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Archive for December 21st, 2009

Warts and All

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:48 am by HL

Warts and All

By Mike Luckovich

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Art Brodsky: Good Ol’ Boys Want Donna Edwards’ Job Back

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:47 am by HL

Art Brodsky: Good Ol’ Boys Want Donna Edwards’ Job Back
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), a true progressive and community activist took out then-Rep. Albert Wynn, an eight-term incumbent who had become a model of the very modern corporate Democrat.

Michael B. Laskoff: The Obama Doctrine: Pen, Sword and Soap Box
For some people, the assent of the Obama Doctrine will be uncomfortable: it’s designed for a world rendered in shades of gray, not the black and white of easy demagoguery. Nevertheless, subtle should not be confused with weak.

Health Care Bill Clears Senate Test In 1:00 A.M. Vote
WASHINGTON (AP) — Landmark health care legislation backed by President Barack Obama has passed its sternest Senate test, overcoming Republican delaying tactics on a 60-40…


Politico ‘s claim that Special Report “offers a straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines” undermined by its history of misinforming

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:46 am by HL

Politico ‘s claim that Special Report “offers a straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines” undermined by its history of misinforming

A December 18 Politico article stated that Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier “offers a straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines every night.” But Special Report’s history of misleading or incomplete information undermines Politico’s characterization of a “straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines.”

Politico: Special Report “offers a straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines every night”

From the December 18 Politico article:

Fox News is having a banner year in the ratings, but critics say it’s because the network has turned away from journalism and turned to advocacy, with its high-profile trio of conservative commentators: Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. The White House recently took on Fox News as well, saying the network was a “wing of the Republican Party.”

When Fox News takes on its critics — and it does, defending its status as an objective news outlet — the network points to anchors Shepard Smith and Baier, a former White House correspondent whose program offers a straight-ahead reading of the day’s headlines every night.

Sandwiched between Beck at 5 p.m. and “The Fox Report With Shepard Smith” at 7 p.m., Baier’s “Special Report” offers an in-depth look at political news designed to appeal to Fox News’s viewership. Hume, who handpicked Baier as his successor, still regularly appears as a senior political analyst.

“Special Report” includes the Political Grapevine, a two-minute segment plugging political tidbits and Beltway gossip. The program is based on correspondent-driven live reports from Washington and ends with a roundtable discussion from a balanced panel of journalists. Baier is winning high ratings and high marks for his handling of the show.

But Special Report contains numerous instances of reporting that is not “straight-ahead”

Baier not only advances misinformation, he provides a platform for Fox News correspondents to do so as well. Among the recent examples of misinformation aired by Special Report documented by Media Matters for America:

  • On October 19, Baier misleadingly cropped then-White House communications director Anita Dunn’s remarks at a high school graduation ceremony to falsely claim that she said Mao Zedong was, in Baier’s words, “one of her two favorite political philosophers.” In fact, Dunn actually said that Mao and Mother Teresa were “the two people that I turn to most to basically deliver a simple point, which is, you’re going to make choices.”
  • On December 8, Baier cited a misleading Washington Times article to report that “five firms” for which White House Office for Health Reform director Nancy-Ann DeParle had previously worked “were accused of things such as overcharging Medicare and failing to warn patients of the dangers of their products,” omitting mitigating information undermining the claim. In fact, of the companies The Washington Times cited as having legal issues, two apparently do not involve formal allegations of wrongdoing and in one, all of the activities resulting in legal action occurred prior to DeParle’s tenure with the company.
  • On December 1, Baier reported on the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of the Senate health care bill’s effect on insurance premiums and stated that “depending on how you read” the report, insurance “premiums for many people will actually go up” under the bill. But CBO estimated that premiums would only increase for individuals purchasing insurance on their own — only about 17 percent of the insurance market in 2016 — and that affordability credits would substantially lower costs for many of those individuals, a majority of whom would receive those subsidies through the exchanges.
  • On November 2, Baier reported solely on criticism of reported plans to allow Guantánamo Bay detainees access to H1N1 vaccines, with Baier adding, “Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are very unhappy that detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility will get the H1N1 vaccine before many Americans. ” Baier did not note that military personnel will be vaccinated before detainees, that vaccinating detainees can help protect military personnel and their families, or that conservatives have repeatedly in the past touted the health care benefits given to detainees in order to defend the controversial detention center.
  • On November 20, Baier falsely claimed that recently released cervical cancer screening guidelines were promulgated by a “federal panel,” adding that those guidelines “open the door to this conversation about rationing.” In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which announced those recommendations, is a private membership organization, not a “federal panel.”
  • On December 8, correspondent James Rosen advanced the dubious claim that “climate-gate” revealed that “some leading proponents of global warming […] destroyed” raw temperature data. In fact, according to the scientists, the raw data is still available at the meteorological services where they obtained it and Climate Research Unit director Phil Jones said the CRU simply did not keep copies for “less than 5 percent of its original station data” in its database because those “stations had several discontinuities or were affected by urbanization trends.”
  • On November 19, correspondent Carl Cameron cited the CBO to claim that the Senate health care bill would increase federal health care spending over 10 years and that, in the decade after 2014, “the cost nearly triples to well over 2 trillion.” But Cameron ignored CBO’s conclusions that the bill would reduce federal deficits in both of the next two decades and that in the second decade, the bill would not increase net federal health care spending.
  • On November 10, Cameron provided a platform for “prominent Democratic centrist and former Louisiana senator” John Breaux to urge Democrats to embrace less comprehensive health care reform without informing viewers that Breaux is a lobbyist for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).


RNC-er On Ally Who Allegedly Used Voter List To Stalk Woman: ‘We Can Do What We Want With The List’

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:45 am by HL

RNC-er On Ally Who Allegedly Used Voter List To Stalk Woman: ‘We Can Do What We Want With The List’
An RNC official is backing off his original response to news that an ally has been charged with using a voter registration database to stalk a woman: “We can do what we want with the list, quite frankly.”

Maddow Picks Up Chamber Story, Defends Hooters’ Honor (VIDEO)
Last night Rachel Maddow picked up TPMmuckraker’s reporting on the Chamber of Commerce anti-health reform effort involving what Maddow calls an “American family dining chain that’s famous for its wings.” That would be Hooters….

Orly Taitz Fires Opening Salvo In Appeal Of Never-Ending Birther Case
In Part CCXXIV of our ongoing series, Orly Taitz’s epic Birther lawsuit has now shifted to an appeal of a federal judge’s decision to fine Taitz $20,000 for frivolous filings.


It’s Her Party Now…

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:41 am by HL

It’s Her Party Now…


Democratic Senator Accuses GOP of Playing to "Ardent Supporters" in "Right-Wing Militia" and "Aryan Support Groups"

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:40 am by HL

Democratic Senator Accuses GOP of Playing to "Ardent Supporters" in "Right-Wing Militia" and "Aryan Support Groups"
In his Senate floor speech on the health-care bill, the Rhode Island senator accused the GOP of fomenting the kind of paranoia that led to Kristallnacht and lynchings.

In his Senate floor speech on the health-care bill, the Rhode Island senator accused the GOP of fomenting the kind of paranoia that led to Kristallnacht and lynchings.

Too Late: Obama Organizers Finally Rail Against Obama on Health Care
From dissatisfied Obama campaign staffers to fed-up SEIU members, many are unhappy with Obama on health care reform. At last.

From dissatisfied Obama campaign staffers to fed-up SEIU members, many are unhappy with Obama on health care reform. At last.

Sexy Mormons, the Joy of Vibrators and Sticking it to Puritans: 10 of Liz Langley’s Best Pieces
Sex and relationships writer Liz Langley wrote some of the sexiest — and smartest — stories about the politics and culture of sex this year.

Sex and relationships writer Liz Langley wrote some of the sexiest — and smartest — stories about the politics and culture of sex this year.

Stunning Statistics About the War in Afghanistan Every American Should Know
Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. actually has 189,000 personnel on the ground in Afghanistan right now — and that number is quickly rising.

Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. actually has 189,000 personnel on the ground in Afghanistan right now — and that number is quickly rising.


Frank Rich: Tiger Woods Symbolizes America’s Downfall

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:39 am by HL

Frank Rich: Tiger Woods Symbolizes America’s Downfall
This is definitely worth a read. My favorite columnist, Frank Rich thinks that Tiger Woods, more than anyone, is the real person of the year. Why? Because, writes Rich, he’s a fraud, although a benign one (unless you are his…



Tiger WoodsUnited StatesFrank RichNew York TimesWall Street

Help Pass the Best Health Reform Bill, But Pass the Bill – and Keep Fighting for More Reform.
Here’s my position. In these final days of the health care fight, progressives should work hard to improve the health reform bill in the Senate and in the conference with the (better) House bill. But we should support the…



Health careHouseUnited States SenateHealthSenate

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Contracting cost cuts on target, OMB says

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:35 am by HL

Contracting cost cuts on target, OMB says
Federal agencies are almost halfway toward reaching a two-year goal set by President Obama this year, with plans to save roughly $19 billion in government contracting costs during the fiscal year that began in October, according to an Office of Management and Budget report set for release Monday.

Fed’s approach to regulation left banks exposed to crisis
Foreclosures already pocked Chicago’s poorer neighborhoods but the downtown still was booming as the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago convened its annual conference in May 2007.

The political world’s winners and losers in health-care reform
With all 60 Senate Democrats (finally) lined up behind the health-care bill, the legislation looks likely to be approved by the world’s greatest deliberative body by Christmas Eve.



Tora Bora: Blunder on the Mountain

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on December 21st, 2009 5:31 am by HL

Tora Bora: Blunder on the Mountain
Maureen Dowd, New York Times
Flying over the waves of snow-covered mountains that make Afghanistan a natural fortress and a sinkhole for empires, it’s impossible not to think of Osama’s escaping from Tora Bora as one of the greatest bungled opportunities in history. Maureen Dowd Unlike the Bushies, who tried to play down Osama’s importance the longer he was on the lam, Gen. Stanley McChrystal acknowledged in recent Congressional hearings that “he is an iconic figure.” “It would not defeat Al Qaeda to have him captured or killed,” he said,…

We Need an ‘Earth Race’ Strategy
Thomas Friedman, New York Times
Copenhagen Thomas L. Friedman I’ve long believed there are two basic strategies for dealing with climate change — the “Earth Day” strategy and the “Earth Race” strategy. This Copenhagen climate summit was based on the Earth Day strategy. It was not very impressive. This conference produced a series of limited, conditional, messy compromises, which it is not at all clear will get us any closer to mitigating climate change at the speed and scale we need.Indeed, anyone who watched the chaotic way this conference was…

Ahmadinejad’s Giggle and Obama’s Cool
Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic
I am as worldly as the next dreamer, but the scales fell from my eyes, the same ones that keep finding their way back to my eyes, when I opened The New Yorker a few weeks ago and found, in a portfolio of “portraits of power,” Mussolini’s full-page face piggishly staring at me in chicly lurid detail, the very emblem of brutality made aesthetically acceptable. And when I turned the page there was Franco, in full generalissimo kit gazing coldly forward, every hair on his heartless mustache uncannily vivid in a miracle of photographic verisimilitude. Is nobody any…

What Copenhagen Exposed
David Warren, Ottawa Citizen