpected source; a couple of skits on the old political warhorse TV show Saturday Night Live. The bits were devilishly clever, playing to the idea that the media was in the tank for Obama – something almost everyone in America was aware except the media itself.

The February 23rd show was actually mentioned by Hillary Clinton in the Cleveland debate as proof that the press was biased toward her opponent. Those skits may have been one of the most impactful political satires in decades. Not since Chevy Chase’s bumbling portrayal of President Ford has a TV bit entered the political consciousness of the country.

The press was stung to the quick and began to look for opportunities to stick it to Obama. They didn’t have long to wait when the Jeremiah Wright fiasco exploded onto the scene in mid-March. Seeming to make up for lost time, the press latched on to the Wright controversy and began to question Obama’s judgement and beliefs – long overdue according to some:

Still, says David Greenberg, a Rutgers University professor of journalism and history, the coverage could be far worse. For journalists, he says, “there has been a real infatuation with Obama that has served as almost an unconscious restraint” as many became “taken with the idea of demonstrating their tolerance and America’s tolerance by electing a black candidate.”

What loosened those restraints, Greenberg says, was the media’s conclusion that Obama had virtually wrapped up his nomination fight against Hillary Clinton. “It’s backwards—the toughest scrutiny should come while it’s still a real fight,” he says.

Obama’s image has undergone something of a transformation. In March, feeding the curiosity about his background, a Newsweek cover story focused on “When Barry Became Barack” in college, while a Time cover profiled the candidate’s mother. By last week, Newsweek’s cover piece was exploring why he seems “strange,” “exotic” and, to some, “haughty” and “a bit of an egghead.” How did Obama, cast by some journalists as the new JFK, come to be depicted as what the New Republic’s John Judis says may be “The Next McGovern”?

What does it say about a press that waits until the candidate has the nomination virtually sown up before pouncing on his vulnerabilities? I think any reasonable person can conclude that they’ve got the process back asswards. Aren’t they supposed to vet the candidate while there is still a competitive race going on? And the fact that they haven’t played their traditional role of gatekeeper with Obama (closing the gate after the horse has gotten away) is significant.

That and the fact that all of this is happening 7 months before the election in November means that Obama – a gifted and inspiring figure to many – can still recover and beat McCain in the fall. One wonders if Reverend Wright would have received this kind of coverage in October.

My guess is no, he wouldn’t have been a big issue in September or October. Nor will Tony Rezko make an appearance between the time of the Democratic convention and election day. And I doubt we’ll be hearing too much about William Ayers and his flag stomping, terrorist ways either.

All of that will rightfully be seen as old news by then – that is, unless new information surfaces that would show Obama to be a liar as far as the extent of his problem associations have been. Whether such information is out there to be reported I have little doubt. But the only place you are going to see Wright damning America come the fall campaign is in a GOP 527 ad.

In short, the press may not be as puppy-dog worshipful as they were a couple of months ago. But their basic feelings about Obama don’t show any signs of changing. Witness the panting over his March speech in Philadelphia where he denounced what Wright was saying but not the man. It was hailed as one of the greatest political speeches in history. The press was just looking for an excuse to forgive him and they found it in Obama’s post-racial vision of America.

Then just last week, the press once again praised Obama to the skies for “distancing himself” from Wright – rarely asking the obvious question of why he couldn’t have done so the previous month in “one of the greatest speeches” of all time.

Yes the press has taken a more aggressive tack in covering Obama. But at the same time, they are still bending over backwards to excuse, to explain away, or, as in the case of the William Ayers story, simply ignore Obama’s lies about how well he knew him.

For these reasons, I don’t think we can say that the press still isn’t in the bag for Barack Obama. They may like McCain as well but does anyone really believe that when the campaign narrative is developed this fall that John McCain will be seen by the press in a positive light? It will be Barack Obama to America’s rescue, riding on a black and white horse but with the head of an elephant and the tail of a donkey. He will be the post-racial, post partisan candidate just as he was always meant to be.

Just as the press wants him to be.

By: Rick Moran at 1:48 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (10)

CATEGORY: Ethics, Media

Jeremiah Wright? Who’s he?

If you are referring to Barack Obama’s no-longer-controversial-because he’s now-an-ex-pastor-millstone-around-the-neck-of-his-campaign misanthrope, I will let others say what’s been repeated ad infinitum about the situation. After my PJ Media piece yesterday, I have little to add to the discussion although I was mighty tempted to do a connect the dots post on the notion that the two old friends cooked the whole thing up and staged this little break up for the press. Both are now chortling over how they put one over on whitey and Wright is already writing the invocation for Obama’s inaugural.

So if it Wright you seek, you must go elsewhere. Instead, we have a moral crisis in America with which we must deal – a crisis where money, sex, rock ‘n roll, and one 15-year old megastar of a little girl who has been shamelessly exploited by her parents, her handlers, her corporate daddy, and an industry where “morals” is a word uttered with contempt and derision.

Miley Cyrus is a cute-as-a-button little girl who plays the wildly popular Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel. It’s a neat concept; Miley Stewart is a mild mannered, typically awkward high school kid by day and rock star Hannah Montana at night. She has all the typical problems of a young girl developing the first flush of womanhood; boys (non-sexual, almost platonic yearnings), food, shopping – in short, everything that the target audience of 9-13 year old girls look forward to and dream about when they fantasize about being a teenager.

The complication of being a rock star also plays to these little girl fantasies involving acceptance and glamour. In short, the show is a relatively harmless piece of fluff that also stars Miley’s father, one hit wonder Billy Ray Cyrus (“Achy, Breaky Heart”). He is a buffoonish but loving dad who, of course, doesn’t understand teenagers.

The show has spawned a financial empire worth more than some small countries. Records selling in the millions, a Best of Both Worlds concert tour and movie, a clothing line, dolls – the whole Disney treatment. Let’s not forget that this is the company that took a non-descript little mouse and made him into a worldwide icon, beloved of billions of children and adults.

Last year, little Miley raked in $17.2 million for herself – not a bad haul for a 15 year old kid with marginal talent. And what makes this story so incredible is that the guys with the green eyeshades at Disney believe that her career hasn’t taken off yet, that it is the next two years where the Miley Megamarketing Bonanza is expected to detonate on the American cultural landscape and a mother lode of money descend upon the corporation like manna from, well, Montana. For Disney, a troubled company in recent years, Miley Cyrus has been a godsend.

There’s only one small problem with this happy picture; the entire Miley enterprise rests precariously on the boney shoulders of a 15 year old girl and an absolutely, impossibly squeaky clean image of the star and her family. Like an upside down ziggurat balancing on a knife’s edge, one wrong move – one slip – and the whole edifice can come crashing down around their heads.

An overstatement? Earlier this year, Consumer Reports Magazine noticed that Miley and her father did not buckle up after getting into a car during the filming for Best of Both Worlds. In a blog post “Note to Hannah Montana: Seat belts are a necessity, not an accessory,” the consumers group criticized Miley for not setting a good example for her legions of fans by not buckling up.

The news nets picked up the story and ran with it. CNN, MSNBC, Fox, all devoted an entire news cycle to the “controversy.” Social scientists weighed in. Traffic safety groups had their say. Billy Ray actually felt compelled to issue an apology blaming the press of film making for his egregious error.

Disney execs fretted that the porcelain doll image of their little creation would take a hit. And while there was plenty of criticism from the busy bodies of the world, the seat belt controversy quickly died for lack of oxygen. After all, how long can you milk a story about absolutely nothing? Even the geniuses in cable news were hard pressed to come up with anything original to say after two or three days.

But there is trouble in Mileyland today as the young lady finds herself embroiled in a very grown-up controversy. And the issues raised by this imbroglio go to the heart of American morals, American culture, and the increasing sexualization of children to gratify adult desires.

A photo spread of young Ms. Cyrus in Vanity Fair turned into what can only be called a porn shoot. The shocking picture of little Miley in the altogether wrapped in a bedsheet to hide her breasts has thrown the muti-billion dollar Disney company into a panic and has angered parents groups, child welfare organizations, feminists, and millions of parents who saw the all-American image of Miley Cyrus as a godsend – a counter to the raw sexual images their kids are bombarded with every day.

Disney tried some immediate damage control with a statement from Ms. Cyrus:

“I took part in a photo shoot that was supposed to be ‘artistic’ and now, seeing the photographs and reading the story, I feel so embarrassed,” Miley said in a statement. “I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about.” The most controversial of the images, which appear in the June issue of Vanity Fair, is the classic, “Guess what I just did” pose, showing Miley apparently topless, with a silk bedsheet gathered around her chest, her hair and lipstick mussed. In other shots, Miley is draped languidly across the lap of her father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus.

The link to the Time website shows the offending picture. As for the others, you can find them yourself I’m sure. I don’t usually link porn at this site but this is a special case.

And pornography it is – child pornography as defined by statute. It is the deliberate posing of a minor to elicit sexual feelings in adults. The photographer – the award winning, brilliant and creative Annie Leibovitz – can tell us her photos of Cyrus represents “art” from now until the cows come home but that won’t change the reality of how those photos are viewed by the law.

Leibovitz will probably skate because of her reputation. But it raises the question; where in God’s name was her father? Her Mother? Her handlers? Surely anyone with half a brain would have seen enormous trouble with the publication of these photos.

It turns out, the Miley camp is spinning a tale of serendipity where the photo was set up and shot while everyone else was looking the other way or manged to be somewhere else. Miley herself is a little more sensible, issuing the statement of apology above (no doubt drawn up by fainting executives at Disney).

We’ve all seen the clothes little girls are wearing these days; the bare midriff tops, the skin tight jeans, the obsession with showing as much skin as possible. Why this is so goes to the heart of the culture wars – the idea that children are not impressionable beings with ill-formed social and intellectual gifts but rather just little adults.

Kids as young as 11 or 12 take part in sex parties where sexual acts are performed as a game. “Hooking up” – sex among friends without strings – is popular in teen circles. And why not? This is the culture to which they are exposed. Romantic ideals of sex and relationships are replaced by a soulless view of sex as some kind of release or duty.

No mystery. No emotional attachment, which some experts believe actually harm young women, some of whom will have difficulty in forming lasting relationships later in life. The question of when or if this madness will end is irrelevant. In a free society, it is the people who determine the limits of such things. And we have, as parents and concerned citizens, abandoned that responsibility and put it in the hands of people who have dollar signs in their eyes and exploitation on the mind.

To the skin masters of Hollywood and Madison Avenue, it really is a question of dollars and cents. And if parents of young girls don’t care enough to keep their kids from being caught up in this cultural cesspool, then perhaps we should stop blaming the purveyors of this crap and start pointing a finger at adults who are either too tired, to lackadaisical, or too cowed by their kids to put their foot down.

No one has covered these issues more regularly than Michelle Malkin:

The adults surrounding Miley Cyrus shamelessly abdicated their responsibility to protect her best interests. Mom and Dad got caught up in the Vanity Fair glam. Vanity Fair didn’t see a 15-year-old girl. They saw magazine sale dollar signs. And Annie Leibovitz saw skin, skin, skin and another notch in her belt.

The parents, grandmother, and teacher are not alone in shouldering blame. Shame on Liebovitz and the pretentious left-wing editor of Vanity Fair, Graydon Carter.

“Artists” and “literary magazine editors?” Nonsense. They’re the elitist version of Girls Gone Wild founder Joe Francis and his video camera operators, coaxing girls to take it all off–just with more refined tones and high-minded pretentiousness.

It is a constant, draining battle for parents to monitor their kids intake of everything from junk food to internet content. I sympathize. But giving in to your kid’s desire to fit in with the crowd by allowing them to walk out of the house dressed like a streetwalker is the wrong decision under all circumstances.

What happened to Miley Cyrus will not hurt her image – much. But by allowing their child to be exploited in such a public way, the parents of little Miley deserve all the disapprobation that comes their way. And I suspect that there are quite a few confused kids and parents out there right now, wondering whether the carefully constructed image of Miley Cyrus will be tarnished from here on out or whether the young lady can roll with this blow and come out unblemished in the eyes of her millions of fans.

By: Rick Moran at 5:14 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (3)


Would the last person reading the New York Times please turn out the lights?

The following circulation compares the new data to the same period a year ago. Daily circulation is the Monday-through-Friday average.

  • The New York Times lost more than 150,000 copies on Sunday. Circulation on that day fell a whopping 9.2% to 1,476,400. The paper’s daily circulation declined 3.8% to 1,077,256.

According to New York Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty, the company had budgeted for the declines in Sunday and daily circulation. Two-thirds of the Sunday loss stemmed from the elimination of bonus days and third-party bulk copies. Also: the paper had a single copy and home delivery price increase in July. The paper also focused on growing “highly profitable circulation,” she noted.

  • At The Washington Post, daily circulation decreased 3.5% to 673,180 and Sunday dropped 4.3% to 890,163.
  • Meanwhile, daily circulation at The Wall Street Journal grew a fraction of a percent, up 0.3% to 2,069,463 copies. At USA Today, circulation inched up 0.27%* to 2,284,219. (Correction: the original version of this story said USA Today’s daily circulation was up 2.7%.)

I guess people decided that they wanted to eat their Sunday breakfast without being interrupted by a wave of nausea after reading some typical New York Times bilge.

If this keeps up, the dinosaur media will become fodder for archaeologists and story tellers (“Once upon a time, Americans got their news by reading something we used to call “newspapers”...)

I am happy to see that the Times “budgeted” for this catastrophe although their attempt to put a prom dress on a pig falls pretty flat as you can well imagine. And I suppose by “highly profitable circulation” the Times is talking about their efforts to get their own employees to subscribe to the paper. Perhaps they can branch out and start a subscription drive that would target employees’ mothers. Now there’s an untapped resource ‘ole Pinch never thought of, I’ll bet.

Really, this is getting serious. What will us conservative blogs do if the New York Times goes under? Think about it. No more Maureen Dowd to reduce to tears. No more Krugman to fact check. No more Frank Rich to laugh at.

On the plus side, our national security will improve. But then at the same time, we will no longer be able to write towering denunciations of the perfidious louts who continue to publish our closely held secrets. How can any self respecting conservative blogger get by without the occasional foray into sanctimony that the Times so generously provides us?

So we here at The House have decided to start a campaign:


To all our readers, we ask you to subscribe or give generously to the Times just so that we have something to write about in the future. This site and others would grind to a halt if the Times went out of business so we are asking you to save the Times – and save the righty blogosphere.

I suggest we hurry. At the rate these guys are losing readers, Bill Keller will have to cancel the annual New York Times Summer Retreat in the Hamptons.

Note: Much of the above piece was originally published in The American Thinker

By: Rick Moran at 11:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

CATEGORY: History, Media

This is the very first thing I read after getting out of bed and before the coffee was ready. Needless to say, it was an eye-opener:

In his portrayal of our second president, Paul Giamatti creates a man perpetually dissatisfied, disgusted by the preening ambition of politics even as he is infected by it. If his relentless crankiness was a bit hard for some of us to take in early episodes, in the second half of the series it makes much more sense. While exhorting angry men to throw off the shackles of tyranny offers many opportunities for rhetorical fabulousness, setting up a new government is a bureaucratic nightmare, with oversized personalities disagreeing over things both petty and fundamental. George Washington (David Morse) so quickly tired of the infighting among his Cabinet and vagaries of public opinion that he stepped down from the presidency after a single term. “I know now what it is like to be disliked,” he says to Adams, his perpetually disliked vice president.

I literally had to read it three times before I convinced myself that it wasn’t the lack of coffee or the fact that sleep was still in my eyes which may have caused me to see something that wasn’t there. I briefly considered the possibility of an hallucinogenic flashback which was causing the letters on the page to re-arrange themselves into words that were not actually printed but imagined.

After dismissing all rational and irrational reasons for anyone above the age of 7 to make such a gargantuan error, the horror finally engulfed me; the Los Angeles Times has hired a 6 year old to write for them – a cost cutting measure sure to please their new owner Sam Zell but would probably not sit well with anyone who possesses an IQ above 60.

I felt compelled to send the following email to the author of this piece, a lass named Mary McNamara:

My guess is that you have received 5,000 emails telling you what every 1st grader in the United States knows – that Washington served two terms as president.

Oh well, not everyone can be a reporter. To take liberties with the quote from John Houseman in Paper Chase:

“Ms. McNamara, here is a dime. Take it, call your mother, and tell her there is serious doubt about you ever becoming a journalist.”

Rick Moran

A word here about the aforementioned Zell, owner of the Tribune Company as well as the Chicago Cubs baseball team. When last we left our hard charging, foul mouthed, bullying, media tycoon, he was busy trying to make himself the most unpopular business executive in the history of Chicago by proposing that the holy shrine of Wrigley Field (home of the hapless but lovable Chicago Cubs) undergo a slight name change. It seems that Sam wanted to open bidding among corporations for the honor of having their company name attached to the ballpark as is the custom for some other ballyards. Such elevating names as “Progressive (insurance) Park” in Cleveland or “US Cellular Field” across town, home to the White Sox, has garnered the owners hundreds of millions of dollars.

That Zell could be so ignorant of the passion that even non-baseball fans have for Wrigley Field in Chicago does not bode well for his efforts to resurrect the Tribune media empire. A poll taken by the Sun Times showed that 53% of fans surveyed would never attend a game at Wrigley Field if it were renamed.

So I wouldn’t put anything past Sam Zell. Perhaps he cut the fact checking department at the Times. Perhaps he had all reference materials like dictionaries and encyclopedias removed – or burned to save money on electricity. Maybe instead of 6 year olds, he hired J-school graduates who may be more expensive than children but demonstrate a similar understanding of the world and current events.

Of course, Patterico weighed in on this gaffe. The long suffering blogger who has forced himself over the years to read the Times while the rest of us riffed off of his excellent analysis of their foibles searches desperately for an explanation beyond pure, unadulterated, sublime ignorance on the part of McNamara:

Straining to give them the benefit of the doubt, I wonder: does the miniseries somehow portray Washington as having served only one term? I haven’t seen it, but I doubt it. [UPDATE: Make that “seriously doubt it.” See the UPDATE below.]

Lefty blogger Steve Smith, who tipped me to this, is beside himself with amazement at how they could get such a basic fact wrong. Go his post for his amusing cries of disgust, which conclude with this:

It’s enough to make a lefty sympathetic to Patterico. Does the fact-checker at the Times have to regularly drink water out of the toilet or lose their back teeth from subsisting on a diet of rocks to get that job?

I don’t know, Steve. But I hear they use the paper to housebreak him.

In defense of McNamara, she is, after all, an entertainment reporter. Her knowledge of shows I’ve never heard of and would never watch in a million years is extensive so perhaps she has filled her brain with so many facts about horrible television shows that it pushed out other, less relevant information like history and such. Or maybe important facts like the number of terms Washington served as president just oozed out of her ears while watching all of the drivel she evidently enjoys viewing to prepare for her scratching out her deep thoughts about a medium that insults the intelligence of anyone with half a brain who partakes in its idiocies.

Then again, she was writing about the success of the best thing on TV I’ve seen since Band of Brothers; the John Adams miniseries which is surprisingly literate, achingly accurate, and marvelously performed by Paul Giamatti in the title role. But if like many under the age of 30, she gets her knowledge of history from films and TV, I suppose it shouldn’t surprise us that she hasn’t a clue about how many terms Washington served as president.

As of 7:30 AM Pacific time, the error is still there, standing out like a huge zit on the face of a major metropolitan newspaper whose credibility – already in the pits – has been strained to the breaking point. One can imagine the fate of poor Ms. McNamara once Sam Zell hears of this stupidity. If I were her, I would make sure my resume is up to date and perhaps even look into that editor’s job at the Jackson Hole News.

At least if she makes a ridiculous error there, she won’t have more than a million Sunday readers and countless blogs pointing a finger in her direction and laughing like a baboon over her imbecility.

By: Rick Moran at 9:52 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)