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Couric Rewarded for Political Result of Palin Interview

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 9:38 pm - April 8, 2009.
Filed under: Media Bias,PDS (Palin Derangement Syndrome)

[Please note that I revised this piece after first publishing.  I added no new information, merely improved the flow.  I had first written it in haste before rushing off to my Seder, then upon returning from that festive meal, read it through and found it choppy, so did my best to correct that.]

Last October, commenting on the media bias against the then-Republican Vice Presidential nominee Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich offered that “to the best of [his] knowledge there has been a single question by an elite television journalist about [the Governor’s] actual career in Alaska.”

The media spent more time investigating her daughter’s indiscretions than her actual record in office.  Indeed, when she interviewed the Alaska Governor, CBS News Anchor Katie Couric did not ask Palin about her accomplishments.  Not about what the policies she had promoted or enacted, the budget she had administered or the corruption she had rooted out.

You’d think a woman might want to know how another woman brought down three corrupt male politicians, all in her own party.  But, Couric showed no interest in how this hockey mom had faced down and brought down some of the most powerful men in her state.

Instead of faulting Couric for this oversight, a journalism school is honoring her.  A week from today, the University of Southern California’s “Annenberg School for Communication will be presenting CBS ‘Evening News’ anchor Katie Couric with the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Journalism:

. . .  what makes this situation so particularly galling is the specific reason why Couric is being honored for her “excellence in journalism.”  Couric is being presented with the award for “Special Achievement for National Impact on the 2008 Campaign.”

What was it that Couric did that was so “special”? The judges singled her out solely for “her extraordinary, persistent and detailed multi-part interviews with Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.”

Singled out for posing numerous gotcha questions and editing the tape to the candidate’s disadvantage?  Singled out for one series of interviews with one particular candidate?!?! The judges failed to mention Couric’s interview with Joe Biden when that hapless Democrat showed he was clueless about the Great Depression.  But, no one paid any attention to Biden’s embarrassing answer.

I guess this panel determined excellence in journalism involved reporting in a manner which embarrasses a Republican.  It goes unnoticed when you embarrass a Democrat.

John Ziegler, who, in reporting the story of this award, provides numerous links which put Palin’s statements in the Couric interview in context.  So dissecting Couric’s “agenda-driven” reporting, he concluded:

It is obvious that Couric is being rewarded for the political result of her interview “the shooting down of a conservative superstar just in time to save the Obama campaign. It’s not about the “journalism’ at all. But even that truth is not the most outrageous aspect of this absurdity. What’s even more absurd is that not only shouldn’t Couric be getting rewarded for her Palin interview, if we lived in a world where journalistic standards still mattered at all, she would have been roundly condemned for it.

Indeed, she would. Instead of condemnation, she has earned praise.  Not a happy sign for the state of journalism today, but at least we have one more piece of evidence to prove our point about the bias of mainstream journalism.

An Explanation of Althouse Derangement Syndrome

[Revised to correct numerous typos and improve the flow.]

I have long been fascinated by the contempt certain left-wing bloggers hold for Ann Althouse.  As I noted in a previous post, she’s “kind of like the South Park of blogging. . ., directing her snark at pretty much anything she finds amusing” regardless of politician affiliation.  She’s basically an equal opportunity riffer.

You wouldn’t think she’d earn the ire of any particular partisans.

Indeed, given the enthusiasm of left-of-center bloggers had for Barack Obama in last fall’s campaign, you’d think they’d love Althouse.  Having backed Bush in 2004, she came out for Obama last year, voting for him in the Wisconsin primary, one of the most decisive contests of the Democratic campaign.  Her support for their man helped give him added credibility, an example of his appeal to moderate Bush voters.

Not just that, she’s had kind things to say for a number of conservatives, even offered occasional praise for Sarah Palin.  They could use her to show how broad-minded people, having seen the strengths on both sides, prefer Obama.

But, maybe they just couldn’t stand her because sometimes she refrained from riffing Republicans and denounced Democrats instead. Her occasional praise of Republicans really got under their skins.  Her support for Obama was not absolute.   She did not see him as a messiah, but merely the better of the two candidates (in each of two contests, for the Democratic nomination and later the White House.)  And she’s aware of the President’s imperfections, criticizing him from time to time.

I think that’s part of the reason those bloggers can’t stand her; she’s only a lukewarm supporter of Obama and not a rabid critic of his opponents.

I believe, however, the real reason the mere mention of her name whips those bloggers into paroxysms of anger and invective is that right-of-center bloggers love her even though we often disagree with her.


On Palin’s Decision not to Run for Senate in 2010

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:26 pm - April 8, 2009.
Filed under: 2010 Elections,Sarah Palin,Strong Women

Chalk one post off the list.

Among the many posts I had planned was one encouraging the Alaska Governor not to challenge her fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski for the latter’s Senate seat (as some on the right have hoped and some in the media have speculated). Not only would it divide the party, but it would make it increasingly difficult for that accomplished executive to maintain her outsider status in GOP circles.

Part of Sarah Palin’s appeal is that she is not part of the Washington establishment.

This good woman will increase her standing as a future contender for national office by completing two successful terms as Chief Executive of the Last Frontier.  And if her next five-and-one-half years in office are like her first two-and-one-half, she’ll easily achieve this goal.

There’s no need any need for me to make that case in a blog post because Palin has made clear she’s backing Murkowski’s reelection campaign, planning to hold a fundraiser for the state’s senior senator after the state’s legislative session ends later this month. On Tuesday, Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said said that the Governor “thinks the senator is doing a great job and that’s why she’s looking forward to hosting a fundraiser for her.

On Biden’s Gaffes

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 4:10 pm - April 8, 2009.
Filed under: Biden Watch,Media Bias

While thinking about Joe Biden in contemplating my previous post, it struck me how hard the MSM tries to portray the Vice President in a positive light. They give short shrift to his past gaffes and errors of judgment. The former Delaware Senator has made gaffes that were he a Republican would have earned him the opprobrium of the chattering classes. He has been wrong about nearly every foreign policy issue in his 36-year Senate tenure.

Recall, this is the guy who told Katie Couric, “When the stock market crashed, Franklin D. Roosevelt got on the television and didn’t just talk about the, you know, the princes of greed. He said, ‘Look, here’s what happened.’

At least when Sarah Palin was talking to the same news anchor, she admitted what she didn’t know (and got into trouble for that).  By contrast, Biden showed that he was clueless about U.S. history and the record of the most celebrated president of his party.

If the MSM devoted one-third the time to investigating Biden’s public statements as they did to reporting the private life of Sarah Palin’s family, they’d have ten times the material.

Cheney’s Inappropriate Criticism

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 3:30 pm - April 8, 2009.
Filed under: American History,National Politics

It should be no secret to readers of this blog that I am a huge fan of of the immediate past Vice President of the United States. Not only was Richard Cheney The Most Pro-Gay Vice President in U.S. History, but he was also a steady advocate throughout his tenure in the Executive Branch and in Congress of a strong national defense.

Without getting to the substance of his criticisms of the current Administration (which, for the record, I believe to be sound), I believe it entirely inappropriate for a Vice President (or anyone with a prominent position in the previous Administration) so soon after leaving his office to criticize the succeeding Administration. He should take a page from the man who tapped him as his running mate and choose silence when asked to comment on the current Administration.

I believe history would relieve Cheney of the harsh judgment the media has conferred upon him and he will go down as one of the better American Vice Presidents.  But, he doesn’t do his legacy any good by criticizing his successors so soon after he left office.

His successor, however, has failed to use Cheney’s criticism to his advantage.  The classy thing for Joe Biden to do would be to say something like, “Well, he’s free to criticize us all we like.  But, hile he’s enjoying a retirement free from the burdens of office and with a government pension, the president and I have been busy seeing to the security needs of our nation.  To cite just one example. . . .”

Instead the incumbent Vice President chose to attack back, faulting Cheney for weakening America.  He should have just ignored the criticism and not responded in kind.

That said, Dick Cheney did a great job as Vice President.  He needs be patient and wait for passions to cool; in time, his real strengths and successes will again become manifest as he did those of the Gipper.  He only delays that day by rushing to criticize his successor.

His criticisms are sound.  He just let others articulate them in public.

UPDATE from Bruce (GayPatriot): I respectfully disagree with Dan on this one.  Since President Obama has been in full-throated “Bush’s Fault” mode since Jan 20, it is about time someone step up to the plate and stand up for the good decisions that were made by Bush & Cheney.  If it has to be Cheney, so be it.

There are too many lily-livered Republicans who forget about principle and are too consumed with politics to do the right thing.  Cheney is not one of them, thank God.

Why the Left Loves Barney Frank

The most telling thing about the exchange between Barney Frank and a conservative student (which I blogged about yesterday and which has been making the rounds of the rightosphere) questioning him in a public forum at Harvard is how quick the Massachusetts Democrat is to attack.

How dare someone pose such a tough question!  How dare someone ask him to consider if he might have done something wrong.  Barney’s used to getting softball questions from an adoring media.  Tough questions mean someone <strike>is</strike> must be accusing him!  They’re part of some nefarious right-wing plot!

The Congressman accuses the student of “making an accusation which is totally inaccurate” and asks him to suggest what he, the Congressman, should have done.  That very response showed his arrogance.  He acted as if he never erred, well only once, just that one time when he took some bad advice.  That he would ask someone else to suggest his errors suggests a man who rarely, if at all, engages in any sort of introspection, rarely considers if he had done anything wrong.

His failure to address his misdeeds is particularly telling given his repeated defenses over the years of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) whose failure sparked the financial meltdown.

Instead of even considering if he had made errors over the years*, Barney rambles on about a “systematic right-wing attack to try and divert the blame for the deregulation.”  It’s all the right-wing, isn’t it Barney?  He doesn’t acknowledge his own failure to support (indeed, his active opposition to) increased regulation of the GSEs.

When I posted on Barney’s failure to acknowledge his mistakes (more that just a failure to acknowledge his mistakes, a failure to even consider if he had made any), a critic was quick to chime in that I was pushing a debunked myth.  He linked a post on the Community Reinvestment Act, something I didn’t even address in the post.  He then went out to attack Republicans.

In short, just like Barney at Harvard, this reader didn’t address the substance of the “question,” (well, in the reader’s case, the post) but was quick to attack his ideological adversaries.

No wonder the unhappy Mr. Frank is such a hero to the left.  Just like all too many of our critics who ignore the points of our posts and attack us instead, the mean-spirited man from Massachusetts ignores the question, accuses the person posing it and goes on a tear against the “right-wing.”

You think a guy so smart would relish such a challenge.  You’d hope that a guy so powerful would be able to acknowledge his mistakes.

* (more…)

Of Comments & Civility, III

Posted by GayPatriotWest at 2:10 am - April 8, 2009.
Filed under: Blogging,Civil Discourse,Gay Marriage

Monday night before bed, I pulled up a post I had written almost exactly three years ago, wanting to reference in a followup piece on comments and civility.  Had it not been for the Vermont legislature’s vote on gay marriage and a brainstorm I had about the readiness of some on the left to blame conservative talk radio, bloggers, & etc. for murder, I likely would have penned, er, pixeled, that post on Tuesday.

It seemed, however, that April 7 was destined to be a day where I would consider civil discourse and blogging.  When I had a moment to scan the various comment threads, I noted an increased level of vitriol on both sides.  And it upset me because, as per that aforementioned post, when I started blogging here

I had hoped that by posting to a blog with an open-comment thread, we might generate the kind of discussion that began that snowy night in the 1980s [when I had a great discussion with an “ideological adversary”], where, when we [the bloggers] rationally put forward ideas at odds with those of our left-wing peers, our critics would come to appreciate our arguments, even when they disagreed.

Instead, mixed among some very sensible comments, we had readers on both sides leveling ad hominem attacks on their ideological adversaries.  This is not the type of discussion I had hoped to promote.

Because of our capricious spam filter (which I have been tasked with reviewing), I have seen many such comments, which I would really rather let lie there and not rescue them.  But, ever since reading Ann Althouse’s post where she defended letting hateful comments stand on her blog, I have acted in the spirit of her (rhetorical) question, “Is it not better to have scurrilous ideas out in the sunlight where they can die?

At the same time as I was concerned about the level of bile in yesterday’s threads, a reader e-mailed me asking me to “get” this “under control.”  And I’ve been trying to do that, posting this just two weeks ago:

All too often alas, those who chime in to defend Bruce or me compromise some very strong comments when they resort to ad hominem, using the term “libtard” or some such. In many cases, if they took the insult out of the comment, they’d have won the argument. . . . That need to get in that additional dig, while emotional satisfying, compromises their entire argument and gives our critics ammunition to attack them.

Or, as I said more simply three years ago, “Friends, you make a better case when you leave out the ad hominem.”