Archive for ‘Michelle Malkin’

July 29, 2009

‘He hasn’t gotten where his is today by being a racial opportunist, has he?’

So says NBC’s Matt Lauer to The Boss in the “Today Show” appearance in which, as Human Events says, Lauer “loses his cool”:

This is a good example of why I hate television news. Say what you will about the impact of the blogosphere on journalism, TV has been degrading our profession for decades.

Television is a totalitarian medium, which has trouble accommodating diversity of opinion in a Hayekian universe of facts, where not all facts support any one particular side of an argument. TV tends to takes one of three approaches to controversy:

  1. “That’s the way it is” — The Walter Cronkite Consensus, a phony moderation that may in some sense be “objective,” but is never really neutral. This is the TV version of the phony conventional wisdom that David Broder peddled for decades.
  2. Silencing dissent — The Left has, correctly, excoriated the Beltway press corps for failing to provide due-diligence examination of the arguments in favor of the Iraq invasion. Even ferociously partisan Republicans who were the most hawkish in 2002-03 must now admit that Americans didn’t get the whole story in the months leading up to the invasion. One of the reasons was that TV news did an excellent job of ignoring skeptics, not all of whom were International A.N.S.W.E.R.-type peacenik kooks. TV news tends to reduce arguments to exactly two sides, pro and con, and to exclude voices that don’t fit neatly into those categories.
  3. The “Crossfire” Syndrome — Speaking of Manichean dualism! Lauer evidently feels obligated to challenge and dispute an assertion with which he disagrees. He is not content to do what a good print-news interviewer always does in such a situation: Let the subject of the interview speak their piece, and then come back later to ask them about some particular fact that contradicts their viewpoint.

One of the oldest tricks in the book, as a newspaper reporter, is the give-’em-enough-rope interview method. You’ve got somebody caught dead to rights — the county commissioner who gave a no-bid contract to his brother-in-law, a fact clearly shown by documentary evidence — and yet the obligation of fairness requires that the crooked commissioner has the right to respond to the accusations against him.

No need to be adversarial in such a situation. In fact, the reporter in this scenario wants to present himself as sympathetic and open-minded: “Hey, what’s your side of the story?” You save your toughest question — your smoking-gun “gotcha” — for the end, because if the source gets all huffy and hostile then, you’ve already got a whole notebook full of quotes.

TV news, as a medium, doesn’t work that way. Everything is real-time and the clock rules. Lauer knows going in that he’s got exactly X-number of minutes with Malkin, and begins with the determination to control the interview for its entirety in a way that no print reporter ever does (or should).

There have been times I’ve talked to a source for an hour or more, and the entire news value of that interview was two sentences. Print news is patient in a way that live TV is not.

Much criticism of “the media” is actually a criticism of television, and of TV’s unexamined influence on other media. As a print reporter, it does not matter what my opinion is — especially in a place like Washington, D.C., which has now fewer than four daily newspapers.

So long as I’m reporting facts accurately, any imbalance can be counteracted by either (a) a follow-up story the next day, (b) the outraged letter-to-the-editor presenting “the other side,” or (c) competing coverage in another paper, reporting whatever it was I missed in my story.

TV news is not as easy as it looks — for a 2001 interview, I watched ABC’s Peter Jennings do a live studio anchor on George W. Bush’s first White House press conference, and was impressed — but it cannot be done well by people who are not conscious of its limitations and inherent biases as a medium.

Jennings took heat for bias — he was notoriously sympathetic to Israel’s enemies, which critics attributed to his having shagged every Arab hottie within reach back when he was a Mideast correspondent — but he nevertheless had a concern for professionalism that Lauer entirely lacks.

Believe it or not, Jennings took his critics seriously. Conscious of his own liberal views, he had a real curiosity about what made people see things differently.

Jennings and I stood in the snow on the sidewalk outside the ABC News Washington that day, taking a smoke break. (He kept a pack of Camel Lights in his desk, but said, “Don’t report this. My wife would kill me.”) And as we stood there, off-the-record, Jennings began to interview me.

Who was I? Where did I come from? How many kids did I have? How did I end up at The Washington Times? The man had a real desire to know, and that had a real impact on my perception of a guy whom I’d been prepared to discvoer was a blow-dried Ted Baxter stereotype. Biased or not, Jennings was a real reporter, a guy who took notes and paid attention.
In fact, my feature profile of Jennings was so positive that our editor-in-chief, Wes Pruden, felt the need to edit the story personally, and include a bit of snarky negativity that I considered most unfortunate. And, alas for poor Peter, it wasn’t Mrs. Jennings who killed him, but those Camel Lights.

Matt Lauer, quite frankly, is not fit to be called a “journalist” in the sense that Peter Jennings was. We can trace a descending arc in the quality of TV journalism, and Matt Lauer is not an apogee of that arc.

July 29, 2009

Oh, no! Save America from thedreaded ‘bipartisan consensus’!

Two of the scariest words in the English language:

An emerging consensus among a bipartisan group of senators is poised to shift the dynamic in the congressional debate over health-care reform and could lead to a final product . . .

Every Republican vote for such legislation is a nail in the coffin of the GOP. If your state has a Republican senator, you must tell them that if they vote in favor of this “deal” — in committee, in procedurals, in the final roll call — it is a deal-breaker, a betrayal of the Reagan legacy.

Michelle Malkin has details of a planned “Recess Rally” Aug. 22 to speak out against this “bipartisan consensus” monstrosity.

KILL THE BILL!

July 29, 2009

Glenn Beck Says: ‘Best. Book. Evah!’

Obviously, it takes a big man to admit that a mere “Asian woman” has written a better book than his own bestseller but . . . Glenn, have your people call my people, OK?

You know, I never did get around to exploring the question of why Allah hates me. When we were in Denver for the Apotheosis last summer, I asked Michelle, and she said she doesn’t know, either. Maybe it’s . . . wait a minute.

What’s this? MK Ham and Sully, sittin’ in a tree? . . . Errrr, errrr . . . .

July 28, 2009

America Agrees: Best. Book. Evah!

Professor Glenn Reynolds:

Not long ago, people were saying that right-leaning books didn’t sell. Now reader Gordy Dalman writes: “Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption is now #1 on Amazon. It’s good to see both Glenn Beck and Mark Levin in the Top 10 as well.”

OK, so even if those other guys didn’t give me a shout-out (see p. 291 of the Best. Book. Evah!) you should still go ahead and buy all three.

July 28, 2009

America’s biggest problem?Too many Orientals on TV!

Michelle Malkin gets hate-mail:

How do you, an Oriental, get on national TV and say and write such hard things about the President and several of his staff without being sued for slander?

Amazing, isn’t it? Complete non sequitur. Just out of the blue: “Hey, you’re Oriental!” Another classic:

I will be glad to have a debate with about your book, your vision, and you being an Asian who forgot where she is coming from.

Of course, they vary the ad hominem depending on who the enemy is: Rush Limbaugh is fat, Ann Coulter is a tranny, etc., etc. But it’s all just variations on a theme.

Anyway, Hot Air has video of Michelle’s appearance on the Hannity show to promote Culture of Corruption which — in addition to being documented with 75 pages of end notes — is also the Best. Book. Evah!

UPDATE: Notice the way Michelle’s critics manage to insinuate that she doesn’t know her place, that being a mere “Oriental” or “Asian” somehow renders her political arguments inoperative.

Does anyone ever send e-mails to Bill Moyers saying, “How can you, a Texan, get on national TV and say these things?” Or does Ed Schultz have to deal with people calling him a “German-American who forgot where he came from”?

On the one hand, conservatives are bashed for supposedly being “Racist! Sexist! Anti-Gay!” — a chant I heard in 2007 outside an George Washington University appearance by David Horowitz — but on the other hand, when confronted with conservatives who clearly don’t fit that profile, the Left feels obligated to make racial and sexual comments.

And they don’t do it merely as an insult, but seem to think that, in mentioning Michelle Malkin’s ethnicity, they have actually proved something!

July 27, 2009

‘The Legs of a Potential Scandal’

New York magazine’s Joe Hagan writes about the suspicions surrounding Goldman Sachs, insurance giant AIG, and last fall’s TARP bailout:

The AIG rescue is the incident from which all other Goldman conspiracy theories spring — the original sin, in a sense, of Goldman’s current public tarring. It’s the act that first made the average man on the street sit up and say, “Hey, wait a minute. The secretary of the Treasury [i.e. Henry Paulson], who used to be the Goldman CEO, just spent $85 billion to buy a failing insurance giant that happened to owe his former firm a lot of money. Does that smell right to you?” It also seems to have the legs of a potential scandal, with Neil Barofsky, the inspector general overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program, conducting an audit of the buyout.
Then again, if you’ve just posted $3.44 billion in second-quarter profits in an environment where, say, Morgan Stanley just reported a $1.26 billion loss, what does it matter what people say? . . .

Read the whole thing. These three facts — (a) Goldman has spectacularly profited, at a time of rising unemployment, foreclosures and bank failures, (b) Goldman was the primary beneficiary of the TARP bailout, and (c) Goldman’s former CEO was the driving force behind TARP — are hard to reconcile in any way that doesn’t raise the suspicion of corruption.

SIGTARP Barofsky’s investigations are clearly raising questions embarrassing to the people who backed the bailout.

BTW, a friend e-mails to say that Barofsky’s estimate of $23.7 trillion TARP liability is a number that “assumes The End of the World As We Know It, or Armageddon, in short.” The e-mailer adds:

The number is correct, but the vast majority of the dollars are called, precisely, “contingent liabilities.” They may, and they may NOT, become actual liabilities. [Bailout Nation author] Barry Ritholtz, who tends to be a lefty politically but a very hard-ass “numbers” guy pointed that out.
Yes, the bailout is unpopular and yes, it seems that Goldman Sachs has benefitted far beyond the laws of probability. Ritholtz agrees with that, too. And yes, CitiBank should be closed and sold for scrap.
But be careful with that $23T stuff.

The key part is, “The number is correct.” The likelihood that taxpayers will actually be required to fork over $23.7 trillion is remote, but it’s not a number that Barosky pulled out of a hat.

Oh, and speaking of scandal, Instpundit reminds us that today is the official publication date for Michelle Malkin’s Culture of Corruption: Obama And His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies. It’s the Best. Book. Evah! Today at her blog, Michelle looks at Obama crony Valerie Jarrett. This afternoon, Michelle will be on Sean Hannity’s radio show and his Fox News TV show.

So buy two copies and give one to a liberal friend, just to annoy him.

July 24, 2009

Best. Column. Evah!

Never underestimate the power of Rule 2:

Last week, I called the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to press [“science czar” John] Holdren on his views about forced abortions and mass sterilizations; his purported disavowal of Ecoscience, the 1977 book he co-authored with population control zealots Paul and Anne Ehrlich; and his continued embrace of forced-abortion advocate and eugenics guru Harrison Brown, whom he credits with inspiring him to become a scientist.
After investigative bloggers and this column reprinted extensive excerpts from Ecoscience, which mused openly about putting sterilants in the water supply to make women infertile and engineering society by taking away babies from undesirables and subjecting them to government-mandated abortions, the White House issued a statement from Holdren last week denying he embraced those proposals. The Ehrlichs challenged critics to read their and Holdren’s more recent research and works. . . .
In 2007, he addressed the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. Holdren served as AAAS president; the organization posted his full slide presentation on its website.
In the opening slide, Holdren admitted that his “preoccupation” with apocalyptic matters such as “the rates at which people breed” was a lifelong obsession spurred by scientist Harrison Brown’s work. . . .

Read the whole thing. This is a healthy competition among columnists that should be encouraged. Ann Coulter and Mark Steyn have linked me from their sites in the past, but they ain’t been linking me lately. Despite the lack of recent linkage, however, Ann Coulter’s take on the “health care crisis” is brilliant:

Insurance plans that force everyone in the plan to pay for everyone else’s Viagra and anti-anxiety pills are already completely unfair to people who rarely go to the doctor. It’s like being forced to share gas bills with a long-haul trucker or a restaurant bill with Michael Moore. On the other hand, it’s a great deal for any lonely hypochondriacs in the plan.

Read the whole thing, because she’s exactly right. I hate going to the doctor. I hate taking medicine. If my aortic valve blows out tomorrow, don’t mourn this as “tragic” or “senseless.” Such a mercifully sudden departure from this vale of tears would to me be infinitely preferable to the ordeal of filing out an insurance form and spending 15 minutes in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, to say nothing of idling around a drugstore while I wait for the pharmacist to fill my prescription.

Think about this: The percentage of your life spent leafing through a three-week-old copy of Newsweek in a doctor’s waiting room — is that really “life” at all? We’re all gonna die some day, but some of us actually try to live first. And that otherwise healthy idiot who chooses to waste his life shuttling back and forth between MRI screenings, cardiac stress tests, colonoscopy appointments and the Rite Aid prescription counter isn’t practicing “preventive medicine.” He’s just running up the bill at someone else’s expense, like when I go to a Reason happy hour and tell the bartender to put everything on Matt Welch’s tab.

Have you ever known one of those “lonely hypochondriacs” of whom Coulter speaks? Talk about your persuasive arguments for euthanasia! Feeble neurasthenics who run to the doctor every time they get an ache or pain should be sent directly to the Soylent Green factory.

Honestly, I knew America was doomed when they announced that Medicare would pay for Viagra. Oh, just great: The Federal Bureau of Boners.

Patriots died of frostbite at Valley Forge so that we could tax nurses to pay for their geriatric patients to get aroused. Ask the staff at the “retirement center” about the septuagenarian whose idea of a joke is to take his little blue pill and hit the nurse-call button.

Nurse: “Is there a problem?”
Patient: (Exposing himself) “Yes, ma’am, I had this sudden swelling . . .”

But why bring John McCain into this? My point was that health care is not a right, no matter what Ted Kennedy says. “Health care as a right, not a privilege,” says Ted. (Mary Jo Kopechne could not be reached for comment.)

My real point, however, is this: Ann Coulter should link me more often. But did I really need to say that?

UPDATE: Speaking of The Rules, how about ObamaCare bashing from a sexy redhead in her underwear? Say what you will about Rule 5, if sexy chicks can save us from socialized medicine . . . well, it’s a sacrifice we’ll have to make. Freedom is never free!

July 23, 2009

Michelle Malkin coming to Pittsburgh –and everybody important will be there!

Mark your calendar, folks: The author of the Best Book Evah! is going to be in Pittsburgh Aug. 14-15 for the RightOnline National Conference at the Sheraton Station Square Hotel.

Americans For Prosperity has invited everybody who’s important in the conservative blogosphere: Erick Erickson of RedState.com, Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com, Matt Lewis of AOL’s Political Machine, and Ronald Kessler of Newsmax.com.

Most importantly, they’ve invited you! So go there and sign up now!

Y’all have fun. I wasn’t invited. Like I said, “everybody who’s important in the conservative blogosphere.”

No, my feelings aren’t hurt. I’m chopped liver, and chopped liver doesn’t have feelings. But why does Americans For Prosperity hate me so much? What did I ever do to Erik Telford to deserve this purposeful snub?

Never mind. It’s all my fault, I’m sure. Blame me.

UPDATE: Dave C wants me to remind you that, even though I’m chopped liver to Erik Telford and AFP, the Virginia Tea Party Patriots love me, and I’ll be in Richmond on Saturday for their Liberty 101 Conference. Thanks, Dave. It’s nice to know that not everybody hates me.

July 22, 2009

ObamaCare: Health Rationing for Americans, Not for Illegal Aliens

Michelle Malkin’s new column:

Big Nanny Democrats want to ration health care for everyone in America — except those who break our immigration laws. Last week, the House Ways and Means Committee defeated an amendment that would have prevented illegal aliens from using the so-called “public health insurance option.” Every Democrat on the panel voted against the measure. . . .
At a time when Democratic leaders are pushing rationed care in a world of limited resources, Americans might wonder where the call for shared sacrifice is from illegal immigrant patients like those in Los Angeles getting free liver and kidney transplants at UCLA Medical Center. “I’m just mad,” illegal alien Jose Lopez told the Los Angeles Times last year after receiving two taxpayer-subsidized liver transplants while impatiently awaiting approval for state health insurance.
Now, multiply that sense of entitlement by 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants. Welcome to the open-borders Obamacare nightmare.

Read the whole thing. And let me remind you that Michelle Malkin is author of the new blockbuster Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies, also known as Best. Book. Evah! (With apologies to any of my friends who forgot to thank me for “invaluable writerly advice” in their books.)

July 22, 2009

The Mother of All IG-Gate Updates

On the Internet, stuff gets scattered around so that you never see it all in one place. Today’s IG-Gate Update at the Hot Air Green Room pushes the story forward:

Behind closed doors on Capitol Hill last week, I asked a Republican source about the investigative efforts of Democratic staffers for the House Oversight Committee.
“Honestly?” the source said. “They’re useless.”
More than three weeks have passed since Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) joined the committee’s ranking Republican, California Rep. Darrell Issa, to launch an investigation into the case of former Amtrak inspector general Fred Wiederhold Jr. . . .
Despite the “grave concerns” expressed by Towns and Issa three weeks ago, however, Republican sources on Capitol Hill have complained that Democratic staffers on the Oversight Committee have not shown much zeal for the investigation. Sources say Democratic staffers have skipped meetings and conference calls to which they were invited by GOP investigators, who are attempting to work with Grassley’s staff in order to prevent unnecessary duplication of efforts. Sharing documents and scheduling interviews with witnesses, allowing Republican and Democratic investigators from both chambers an opportunity to question these witnesses, is a demanding logistical task. And GOP staffers complain that this task seems to be lacking in terms of bipartisanship. . . .

Read the whole thing, because toward the end, I make this point:

This is a huge story, involving multiple investigations, and 1,200 words here don’t even begin to summarize the 1,400 words there [at The American Spectator on Monday], to say nothing of the 400 words I did last night about the SIGTARP report.

Like I said, read the whole thing, and follow the links, because this is one big sprawling mother of a story. The best I can do in any single chunk is to bring in new facts, new quotes, new angles, and link to as much other the other stuff as possible. (That Green Room article includes more than 25 links, including the link to the Spectator article, which has more than a dozen links.)

If you’ll go to Bob Belvedere’s WWU-AM and scroll down, he’s got a huge IG-Gate link dump with my reporting, Byron York’s reporting, columns by Michelle Malkin, reports from ABC News, the Washington Post, etc. There’s a lot of stuff out there, in other words, and you need to see it all if you want to try to understand this thing.

“Try,” I say, because I don’t even claim to understand it all yet. My sources talk about things and sometimes I can tell they’re trying to drop me a hint of something they want me to write about, e.g., “Who Is Eleanor Acheson?” It’s important to ask the right questions, as one of my sources said.

On the one hand, there is the temptation to focus on one aspect of the story — the Washington Times keeps calling this “WalpinGate,” which is too narrow — but on the other hand, you’ve got to be careful not to waste time playing “connect-the-dots” with things that might not really be connected. Yes, there’s a pattern, but that doesn’t mean there’s a conspiracy.

Still, as I predicted on June 18 — right after Michelle Malkin’s first column on the Walpin case slapped me upside the head — this story isn’t going away anytime soon. June 18 was the same day IG Fred Wiederhold delivered his report to the Amtrak board and suddenly retired, and also the same day Chuck Grassley made public his letter about the International Trade Commission IG, Judith Gwynne.

So barely a week after Walpin got his June 10 quit-or-be-fired ultimatum from White House lawyer Norm Eisen, there were two other IG cases. Then we have the case of the watchdog who’s still hanging tough, SIGTARP, Neil Barofsky. The bailout watchdog showed yesterday how much trouble he can cause, and it’s therefore no mystery why Treasury’s giving Barofsky a hard time. (My money’s still on Barofsky as the IG most likely to get a Cabinet secretary sent to federal prison.)

IG-Gate is a big mother, you see. Because I’m on deadline for a print magazine article, there’s no time for me to do a complete aggregation now, but here are the major IG-Gate articles I’ve done so far:

Each of those items is chock-full of links to other items. As you can see, just six weeks into this story, there’s a lot of stuff out there — and, no doubt, a lot more to come. Just keep hitting the tip jar.

One of these days, I plan to hit the American Spectator with the mother of all expense reimbursement requests — “$800 for fireworks?” “Promotional activity. Perfectly legitimate, Al.” — but in the meantime, Daddy needs a new pair of shoes.

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers! Just in case you’re wondering why Professor Reynolds loves this story so much, I once again remind you to read the whole thing. The professor’s drooling at the prospect of The Mother of All Chris Dodd Updates.

Meanwhile, be sure to check out the IG-Gate Rule 3 memo, which offers more tasty watchdog morsels.