Archive for April 16th, 2009

April 16, 2009

The World’s Worst TV Reporter

(BUMPED; UPDATES BELOW.)

Via Michelle Malkin and Hot Air.

Ace of Spades offers some important biographical info on CNN’s Susan Roesgen. NTTAWWT.

UPDATE: Linked at Memeorandum and Red State, and Vodka Pundit suggests “that vacuous Anderson Cooper guy” is worse than Roesgen. I’m sorry, but when you send a reporter to cover a protest, and the reporter launches into a political argument with one of the protesters — on live TV — that’s a new nadir of shameless bias.

UPDATE II: Let’s take a moment to talk about bias and protests. Journalists are human beings and all human beings have opinions. When a journalist is assigned to report on an event, this is different than offering to comment on an event.

I am one of a very few people in the news business who thinks that a journalist can do both — reporting and commentary — without impairing his precious “objectivity,” because I agree with the late Hunter S. Thompson that a lot of what passes for “objective journalism” is bullshit. The key to Thompson’s “gonzo journalism” was that he was honest with himself, and with his readers, about what he was doing.

The reason so many Americans hate the news media is because so many supposedly “objective” journalists are transparently dishonest in what they’re doing. Media bias is therefore not about a lack of objectivity (no one is strictly objective) but rather about a lack of honesty.

I’ve been involved in protests as a citizen, I’ve covered protests as a reporter, and I’ve shared my opinion of protests as a commentator. When people complain about bias in reporting, what they’re talking about is news coverage that pretends to be objective — neutral, balanced, neither condemning nor endorsing — but really isn’t. Bias takes many forms. One form of bias I observed in coverage an anti-globalization protest in 2000:

Something about the protests in Washington against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund that didn’t get much press was the Commies.
I say they “didn’t get much press,” but in fact, the presence of the Communist Party USA at the anti-IMF rally didn’t get any press at all — except for a couple of paragraphs in The Washington Times, courtesy of yours truly. . . .
Finally arriving at the Ellipse, I am immediately set upon by guys hawking the Socialist Worker newspaper for 50 cents. This was why the media silence about the heavy Red presence at A16 was so puzzling to me. No one could enter the Ellipse without walking past three or four of these Socialist Worker vendors and yet I was the only journalist who thought this worth reporting.
Once you got past the Socialist Workers, there were still more entrepreneurial leftists, hawking the Worker’s Vanguard. Then there was the guy selling yellow “Mumia Must Live” buttons for a buck each. Yeah, save the cop-killer, $1. . . .
The place was positively brimming with rage against corporate capitalism, from T-shirts (“Mean Corporations Suck”) to handmade signs (“Corporate Press Is Not Free”). At the International Socialist Organization table, you could get a nice blue-and-white sign reading, “Workers of the World Unite and Fight.” Another group distributed red T-shirts lettered in black: “Abolish the World Bank! End the IMF! Dissolve the WTO! Socialist Party USA.”

Only a blatantly biased and dishonest reporter, profoundly sympathetic to the objectives of the anti-IMF demonstrators, could have failed to report the massive socialist/communist presence at that protest. And all of the other reporters did exactly that: They ignored it.

These lying liberal journalists obviously knew that the Ordinary American despises socialism and communism. To ignore the socialists and communists at the anti-IMF protests was, therefore, to conceal from the reader very significant information that might have caused the reader to say, “Ah! A bunch of Bolsheviks engaged in their usual demonization of capitalism! Bring back the Smith Act!”

Now, consider in this light Jane Hamsher’s vehement insistence that the Tea Party protests are illegitimate because of the involvement of FreedomWorks, Fox News, et cetera. And consider how the Tea Party protests were covered (or not covered) by the MSM. The same JournoList media that ignored the anti-IMF commies has revealed — by their editorial decisions vis-a-vis the Tea Party movement — that they are no more neutral and objective than Jane Hamsher.

The dishonesty is what rankles. I have far more respect for Jane Hamsher than I have for the editors of The Washington Post or the New York Times. Jane may be a crazy Bolsehvik, but she is at least reasonably honest about it.

UPDATE III: Welcome RealClearPolitics readers! Please feel free to hit the tip jar, or perhaps I should ask you to report to Gunnery Sgt. Hartman.

UPDATE IV: Thanks to Michael Palmer of the Tuscaloosa News:

Alas, the Tea Party organizers in Tuscaloosa didn’t have “Mack the Knife” on the karaoke track, so I had to sing a capella. More good stuff at the Hot Air Green Room.

UPDATE V: Alabama Republican leader Shana Kluck has more “Sweet Tea” updates at The Liberty Papers, and Michelle Malkin has delicious video of James Wolcott, that paragon of pretentious journalistic mediocrity.

April 16, 2009

Still a joke, for now, I think

by Smitty

Interesting News Items announces:

The Department of Homeland Security has identified the Salvation Army as a right wing extremist organization.

Please, Lord, let this remain more humorous than factual.

April 16, 2009

Your Tea Party Flamebait of the Day

by Smitty

Mostly worthy of ignoring, though you have to laugh at this:

Where Ayn Rand and Curtis LeMay meet, there is the Tea Party. Where in that orgy of morally-sanctioned greed and jackboot diplomacy is there room for Sunday afternoon dinner? The Tea Party would be right wing, but not conservative.

Curtis LeMay? Bwahahahaha. Refusing to bow to thuggery is “morally-sanctioned greed and jackboot diplomacy”. The Tea Parties have been focused almost exclusively on the domestic larcenypolicy of the current Congress/Administration. Remember the good old days when those two branches of government actually checked each other? Got what we deserved at the ballot box, though.

Realizing that the Tea Party would strip the GOP of some of its worst elements, I badly want it to exist. And not just to exist, but to thrive. Of course, lacking a clear religious component, Christianists would by and large remain where they are, further strenghtening the forces of theoconservatism within the Republican fold.

Christianists? Speak that word in an infinite loop and tell me how many repetitions it takes to mean something, Philip.

You can’t win, can you?

Win? You think your game somehow more than a comedy routine?

Finally, a scenario, and questions:
Against all odds, the Tea Party explodes onto the stage of American politics. While largely rejected in areas like New England and the Pacific Northwest, it manages to establish significant national presence.

Finally? It did.

In the 2010 midterms, it grabs a few dozen seats in the House and even two or three in the Senate. A number of Republicans defect. A few Democrats also join. Poised to make further gains in the next election, who does run for POTUS in 2012 under the banner of the Tea Party?

At what point will you realize that it’s anything but a cult of personality? Do read the Constitution, Philip: what the country needs less of is

  • egotistical swine in office,
  • centralization, and
  • velvet handcuffs (entitlements) that claim to help, while doing the opposite in the long run.

How does that candidate change the election? How does the Tea Party alter our socio-political discourse? Is it ultimately a force for good or for bad?

The candidate does it by serving up the ideas and refusing the personality cult status afforded some in the current day. The Tea Party does not, itself, seek to “alter our socio-political discourse” in some ideology-driven manner. Rather, it returns the overflowing river of government to its Constitutional banks, so that we are not flooded by authoritarian creeps.

“Show your work.”

Oh, like you’re some kind of judge? The proposition “The Tea Party has done sufficient work” is non-falsifiable: there will always be a clown (or worse) who will raise this or that objection. It’s too faith-driven; its demographic points to “racism”; it’s driven by corporate puppetmasters. When you’ve got a truly ideologically-driven media, these accusations will be thrown out repeatedly, without support, and left to attempt a run at “truthiness”.
Stay beautiful, Philip.

April 16, 2009

‘Bama Tea: How Big Is Huge?

How big was the crowd in Hoover, Alabama, for Wednesday’s Tea Party event? Huge. Massive. Ginormous.

I spoke at 5:15 p.m.in Tuscaloosa — Roll, Tide! — and afterward was briefly interviewed by Kelly Munts, a student journalist for the Crimson and White:

Robert Stacy McCain was among those speakers. McCain mentioned his own transition to being conservative after being raised ‘a yellow dog Democrat.’ He advised audience members to get organized in order to be as effective as possible in their reaching their goals. After the speech, McCain mentioned the perspective that he took in addressing the group.
“It was a huge crowd, they got quiet at one point and I think they might’ve been taking me a little too seriously,” McCain said. “I was trying to be upbeat, positive and humorous because you get the most done when you’re having a good time.”

That interview was conducted while walking across the Quad to Stephen Gordon’s Jeep, because I was due at the Hoover event at 6:30 p.m. The statute of limitations hasn’t expired, so I’m not going to say how fast Gordo drove via I-20, I-459 and I-59, but we were a red blur until we got off the exit at Hoover.

A total traffic jam locked up Valleydale Road.. I kept telling Gordo that this was the crowd for the rally, and he kept doubting me. “Nah, it must be an accident up ahead.” But as usual, I was right. Several of the cars we passed — and I’m not going to say that we drove illegally in a left-turn-only lane — had people with American flags and Tea Party protest signs.

When we finally arrived at the event (via a shortcut) the parking lot was full, and as I raced toward the stage, throngs of people were still streaming into the rally, which had already been going for 45 minutes. Famous Alabama radio personalities Rick and Bubba were doing a live TV remote with Sean Hannity. Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James spoke; leading Republican observers in the state say he’s the man to watch for 2010.

Next up was Birmingham talk-radio host Lee Davis, who did a James Brown hardest-working-man-in-show-business performance. By this time, I’d found my Samoan lawyer buddy Bert, who lives in Birmingham and joined me backstage. The lady came to tell me I was next up after Davis — a tough act to follow.

But hey, I’m Mack the Knife. I killed. I told ’em how my buddy Stephen Gordon broke the story about the DHS report about “right-wing extremists,” and then:

Since I work in Washington, I contacted my source at the Department of Homeland Security and asked him what I should be on the lookout for. And I’ve got my notes from that interview with me. You might be a right-wing extremist if . . .
. . . you refuse to bow to Saudi royalty.
. . . you think the only good pirate is a dead pirate.
. . . you don’t think it’s a good idea for politicians in Washington to borrow another trillion dollars you grandchildren will have to repay.
. . . you think you know how to run your life better than a bunch of ‘experts’ in Washington.
. . . you believe in God, but don’t think that Obama is the Messiah.
. . . you believe the only reason you have First Amendment Rights is because of your Second Amendment rights.

That may not seem too funny just reading it on a blog, but the magic was in the delivery. It went over very well with a big fired-up crowd. Alabama people are the finest people on the planet.

After the rally, went to the Five Points Grill for a celebratory dinner with friends, where various right-wing conspiracies political plans were discussed. Between Gordo and his buddies, I’m pretty sure they’ve got the whole dang state locked up for the foreseeable future.

April 16, 2009

Bill Press: I Thumb My Nose At You

by Smitty (h/t LMA)

You don’t think it’s genuine.
You question the timing.
Your brown lipstick is completely unbecoming.

April 16, 2009

OMG, How Can You Shoot…

by Smitty (hat collection: Power Line, USNI blog)

Q: OMG, how can you shoot the Somali “voluntary coast guard” when they’ve hardly any way on?

A: Easy. You don’t lead them so much. Ain’t war hell?

April 16, 2009

Moving to Montana Soon…

by Smitty (h/t: Volokh)

From the blogosphereic equivalent of Perry Mason, we hear:

Montana’s staunchly pro-Second Amendment Governor, Democrat Brian Schweitzer, has signed Montana HB 246, the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The bill declares that a firearm which is manufactured in Montana, and never leaves the State of Montana, “is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of congress to regulate interstate commerce. It is declared by the legislature that those items have not traveled in interstate commerce.”

…gonna be a dental floss tycoon:

April 16, 2009

The Enterprising Paco at Lafayette Park

by Smitty

The Track-A-‘Crat and I were so fashionable as to nearly miss the whole Tea Party event in Lafayette Park. My plan of scheduling the Spring air conditioning groom for 15Apr as a fig leaf for cutting out of work was too effective. The lateness of the technicians and the fact that the compressor is Tango Uniform nearly made me miss the party entirely. We did get there in time to chat up a couple of people and then hear the police whistles shooing every one out of the park, as the demonstration permit had apparently expired (but see Moe Lane below).

The politely violent right wing extremists shuffled riotously off in an agreeable way, in a modestly brutal quest for warm beverages, whipped into a carefully disorganized froth by those non-existent, Machiavellian corporate organizers.

In spite of the rain, it was better attended than the February outing at the end of CPAC. One looks forward 04Jul, when you figure the next celebration of the Community Organizer in Chief will occur.

There was a silver blog lining in all the clouds: His Paco-ness was more squared away than I, and has posted a fine report. Thanks, Paco!

And here is Moe Lane. Apparently, there was a box of teabags thrown over the White House fence, triggering the ejection from the park. Videos here.

Also, The Political Castaway was present.

Update: Alan Colmes is about as sunny as the weather. Can’t someone find him a dry Snuggie?

Update II: Pundit and Pundette add to the picture fray.