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Ed Driscoll

Oh, That Liberal Media!

Is Leftism Exhausted?

February 28th, 2015 - 11:45 am

“All This Has Happened Before …and will happen again,” Sonny Bunch writes at the Washington Free Beacon, noting how the left has always loved itself a good circular firing squad:

What the angry left of today has in common with the angry left of yesteryear is a lot of rage and little cohesion. There’s not an actual program being pursued, no series of demands. There’s just vitriol and angst wrapped up in vaguely leftist sloganeering. They eat their own because it’s easier. This is basic human psychology: When you attack an outsider, he’s just as likely to give you the finger and tell you to get bent as he is to listen to your grievances. But when you attack one of your own—when you scream at someone who has professed a desire to be your ally, when you harp on and on how they have failed to hew to your orthodoxies—it is easier to cow them into submission and convince them to beg forgiveness for their heresies. Left-on-left spats in social media are common because these are fights the radicals can win. And it’s always more psychically pleasing to win a fight than lose one.

More on this later, perhaps. I’ve got to run: I’m late for my RINO hunt. There are some cocktail parties in Georgetown that need cleaning out.

Heh. At NRO, Jonah Goldberg adds that “the cultural Left has disengaged from mainstream political arguments, preferring instead the comforts of identity-politics argy-bargy. You judge political movements not by their manifestos but by where they put their passion. And on the left these days, the only things that arouse passion are arguments about race and gender,” which for the left also involves devouring your own, yet another sign that leftism is exhausted, as Jonah writes. Fortunately, as George Lucas would say, there is a New Hope on the horizon:

For instance, the feminist agitprop drama The Vagina Monologues is now under fire from the left because it is not inclusive of men who believe they are women. Patricia Arquette was criticized from the right for her Oscar-acceptance rant about women’s wage equality, but the criticism paled in comparison to the bile from the left, which flayed her for leaving out the plight of the transgendered and other members of the Coalition of the Oppressed.

Such critiques may seem like a cutting-edge fight for the future among the protagonists, but looked at from the political center, it suggests political exhaustion. At least old-fashioned Marxists talked about the economy. Of course liberalism isn’t dead; it’s just resting. But it certainly could use an exciting, charismatic savior to breathe new life and fresh thinking into its ranks.

Thank goodness Hillary Clinton is waiting in the wings.

Which will be fascinating to watch: vote for me to relive the glory days of the 1990s, even though I’m running on policies that are an extension of Obama’s, and totally repudiate all of my husband’s, except for Hillarycare, which is what led to him losing Congress in 1994, which helped usher in the glory days of the 1990s.

Not to mention the possibility of lots of really cheap Scott Walker versus Hillary’s walker jokes. Perhaps a looming fear of that sort of reverse Alinsky-style ridicule is one part of the subtext of the media’s coordinate hits on him over the past few weeks?

Sharpton’s Cat

February 28th, 2015 - 10:48 am

I’ve speculated a few times that Al Sharpton is basically paid by MSNBC as protection money to prevent him from blowing up another NBC employee, as he did to Don Imus in 2007. In retrospect, I should have expanded my scope to include Comcast as well. “Sharpton paid to keep quiet about lack of black TV programming: suit,” the New York Post reports:

The Rev. Al Sharpton’s silence was bought for a cool $3.8 million — so that he wouldn’t complain about the lack of black cable TV programming, an explosive $20 billion lawsuit alleges.

The National Association of African-American Owned Media claims Comcast paid Sharpton and his National Action Network “cash ‘donations’ ” in exchange for not screaming about its lack of solely black-owned channels.

The cable giant also assured that the activist would keep his $750,000-a-year gig as a host on MSNBC, which it co-owns, even as his ratings slump, the suit alleges.

“The black community has been sold out by him,” comedian Byron Allen, a co-plaintiff and owner of Entertainment Studios, told The Post on Monday.

“Al Sharpton should be ashamed of himself for defending Comcast for a simple chicken-dinner payoff.”

The Daily Caller also interviewed Allen, an NBC alumnus himself. “AT&T, which is looking to acquire DirectTV for $67 billion including assumption of debt, also pays off Sharpton for racial cover, Allen said:”

“I find it outstanding that AT&T is the biggest sponsor of Sharpton’s 60th birthday party,” Allen said. “AT&T spent more money on Al Sharpton’s birthday party than they have on 100 percent African-American owned media combined. [Sharpton] should return the money because AT&T doesn’t even celebrate Martin Luther King Day as a national holiday. The employees there take it as a sick day.”

“Reverend Jesse Jackson, you were on the balcony when Martin Luther King was assassinated. Why are you taking money from AT&T? Why is Al Sharpton getting more money from AT&T than Ebony Magazine, which has been around for 70 years?”

“[Corporations] trick people like, ‘I got the diversity award.’ Well, diversity is defined as women and white women.”

“My wife happens to be white and I ask her who is the white guy who speaks for all white people? You can’t even think that. That idea is racist. That’s wrong. So why do I have some black guy who speaks for me? Why is he cutting deals that somehow I don’t benefit from but somehow he’s on television every night?”

Sharpton’s power, including his informal adviser role at the White House, is just part of the game.

“I think that Obama uses him to control the Negroes,” Allen said of Sharpton.

Sharpton’s response to all of this boils down to, what, me worry?

There have been some rumors this week that Al Sharpton is losing his MSNBC show as part of an ongoing schedule shake-up. Well, Sharpton has officially shot down those rumors and said he isn’t going anywhere.

Sharpton told The Daily Beast, “I am pretty certain that I am solid at the time period that I’m at for the next foreseeable future. And any rumors to the contrary are totally unfounded.”

And an MSNBC spokesperson corroborated Sharpton, saying, “There are no plans to move Rev. Sharpton’s show.”

Which becomes the television equivalent of Schrödinger’s cat: if a TV show effectively has no viewers, how do we know if it’s still on the air?


As Bill Whalen of the Hoover Institute asks at Ricochet:

I can’t remember a candidate at the front of a presidential field — and this early in the process — tapping into conservatives’ media distrust. Yes, Newt Gingrich engaged in heavy media-bashing in 2012 (the former Speaker went nuclear after questions pertaining to his past marriage), but he didn’t get into it until the debate season was underway. And he was never a frontrunner, though at times his campaign did exceed expectations.

Think it’s enough to sustain Walker for the next 11 months?

Maybe. Maybe.


Huh — I remember that it wasn’t all that long ago when Christian Websites were pilloried over such things by the Washington Post:

The American Family Association obviously didn’t foresee the problems that might arise with its strict policy to always replace the word “gay” with “homosexual” on the Web site of its Christian news outlet, OneNewsNow. The group’s automated system for changing the forbidden word wound up publishing a story about a world-class sprinter named “Tyson Homosexual” who qualified this week for the Beijing Olympics.

The problem: Tyson’s real last name is Gay. Therefore, OneNewsNow’s reliable software changed the Associated Press story about Tyson Gay’s amazing Olympic qualifying trial to read this way:

Tyson Homosexual was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Homosexual qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Homosexual said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

You might think it’s a joke, until you read the original AP story, which begins this way:

Tyson Gay was a blur in blue, sprinting 100 meters faster than anyone ever has.

His time of 9.68 seconds at the U.S. Olympic trials Sunday doesn’t count as a world record, because it was run with the help of a too-strong tailwind. Here’s what does matter: Gay qualified for his first Summer Games team and served notice he’s certainly someone to watch in Beijing.

“It means a lot to me,” the 25-year-old Gay said. “I’m glad my body could do it, because now I know I have it in me.”

Read the whole thing, in which the Post had loads of fun in 2008 with Christian Websites inventing the brilliant Olympic athlete “Tyson Homosexual,” without pondering how quickly the left would create their own applets to replace words that they find “problematic” causing “trigger warnings” among their own sensitive souls. (Can we use that phrase? Perhaps “Sensitive chakras” is more appropriate.)

I can’t wait to read a Post article denouncing the Chrome extension using similar language — or is this another case of, as Kathy Shaidle likes to describe the left’s motto, “It’s different when we do it!”

In any case, I’m old enough to remember a time before such applets were available:

Update: Eveleth is also eager to create applets that limit fashion choices as well; recall she was the “science” writer who hit the fainting couch over the shirt worn by the man who landed an unmamanned spacecraft on a comet. (Via the readers of the Insta-man.)

“MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry said during an address at Cornell University this week that she hopes 17-year-old Trayvon Martin ‘whooped the s–t’ out of gunman George Zimmerman during their fatal encounter in 2012,” the Washington Examiner reports:

Harris-Perry’s address, which was captured and uploaded to YouTube by the university’s conservative group, the Cornell Review, continued: “And I hope he whooped the s–t out of George Zimmerman. And it’s not disreputable because he encountered a stranger who was prepared to kill him, and you know how I know? Because he killed him.”

Neither Harris-Perry nor a spokesperson for MSNBC responded to the Washington Examiner’s request for comment.

As Ace responds, “I think you’ve long known that, as every witness said he did, and Zimmerman’s head showed injuries consistent with having one’s head punched repeatedly into the concrete:”

The seething “Let’s get Justice for Travyon” types usually don’t admit that Martin was pounding Zimmerman, but, and this is key, they usually don’t spend much time denying that salient fact either. They just sort of handwave it away, as if that’s just a trivial detail and not very important to their Big Picture legal analysis.

And on that point I think they’re being honest– they don’t see this as important in their legal analysis. Zimmerman deserved what he was getting for the crime of Disrespecting a Black Man, and he broke the Rules by putting a stop to his chastisement.

Whether he feared for his life or not, so what? Racial Justice demands that he take his Justice, as Trayvon determined it should be meted out.

By the way, MHP:

If Zimmerman just wanted to shoot Martin, he could have done so while still on his feet. It is “Stand Your Ground,” after all, not “Get Taken to the Ground, Then Get Your Head Dribbled on the Cement for Five Minutes, Then Get Out Your Gun.”

If Zimmerman just wanted to plug Martin, he sure was slow on the draw.

Arguably far more than other “news” organizations — and that’s saying something — NBC has had a vendetta against Zimmerman right from the start, from falsely editing his 9/11 call to make Zimmerman appear to be a racist, right up until MHP’s speech on Monday. That’s some operation you’re running there, Comcast.

Last week, a source at MSNBC told the (left-leaning) Daily Beast that the network cancelled its low-rated shows hosted by Ronan Farrow and Joy Reid as part of a “move away from left-wing TV.” A decade after moving to the left itself, the Atlantic asks, “So what would it actually mean for MSNBC to make a break with ‘left-wing TV’?”

Publicly, it’s worth noting, MSNBC is distancing itself from the “left-wing” quote, emphasizing that a liberal slant is part of not just the network’s past, but its future. As an MSNBC spokesperson told me in an email, “We have a great brand,” and “we will be staying true to our progressive voice while broadening out the issues we cover through that lens.” Those within the network, though, according to the Daily Beast report, see things differently: “Everybody in the food chain from top to bottom,” its source says, “understands that the Olbermann era is over.”

That’s nice. When is the Jim Crow era over at MSNBC?

‘NBC Trapped in Kafkaesque Nightmare!’

February 25th, 2015 - 1:42 pm

That’s what a Kausfiles headline screams today — could you narrow it down a bit, Mickey? Because NBC is currently trapped in all sorts of Kafkaesque nightmares, most of which are of the network’s own making: If NBC drops legendary anchorman Al Sharpton, I hope they have the mother of all disparagement clauses in his contract, because the only reason the network employs Sharpton is as a protection racket to prevent him from devouring their colleagues. (See: Imus, Don.) What to do about Brian Williams, now that Lester Holt is keeping the ratings steady among the network’s elderly viewers? And what to do about far left muckraker David Corn, who’s dying to come on MSNBC — where he’s employed as a commentator — and blast Bill O’Reilly. But does Phil Griffin really want O’Reilly thrashing away at his network for the next two weeks while he’s trying to decide what it will be when it finally grows up? (Or buy time by negotiating a truce with viewer-hating Keith Olbermann.)

But actually, what Kaus is referring to is this:

The Latest Fad — Mindlessness: NBC Nightly News managed to devote almost two minutes of tonight’s opening segment to the standoff over Department of Homeland Security funding — after another, initial two minutes on the terrorist threat to the Mall of America. In that time NBC never says what the DHS funding fight is about, namely Obama’s executive action giving work permits and deportation protection to millions of illegal immigrants. (You can watch the astonishing newscast here.) The word “immigration” isn’t even uttered. Viewers tuning in would have absolutely no idea why the “big fight” — with 200,000 workers facing no paychecks, a possible “security risk,” and the “clock ticking”– is happening. Is it a budget dispute, with Republicans trying to lower federal spending and Democrats trying to raise it? An argument over long TSA lines? Insufficient leg room in coach? A union dispute? Mindless partisan animosity? The NBC story doesn’t even blame Republicans. A Democratic propaganda segment would at least have had a coherent story line.

I can see several possible explanations:

Normally, I consider Mickey to be one of the most astute observers of the national scene — but since when is mindlessness the latest fad at NBC? It seems to be well in place there since at least the Fred Silverman days.

wapo_condi_rice_white_whale_2-24-15

You stay classy, Washington press corps.  Nice photo, too — “unexpectedly.”

Meanwhile, Twitter users ponder what the headline implies the Washington Post thinks of Condi’s political opposition.

Update: Since we’re using literary metaphors, I wonder if by tomorrow we’ll all be able to spot the dog that didn’t bark, when MSNBC refuses to condemn the WaPo’s rhetoric.

You can hear the whole thing, or read the transcript at Hugh’s Website.

Fascinating though that Brian Williams was introduced to the world by NBC in 2004 as the spokesman for “NASCAR nation” and has now been cast in the role of a lefty by Corn in his efforts at payback for his (possibly permanent) timeout by NBC.

Meanwhile, Bill O’Reilly has moved on to tussle with some unknown hack at the New York Times. “As for the rest of us?”, Jim Treacher writes, “I don’t know about you, but I’m content to sit back and watch them hiss and claw at each other. This is the mainstream media in America, 2015. Enjoy the show.”

To Ask the Question is to Answer It

February 24th, 2015 - 12:03 pm

FROM: RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer
TO: Interested Parties
RE: Time for 2016 Democrats to Answer

A review of news coverage from the last week using the TVEyes media monitoring database reveals that the controversies surrounding the Clinton Foundation’s foreign donations, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s plot to paint President Obama as anti-Semitic and anti-woman, and Vice President Biden’s Somali cab driver gaffe have generated just over 1,300 TV and radio hits combined.

* * * * * * * * *

This is all just par for the course. A Republican former office holder says something, and they think every Republican must answer for it. A current Democrat party leader does and says something, and it’s no one else’s problem.

Likewise, if a conservative commentator says something controversial, the media say it’s a reflection of the Republican Party. When Al Sharpton or Chris Matthews says something offensive or jaw-dropping, they draw no link to the Democrat Party.

Yet another example: Columba Bush was dragged into the media spotlight this week with a hit piece from the Washington Post, which consisted of old news from years past. Yet there was hardly a single headline over Bill Clinton’s travels with Jeffrey Epstein, something we learned about only recently.  Where are the articles on Clinton’s spending habits?

There’s a pattern here, and it’s time to treat the parties equally. I look forward to Hillary Clinton and other potential 2016 Democrat contenders to have to answer for the actions of their fellow Democrats. (Then of course, Hillary hasn’t held a press conference or done an interview in over 200 days, and her “spokesman” responds to every question with the same answer: “No comment.”)

Why doesn’t the MSM treat candidates from both parties in the same fashion? To ask the question is to answer it.

Howard Dean, Scott Walker Truther

February 23rd, 2015 - 7:26 pm

“How unhinged has Howard Dean become?”

So bad that an MSNBC host had to gently walk him back off the ledge.

On Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show tonight, Dean claimed that Scott Walker says Barack Obama was “born in Kenya.”  It took Hayes two attempts to break through Dean’s blather, but eventually he was able to politely point out: “I should note, you mention the Kenya thing, he has not been asked that.”

I realize that the left has been quite unhinged about Walker since 2011 — and Dean has been quite unhinged since, well, “Yeaaaargh!!!” But attempting to smear Walker as a Birther seems a particularly loopy tactic. But then, as Wisconsinite Ann Althouse notes, “Those of you who think that he’s a neophyte, that he hasn’t yet learned how to step up to answering a question. You don’t get it. You are a neophyte. You haven’t yet learned how to step up to understanding Scott Walker. . . . Implicit in that is: That’s not Wisconsin style. Get used to it, coasties.”

“Scott Walker Is a Threat to the Existing Social Order,” Robert Tracinski writes at the Federalist, as reactionary leftists with and without bylines are becoming well aware.

On the other hand, while I’m not sure if Walker would go on the record and agree, I’m fully prepared to say that in my heart of hearts, I do believe that Obama is a Keynesian. And I know I’m not alone in my knowledge of the president’s shocking secret:

 

“Giuliani, Walker, and the Media’s Pro-Obama McCarthyism,” as charted by John Nolte of Big Journalism:

Because Walker didn’t vouch for Obama’s Christianity and patriotism, the coordinated and effective media attacks are coming from all sides: 1) He’s not ready for primetime. 2) He’s racist. 3) He’s extreme 4) He’s a bumbler.

Sorry, but “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer to both questions.

If you had asked me 5 years ago if Obama was a patriotic Christian, I would have answered in the affirmative on both accounts. A lot has happened since. Obama’s deeds — apologizing for America, the dishonest and unnecessary example of the Crusades, using his Christian faith to lie about and hide his support for same sex marriage, etc. — have given me doubts.

Under oath, if asked today if Obama is a patriotic Christian, I would have to answer, “I don’t know.”

But “I don’t know” isn’t the answer the media wants. The media wants a “yes,” and if members of the GOP refuse to vouch for Obama’s faith and patriotism, the media is determined to see them destroyed.

If Walker were running around attacking Obama’s patriotism and faith, that would be reprehensible. He is not doing that, though. He’s not doing anything. He’s not saying anything. He’s not volunteering anything. He wishes to remain silent on the meaningless subject of Obama’s faith and patriotism.

Nevertheless, silence is not good enough for the media.

“To grasp just how farcical this game is, one needs only to run an eye across the list of those who are now feigning high dudgeon,” Charles C.W. Cooke adds at NRO:

 Yesterday, on CBS’s Face the Nation, Obama’s former adviser David Axelrod pretended to be surprised at Walker’s remarks: “I don’t know why there is confusion,” Axelrod proclaimed, indignantly. Really? At present, Axelrod is running around the country promoting a book in which he confesses bluntly that Obama’s well-documented objections to gay marriage were nothing more than opportunistic lies. In 2008, Axelrod recalls in one chapter, “opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church.” In consequence, he adds, Obama “accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.’” Elsewhere, Obama would tell audiences that, being “a Christian, . . . my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman”; and that, “as a Christian — for me — for me as a Christian . . . God’s in the mix.” Axelrod’s admission that this was baloney will sell him a lot of books.

Such suspicions are routinely expressed on the Left. At various points during Obama’s tenure, public figures such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, and Bill Maher have openly suggested that President Obama is either an atheist or an agnostic, and that he is merely pretending to be a Christian to placate the rubes in the middle of the country. “You know who’s a liar about [his faith],” Maher suggested last year, “is Obama. He’s a drop-dead atheist, absolutely.” “Our new president,” Christopher Hitchens told France 24 in 2009, “I’m practically sure he is not a believer.” Richard Dawkins, meanwhile, has noted correctly that this theory is popular among progressives. “Like many people,” he averred in 2014, “I’m sure that Obama is an atheist.” These statements lacked the modesty of Scott Walker’s effective “dunno.” In fact, they were far, far harsher. And yet they were met with relative indifference. Are we to conclude that the bien pensant class considers it to be more honorable for a person to suggest that the president of the United States is lying than to say that he does not know and does not care?

Evidently, the media never thought the bill would come due for its sophistry, which has been going for almost a decade now.

Oh and while, as Nolte writes, the MSM is busy “blackmailing Walker with threat of harsh coverage if he doesn’t vouch for Obama’s patriotic Christianity,” crickets in the MSM over the chairwoman of the Democratic Party allegedly prepared to blackmail Obama as “being sexist, anti-semitic if she lost her DNC job,” as Allahpundit writes today.

The DNC’s operatives with bylines will report no bad news concerning the home office, ever.

On the other hand, check this out:

But it was the Democrats who weaponized Hillary Clinton — and her supporters — in 2008 by throwing every smear at her imaginable to pave the way for Obama’s coronation. Just wait ’til all of that source material is repurposed in the run-up to 2016.

Update: “Thank The Left For Presidential Candidate Scott Walker,”  Brandon Finnigan adds at the Federalist, with a look back at how Walker won what were in essence near annual re-election bids in Wisconsin thanks to the crazed leftists and government unions there:

Had the Democrats not targeted Walker with a recall, that massive fundraiser network, the national profile, the party unity, and his highly developed get-out-the-vote team almost certainly wouldn’t exist. He may have still won re-election, but he would be just another Midwestern Republican governor who enacted reforms and faced push-back, not the conservative folk hero of a party longing for a win. He would most likely resemble Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, a reformer but hardly a man with a cult following. There would still be plenty of new problems with the governor his opposition could cite, instead of leaving him mostly vetted for 2016.

They shot the king and missed, making a balding, sleepy-eyed executive into a god among a growing horde of followers. That’s bad enough for the Progressive set. In the unlikely event he wins the Republican nomination and the presidency? They struck the match that ignited their own national hell.

And we’ve seen over the past week, the leftwing media still can’t put an end to their own pyromania.


Yes, you never know when a once-trusted financial advisor can turn a investment or insurance plan you thought was running on autopilot into dust, all the while promising you repeatedly…

Much more at Twitchy; presumably, this is a set-up for further shakedowns from the trial lawyers, one of the semi-retired president’s favorite constituencies, or for additional regulations. Or both.

“The first two minutes of this should be played at the beginning of every Oscars ever,” Tom Nichols tweets. And the stone-faced glare of Shirley MacLaine to Chayefsky’s response to Vanessa Redgrave’s infamous “Zionist Hoodlums” Oscars rant seems fascinating in retrospect.

But then, I doubt Chayefsky realized that when he wrote the screenplay for Network, he was basically crafting a how-to guide for the 21st century legacy media and its myriad grievance obsessions.

But then, as John Nolte writes at Big Hollywood, “Unpopular titles mixed with no stars to stargaze at is a recipe for low ratings and irrelevance,” especially when combined with the toxic blend of leftwing grievance politics. “Bottom line: 34.6 million for Hollywood’s biggest night; 115 million for the NFL’s biggest night. One institution speaks to the people and celebrates greatness, the other  celebrates its elite, provincial, narcissistic self.”

Bill Nye, the Nihilism Guy

February 23rd, 2015 - 10:38 am

As Ace writes, paraphrasing Nye’s bizarre statements on Time-Warner-CNN-HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, “Man Those Jews Might Not Have to Flee From One Country to Another If They Would Just Get To Actually Know Their ‘Neighbors:’”

I’m not exactly certain that’s the right way to take his statement. But I have trouble seeing any other interpretation.

Bill Nye doesn’t think the Jews of Europe should flee to Israel.

So what’s his proposed alternative?

Well they should just start getting to know their neighbors instead of, I suppose, being all clannish and Jew-y.

At Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has the transcript of Nye’s nihilism:

MAHER: Yeah, I mean, Netanyahu is asking European Jews to come to Israel and …

NYE (wryly): Come home to Israel — that’s what he said, right?

MAHER: Well, I mean, he is the …

NYE (interrupting again): But you never, the people have never been there. They live, grew up in whatever, in Germany or France.

MAHER: It’s a shame that they should have to move, uh …

NYE: Well, they probably won’t either, ’cause it’s not their home, you know.

REINER: But you can understand it. There were German Jews that lived in Germany during the Second World War and that was their home. And, you know, at a certain point, you know, if your live is in danger, you want to go to someplace where you’re going to be protected.

NYE: So, what do you do about it? I think you get to know your neighbors. And it’s gonna take, what, does it take a century, something like that?

“There are multiple layers of irony in this conversation,” Ed Morrissey adds:

Is Nye’s response anti-Semitic, blaming the victim? Your mileage may vary, but at the very least it’s a Summer of Love cliché that ignores centuries of attempted integration by Jews in Europe, with sometimes disastrous results. In one breath Nye says that Europe is the only home they know, and in the next suggests that they aren’t really part of Europe at all. Furthermore, the problem of insularity isn’t so much a Jewish problem as it is with the Muslims who only recently began emigrating in large numbers to Europe — perhaps especially so in France and Germany. Oh, if only those silly Jews would be more friendly with their neighbors, Nye’s argument goes, then no one would have an irrational hatred for them — which suggests that anti-Semitism is the Jews’ fault, and that it’s their responsibility to crack the insularity of whatever communities are generating it.

There’s another level of irony: Like Al Gore, Andrea Mitchell, Tom Steyer, and CBS anchorman Scott Pelley, Nye is one of those persons of the left who casually flings the expression “climate denier” at those who disagree with him. (As Climate Depot reported a few years ago, when asked why he didn’t have someone on to argue against his global warming riffs, Pelley responded, “If I do an interview with Elie Wiesel, am I required as a journalist to find a Holocaust denier?”) Perhaps Nye should cease using such a loaded phrase, which if not outright Holocaust denial itself, is rhetoric that certainly cheapens that unique historical bloodbath, if this is his inch-deep knowledge of postwar European Judaism.

Don’t Hold Your Breath, Rudy

February 22nd, 2015 - 11:01 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Barack Obama’s victory should once and for all finally break the notion that race is a barrier to any goal in the United States. And those who’ve built their power from anger and racial divisiveness, like Ayers, the Panthers, and Reverend Wright should now be mocked like the small men they are. It will be up to Obama as president to transcend the figures of his past–and it’s up to the rest of us as a nation to finally put them into the rearview mirror.

“Congratulations, President Elect Obama,” Ed Driscoll.com, November 4th, 2008.

I hope and pray that President Obama can rise to the occasion and underscore America’s greatness as our history and values merit. If he does so, I will be the first to applaud him. But I can only be disheartened when I hear him claim, as he did last August, that our response to 9/11 betrayed the ideals of this country. When he interjected that “we tortured some folks,” he undermined those who managed successfully to protect us from further attack.

And to say, as the president has, that American exceptionalism is no more exceptional than the exceptionalism of any other country in the world, does not suggest a becoming and endearing modesty, but rather a stark lack of moral clarity.

Over my years as mayor of New York City and as a federal prosecutor, I earned a certain reputation for being blunt. The thoughts I express, whether clearly or ambiguously, are my own and they are my individual responsibility. But whether you agree or not with what I said last week, I hope the intention behind those words can be the basis for a real conversation about national leadership and the importance of confidence and optimism in framing America’s way forward. I hope also that our president will start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life.

—”Rudy Giuliani: My Bluntness Overshadowed My Message. Whether you agreed with me or not, I hope this can be the basis of a real conversation about national leadership,” Rudy Giuliani in the Wall Street Journal, today.

Given that our semi-retired president is clearly in the You’re Only President Once back nine phase of his time in office, I doubt anyone, least of all America’s Mayor Emeritus, is waiting for Mr. Obama to “start acting and speaking in a way that draws sharp, clear distinctions between us and those who threaten our way of life” anytime soon.

On the other hand, “Marie Harf has Turned all Democrats into Neocons,” Leon Wolf quips at Red State, as Harf, Media Matters and other leftists were all frantically quoting GWB to justify Harf’s loopy “jobs for ISIS” dissembling:

Of course, the Democrats don’t really believe this, inasmuch as they don’t believe anything of conviction with respect to foreign policy. They are merely saying it aloud because they are reflexively incapable of refusing to defend anything the Obama administration does, even though Obama is term limited and the statement in question fell out of the mouth of the Lucy and Ethel duo that have been systematically (and probably purposefully) embarrassing the State Department since their arrival. It does not matter – if Obama (or even one of Obama’s low-level flunkies) wants them to be neocons, then neocons they shall be.

And if you wanted people who were capable of a coherent view of foreign policy, you shouldn’t have voted to put Democrats in charge.

Well, yes. But then, as Glenn Reynolds writes at USA Today, “Unpatriotic voters elect unpatriotic leaders,” though I think the fault lies much more in the pundit class, who built a failed community organizer turned tyro senator with excellent trousers into the second coming of JFK, FDR and Lincoln than the voters who blindly accepted their rhetoric.

Obama is Most Certainly Made of the Wright Stuff

February 22nd, 2015 - 5:54 pm

“Are the views of Obama really so different from those of Rev. Wright?”, asks Tim Groseclose at Ricochet:

This video shows the main parts of Wright’s sermon. One aspect of the video is very remarkable, yet almost no one seems to have noticed it. This is the reaction of the parishioners. As you can see in the video, the parishioners agree with Wright. Indeed, they agree enthusiastically. Several cheer when he reaches his climax—that God should damn America. Approximately half clap or stand up during the crescendo. As best I can tell, none of the parishioners are bothered by Wright’s words.

As any reasonable person would conclude, those parishioners do not love America. Even if Obama did not attend the sermon, and even if he never became aware of it, he had to know about the anti-American attitudes of his fellow parishioners. Yet he still chose to attend the church for some two decades.

I believe Obama’s love for America is about the same as any other progressive’s—which means at best tepid, if he’s principled.

Meanwhile, at the Washington Examiner, Byron York asks, “Why are Americans confused about Obama’s religion?”

Whenever the issue pops up, Obama’s most ardent supporters are quick to blame conservative media for misperceptions about Obama’s religion. But it’s possible something in Obama’s public presentation of himself has also created confusion among a significant number of Americans about his religion. The fact is, Obama’s religious roots and development have always been a complicated story.

Made more complicated by the way some in the MSM built up Wright as if he was some sort of misunderstood but beloved cleric — and then universally embargoed Wright once they received updated talking points from the Obama campaign:

In response to Kevin D. Williamson asking, “Does Barack Obama love his country? Call me a rube for saying so, but it’s a fair question,” Glenn Reynolds wrote: “it’s one that our media folks might have done a better job exploring in 2008:”

But here’s why Democrats, and their media protectors, are so unhappy with this question with regard to Obama in particular: It turns 2008 on its head. Obama’s appeal in 2008 lay in no small part in xenophilia: We’re so open-minded, we’re not just electing a President with a Muslim-sounding name, we’re electing a President with the same name as our most recent wartime foe! It let people feel enlightened, and progressive.

But all those differences that seemed so appealing can quickly flip into grounds for suspicion, especially when the object is behaving suspiciously. After all, if — like me — you believe in evolution, you might think that xenophobia, as such a well-established human trait, must have had beneficial functions: Maybe the xenos couldn’t be trusted, or even expected, to have the polity’s best interests at heart. Maybe, when people start getting worried about the polity’s future, those novel characteristics that once seemed so appealing now seem threatening. So while there’s a general reason the establishment wants to take the patriotism question off the table — patriotism is unsophisticated, and so limiting — there’s also a specific reason, which is that it’s something Obama’s vulnerable on right now, and it’s something the establishment can’t afford to cast Obama loose on, for reasons internal to its coalition.

And finally at NBC, shorter Chuck Todd: How dare Rudy Giuliani treat Obama the same way everyone at MSNBC treated George W. Bush for eight years!

Related:

 

As Mark Halperin noted on the Today Show in 2012, “the media is very susceptible to doing what the Obama campaign wants.”

And how! Just ask Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin, as seen in the above tweet.

Just as a refresher, Halperin, in the midst of his earlier stint at Time magazine*, during a rare moment of clarity in November of 2013 when asked by an interviewer about “Death Panels” in Obamacare, responded unhesitatingly, “It’s built into the plan. It’s not like a guess or like a judgment. That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled.”

He’s now back to using schoolyard epithets against one possible GOP successor in the White House. Or as Mark Steyn writes in “O Beautiful, For Specious Guys…”

The US media have had a fit of the vapors over Rudy Giuliani’s suggestion that Barack Obama does not love America. As the Instapundit says, their reaction suggests that Giuliani hit a nerve. For my own part, I am way beyond that. By the way, I’m growing rather weary of the cheap comparisons of Obama with Neville Chamberlain. The British Prime Minister got the biggest issue of the day wrong. But no one ever doubted that he loved his country. That’s why, after his eviction from Downing Street, Churchill kept him on in his ministry as Lord President of the Council, and indeed made Chamberlain part of the five-man war cabinet and had him chair it during his frequent absences. When he died of cancer in October 1940, Churchill wept over his coffin.

So please don’t insult Neville Chamberlain by comparing him to Obama. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, because conspiracies are generally a comforting illusion: the real problem with Obama is that the citizens of the global superpower twice elected him to office. Yet one way to look at the current “leader of the free world” is this: If he were working for the other side, what exactly would he be doing differently?

That’s a question that everyone in the MSM should be asked.

After watching the brain of Dana Milbank of the Washington Post similarly explode like a character in Scanners, Jazz Shaw of Hot Air writes, “Milbank should at least be honest enough to wear a ‘Ready for Hillary’ t-shirt when he goes to work every day if this is how the upcoming election analysis is going to be handled.”

Well yes, hence the rather skewed ratio of stories lambasting a retired mayor’s remarks about a lame duck president versus the tiny amount of coverage of a front-running candidate’s funding “from questionable foreign governments and shady billionaires—something even Clinton’s defenders admit is a problem,” as Andrew Stiles writes at Hillary’s bête noire, the Washington Free Beacon.

At the start of the week, John Steele Gordon of Commentary wrote, “Republicans Should Declare War on the Mainstream Media:”

What should Boehner do? I think he, and every Republican, should do what George H.W. Bush did to Dan Rather as the 1988 presidential race was heating up: eat the mainstream media alive. They are the enemies of the Republican Party and should be treated as such. Stop trying to curry favor because you won’t get it. Bush laid a trap for Rather, insisting on the interview being live so it couldn’t end up on the cutting room floor. It totally flustered Rather, greatly energized Bush’s campaign, put the kibosh on his too-much-a-nice-guy image, and helped mightily to propel him to the White House. Make mainstream media bias the issue. Throw loaded questions and those premised on liberal assumptions back in their faces. Accuse them of bias when they are biased. Don’t be Mr. Nice Guy.

Why have the Republicans been such wimps when dealing with the media? The reason, I think, is that the Republicans were the minority party in this country from 1932 to 1994. The Democrats held the House for all but four of those 62 years and the Senate for all but ten of those years. In far too many ways, the Republicans still act as the minority party, begging for crumbs from the media. But they now hold more political offices, at both the federal and state levels, than at any time since the glory days of Calvin Coolidge. Instead they should, in dealing with the media, emulate Joan Crawford, at least as depicted by Faye Dunaway in Mommy Dearest, dealing with the board of Pepsi Cola (warning, she doesn’t use ladylike language).

After driving Halperin, Milbank, Ron Fournier and countless other Hillary apparatchiks into apoplexy, Rudy may have just hit on the poison pill to neutralize much of the MSM from within. Or at least have a “Hillary, Coordinate! Hillary, Coordinate!” pause while waiting for new programming from the Borg Queen, to mangle Star Trek metaphors.

Update: At the Pocket Full of Liberty Website, Jay Caruso sums it up: “In Obama [the media sees] themselves. What he wants to carry out is what they want and they are going to do what they can to make sure these last two years he gets to do just that, the consequences be damned.” Or to paraphrase Caruso’s headline, from the MSM’s perspective, when you attack Obama (or Hillary), you’re attacking us.

This was self-evident in 2008…

…But I’m honestly surprised to see the MSM not distance themselves a bit seven years later.

* Mea culpa: When I wrote the first draft of this post, I had forgotten that last year, Halperin jumped from Time to Bloomberg. Of course, we shouldn’t forget that a decade ago during his salad days at ABC, Halperin was more than a little susceptible himself to doing what the Kerry campaign wanted.

“The best thing Obama can seem to say about the country is that it elected him into office,” Jonah Goldberg writes in his latest G-File:

Look, it was like a week ago that we were talking about Obama’s inability to criticize the Islamic State without first going out of his way to flagellate the West and America over the Crusades, the Inquisition, slavery, and Jim Crow. Is it really so crazy to think a guy who feels compelled to warn his own countrymen not to get on their “high horse” about child rapists and slavers (who are also beheading and/or immolating and/or burying alive Americans, Christians, Yazidis, and fellow Muslims) might subscribe to an, um, unconventional form of patriotism?

* * * * * * *

More than any other president, Obama was raised with a detachedly critical view of America. He grew up abroad and in Hawaii, which is as close as you can get to growing-up abroad and still be in the United States. (Sorry, I love Hawaii, but it’s true.) At school he hung out mostly with the foreign-exchange students from Pakistan. “For years when Barack was around them, he seemed to share their attitudes as sophisticated outsiders who looked at politics from an international perspective,” David Maraniss writes in his biography of Obama. “He was one of them, in that sense.”

Byron York writes in his piece on the Maraniss book:

But Obama was ambitious. Appalled by the “dirty deeds” of “Reagan and his minions”* (as he wrote in “Dreams from My Father”), Obama became increasingly interested in, as Maraniss writes, “gaining power in order to change things.” He couldn’t do that as an international guy hanging around with his Pakistani friends; he needed to become an American.

So he did. One of those Pakistani friends, Beenu Mahmood, saw a major change in Obama. Mahmood calls Obama “the most deliberate person I ever met in terms of constructing his own identity,” according to Maraniss. The time after college, Mahmood says, “was an important period for him, first the shift from not international but American, number one, and then not white, but black.”

Mahmood, Maraniss writes, “could see Obama slowly but carefully distancing himself as a necessary step in establishing his political identity as an American.”

His early political years involved similar strategic positioning, from joining Jeremiah Wright’s Church to (according to David Axelrod) lying about his opposition to gay marriage. And it paid off. And when he finally burst on the national scene, he could use his detachment to his advantage. Indeed, his whole approach to politics has been, “People of Earth, stop your bickering. I’m Barack Obama and I’m here to help.” The slogan “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for” implies the building-up of a seething desire to make this country different than it is and throw off the dead weight of the past. Whenever he talks unapologetically about patriotism, it is invariably in the context of trying to get the country to rally around some new government endeavor (and, more importantly, himself).

Read the whole thing, which condenses a century of “Progressive” history down to a handful of easily-digestible paragraphs, and notes along the way, “culturally and psychologically, what endures is the pious progressive conviction that the government is better than the people it serves, at least when the right people are running it — and that the job of progressives is to bring the bitter clingers up to the government’s ideals, as best they can.”

Which, along with Mr. Obama’s own hatred of Reagan, makes this Reagan-Obama comparison by former AP man Ron Fournier such a non sequitur.  But then, as a obedient Democrat operative with a byline, Ron’s not above questioning the patriotism of those on the other side of the aisle himself.

On the other hand, we can say this about Mr. Obama:

And this response from the left is fun…

…When you consider the improbable career arc of the source. But then, as Moe Lane writes, “the Left isn’t screaming about this because they think that the charge is unfair. They’re screaming about this because they agree with the charge, but were unpleasantly surprised to see that we picked up on it, too. …Oops?” Oh and incidentally, note this little poke at Mr. Obama’s predecessor from the Obama White House:


You stay classy, young White House turks!

* Paging Ron Fournier to the red phone, please.

Nobody Buries the Lede Like the Politico

February 20th, 2015 - 8:39 pm

“[Debbie] Wasserman Schultz has a different sense of herself. According to people who spoke with her, when she sensed Obama was considering replacing her as chair in 2013, she began to line up supporters to suggest the move was both anti-woman and anti-Semitic.”

So the Politico reports that the Chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee was prepared to blackmail the President of the United States by declaring him being “both anti-woman and anti-Semitic.” If my math is right, this little nugget is buried 21 paragraphs into Politico’s article on her with the equally boring headline, “Senate bid could be solution for Wasserman Schultz,” to avoid it becoming as big a story as the long-retired mayor of New York calling Obama anti-American.

I realize that this is the Democrat party, where calling your intraparty opponent — and his or her voters — racist and/or sexist is a daily bloodsport. But it seems pretty astonishing when it comes from the party chairwoman. But then, as Moe Lane writes, also linking to the story of how DWS was willing to “change her position on medical marijuana if a major Florida donor recanted his withering criticism of her,” Debbie Wasserman Schultz “Taught the Left To Be Utter Cynics.”

Which is why, speaking of cynical, as a party service, the Politico helpfully BenSmiths the detail deep into its article on DWS.

Fox Butterfield, Is That You?

February 20th, 2015 - 3:59 pm

“Getting a gun legally in Europe may be hard, but terrorists have little trouble,” insists a Washington Post headline.

Fox Butterfield could not be reached to comment. As for the first half of that headline’s equation, Europe has pretty much forgotten everything from 1933 through 1945, haven’t they?