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In Case It Wasn’t Already Obvious, Mistah Kurtz Shows Yet Again He Hews Rightward

8:34 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Howard Kurtz

Howard Kurtz

It’s been common knowledge for years that the Washington Post, the House the Graham and Bradlee Built, has long since descended into neocon cesspittery with the rise of Fred Hiatt and the exile of Dan Froomkin. What’s not quite common knowledge is how it got there.

The rot began with the slow demise of DC’s other longtime daily paper, the Washington Star, in the 1970s. The Star, which at the time was considerably more conservative than the Post, had a number of persons who would find themselves looking for new jobs at other papers as their old jobs and old paper faded away. Among those that wound up at the Post or Newsweek, its sister publication: Fred Hiatt, Michael Isikoff, and Howard Kurtz. My comments are focused on the last of these named gentlemen.

Mistah Kurtz spent his time at the Post aiding Hiatt in shoving the paper towards the right end of the spectrum, and away from the journalistic excellence upheld by Katherine Graham. Kurtz is now working for CNN, but the husband of longtime conservative Republican operative Sheri Annis is still out there trying to shove those Overton Windows rightward, as in this recent piece where he mocks Obama and Gore for pointing out the power wielded by Kurtz’ friends in the right-wing media.

Tell ya what, Howie: Name me three factually-challenged dirty tricks by right-wing spewmeister James O’Keefe III that you and your colleagues DIDN’T latch onto and amplify. Just three.

Heck, we won’t even look into the archconservative garbage spewed by your good friend Rush Limbaugh, who you’ve spent the past decade trying to paint as normal and “mainstream”.

Face it, Mistah Kurtz: You’re the modern version of William Safire, except you’re nowhere near as polished.

Photo by David Shankbone under Creative Commons License

Media, Conservatives Try to Hide Their Roles in Promoting Hate-Filled Climate

1:17 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Courtesy of Talking Points Memo.

(Crossposted from Renaissance Post.)

Yesterday afternoon, at a press conference to discuss the Tucson, Arizona shooting of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and over a dozen others — a political hit that has so far resulted in six deaths, a nine-year-old girl’s among them — Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik was quite clear on who he thought was to blame in egging on a mentally imbalanced suspect with ties to the right-wing racist hate group American Renaissance. From FDL’s Jane Hamsher’s liveblogging of Sheriff Dupnik’s news conference:

Says Giffords was the target, and that there were 2 incidents occurred in a “very vitriolic” campaign. Someone in an “angry audience” dropped a weapon out of their pants. Another incident where windows were broken out of her office. At her office at Swan and Pima right now, suspicious package being investigated.

The 22 year old suspect does have a criminal past. Says this is how “unbalanced people respond to vitriol coming out about ripping down the government. Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.” Believes people who are unbalanced especially, like the suspect, are extremely susceptible to vitriol.

Interestingly enough, there has been an effort by the media organs that have served as enablers of the peddlers of vitriol to minimize, if not outright conceal, their roles in spreading it. One method is to simply pretend that Sheriff Dupnik — a man who, as an Arizona law enforcement officer, has been a first-hand witness to the effects of this media-promoted vitriol — didn’t say what he said. This method is the one used by Carl Hulse and Kate Zernike of the New York Times, who in this story on the shootings scrubs out Sheriff Dupnik’s comments on media-enabled vitriol helping to make Arizona the capital and Mecca of prejudice and bigotry as assiduously as various right-wingers such as Sarah Palin and Giffords’ Republican opponent Jesse Kelly have been scrubbing their websites of crosshairs and other implied threats directed at Representative Giffords. Meanwhile, Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander is ordering the press to stop talking about Palin and the Stalinesque “Commissar Vanishes” removal of this inflammatory material from right-wing websites; knowing how the corporate media usually leaps to fulfill the requests of their GOP allies, I suspect this will happen very shortly.

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Fox and Breitbart Employ the Stratton Defense

6:36 am in banality of evil, Media by Phoenix Woman

Fox News spreading race-baiting garbage is old (and all too often ignored) news. So is their spreading Breitbart disinformation. So is their getting caught at it. So, unfortunately, is people reacting to the original smears without waiting to see if or when they’re debunked. But what’s new now, in the latest big-time Fox-promoted, Breitbart-originated conservative disinformation scandal, the smearing of Shirley Sherrod, is that one of the defenses Fox and Breitbart’s people are deploying sounds a lot like something out of the 1970s comedy Animal House. That’s right, gang, it’s the Stratton Defense — "You f—ed up! You trusted us!"

Honestly, check this out from Breitbart’s blog (h/t Mediaite and Pensito Review):

BIG GOVERNMENT BLOGGER: If this story is true, and there is no reason to doubt her, it shows the extent that Breitbart, Fox,and the Tea Party have gotten under the skin of the White House. Rather then to think it through they overreacted and forced Sherrod to pull over on the side of the road and resign without telling her side of the story.

And here’s the Fox version thereof, courtesy of Media Matters:

Doocy on Sherrod: "What
was the big hurry for them to condemn her in the first place?"
On the July 21 edition of Fox & Friends, Dana Perino and Steve
Doocy falsely

asserted that, in Perino’s words, "before the news even broke, she had
resigned." Perino then stated that "everyone’s nerves are raw and exposed on
these racial questions, and I think we should all look before we leap." Doocy
then stated: "What was the big hurry for them to condemn her in the first place?
I don’t get it, because the totality of what she said was out there."

Rosen: "Did the White House
essentially railroad an innocent woman in this?"
On the July
20 edition of Fox News’ Happening Now, James Rosen reported that
the additional context from Sherrod’s speech "appeared to corroborate" her
statement that she was telling the story of "how she came to see beyond race,"
and then asked: "Did the White House essentially railroad an innocent woman in
this because they are on edge themselves because of the Van Jones controversy,
the Black Panthers Party case, and other controversies?

Yes, the NAACP, the USDA and the White House shouldn’t have been so quick to jump when Fox and Breitbart told them to. But one mustn’t forget who told them to jump in the first place.

A Congresscritter’s Retiring! But He’s Republican, So the GOP/Media Complex Doesn’t Care

5:19 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Even though more Republican officeholders are retiring or running for other offices than are Democratic ones, the GOP/Media Complex only focuses on the Democrats. Gotta defend the "Democrats in Disarray" narrative at all costs, y’know.

The latest case in point: Indiana’s Steve Buyer, retiring days after his Frontier Foundation was embroiled in financial scandal. The only way I knew about this was because somebody forwarded the story to me. Meanwhile, Democrats who retire or decide to try for other offices are seen as proof of — of — well, of something that somehow indicates they’re not very well off, and this is trumpeted throughout a very GOP-friendly media.

Oh, well.

While The Legacy Media Republicans Babbled about Bowing, Obama Rescued Copenhagen from the Dumpster

10:31 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

While the GOP/Media clowns were babbling about bowing, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao were hammering out a climate-change deal in advance of the great Copenhagen climate summit.

Because of this deal, President Obama is now able to go to Copenhagen with the following good news:

The news that President Obama will seek a emissions target at global talks in Copenhagen has animated a once-moribund meeting and given hope to environmentalists that something tangible can come from them.

The emissions target is expected to correspond to numbers that have been discussed on Capitol Hill, namely a reduction of 17 to 20% below 2005 emissions levels by the year 2020.

This is a direct result of the meeting with China’s Hu Jintao and was expected by those news outlets that were actually paying attention instead of freaking out over bows. As I mentioned last week, both the US and China have now agreed to stop playing climate-change chicken.

And it’s not just China that’s agreed to join the US in working to curb emissions. Obama has met with the leaders of India as well, and got commitments from them on this.

This may be the most significant news of the last decade.

[UPDATE: And no, it's not too late. The economic downturn has bought us an extra 21 months in which to retool our economies to lower emissions. That's 21 extra months for China to retool the older, grossly inefficient and polluting steel factories it has idled because of the downturn. That's 21 extra months for India to do similar upgrades to its factories. That's 21 extra months for the US to do the same thing with its factories. Considering that these three nations account for 56% of the world's CO2 emissions, that's not a small thing.]

(Crossposted at Mercury Rising.)

Good News from Beijing, But It Won’t Be on Your TV

1:00 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Did you hear about the climate-change agreement President Obama just made with his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao? The one that the noted magazine Scientific American just touted as "More Important than Copenhagen"?

Unless you read SciAm on a regular basis, you probably didn’t. And that’s not your fault. The places where most Americans get most of their news — drive-time radio and the evening TV news — haven’t mentioned it.

Nor are they likely to mention another salient fact: That the Kyoto agreement, the one to which most other major industrialized nations subscribe (we didn’t because Bush wouldn’t, and China didn’t because we didn’t), is working quite well and cutting emissions right on schedule — and without hurting the economies of the signatories:

And note what hasn’t happened: the economies of the Kyoto signatory countries haven’t been hobbled by soaring energy prices. The trading mechanism hasn’t been fatally compromised by market manipulators. Industry hasn’t fled en masse to countries like China that lack binding emissions limits.

We can do better than Kyoto, and ultimately any effort to combat climate change will only be successful if it encompasses all the major emitting countries, including China, India, and Brazil. But the message from Europe’s experience couldn’t be simpler: cap-and-trade works.

Well, now that the US and China are finally ending their game of climate-change chicken, it looks like we will soon be able to do better than Kyoto. And a friendly and ongoing relationship with the nation that, along with us, is responsible for the lion’s share of the world’s current emissions is key to making this happen.

Pity to see all of this flushed down the GOP/Media Complex’s memory hole so they can yammer about the best way to greet foreign heads of state.

[UPDATE: Watch as Jane Hamsher goes toe-to-toe with John McCormack of Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard about the effectiveness of Obama's Asian trip.]

GOP/Media Complex Blows Smoke In RE: Obama and Poland and Russia

6:49 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

All Friday afternoon, NPR, CBS, and the rest of the Traditional Media were busy pretending that OMG OMG THAT DAMN BLACK GUY OBAMA JUST GAVE POLAND TO RUSSIA!!! Quotes from various Polish political figures were trotted out as evidence that the Poles hate both the decision and Obama and the US now forever and ever and ever, Amen.

Which is why this Polish opinion poll hasn’t got much US media play outside of Attackerman and The Politico. Here’s my cleaned-up version of the Google Polish-to-English translation thereof:

The GfK Polonia survey for [the Polish publication] "Rom" shows that although the Poles are divided on the missile program, its opponents have a considerable advantage. 48 percent think it’s a good thing for Poland, whereas only 31 percent consider this decision as bad.

As many as 58 percent of respondents believed that the lack of U.S. missiles did not affect the level of Polish security.

Of course, it helps that Russia has immediately responded to Obama’s decision by cancelling its plan to deploy missiles near Poland — thus making Poland safer than before — but that’s another thing you won’t be hearing on NPR or CBS or anywhere else in the TradMed this weekend.

Will the Media Do to Teddy What They Did to Paul (and Didn’t Do to Strom)?

9:50 am in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

People are discussing how to best honor the late great Teddy Kennedy, and the first thought that comes to mind is to do what he would have wanted us to do — which is to memorialize him by getting meaningful health care reform passed and made into law. Ah, but while that is the decent thing to do, it’s not allowed for Democrats.

Remember the ginned-up real-time media outrage over five minutes of remarks during Paul Wellstone’s Williams Arena memorial event in 2002? Remember how that fake outrage over the "partisan" nature of Rick Kahn’s remarks was used to elect Norm Coleman to Wellstone’s seat?

Remember also when, a few short weeks later when Strom Thurmond had his 100th birthday party, the media did NOT stage a real-time freakout over partisanship when Thurmond’s birthday party (and looming resignation from the Senate) was not only turned into a GOP campaign ad, but into praise for Thurmond’s deeply racist career?It was only dirty nasty bloggers like Atrios who spoke out at first about Trent Lott’s lavish praise of Thurmond’s 1948 racist Dixiecrat challenge to Harry Truman — and it took several days of shouting on their parts to get the GOP/Media Complex interested.

Finally, the same Villagers who were so heatedly critical of the (non-racist) Wellstone service deigned to notice what Lott had said and done concerning Thurmond — and then only because Karl Rove had decided to use the opportunity to punish Lott, not for being a racist, but for acting as if the Senate GOP Caucus was allowed to act independently of the Rove/Cheney/Bush White House. Hell, Lott’s ‘punishment’ didn’t even last that long. By 2006, he’d got the minority whip position and his little moment of disgrace had been all but excised from the mainstream media accounts of the time. Meanwhile, the same "Eeeek! How partisan!" screechings made against the Wellstone memorial were being made yet again by the media goons in the wake of Coretta Scott King’s funeral.

Always remember, folks, whatever you’re planning on doing: It’s OK — but only if you’re Republican.

UPDATE: Sure enough, the Cons are already partisanly warming up their "Eeeeek Democrats are so PARTISAN" engines. Told ya.

Republico Dishes UP RNC Talking Points, This Time on Health Care Reform

1:35 pm in Uncategorized by Phoenix Woman

Want to know the latest RNC talking points, but don’t feel like listening to Lou "Birther" Dobbs, Rush "Birther" Limbaugh, or Glenn "Really Birther" Beck? Go to, where the smears have the coarse and overtly racist language stripped from them before they see print (or rather, pixels). There are plenty of examples to choose from, but this post is going to confine itself to taking apart just one, Glenn Thrush’s opus "5 Things to Watch During Recess".

Thrush’s First Thing: "When your product is hard to sell — and health care reform has proven to be the Edsel in the White House showroom — it’s not a bad idea to single out a bad guy, and fast." Thrush links to a prior Politico piece to back up his "Edsel" claim. What neither his piece nor the earlier piece mentions is that one of the two polls cited in the earlier story, the July 29 CBS/New York Times poll, shows that Americans trust Obama to come up with a good health care plan far, far more than they trust the Republicans on health care: 55% trust Obama, compared to a measly 26% level of trust for Congressional Republicans.
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