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Archive for August 3rd, 2009

Corporate Parents Agreed to Censor Olbermann and O’Reilly

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:48 am by HL

Corporate Parents Agreed to Censor Olbermann and O’Reilly

Keith Olbermann

It’s no secret that Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly don’t get along, but the two TV personalities have drastically scaled back their attacks on one another ever since a private meeting between GE and News Corp. CEOs determined the feud was bad for the bottom line.

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Mark Goulston, M.D.: Gates, Crowley, Biden and Obama: A Teachable Moment?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:47 am by HL

Mark Goulston, M.D.: Gates, Crowley, Biden and Obama: A Teachable Moment?
“When the student is ready, the teacher appears” – Chinese proverb Teachable moment at the beer summit in the White House Rose Garden? I’m not…

Gates: Crowley And I May Go To Red Sox Game
CHILMARK, Mass. — Black Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Sunday joked about his arrest by a white police officer, but also described receiving…

Frank Dwyer: Political Haiku: Cash for Clunkers
Please give poor Cindy McCain the bonus so she can get a new one….

Alan Rosenblatt: A Simple Idea to Help Open the Government
The solution: create permanent, date stamped URLs for each paragraph of a federal document posted online. It would make it easy to track changes to documents like bills and regulations.

Robert Creamer: August Offensive to Define Health Care Debate: Insurance Companies in the Bull’s Eye
A potentially decisive battle to define this year’s health care debate – and the Obama Presidency – will take place in town hall meetings, little…


CNN’s Kurtz, CNN president at odds over whether Dobbs is in “straight newscast” business

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:46 am by HL

CNN’s Kurtz, CNN president at odds over whether Dobbs is in “straight newscast” business

On CNN’s Reliable Sources, host and media critic Howard Kurtz said that he doesn’t “think there’s any question that [CNN host Lou] Dobbs is in the opinion business.” Yet the Associated Press reported in an August 1 article that Kurtz’s boss, CNN President Jonathan Klein, said, in the AP’s words, that “Dobbs has been doing a relatively straight newscast,” and quoted Klein stating that Dobbs “brings more than three decades of experience reporting and broadcasting the news.”

From the August 2 edition of Reliable Sources:

KURTZ: Leave aside the question of somebody being banished from the airwaves. The Associated Press yesterday said that Lou Dobbs has become a publicity nightmare for CNN. Brooks Jackson, a former correspondent of this network, says he’s an embarrassment. He says he’s just raising the questions. But when you raise the questions in the face of what the CNN network itself says is a settled question — in other words, there is really no dispute, no factual dispute that Obama is a citizen — don’t you therefore raise questions about yourself?

MICHEL MARTIN (NPR host): Well, there are other remedies here. If CNN wants to continue to use him as a commentator per se, then that seems reasonable to me. Newspapers have op-ed pages and opinion pages. The difficulty, then, is reporters appear on his program, they’re required to answer his questions, he’s put in the power position of being a host. He interviews people and so forth. So the difficulty here is you’re blurring the lines for all the other people who work on this network. That’s the problem.

KURTZ: I don’t think there’s any question that Dobbs is in the opinion business, and he was criticized for his position on the birthers by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Lou then took a shot back at Rachel.

CNN president Klein reportedly says Dobbs doing “relatively straight newscast”

AP reported that Klein says Dobbs does a “smart newscast” and “relatively straight newscast.” The Associated Press reported in an August 1 article that “Klein said Dobbs does a smart newscast that explores issues that get little in-depth attention elsewhere.” The AP further reported that since Klein and Dobbs met after last year’s election, “Dobbs has been doing a relatively straight newscast, Klein said. ‘He brings more than three decades of experience reporting and broadcasting the news,’ Klein said, ‘and that’s very valuable to a news network.'” From the AP article:

Klein said Dobbs does a smart newscast that explores issues that get little in-depth attention elsewhere, such as trade with China, health care funding and the stimulus plan. He suggested Dobbs’ CNN work is unfairly lumped in with his unrelated radio show, and that he’s judged on the show he did a couple of years ago, when Dobbs became a political target for his campaigning against illegal immigration.

The two men sat down after last year’s election to make changes, aware that the anti-immigrant Dobbs’ image ran counter to the brand CNN was trying to create. CNN calls itself the network of unbiased reporting compared to conservative commentators on Fox and liberal ones at MSNBC.

Since then, Dobbs has been doing a relatively straight newscast, Klein said.

“He brings more than three decades of experience reporting and broadcasting the news,” Klein said, “and that’s very valuable to a news network.”

Despite “opinion” contradiction, Kurtz again declines to criticize CNN boss

Kurtz ignores Klein. While discussing Dobbs on the August 2 Reliable Sources, Kurtz did not mention Klein, much less Klein’s role in enabling and defending Dobbs.

Kurtz noted AP article on Dobbs, but not Klein’s reported comments in that article. Kurtz noted the AP article, stating: “The Associated Press yesterday said that Lou Dobbs has become a publicity nightmare for CNN. Brooks Jackson, a former correspondent of this network, says he’s an embarrassment.” Kurtz did not mention the AP’s reporting of Klein’s statement that, in the AP’s words, Dobbs has been doing a “relatively straight newscast” nor attempt to reconcile Klein’s reported comments about Dobbs with his own.

Kurtz has repeatedly avoided criticizing his CNN boss. As Media Matters for America senior fellow Jamison Foser has noted, Kurtz has given “Klein a complete pass. … He has remained completely silent about Klein’s endorsement of Dobbs, even as Klein misrepresents Dobbs’ reporting in order to defend him.”

From the August 2 edition of CNN’s Reliable Sources:

KURTZ: I mentioned at the top Lou Dobbs and the controversy over the birthers. These are the people who, against all available evidence, insist or question whether or not Barack Obama was born in the United States. In fact, he was born in Hawaii in 1961. Let me show you a little bit of what Dobbs has been saying on this issue, and he got some unexpected support from Fox from Bill O’Reilly, who was disagreeing with a guest about whether or not Dobbs should be kicked off CNN. Let’s watch.

[begin video clip]

DOBBS: A lot of questions remaining, and seemingly the questions won’t go away, because they haven’t been dealt with, it seems possible, to — straightforwardly and quickly.

RICHARD COHEN (Southern Poverty Law Center president): CNN ought to do something about it.

O’REILLY: I still disagree with you calling for his head. Look, I don’t mind you coming out and saying you disagree with him, that it’s totally absurd, it’s wrong to exploit it, he’s playing upon fears, there might be a racial component, although I don’t think Lou Dobbs is a racist at all.

[end video clip]

KURTZ: Dobbs says he personally believes Obama is an American citizen. But he has people on the show, and he continues to raise questions about why doesn’t the White House just clear this up. Is that a responsible position to say, “Oh, lingering questions remain about whether Barack Obama is truly an American”?

AMANDA CARPENTER (Washington Times reporter): I think it’s almost too clever by half. And when I was thinking about the coverage of this story, I was trying to think, why is this being talked about now? Because this is something that’s been on the Internet, you know, we’ve been getting e-mails about forever. And I sort of trace it back to the Republicans that are sponsoring a bill to require future presidents to produce documentation of their citizenship —

KURTZ: Which is clearly a shot at Obama.

CARPTENTER: Yeah. That started in March, but then it got 10 more co-sponsors recently, and I think people are using that as a reason to cover it across the networks. And I think that’s wrong.

MARTIN: But that just makes me uncomfortable, the idea that someone should be kicked off the air for covering a particular story. Because we all cover stories — I mean, I cover some stories perhaps on my program — perhaps some stories with more depth and more duration than others, because I think they’re of particular interest to my audience, and they make some people uncomfortable, so it does makes me uncomfortable, the idea that somebody should be penalized for covering a story.

KURTZ: Leave aside the question of somebody being banished from the airwaves. The Associated Press yesterday said that Lou Dobbs has become a publicity nightmare for CNN. Brooks Jackson, a former correspondent of this network, says he’s an embarrassment. He says he’s just raising the questions. But when you raise the questions in the face of what the CNN network itself says is a settled question — in other words, there is really no dispute, no factual dispute that Obama is a citizen — don’t you therefore raise questions about yourself?

MARTIN: Well, there are other remedies here. If CNN wants to continue to use him as a commentator per se, then that seems reasonable to me. Newspapers have op-ed pages and opinion pages. The difficulty, then, is reporters appear on his program, they’re required to answer his questions, he’s put in the power position of being a host. He interviews people and so forth. So the difficulty here is you’re blurring the lines for all the other people who work on this network. That’s the problem.

DOBBS: I don’t think there’s any question that Dobbs is in the opinion business, and he was criticized for his position on the birthers by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. Lou then took a shot back at Rachel. Let’s show you that.

MADDOW : Today on his radio show, CNN host Lou Dobbs called me a “teabagging queen,” because I made fun of him on this show for helping into the mainstream the off-the-deep-end wingnut racist conspiracy theory that Barack Obama is secretly foreign and therefore secretly not really president. A “teabagging queen”? What kind of queen would that be, exactly?

MICHELLE COTTLE (New Republic editor): You know, I’d like to ask, what in the heck was he talking about, anyway? A teabagging queen? I mean, what does that mean?

CARPTENTER: Well, she’s the one that introduced that term into the mediasphere when she was making fun of the tea party protesters. That started on her show, and so he slammed it back against her, and now she’s offended. Maybe I hope she understands why now the tea party protesters were offended when she said that.

COTTLE: But she’s not — I understand —

KURTZ: But the average person —

COTTLE: — we’re just calling names at this point. It has nothing to do with what she’s done —

KURTZ: I was about to say, the average person must be watching this — must be watching this and saying, this is like a high school spitball fight.

[crosstalk]

COTTLE: Well, you know, O’Reilly — O’Reilly and Keith Olbermann, you know, would go at each other like this. I mean, this is not the first time this has happened. You know, cable news hosts decide that they need a nemesis, and it actually kind of jacks up their ratings if you can have somebody on the other side to get your followers fired up about being ticked off —

MARTIN: This is like a hip-hop beef, you know, where they sell records by beefing on each other.

COTTLE: You know, that’s exactly it.


Emails Show Cozy Ties Between Federal Pension Guarantor And Wall Street Firms He Hired

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:45 am by HL

Emails Show Cozy Ties Between Federal Pension Guarantor And Wall Street Firms He Hired
Remember our old friend Charles Millard? He’s the former Lehman investment banker who, after taking over the federal agency that guarantees our pension systems, had the genius idea to ignore a host of warnings and switch the agency’s investment portfolio…

Emails Show Rove’s Role In U.S. Attorney Firings
Karl Rove did his second and final day of testimony before Congress about his role in the U.S. attorney firings today. And we’re getting more confirmation that that role was more extensive than he’s yet let on. The Washington Post…





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GOP: Death By Wingnut

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:41 am by HL

GOP: Death By Wingnut


Fed Provides Back Door Support to Banks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:40 am by HL

Fed Provides Back Door Support to Banks
“Wall Street banks are reaping outsized profits by trading with the Federal Reserve, raising questions about whether the central bank is driving hard enough bargains in its dealings with private sector counterparties,” the Financial Times reports.

“The resulting profits represent a relatively hidden form of support for banks, and Wall Street has geared up to take advantage.”

Said on former Treasury official: “Everyone games them. Their transparency hurts them. Everyone picks their pocket.”


Why Can’t We Have a Smart Conversation About Race?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:39 am by HL

Why Can’t We Have a Smart Conversation About Race?

We live in an allegedly "colorblind" society, making it even harder to have a truly productive discourse about race.

Why Can’t We Have a Smart Conversation About Race?

We live in an allegedly "colorblind" society, making it even harder to have a truly productive discourse about race.

Finally the Feds Crack Down on Right-Wing Terrorists

Government agents arrest a white separatist accused of a bombing. What took them so long?

Time to End the Cold War: Why I’m Defying my Government and Visiting Cuba

The cold war is long dead, yet the United States still enforces a relic of that cold war with an economic embargo against Cuba.


Roger Cohen: Only Israeli Bombs Can Save Iranian Regime

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:38 am by HL

Roger Cohen: Only Israeli Bombs Can Save Iranian Regime
Roger Cohen, the New York Times columnist, is, in my opinion, the best mainstream media columnist on matters Middle Eastern. I’ve watched him grow in his position. A few years ago, he struck me as conventional in his thinking and…






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What (Else) Makes New Orleans Unique
Cheryl and everyone else here write (I assume) with that strange, deep, irrational love for New Orleans. I sure have it. Being back down here for one whole day has already supplied me with a dozen reasons why, most…


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The Ones That Got Away
Once upon a time, TPMCafe collected the best reader posts of the week and put them together in an easily digestible round-up. Today, we’re reviving that age-old tradition. For people who like beer — and beer puns — this was…


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Lou Dobbs a ?publicity nightmare? for CNN.

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:37 am by HL

Lou Dobbs a ?publicity nightmare? for CNN.
The AP reports that Lou Dobbs has “become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network’s ‘no bias’ brand. And on top of all that, his ratings are slipping.” Dobbs, who has given favorable coverage to the “birther” conspiracy, is forcing CNN President Jon […]

loudobbs1The AP reports that Lou Dobbs has “become a publicity nightmare for CNN, embarrassed his boss and hosted a show that seemed to contradict the network’s ‘no bias’ brand. And on top of all that, his ratings are slipping.” Dobbs, who has given favorable coverage to the “birther” conspiracy, is forcing CNN President Jon Klein to offer untenable defenses of his conduct:

Klein said Dobbs does a smart newscast that explores issues that get little in-depth attention elsewhere, such as trade with China, health care funding and the stimulus plan. He suggested Dobbs’ CNN work is unfairly lumped in with his unrelated radio show, and that he’s judged on the show he did a couple of years ago, when Dobbs became a political target for his campaigning against illegal immigration.

Media Matters notes that Dobbs’ “smart newscast” is a regular fount of misinformation. Moreover, Klein’s claim that Dobbs’ radio show is “unrelated” to his TV show is false. Media Matters also reports that Dobbs frequently promotes his CNN show and hosts his CNN colleagues on his radio show.


Economic Messengers Perform on a Tightrope

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on August 3rd, 2009 4:36 am by HL

Economic Messengers Perform on a Tightrope
Amid signs that the economy is stabilizing, President Obama and his aides are moving to take credit for the gains.

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Adapted from the book “The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election”

Democrats Find Rallying Points on Health Reform, but Splinters Remain
Democrats leave town for the August recess with frayed nerves and fragile agreements on health-care reform, and a new bogeyman to fire up their constituents: the insurance industry.