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ABC's Moran: Obama 'Too Nice,' Empathizes: 'You Got No Honeymoon' --2/11/2009


1. ABC's Moran: Obama 'Too Nice,' Empathizes: 'You Got No Honeymoon'
In excerpts aired on Tuesday's World News, of Terry Moran's interview with President Barack Obama for Nightline, Moran was as sycophantic toward Obama as he was during the campaign, lamenting Obama "got no honeymoon" and bemoaning the new President had been "too nice" to Republicans. "Mr. President," Moran rued in overlooking the ongoing honeymoon from the media, "you got no honeymoon. Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation." Moran speculated: "I wonder in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice? If I'm a Republican Senator or a Republican Congress, I think you're a very nice guy but maybe I don't have enough reason to fear you." Earlier, Moran cued up Obama: "How close do you think the country is to the kind of economic catastrophe that you're warning about?" In the ABCNews.com transcript, which does not include the "honeymoon" lament, the tri-anchor of Nightline suggested the banks should just be nationalized: "There are a lot of economists who look at these banks and they say all that garbage that's in them renders them essentially insolvent. Why not just nationalize the banks?" (That question aired on Nightline.)

2. Time 'News' Piece Compares GOP to Geese Who Caused Plane Crash
Time magazine clearly dispensed with "news" reporting last week. Michael Grunwald started his article, "How to Spend the Stimulus," with this sentence: "It's hard to take Republican leaders too seriously when they criticize the recovery plans for the economy; it's sort of like those geese criticizing the evacuation plans for US Airways Flight 1549." That would be the geese that were ground into the jet engines of the airliner that crash-landed in the Hudson River. Clearly impressed with his own comic stylings, Grunwald continued: "Their critiques seem even more comical when you see their alternatives. They warn that President Obama's stimulus package will explode the debt -- so they want to make George W. Bush's debt-exploding tax cuts permanent. They say Democratic spending plans are full of pork -- then they propose an extra $24 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal equivalent of Oscar Mayer. Let's just say their idea bank could use a bailout."

3. CNN's Borger & Gergen: Obama Comes Across 'Pragmatist,' 'Shrewd'
CNN's two senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, reacted favorably to President Barack Obama's performance at his first press conference on Monday night. Borger highlighted how the Democrat apparently "came across as real pragmatist." Later, Gergen stated that it was a "classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power." The two analysts participated in the network's post-press conference programming, which took up the entire 9 pm Eastern hour on Monday night. Five minutes into the hour, Borger made her "pragmatist" comment, and continued with what she gathered from the president's remarks: "What I heard tonight was somebody who kept saying I can't afford to see Congress play the same usual political games. But the interesting fight that we're setting up here is whether the new president really understands the role or can cope with the role that ideology now plays in our politics today."

4. ABC's Stephanopoulos Grades Obama's Press Conference an 'A'
George Stephanopoulos appeared on Monday's Nightline to offer high grades for Barack Obama's first primetime press conference. He awarded the President an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts. During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos was consistent in giving high marks to the then-Democratic candidate, announcing that Obama won all his debates against Republican John McCain and that Joe Biden bested Sarah Palin. Speaking to Nightline anchor Terry Moran, the This Week host enthused: "Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry...He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it." On the subject of reaching out to Republicans, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I think on that you give him a B."

5. CBS's Early Show Fact Checks Obama Press Conference
On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen took an unusually critical tone toward President Obama's first press conference on Monday night: "President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan...But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you." In a later report on the press conference correspondent Bill Plante challenged some of the president's assertions, including: "Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy." Plante countered: "In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending." Plante also questioned Obama's denial of any earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" bill: "Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker."

6. Networks Silent on White House Grab of 2010 Census
The Obama administration's decision to have the White House supervise the 2010 Census -- a response to left-wing complaints that the Census was too important to leave under the authority of Republican Judd Gregg, the nominee for Commerce Secretary -- has thus (as of Tuesday morning) far drawn absolutely no attention from the three broadcast networks, with not a single mention on the ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscasts. This would undoubtedly be a huge story if the White House were still in Republican hands and it was the GOP that was attempting to take over the Census. As the Wall Street Journal's John Fund reported on Tuesday: "'There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,' a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. 'And it's called politics, not science.'"

7. In Housing Segment, ABC Ignores Truth Behind 'Bank Terrorist'
On Tuesday's Good Morning America, financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga promoted the efforts of a radical housing group run by CEO Bruce Marks, a self proclaimed "bank terrorist." Of course, Golodryga skipped that description and glossed over the extreme actions of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America [NACA]. Instead, she simply asserted that the organization tries "to help keep people in their homes." Golodryga neglected important information, such as the fact that NACA has picketed outside the schools of children whose parents work for banks that are not acquiescing to the group's demands, which include insisting that mortgages be given to high risk individuals. In an April 2, 2008 column, Michelle Malkin quoted Marks as saying, "We will go to their neighborhood, we will educate their children on what their parents do. They should be ashamed."

8. Tickets Available for MRC's March 19 'DisHonors Awards' and Gala
Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume. It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!"


ABC's Moran: Obama 'Too Nice,' Empathizes:
'You Got No Honeymoon'

In excerpts aired on Tuesday's World News, of Terry Moran's interview with President Barack Obama for Nightline, Moran was as sycophantic toward Obama as he was during the campaign, lamenting Obama "got no honeymoon" and bemoaning the new President had been "too nice" to Republicans. "Mr. President," Moran rued in overlooking the ongoing honeymoon from the media, "you got no honeymoon. Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation." Moran speculated: "I wonder in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice? If I'm a Republican Senator or a Republican Congress, I think you're a very nice guy but maybe I don't have enough reason to fear you."

Earlier, Moran cued up Obama: "How close do you think the country is to the kind of economic catastrophe that you're warning about?" In the ABCNews.com transcript, which does not include the "honeymoon" lament, the tri-anchor of Nightline suggested the banks should just be nationalized: "There are a lot of economists who look at these banks and they say all that garbage that's in them renders them essentially insolvent. Why not just nationalize the banks?" (That question was part of what aired later on Nightline.)
ABCNews.com transcript: abcnews.go.com

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Tuesday night, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Two quotes from Moran's fawning approach to Obama during the campaign, as posted with video, in the MRC's special November 3, 2008 edition of Notable Quotables, "Campaign 2008 Review: Barack Obama's Media Groupies."

Is He "The One?"

"You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You're looking at an American political phenomenon....He inspires the party faithful and many others, like no one else on the scene today....And the question you can sense on everyone's mind, as they listen so intently to him, is he the one? Is Barack Obama the man, the black man, who could lead the Democrats back to the White House and maybe even unite the country?...Everywhere he goes, people want him to run for President, especially in Iowa, cradle of presidential contenders. Around here, they're even naming babies after him." -- ABC Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran, Nov. 6, 2006.

Mesmerized by "Stoic Eloquence"

"Now to Barack Obama. When I spent the day with him in Iowa over the weekend, you could sense the excitement he nearly always generates....Whatever he's eating, it is working for Obama....Here as elsewhere, the crowd listens closely to Barack Obama's real argument, that he is tomorrow, a fresh face who represents a real change from our bitter polarized politics....When you talk to Iowa voters who come to hear Obama, you get the sense they know they might be part of something big here, something historic." -- ABC's Terry Moran on Nightline, November 26, 2007.

To watch those videos: www.mrc.org

At the top of the Tuesday, February 10 World News viewers saw a quick exchange in which Moran told Obama, referring to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's comments: "Judging by the reaction in the markets, Wall Street really doesn't like your plan."

After a story on Geithner's vague financial system plan, ABC played more from Moran's interview recorded in Ft. Myers, Florida (note: because of editing and inaccurate transcribing, this does not match the online transcript, but this matches what aired on World News):

TERRY MORAN: Can you say how much, ballpark figure, that will cost the American taxpayers. A trillion? Trillion-five? Two trillion?
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I can't say what a ballpark figure, what I can say-
MORAN: Why not?
OBAMA: Well, because ultimately, what happens is going to depend on how the markets respond over the long term, not today or the next day but a month from now or two months from now. How effective we are in actually cleaning out some of these bad assets out of these banks.
MORAN: You've been sounding some very dire warnings about the economy in recent days. How close do you think the country is to the kind of economic catastrophe that you're warning about?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, you know, I'm constantly trying to thread the needle between sounding alarmist but also letting the American people know the circumstances that we're in. We are in a perfect storm of financial problems and so this is a big, difficult situation. Now, I think we've got to keep perspective. We're not going through the Great Depression.
TERRY MORAN: Mr. President, you got no honeymoon. Not a single Republican vote in the House on your first major piece of legislation.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, I'm getting, I'm getting a big honeymoon from the American people.
TERRY MORAN: But what happened in Washington?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Oh, what happened in Washington was, I think that they made a decision that they want to continue the same fights that we've been having over the last decade. The American people, on the other hand, realize we want something different; hence, the results of the election.
MORAN: I wonder in coming into the presidency, maybe you were too nice. If I'm a Republican Senator or a Republican Congress, I think you're a very nice guy but maybe I don't have enough reason to fear you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: [LAUGHS] Well, I tell you what -- you know, that accusation -- I think, if I'm not mistaken, was leveled at me a couple years ago and I'm going to be flying out on Air Force One in a little bit. So, people shouldn't underestimate the, the value of civility and, and trying to get people to work together.

Time 'News' Piece Compares GOP to Geese
Who Caused Plane Crash

Time magazine clearly dispensed with "news" reporting last week. Michael Grunwald started his article, "How to Spend the Stimulus," with this sentence: "It's hard to take Republican leaders too seriously when they criticize the recovery plans for the economy; it's sort of like those geese criticizing the evacuation plans for US Airways Flight 1549." That would be the geese that were ground into the jet engines of the airliner that crash-landed in the Hudson River.

Clearly impressed with his own comic stylings, Grunwald continued: "Their critiques seem even more comical when you see their alternatives. They warn that President Obama's stimulus package will explode the debt -- so they want to make George W. Bush's debt-exploding tax cuts permanent. They say Democratic spending plans are full of pork -- then they propose an extra $24 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal equivalent of Oscar Mayer. Let's just say their idea bank could use a bailout."

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Before the House GOP voted unanimously against the "stimulus" bill, The Hill newspaper reported that Republican House leaders did insert an amendment calling for more billions for the Army Corps of Engineers and more highway spending while reducing the stimulus size by a net $104 billion, apparently to assuage "centrist GOP legislators, along with other Republicans representing districts especially hard hit by the economic downturn, [who] said they needed to be on record backing increased funding for infrastructure programs." The Hill story: thehill.com

Grunwald, a former Washington Post reporter, has written extensively on the Army Corps and criticized it extensively for wasteful spending and environmental harm.

Later in the article, Grunwald supported some tax cut ideas and dismissed others, and then mocked House minority leader John Boehner on spending: "What about the spending? Again, there has been an Alice in Wonderland quality to much of the criticism, as if economist John Maynard Keynes were a fraud and government spending couldn't possibly create jobs -- especially spending on biomedical research, education about sexually transmitted diseases or other programs that sound vaguely liberal and exotic. Jobs in biomedical research and sex education are real jobs. Granted, some spending proposals would work faster and better than others. But it's telling that House minority leader John Boehner ridicules programs to weatherize low-income homes -- which would create jobs in a hurry, save poor people money in the long term and reduce the energy waste that increases carbon emissions and empowers foreign thugs. What's the argument in favor of heating and air-conditioning the outdoors?"

Grunwald concluded that President Obama should ignore "partisan gripes" and press ahead with his spending spree, since he is the "Santa" the people elected: "So it's not clear how hard he'll push to fund his long-term agenda. But he should ignore the partisan gripes that the stimulus is becoming a 'Christmas tree.' Congress is about to toss almost $1 trillion into the economy, which means that any stimulus is going to be a Christmas tree, no matter where the gifts are hidden. And in November, the U.S. chose its Santa. This is his best chance to decide who gets the goodies and who gets the lump of coal."

Since they're comparing Republicans to dead geese, clearly Time magazine wants the GOP to get coal in their stocking.

For Grunwald's Time piece posted on February 5: www.time.com

CNN's Borger & Gergen: Obama Comes Across
'Pragmatist,' 'Shrewd'

CNN's two senior political analysts, Gloria Borger and David Gergen, reacted favorably to President Barack Obama's performance at his first press conference on Monday night. Borger highlighted how the Democrat apparently "came across as real pragmatist." Later, Gergen stated that it was a "classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power."

The two analysts participated in the network's post-press conference programming, which took up the entire 9 pm Eastern hour on Monday night. Five minutes into the hour, Borger made her "pragmatist" comment, and continued with what she gathered from the president's remarks: "What I heard tonight was somebody who kept saying I can't afford to see Congress play the same usual political games. But the interesting fight that we're setting up here is whether the new president really understands the role or can cope with the role that ideology now plays in our politics today."

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Fourteen minutes later, anchor Anderson Cooper asked Gergen for his take on the press conference, introducing him as someone who has "advised presidents, Republican and Democrat." The analyst played up how President Obama was going to win in the end:

ANDERSON COOPER: What do you think this president's staff is saying to him tonight? What would you say to him tonight after this press conference?
DAVID GERGEN: Well done, pour it on -- Anderson, I thought it was a classic and shrewd exercise of presidential power. Only the president has the bully pulpit, and tonight, at a critical moment in his presidency, he seized that bully pulpit, dramatized the economy for the country, took his case to the people, and I think put pressure on Congress to get it passed. And I think it's going to work and work in the way that the White House has clearly set this up. He goes to Elkhart [Indiana]; he brings Elkhart into the conversation [unintelligible] repeatedly in order to personalize it. But he -- by setting this up as a big test of power, in the next few days, he's going to win. He's going to get a bill through the Congress. One way or the other -- he may not have many Republicans, but he's going to get a bill. I think we all know that, and about a week to ten days from now, there's -- everybody in Washington is going to be talking about a major presidential victory, which he helped to set up with this press conference tonight. And people -- it's going to enhance his power to deal with these tough economic days ahead. So I thought it was a good way to go on offense, and also I think it was a way to enhance his own power, so he can get other things done well beyond this stimulus package.

During the hour, CNN had their anchors and analysts sit at one table in their studio and their partisan talking heads at another, just as they had done during the presidential debates. But given the way that both Borger and Gergen were reacting (not to leave out two of the others sitting with Borger: Soledad O'Brien, who compared Obama to the Hudson River pilot last month; and senior legal analyst/resident Obama spokesman Jeffrey Toobin), you might have a hard time telling the difference between the two.

For more on Soledad O'Brien comparing President Obama to US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who saved all the passengers on his plane when it landed in the Hudson River, check the January 17 item by Tim Graham on NewsBusters.org, "CNN's Soledad O'Brien Suggests Obama's a Hero Like the Hudson River Pilot," at: newsbusters.org

For more on Jeffrey Toobin's defense of Barack Obama during the presidential campaign, see the September 18 CyberAlert item, "Roland Martin & Jeffrey Toobin: CNN's Resident Obama Spokesmen," at: www.mrc.org

ABC's Stephanopoulos Grades Obama's Press
Conference an 'A'

George Stephanopoulos appeared on Monday's Nightline to offer high grades for Barack Obama's first primetime press conference. He awarded the President an A for overall performance at the event and a B for Obama's bipartisan efforts. During the presidential campaign, Stephanopoulos was consistent in giving high marks to the then-Democratic candidate, announcing that Obama won all his debates against Republican John McCain and that Joe Biden bested Sarah Palin.

Speaking to Nightline anchor Terry Moran, the This Week host enthused: "Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry...He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it." On the subject of reaching out to Republicans, Stephanopoulos asserted, "I think on that you give him a B." After allowing that the President hasn't been able to obtain GOP support for the stimulus bill, he spun, "He was able to make his points tonight, how, basically, that isn't his fault. That's what he was trying to say tonight. He has reached out, he hasn't had a response from the Republican side."

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The only grade that failed to elicit a top score was when Moran queried how Obama has done overall. Stephanopoulos responded, "You know, it's just impossible to give a grade on that in first four weeks, Terry. I think you have to give him an incomplete."

As noted in an October 16 CyberAlert, Stephanopoulos repeatedly appeared on ABC's post-debate coverage during the fall and declared Obama the winner every single time. If one were to include the vice presidential debate, where he announced Joe Biden the victor, it was a four-for-four sweep by the Democratic ticket. See: www.mrc.org

Host Moran also gushed over Obama during a previous Nightline segment. Regarding a question the President received on baseball player Alex Rodriguez and steroids, the anchor enthused, "But this President offered a glimpse of the values he brings to the tasks in an answer to a question about the revelation that baseball star Alex Rodriguez used steroids." Moran then played a clip of Obama's answer.

In contrast, during a World News Tonight segment on January 21, 2004, in response to then-President Bush's condemnation of steroid use in baseball (in his State of the Union address), Moran derided the speech as "marked by relatively minor but politically appealing initiatives: $23 million for drug testing in schools, $135 million for abstinence education, $300 million for post-release assistance to ex-convicts and a call to end steroid use in pro sports, which cost nothing ." See a January 22, 2004 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mediaresearch.org

However, Moran should be given credit for at least playing a clip on Monday night of a woman at an Obama event challenging the President over the tax problems that a number of his cabinet nominees have had.

To read the MRC's new "Profiles in Bias" section on Stephanopoulos: www.mrc.org

Partial transcripts of the February 10 segments follow:

TERRY MORAN: Tonight in the east room, the questions were, for the most part, more respectful and several focused on Washington and the partisan sniping and division that already marks this presidency.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Old habits are hard to break and we're coming off an election and I think people want to sort of test the limits of what they can get. You know, there's a lot of jockeying in this town and a lot of whose up and who's down and positioning for the next election. And what I've tried to suggest is that this is one those times where we've got to put that kind of behavior aside. Because the American people can't afford it. The people in Elkhart can't afford it. The single mom who's trying to figure out how to keep her house can't afford it.
MORAN: President Obama, who has hosted Republican senators and members of Congress at the White House for drinks and had several over for the Super Bowl, he said he'll keep trying.
OBAMA: I am the eternal optimist. I think that over time people respond to civility and rational argument. I think that's what the people of Elkhart and people around America are looking for and that's what I'm- there's the kind of leadership I'm going to try to provide.
MORAN: So it's going to be a long, hard struggle to turn the economy around, to turn Washington around. But this president offered a glimpse of the values he brings to the tasks in an answer to a question about the revelation that baseball star Alex Rodriguez used steroids.
OBAMA: Our kids hopefully are watching and saying you know what, there are no shortcuts. That when you try to take shortcuts, you may end up tarnishing your entire career.

....

TERRY MORAN: So how did the president do in his primetime debut? George Stephanopoulos, host of "This Week" and our Chief Washington Correspondent is here for the "Nightline" report card. With his take on President Obama.. So, George, first, let's take a look at the sale. This is what he wanted to do, sell the stimulus package. How'd he do?
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, I think he got an A on this, Terry. The President was able to spend most of an hour talking to most of the country, mostly about the economy. He had the long answers, five-minute mini-essays or speeches all about the economy, able to explain from his perspective how bad the situation is, how we got into this mess and how his stimulus package will fix it. So I think from that perspective he was able to really get his message across tonight and of course, that bully pulpit he has tonight is something his opponents just can't match.
MORAN: He steps out there and he owns it. So the second topic, reaching out. There's been no honeymoon it seems. This is all about the question of partisanship, bipartisanship. How did he do on reaching out?
STEPHANOPOULOS: I think on that you give him a B. I mean, if you look at the course of the last four weeks, the President has been able to pick Republicans for his cabinet, but he's certainly hasn't achieved the goal of getting majority Republicans support - 80 votes for his stimulus package. He was able to make his points tonight, how, basically, that isn't his fault. That's what he was trying to say tonight. He has reached out, he hasn't had a response from the Republican side. But I think what you really saw tonight, Terry, is that there's a real tension, an inherent tension between the President's promise of bipartisanship, of reaching out to the other side and his promise of fundamental policy change. And he didn't really sugarcoat the differences tonight that he and the majority of Republicans have over how to address this economic problem right now. And I don't think that these are issues and he certainly expressed this tonight, that can be bridged by cocktail parties or phone calls on your cell phones.
MORAN: Well, he says he'll stick at it. Now, it's been just three weeks since there were a million and a half people on the Mall, President Obama took office. And overall now, take a step back, overall what kind of grade do you give him so far?
STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, it's just impossible to give a grade on that in first four weeks, Terry. I think you have to give him an incomplete. The President has been able to make his case I think in these first four weeks. Also had the kind of stumbles that post presidents have in the early days. Lost the cabinet appointment of Tom Daschle as secretary of Health and Human Services. But how he's doing, how he will be seen is all dependent on two things that are likely to unfold later this week. Number one, is he actually successful in passing the stimulus package, and getting it through the House and the Senate, signing it into law by that deadline he set on Presidents Day and of course, will it work? And secondly, something happening tomorrow. He said today he didn't want to preempt his treasury secretary, Tim Geithner who is coming out tomorrow and announcing the next phase of this financial rescue, financial stabilization plan. That probably has as much to do with his ultimate success as the stimulus package does. And the president even acknowledged tonight that he can't even say yet whether he's going to have to come back and ask the country for more money, whether this is gonna work. And you're not gonna be able to come up with a grade for this first month until you know how those two big questions, how those two big programs work out.
MORAN: So, incomplete on overall, but this is a front loaded administration, that's for sure. George, thanks very much for that.

CBS's Early Show Fact Checks Obama Press
Conference

On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen took an unusually critical tone toward President Obama's first press conference on Monday night: "President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan...But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you." In a later report on the press conference correspondent Bill Plante challenged some of the president's assertions, including: "Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy." Plante countered: "In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending." Plante also questioned Obama's denial of any earmarks in the so-called "stimulus" bill: "Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker."

[This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Following Plante's report, co-host Harry Smith interviewed White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Smith did not ask anything that made much news, but did present some challenge: "Watched the president's press conference last night. It was very interesting. Part of the tone was, '€˜it's our way or the highway.' Does the president really believe that the Republicans' objections are merely obstructionist?"

After Smith spoke to Gibbs, correspondent Michelle Gielan did a brief report on other uses of the the nearly $1 trillion price tag of the bill: "A $1 trillion economic recovery plan would represent 7% of the U.S. economy. $1 trillion is also more than double the size of the largest U.S. budget deficit in history, $455 billion recorded in fiscal 2008...With $1 trillion, one could build more than 1,200 Yankee Stadiums or 25 for each of the 50 U.S. states. And finally, a stack of 1,000 dollar bills totaling $1 trillion would be more than 67 miles high."

Here is the full transcript of the February 10 segment:

7:00AM TEASE:
JULIE CHEN: President Obama takes to prime time to pitch his nearly trillion-dollar rescue plan.
BARACK OBAMA: If there's anyone out there who still doesn't believe this constitutes a full-blown crisis, I suggest speaking to one of the millions of Americans whose lives have been turned upside down because they don't know where their next paycheck is coming from.
CHEN: But does the president have his facts straight? And what does a trillion dollars really buy you? We'll tell you.

7:01AM SEGMENT:
HARRY SMITH: First, though, the Obama administration today releases new rules on the second half of the bank bailout program. The government plans on teaming up with investors to buy toxic assets from banks and additional federal funds would be used to unfreeze credit markets. Meanwhile, President Obama travels to Fort Myers, Florida, today, to present his economic stimulus plan directly to the public. Last night he held his first news conference, where he spoke in depth about the plan and the economy. CBS News senior White House correspondent Bill Plante has a reality check. Good morning, Bill.
BILL PLANTE: Morning, Harry. The president warned members of Congress that if they didn't enact his bill, that what is now a crisis could turn into a catastrophe. He took on the Republicans who charged that the bill is loaded with wasteful spending that won't create jobs. The president argued that the bill may not be perfect, but it is necessary.
BARACK OBAMA: Most economists, almost unanimously, recognize government is an important element of introducing some additional demand into the economy.
[GRAPHIC ON SCREEN: Claim: Most Economists argue for more spending; Fact: False: Economists want more tax cuts]
PLANTE: In fact, several hundred economists argued for more tax cuts, rather than more spending. But the president dismissed that as the-
OBAMA: Failed theories of the last eight years that got us into this fix in the first place.
PLANTE: The president told voters in Elkhart, Indiana, Monday, that the stimulus would be good for a local highway there. Yet he insisted the bill has none of the pet projects known as earmarks.
OBAMA: Not a single earmark, and it has been stripped of the projects members of both parties found most objectionable.
[GRAPHIC ON SCREEN: Claim: The stimulus package has no earmarks; Fact: True: But there are pork-like projects]
PLANTE: Even so, the bill does call for some specifics that sound a lot like earmarks. $2 billion for a clean coal power plant. $2 billion for hybrid car batteries. $255 million for a Coast Guard icebreaker. Bottom line, says the president-
OBAMA: That it will save or create up to 4 million jobs.
PLANTE: But that's very hard to tell because it's very hard to put a number, and those are uncertain figures. Now, today the president continues selling his stimulus plan by going to Fort Myers, Florida, where the housing market has completely tanked. Harry.
SMITH: Bill Plante at the White House this morning, thanks. Joining us from Washington, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. Mr. Gibbs, good morning.
ROBERT GIBBS: Harry, how are you?
SMITH: Very well. Watched the president's press conference last night. It was very interesting. Part of the tone was, 'it's our way or the highway.' Does the president really believe that the Republicans' objections are merely obstructionist?
GIBBS: No, I think what the president said last night is, look, there are some philosophical agreements that he'll never be able to change on the other side of the aisle-
SMITH: Disagreements.
GIBBS: But as you saw yesterday, Democrats and Republicans worked together in order to move this process forward, and we hope we'll work together today to get this bill out of the Senate and one step closer to the president's desk.
SMITH: As this thing does move forward, is your biggest concern Republicans in the House or Democrats in the House?
GIBBS: Well, look, again, Harry, I -- we've got to work together to get something done. The president said that old habits die hard in this town. But when we visit places outside of Washington, like Elkhart, Indiana, that we went to yesterday, or Fort Myers, Florida, today, that's seen the greatest number of home foreclosures during the past year, Washington begins to understand that we've got to work together for the American people and get something done. We've all seen these stories in Elkhart, their unemployment rate has tripled over just the last year. So it's time for Washington to act and get along when doing it.
SMITH: Alright. Let's move on to Tim Geithner today. He's going to unveil new plans for T.A.R.P. for the bank rescue package. The banks didn't use T.A.R.P. money the way it was intended in this past go round. Is there any guarantee going into the future that they will do so this time?
GIBBS: Well, you know, Harry, that's going to be a big focus of what Secretary Geithner's going to talk about today. Using a public/private partnership so that when banks get this money, we've got some incentives to make sure that they're lending that money to small businesses and families that need it. We've got to make sure that credit and capital flow and that people have access to that kind of money so that they can create jobs and get the economy moving again. That'll be a big focus of what Secretary Geithner will discuss.
SMITH: And will it be any more transparent?
GIBBS: Absolutely it'll be more transparent. We'll be able not only to look at what happened -- what has happened before, but this administration and Secretary Geithner are committed to a level of transparency and accountability that we haven't seen in the financial stability packages before.
SMITH: How do you like your new job?
GIBBS: So far, so good. It keeps me up early in the morning. I feel like a morning show guy.
[Laughter]
SMITH: You almost look like one, too. Alright, Robert Gibbs, thanks very much for joining us, take care.
GIBBS: Thanks, Harry.
SMITH: You bet.
GIBBS: Yup.
SMITH: Now here's Julie.
JULIE CHEN: He does. Alright, thanks a lot, Harry. Well, the stimulus plan is worth more than $800 billion. The second half of the bank bailout package is $350 billion. Together, more than $1 trillion. CBS News correspondent Michelle Gielan looks at what $1 trillion can actually buy.
MICHELLE GIELAN: $1 trillion may be the new billion, even making $1 million seem like chump change at times. A $1 trillion economic recovery plan would represent 7% of the U.S. economy. $1 trillion is also more than double the size of the largest U.S. budget deficit in history, $455 billion recorded in fiscal 2008. In December, the average price of a home in the U.S. was a little more than $175,000. $1 trillion could buy 5.7 million of those homes. If $1 trillion were given directly to the people, instead of through tax cuts and government spending programs, every man, woman and child in the U.S. would receive about $3,200. Here in New York, construction of the New Yankee stadium is expected to cost about $800 million. With $1 trillion, one could build more than 1,200 Yankee Stadiums or 25 for each of the 50 U.S. states. And finally, a stack of 1,000 dollar bills totaling $1 trillion would be more than 67 miles high. But a pile of the same bills worth $1 billion would only be 358 feet high. Michelle Gielan, CBS News, New York.

Networks Silent on White House Grab of
2010 Census

The Obama administration's decision to have the White House supervise the 2010 Census -- a response to left-wing complaints that the Census was too important to leave under the authority of Republican Judd Gregg, the nominee for Commerce Secretary -- has thus (as of Tuesday morning) far drawn absolutely no attention from the three broadcast networks, with not a single mention on the ABC, CBS or NBC morning or evening newscasts.

This would undoubtedly be a huge story if the White House were still in Republican hands and it was the GOP that was attempting to take over the Census. As the Wall Street Journal's John Fund reported on Tuesday: "'There's only one reason to have that high level of White House involvement,' a career professional at the Census Bureau tells me. 'And it's called politics, not science.'"

[This item, by the MRC's Rich Noyes, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Blogging at U.S. News & World Report on Monday, Michael Barone -- who knows more about the nuts and bolts of U.S. politics than practically anybody -- suggested the move could even be ruled unconstitutional: "Here's an argument that it's unconstitutional for the President to take over the Census from the secretary of commerce. It goes like this: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution provides for an 'actual enumeration' and a statute passed by Congress provides that the duties under this clause are to be performed by the secretary of commerce. Article I (as Joseph Biden didn't know in debate) is about the legislative, not the executive branch. Hence, it is argued, the president can't substitute a sampling for the enumeration required to be done by the secretary." See: www.usnews.com

But at Monday night's presidential news conference, there were zero questions about the Census, or about the tax troubles of multiple Obama cabinet nominees -- although a Washington Post reporter did ask the President about the reported steroid use of baseball player Alex Rodriguez. The New York Times has been silent on the White House's intrusion into the Census process, but did gripe in a Thursday editorial that Obama was somehow jeopardizing the count by putting Gregg in charge:
"Mr. Gregg was never a friend of the census. As chairman of the Senate committee that oversees the Commerce Department's budget, he frequently tried to cut the bureau's financing. In 1999, he opposed emergency funds for the 2000 census requested by President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled House....In his confirmation hearing, Mr. Gregg must explain what he would do to get the 2010 census back on track. Before that, Mr. Obama must choose a competent director and pledge his administration's full support to spend whatever is necessary to salvage the count." See: www.nytimes.com

In the run-up to the 2000 Census, the Democratic (Clinton) White House tried to push for statistical sampling as a way to create a supposedly more accurate count. In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that for the purposes of drawing of congressional district boundaries, the Constitution required an actual enumeration of citizens, not an extrapolation based on statistics. Last week's move suggests the Obama White House is attempting to re-fight the same battle, perhaps believing (as the New York Times seems to believe) that liberals will benefit politically if the Census moves away from the traditional decennial head count.

In his Wall Street Journal column, Fund reviewed some of the issues raised ten years ago:

Starting in 2000, the Census Bureau conducted three years of studies with the help of many outside statistical experts. According to then Census director Louis Kincannon, the Bureau concluded that "adjustment based on sampling didn't produce improved figures" and could damage Census credibility.

The reason? In theory, statisticians can identify general numbers of people missed in a head count. But it cannot then place those abstract "missing people" into specific neighborhoods, let alone blocks. And anyone could go door to door and find out such people don't exist. There can be other anomalies. "The adjusted numbers told us the head count had overcounted the number of Indians on reservations," Mr. Kincannon told me. "That made no sense."

The problem of counting minorities and the homeless has long been known. Census Bureau statisticians believe that a vigorous hard count, supplemented by adding in the names of actual people missed by head counters but still found in public records, is likely to lead to a far more defensible count than sampling-based adjustment.

The larger debate prompted seven former Census directors -- serving every president from Nixon to George W. Bush -- to sign a letter last year supporting a bill to turn the Census Bureau into an independent agency after the 2010 Census. "It is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau," it read.

END of Excerpt

For Fund's piece: online.wsj.com

So will the networks get around to holding the Obama White House accountable to the Constitution and the requirements of a fair, non-political Census next year? It's safe to guess they would be all over the story if George W. Bush and Karl Rove were still in the White House.

In Housing Segment, ABC Ignores Truth
Behind 'Bank Terrorist'

On Tuesday's Good Morning America, financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga promoted the efforts of a radical housing group run by CEO Bruce Marks, a self proclaimed "bank terrorist." Of course, Golodryga skipped that description and glossed over the extreme actions of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America [NACA]. Instead, she simply asserted that the organization tries "to help keep people in their homes."

Golodryga neglected important information, such as the fact that NACA has picketed outside the schools of children whose parents work for banks that are not acquiescing to the group's demands, which include insisting that mortgages be given to high risk individuals. In an April 2, 2008 column, Michelle Malkin quoted Marks as saying, "We will go to their neighborhood, we will educate their children on what their parents do. They should be ashamed." A December 2007 article by the Boston Globe (featured on NACA's web site) unabashedly touted Marks as "a controversial character who once infamously called himself a 'bank terrorist.'" See NACA: https://www.naca.com/press/globe20071230.jsp

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Golodryga ignored this when she talked to the CEO. Instead, she highlighted non-confrontational quotes such as this one from Marks: "The thing that is so important is to say to the American people, don't give up. There's help on the way." The ABC financial correspondent did admit, "The group is also protesting the banks they feel are not helping struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages," while video of such a protest appeared onscreen. However, she grossly minimized the radical nature of NACA.

In the aforementioned Malkin article, the conservative columnist described the extreme steps taken by Marks and his group:

As The Globe reported in its cover feature on Marks, there's no line of decency this housing shakedown artist won't cross. Welcome to the subprime politics of personal destruction:

"Marks and his yellow-T-shirted followers have swarmed shareholders' meetings with enough force to shut them down. They have picketed outside the schools attended by the children of bank CEOs, pressing the youngsters in signs and chants to answer for the actions of their daddies."

And they even once distributed scandal sheets to every house in one CEO's neighborhood, detailing the affair he was allegedly having with a subordinate. In time, that CEO, like most of the others that NACA targeted, sat down with Marks and signed a deal.

For more, see the April 2, 2008 New York Post: www.nypost.com

Of course, Golodryga has a long history of pushing left-wing economics in her reporting for GMA. For instance, on November 15, 2007, she touted "Robin Hood" investor Warren Buffett and praised him for lobbying "on behalf of fairness in taxes." See a November 16, 2007 CyberAlert posting for more: www.mrc.org

A transcript of the segment, which aired at 7:05am on February 10, follows:

DIANE SAWYER: And we're going to turn now to the front lines of American housing. This morning, we try to give you perspective. Three million families are on the brink of foreclosure right now and in the next four years the fear, of course, the number could balloon to ten million. Well, today the Obama administration is expected to announce that $50 billion mortgage relief plan. But we wanted to know more about whether and how it would help a typical family like the Grays of Queens, New York. They shared their anguish with financial correspondent Bianna Golodryga.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Are there moments where you want to just give up?
DARLENE GRAY: Yeah.
MICHAEL GRAY: We just had a moment here, right [sic] half an hour ago.
GOLODRYGA: Tell me about it. Michael and Darlene Gray are facing foreclosure. Darlene recently lost her job of 17 years. So, Michael is working seven days a week just to keep them afloat. How does it feel when your taxpayer dollars are going towards large banks and bailouts of major companies?
MICHAEL GRAY: You don't want me to be obscene or profane, do you?
DARLENE GRAY: They want to bailout banks? What about bailing out the homeowners?
GOLODRYGA: They're among the thousands we met at the Save the Dream Seminar held by NACA, the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, a non-profit group trying to help keep people in their homes. Just two hours into this help seminar and you can see the room behind me is full of troubled homeowners. Lines began out the door at 6:00 in the morning and some are expected to stay 'till 2:00am
BRUCE MARKS (CEO, Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America): We determined their net income and what their expenses are and to come out with a mortgage payment that you can afford and then we restructure that loan to make it affordable forever.
GOLODRYGA: The group is also protesting the banks they feel are not helping struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages. [Video of protestors appears onscreen.]
MARKS: The thing that is so important is to say to the American people, don't give up. There's help on the way.
GOLODRYGA: But for many Americans like the Grays, their need is now.
DARLENE GRAY: We just need help. We need someone to say, you know what, we're going to listen. If you lower the mortgage, give us time to bounce back.
GOLODRYGA: And despite their uncertain future, they're not backing down.
MICHAEL GRAY: We won't stop fighting. And we're going to fight until we can't fight anymore.
GOLODRYGA: For Good Morning America, Bianna Golodryga, ABC News, Stamford, Connecticut.

Tickets Available for MRC's March 19
'DisHonors Awards' and Gala

Every year, we sell out. So don't procrastinate. One of the biggest and best conservative events -- the Media Research Center's annual gala -- is fast approaching. Join us for this year's gala featuring the "DisHonors Awards for the Worst Reporting of the Year" and the annual "William F. Buckley Award for Media Excellence," this year to be presented to Brit Hume.

It will take place on Thursday evening, March 19th, at the Grand Hyatt Washington.

The MRC gala is one of the most fun events of the year. Rush Limbaugh called it "a terrific show...a great, great, great assemblage of people....Everybody just had a blast!"

The DisHonors Awards winners will be announced "Oscar-style," with videos played of each nominated hilariously-biased quote followed by surprise guests on hand to accept each award in jest on behalf of a media figure.

Cal Thomas will serve as Master of Ceremonies with awards presented by Ann Coulter, Joe Scarborough and Ken Cribb. And, as always, we'll have a fantastic cast of conservatives joining us to roast of the liberal media. "Joe the Plumber" and Andrew Breitbart are amongst the many who have already confirmed.

DisHonors Awards categories: "The Media's Messiah Award," "The Obamagasm Award" "Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin" and the "Dan Rather Memorial Award for the Stupidest Analysis."

Plus, there'll be lots of funny video clips as we mock the media's infatuation with Barack Obama. It's sure to be an entertaining evening.

Tickets for the Gala are $250 per person. If you are interested in joining us or for more information, e-mail Sara Bell at: sbell@mediaresearch.org

Or call, 9 to 5:30 PM EST weekdays: (800) 672-1423.

We have limited space and this event fills up quickly, so please make your reservation soon. The MRC has a reduced rate for the Grand Hyatt Washington, but the deadline to reserve your room is February 18. To book your room, please call the hotel at (800) 233-1234.

We hope you can join us!

Online page with information: www.mediaresearch.org

For a look at all the fun at last year's event, with videos: www.mediaresearch.org

DisHonors/Galas from earlier years: www.mediaresearch.org

-- Brent Baker