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Shipman Skips Voucher Hypocrisy in Fawning Story on Obama Kids --11/13/2008


1. Shipman Skips Voucher Hypocrisy in Fawning Story on Obama Kids
In a story about to which private school President-elect Barack Obama will send his children, Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman on Wednesday mostly glossed over the obvious point that the Democrat likely won't be putting his daughters through the D.C. public educational system and also ignored his opposition to vouchers. Instead, she fawned that "the D.C. social world is obsessed with where these new, coolest kids on the block will wind up."

2. ABC's Terry Moran Gushes Over 'Obama Cool on Display'
Nightline co-host Terry Moran fawned over every detail of Barack Obama's White House meeting with President Bush and insisted that that since the President-elect arrived wearing sunglasses, this meant that the "Obama cool [was] on display." Moran, who has regularly gushed over every aspect of Obama's election and transition, narrated the Democrat's interactions with the current President. As video of Bush and Obama played, he breathlessly related: "You could see the power shifting though. Look at Obama putting his arm on Bush's back, letting the President go first." Moran awkwardly brought up the issue of past commanders in chief who owned slaves and asked: "And you had to wonder that if in fact the [White House] is haunted, what the spirits of those former Presidents, many of whom were slave owners themselves would have made of what happened there today?"

3. Chris Matthews: Palin 'Talking About God,' is 'Troubling'
After airing an interview clip of Sarah Palin telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that she was looking for guidance from God about running for national office again, an appalled Chris Matthews called it "troubling," when he let loose this rant on Tuesday's Hardball: "Is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval? We've been through that with President Bush who said he, 'didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father.' And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for President? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour....Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent."

4. Time Magazine (Again) Impatiently Declares 'End of Reagan Era'
Once again -- perhaps this time hoping that they are right -- Time magazine has ostentatiously declared: "The End of the Reagan Era." In the November 17 "commemorative edition," the magazine features a piece by historian Richard Norton Smith explaining how "the Age of the Gipper ends with Obama's election." But we've seen this movie before. Back in 2006, Time's Joe Klein enthusiastically suggested the Democrats' midterm election victory marked "the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan's revolution." Before that, in 1993, a Time cover story proclaimed that Bill Clinton was "Overturning the Reagan Era," complete with an upside-down picture of Reagan.

5. ABC & NBC: Can't Afford Health or Heat...in Liberal Hub of Boston
There's economic trouble in the land with people unable to afford proper health care or heat for their homes ABC and NBC contended on Wednesday night. And where did the network journalists travel to find the heart-rending anecdotes of people in pain thanks to the awful Bush economy? Some Republican area with harsh conservative politicians who have slashed government funding to the poor? No, to Boston, a veritable liberal nirvana of big government for decades, the home of John Kerry, with a Democratic Mayor in a state with an Obama ally, Deval Patrick, as Governor. ABC's Gigi Stone looked at how "many Americans" supposedly now "find themselves...forced to choose between short-term survival and long-term health." She asserted: "Doctors here in Boston say they're seeing an increasing number of patients who cannot afford the most basic preventive health measures." So much for the wonders of the Bay State's mandatory health insurance law. NBC anchor Brian Williams acknowledged "record levels of government help available" for heating bills, yet "communities around this country are worried people will simply not have enough money to keep warm in the cold winter during this cold economy." Michelle Kosinski showcased a Normandy veteran in Boston who "sometimes" can't afford to eat.

6. CNN: Conservatives Partially to Blame for Murders of Illegals?
In the 3 PM EST hour of Wednesday's Newsroom program, a report by CNN correspondent Joe Johns, along with a subsequent interview by anchor Rick Sanchez, raised the implication that anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, particularly from conservatives, might be partially to blame for a spike in so-called hate crimes against Latinos. During a clip in Johns' report, which was about the recent murder of an immigrant from Ecuador by teenagers, columnist Ruben Navarrette speculated that "[w]hen people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn't be surprised. At the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people, who are very impressionable, think, 'Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to.'" At the end of his report, Johns added that "[t]he question that's already being raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing."

7. BDS Gone Loony: Actor/Playwright Blames Bush for Writer's Block
Catching up with some pre-election whining, as James Taranto highlighted Friday in his "Best of the Web Today" compilation, character actor/playwright Wallace Shawn "blames President Bush for wrecking his love life and causing writer's block." Shawn, a short man with a distinctive voice you'd recognize from his many guest roles on TV shows (IMDb page), from Murphy Brown to Law & Order: CI (screen shot is from a 2006 episode of that NBC drama), complained to the Times of London: "Bush has openly mocked law and proclaimed a certain pleasure in sadism and exulted in holding prisoners and mistreating and torturing them, really. Of course this affects one emotionally: my emotional life has been very strongly affected by the fact that Bush was president and my writing life is affected by my emotional life."

8. Chef: 'On Behalf of All the People of England, Congrats' on Obama
No place is safe from expressions from foreigners pleased by Barack Obama's election. On Monday's Late Show, in the midst of demonstrating how to prepare a recipe for squid, British chef Jamie Oliver paused to tell David Letterman: "Can I just say, on behalf of all the people of England, congratulations on your new President. We like him very much." Letterman replied: "Oh, that's nice to hear. Thank you very much."


Shipman Skips Voucher Hypocrisy in Fawning
Story on Obama Kids

In a story about to which private school President-elect Barack Obama will send his children, Good Morning America reporter Claire Shipman on Wednesday mostly glossed over the obvious point that the Democrat likely won't be putting his daughters through the D.C. public educational system and also ignored his opposition to vouchers. Instead, she fawned that "the D.C. social world is obsessed with where these new, coolest kids on the block will wind up."

The only mention of public schools came when Shipman asserted: "Whenever there's a new first family with young children, the question always comes up, public or private? And with Washington, D.C. schools still struggling, it can be an especially difficult decision." She then played a clip of Washington Post reporter Jay Matthews explaining the woeful state of D.C.'s public schools. But, nowhere in the piece did Shipman mention the contradiction between Obama's opposition to school choice programs that allow low income students to use vouchers to attend private institutions and the fact that the President-elect and his wife have no intention to send their children to some of those very same schools in Washington.

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

Cybercast News Service editor-in-chief Terry Jeffrey wrote about the apparent hypocrisy in a November 12 column on the Townhall website:

In October, in the last presidential debate, Obama specifically attacked McCain's support for the school-choice program in Washington, D.C., which gives 1,900 lower-income students a voucher worth up to $7,500 to attend the private school of their choice -- and which McCain wanted to expand to include more students.

...

When Michelle Obama visited Washington this week, she toured only two prospective schools for her daughters: Sidwell Friends, where lower-school tuition is $28,442; and Georgetown Day, where tuition is $27,445 for grades 1-5.

See: townhall.com

In the 2008 campaign, Obama was endorsed by the National Education Association and other liberal teachers unions. And yet in her report, Shipman simply reiterated a history of what past presidents have done with their children, giving Obama a complete free pass on the issue of vouchers.

A transcript of the November 12 segment, which aired at 7:17am:

DIANE SAWYER: And according to People magazine, friends of the Obamas say that the number one job for Michelle Obama is finding the right school for her girls. Everyone can respect how difficult it is. Imagine how much more difficult by being in the spotlight of the White House. Here's GMA senior national correspondent Claire Shipman.

CLAIRE SHIPMAN: Michelle Obama has already looked at a few D.C. schools. And aides say she'll look at many more. She knows that a good fit for Malia and Sasha will make all the difference in the enormous upheaval they're about to experience.
LISA CAPUTO (Former press secretary, Clinton White House): As the first family, you going to want to work with the school that the children attend to ensure that the school protects the children's privacy.
SHIPMAN: Jackie Kennedy was so focused on that issue, she chose to bring the school to her young children.
SALLY QUINN (Washington POst): Jackie Kennedy had a little nursery school in the White House. And my God, you would think it was the A-list party- A-list of the city.
SHIPMAN: President and Mrs. Ford's youngest child, Susan, spent her high school years in Washington. And invited her entire senior class to the White House for prom where she and her date showed everyone- remember this- how to do that popular '70s dance, known as "The Bump." Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter sent their 9-year-old daughter Amy to public school. Who can forget how she arrived for her first day with a Snoopy book bag and a throng of photographers in tow? The Clintons opted to send 13-year-old Chelsea to the highly competitive private Sidwell Friends school. Whenever there's a new first family with young children, the question always comes up, public or private? And with Washington, D.C. schools still struggling, it can be an especially difficult decision.
JAY MATTHEWS (Education reporter, Washington Post): In terms of achievement rate, dropout rates, test scores, they're really scraping the bottom of the barrel.
SHIPMAN: The Obama girls now attend the prestigious and private University of Chicago Lab School. And if they do go private here, there are excellent and expensive options. The Maret School, where several Obama advisors send their children, might be appealing with its small size and single campus. Georgetown Day School is also popular for the children of top Obama advisors. And Sidwell Friends is not only Chelsea's alma mater, but the school Joe Biden's grandchildren attend. Malia and Sasha would, of course, be a feather in any school's cap. So, while the political world focuses on the parlor game of cabinet appointments, the D.C. social world is obsessed with where these new, coolest kids on the block will wind up. For "Good morning America," Claire Shipman, Washington.
SAWYER: And quite a block that is they're on.

ABC's Terry Moran Gushes Over 'Obama
Cool on Display'

Nightline co-host Terry Moran fawned over every detail of Barack Obama's White House meeting with President Bush and insisted that that since the President-elect arrived wearing sunglasses, this meant that the "Obama cool [was] on display." Moran, who has regularly gushed over every aspect of Obama's election and transition, narrated the Democrat's interactions with the current President. As video of Bush and Obama played, he breathlessly related: "You could see the power shifting though. Look at Obama putting his arm on Bush's back, letting the President go first."

Moran awkwardly brought up the issue of past commanders in chief who owned slaves and asked: "And you had to wonder that if in fact the [White House] is haunted, what the spirits of those former Presidents, many of whom were slave owners themselves would have made of what happened there today?" (An aside: 12 of 43 Presidents owned slaves. Is that "many?" FactCheck.org: www.factcheck.org )

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

He then quoted from a passage in Obama's autobiography. The Audacity of Hope, where the Senator described a White House meeting with President Bush. Unusually for Moran, he labeled Obama's description of Bush as "tinged with condescension." (The Democrat described Bush as someone who "would make for good company so long as the conversation revolved around sports and the kids.")

However, if Moran was interested in really giving viewers an idea of what Obama thinks of George W. Bush, he would have quoted from this passage on pages 45 and 46. Here the Senator described a White House meeting with the President:

"The President's eyes became fixed; his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption; his easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring and appreciated the Founders' wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check."

Of course, Moran didn't mention that particular section.

A transcript of the November 10 segment:

MARTIN BASHIR: The extent of Barack Obama's life journey must have dawned upon him today like never before. From Hawaii to Chicago and in a little over two months time, the White House. The President-elect and his wife Michelle were granted a sneak preview of their future home today by the current residents, as part of a transition that's now in process. And my co-anchor Terry Moran was there to welcome the house warming. Good evening, Terry.

TERRY MORAN: Good evening, Martin. Well, this old house behind me here has seen a lot of history, but nothing quite like today. You know, they say that Richard Nixon in his final days in office was wandering the halls of the White House, talking to the portraits and maybe even the ghosts of former presidents. And you had to wonder that if in fact the house is haunted, what the spirits of those former presidents, many of whom were slave owners themselves would have made of what happened there today? Barack Obama crossing the threshold of the White House. Walking into the Oval Office preparing for the transition of power. It was an extraordinary day. The president-elect of the United States began his day as just dad, dropping off his daughters at school. How their lives will change.
Today as Barack Obama flew on a chartered American Airlines jet from Chicago to Washington, that change began in earnest. Arriving in the nation's capital, he was the president-elect in shades. The Obama cool on display. A sign of the low key way he played his first visit to Washington after his election. But how could anyone be cool about this? At the south entrance to the White House, the president and the First Lady greeted the next president and First Lady. A formal tableau for the cameras but it seemed cordial. You could see the power shifting though. [Video of Obama and Bush plays over Moran.] Look at Obama putting his arm on Bush's back, letting the president go first.
And then a few minutes later, more history. The 43rd and soon to be 44th presidents, the Texas rancher and the Illinois lawyer, bound forever now by the unique trust the American people have imposed on them. They didn't seem tense, but they didn't seem warm either. And as they headed into the Oval Office, look at how Bush guides in Obama here. This was Barack Obama's seventh visit to the White House, but his first one to the Oval Office. Just the two of them in there. And some recent history.
SENATOR BARACK OBAMA: I don't blame Senator McCain for all of President Bush's mistakes. After all, John McCain only voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.
MORAN: Obama's entire campaign amounted to an assault on the Bush presidency, a promise of a new direction and the election was a repudiation of Bush. That's what change meant.
OBAMA: We can't afford four more years like the last eight.
MORAN: And it wasn't just political. There's some personal tension too. In his book "The Audacity of Hope", Obama recalled his first meeting with President Bush, his description tinged with condescension.
OBAMA [reading from audio book]: I had found the president to be a likable man, shrewd and disciplined but with the same straightforward manner that had helped him win two elections. You could easily imagine him owning the local car dealership down the street, coaching little league and grilling in his backyard. The kind of guy that would make for good company so long as the conversation revolved around sports and the kids.
MORAN: And then Obama, who read this account for the audio book edition remember some advice Bush gave him that day.
OBAMA [reading from audio book]: 'Come over here for a second,' he said, leading me off to one side of the room. 'You know,' he said quietly, 'I hope you don't mind me giving you a piece of advice.' 'Not at all, Mr. President.' He nodded. 'You've got a bright future,' he said. 'Very bright. But I have been in this town a while and let me tell you, it can be tough. When you get a lot of attention like you've been getting, people start gunning for you and it won't necessarily be just coming from my side, you understand, from yours too. Everybody will be waiting for you to slip, know what I mean? So watch yourself.'
MORAN: Today in front of the cameras, and aides said in the Oval Office as well it was all business. The battered economy, especially the auto industry and the troubled world situation were the topics. President Bush is clearly determined to work out a smooth transition for his successor, especially because this is the first war time transition in 40 years, as he noted last week.
PRESIDENT GEORGE W BUSH: We're in a struggle against violent extremists, determined to attack us. And they would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people.
MORAN: For the Obama family, there's a transition too. And today the first lady took Michelle on a tour of her family's new home. It's an extraordinary moment. The Obama family will move into a house built by slaves.
GARY WALTERS (former White House chief usher): The house is theirs. It's their space. If they want to paint the walls fuchsia, that's their decision.
MORAN: Gary Walters is the former chief usher at the White House. He served for decades there and he says Sasha and Malia, the Obama girls, will change this old house.
WALTERS: Children at the White House adds a different dimension. There's other activities. They're bringing friends in. They're having pizza parties. They're watching different movies, cartoons in the theater. They're energetic. They enjoy what is there.
MORAN: Right now, official Washington is consumed with a question - where will the girl goes to school? It even came up at the president-elect's first press conference.
OBAMA: Michelle will be, will be scouting out some schools. We'll be making a decision about that in the future.
MORAN: A lot of challenges, but also as ABC's veteran White House reporter Ann Compton notes, room for some fun too.
ANN COMPTON (ABC News reporter): There's a secret children's garden back in all of those trees on the south lawn. That dates back to the Kennedy era. So, the children had a little play area of their own. There's a full tennis court and a half basketball court and an outdoor swimming pool. Totally unseen by the public.
MORAN: So the President-elect jetted back to Chicago after this brief, but compelling trip. His grand new home and his daunting new job await him. The White House released a statement on today's meeting as did the Obama team. Both were brief and to the point. They said it went well. And given the scale of the problems the country faces, that is certainly a good sign. Martin?

Chris Matthews: Palin 'Talking About
God,' is 'Troubling'

After airing an interview clip of Sarah Palin telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren that she was looking for guidance from God about running for national office again, an appalled Chris Matthews called it "troubling," when he let loose this rant on Tuesday's Hardball: "Is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval? We've been through that with President Bush who said he, 'didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father.' And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for President? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour....Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent."

[This item, by the MRC's Geoffrey Dickens, was posted Tuesday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org

Then a little later in the program, Matthews returned to Palin's expressions of faith and noted that kind of talk can be,"dangerous." And when his guest, former Dick Cheney aide Ron Christie, said he was tired of the media picking on Palin when, in fact, Joe Biden made a lot of blunders, Matthews let this howler fly: "Joe Biden took more hits from the media than anybody for the last 30 years!"

The following exchanges occurred on the November 11 edition of Hardball:

[5:16pm]
SARAH PALIN: We are gonna have a 2012. I don't know who's gonna be a part of it. You know I, I, faith is a very big part of my life and putting, putting my life in my creator's hands. This is what I always do in life. Okay God if there is an open door for me somewhere '€" this is what I always pray -- I'm like don't let me miss the open door. And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later and if it's something that's gonna be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door.
(END CLIP)
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Welcome back to Hardball. That was, of course, Governor Sarah Palin addressing the prospects of her running for president, four years from now. Palin is hitting back at her critics in interviews and tomorrow she is set to deliver a big speech at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Miami. Well is she rehabilitating her image? According to the polls she took a hit during the campaign. Is she emerging as a new leader, a possible Republican candidate come the next time? NBC's Kelly O'Donnell covered the McCain campaign. She's in the know. And Lois Romano, my pal, is also always in the know. Knows everything about these kinds of things which is anything really deeply interesting personally.
Let's go to Kelly. Kelly what's up here? Is, is this commentary about theocracy and going to God for approval. We've been through that with President Bush who said he, "didn't take advice from his father, he got it from another father." And we've been through this sort of Joan of Arc period. Are we gonna get another piece of this where God's leading candidates to run for president? I mean that sort of keeps us out of the conversation doesn't it? I mean, seriously, I mean God is telling her to run? And she's saying it openly on a secular television show? This isn't the religious hour.

...

MATTHEWS: Talking about God, in a political setting is troubling to a lot of people. If you're talking about a big tent, this looks more like the church tent, not the big tent.

[5:46pm]
MATTHEWS: Okay let me ask Ron [Christie] a final question. Sarah Palin, tonight, in her interview with, with Greta Van Susteren last night, we're actually watching it tonight, on Hardball, before you came on. She said she was waiting to get the okay from God. Now I have nothing wrong with prayer, I pray all the time. But to talk about that in secular environment. To talk about that in a country which is so broad in its different views of Jesus, in fact, is that a good political move? To talk about God and whether you should run getting the okay from him? Didn't we have enough of that in the last eight years? God leading our politics? Self-selected views of God?

...

MATTHEWS: I'm not talking about faith, I'm talking about using it politically and talking about it this way, as if that's a determinant. You know we've, "God is on our side," kind of talk is very dangerous in the world because a lot of our enemies talk like that. And I think it's just a dangerous way to talk. Just a thought.
RON CHRISTIE: Chris, Chris can I say one last thing about-
MATTHEWS: Sure.
CHRISTIE: I mean again everyone jumps on Governor Palin, "Oh my goodness, she mentioned God, you know, in her decision." If you go back and look at some of the blunders that Joe Biden said during the campaign, no one ever criticized him. No one ever jumped on him.
MATTHEWS: It's all we talked about-
CHRISTIE: I'm, I'm, I'm tired of people picking on Governor Palin.
MATTHEWS: -didn't even know about it because we talk about him. Joe Biden took more hits from the media than anybody for the last 30 years! He's been paying for Neil Kinnock for, since that election!

Time Magazine (Again) Impatiently Declares
'End of Reagan Era'

Once again -- perhaps this time hoping that they are right -- Time magazine has ostentatiously declared: "The End of the Reagan Era." In the November 17 "commemorative edition," the magazine features a piece by historian Richard Norton Smith explaining how "the Age of the Gipper ends with Obama's election."

But we've seen this movie before. Back in 2006, Time's Joe Klein enthusiastically suggested the Democrats' midterm election victory marked "the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan's revolution."

Before that, in 1993, a Time cover story proclaimed that Bill Clinton was "Overturning the Reagan Era," complete with an upside-down picture of Reagan. Reporter Nancy Gibbs insisted that passage of Clinton's package of tax increases "brings to an end a bankrupt period in American politics. The narrow votes on Thursday and Friday represent the first real rejection of Reaganomics, a doctrine that survived for more than a decade in which taxes were lowered, spending raised, and Congress was blamed while everyone watched the deficit soar."

More in the November 14, 2006 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

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

It's not hard to see how Smith got the assignment to help bury Reaganism. While he elevates Reagan to a status alongside Andrew Jackson and Franklin Roosevelt -- presidents whose "status transcends stone portraiture or academic canonization...[who] stamped his name and, more importantly, his ideas, personality and values on a defining chapter of the American story" -- Smith saves all of his criticism for Reagan's conservative approach, even as he uses Reagan's example to scold today's Republicans as mean and backwards. An excerpt:

Reagan preferred laughing at his adversaries to demonizing them. He disarmed critics of his relaxed administrative style by acknowledging that the right hand of his Administration didn't always know what its far-right hand was up to. As the laughter crested, so did the tax-cutting, the regulatory rollback and the military buildup that foreshadowed, paradoxically, the most sweeping arms reductions of the nuclear era. The ensuing political realignment was measured less in voter-registration rolls than in a pervasive skepticism about the state. Because there were many things government did badly, it came to be assumed, there was virtually nothing it did well....

No President is immune to the law of unintended consequences. By decoupling conservatism in the 1980s from fiscal responsibility, he unwittingly sanctioned future deficits and helped usher in a consumerist society gaudily living beyond its means. The result: credit-card conservatism. Deprived of their green eyeshades, the Cold War and the Soviet Union, Reagan's ideological children have little to unify their fractious family except love of country and loyalty to the past.

Certainly the campaign they ran this fall was anything but Reaganesque. One wonders what Reagan the onetime movie star would make of a campaign that made an epithet out of celebrity. More than tactics, ideas mattered to Reagan. He was the proverbial conviction politician, and his midlife conversion from New Deal liberal to Goldwater conservative owed more to Friedrich von Hayek than Joe the Plumber -- the latter a perfect symbol of a party running on intellectual fumes. While Reagan thought in decades, if not centuries, his political heirs define success as owning the news cycle. Thus Halloween came early this year, as GOP operatives lurched from Ayers to acorn to questioning their opponents' patriotism and flinging allegations of socialism. The last claim in particular rang hollow coming from one who voted to recapitalize Wall Street and partly nationalize the banking system with $700 billion in taxpayer funds.

A base campaign indeed. McCain is a better man than his robocalls. Yet he became enmeshed in the red-state-vs.-blue-state, hot-button, wedge-issue, 50%-plus-one formula that has dominated and degraded our politics in these locust years of racial, regional and cultural polarization. Reagan at his best was a happy warrior, who put a smile on the sometimes dour face of conservatism and recast his political faith as both optimistic and futuristic. He was no hater, and cultural scapegoating wasn't his style. Indeed, in 1978 Reagan courageously opposed a California referendum that would have made it easier to fire gay schoolteachers simply on account of their sexual orientation.

Conservatives wishing to honor their modern founding father might begin by practicing what Reagan preached in his valedictory address to the 1992 GOP Convention in Houston. "Whatever else history may say about me when I'm gone," he told us, "I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts." Some things are ageless.

END of Excerpt

Smith's piece in full: www.time.com

ABC & NBC: Can't Afford Health or Heat...in
Liberal Hub of Boston

There's economic trouble in the land with people unable to afford proper health care or heat for their homes ABC and NBC contended on Wednesday night. And where did the network journalists travel to find the heart-rending anecdotes of people in pain thanks to the awful Bush economy? Some Republican area with harsh conservative politicians who have slashed government funding to the poor? No, to Boston, a veritable liberal nirvana of big government for decades, the home of John Kerry, with a Democratic Mayor in a state with an Obama ally, Deval Patrick, as Governor.

ABC's Gigi Stone looked at how "many Americans" supposedly now "find themselves...forced to choose between short-term survival and long-term health." She asserted: "Doctors here in Boston say they're seeing an increasing number of patients who cannot afford the most basic preventive health measures." So much for the wonders of the Bay State's mandatory health insurance law.

NBC anchor Brian Williams acknowledged "record levels of government help available" for heating bills, yet "communities around this country are worried people will simply not have enough money to keep warm in the cold winter during this cold economy." Michelle Kosinski showcased a Normandy veteran in Boston who "sometimes" can't afford to eat before she turned to John Drew of Action for Boston Community Development who fretted people "do not have enough income," so there are "infants who are at risk" and "as a national government, as a national priority, we've got to do better."

Trying to prove the situation is dire, Kosinski reported: "One study showed 73 percent of low-income families have cut back on necessities to afford heat, 35 percent went without medical care, 20 percent without food for at least a day." But that "study," really a poll, was taken three years ago!

The National Energy Assistance Directors' Association's "2005 National Energy Assistance Survey" was released in September of 2005, long before the current economic troubles: www.neada.org

Key findings: www.neada.org

Press release: www.neada.org

And Kosinki's number aren't as ominous as they sound. Yes, "20 percent reported that they went without food for at least one day," but that's sometime "in the past five years." The poll did find that "35 percent of respondents went without medical or dental care in the five years prior to the survey, due in part to their energy expenses." Again, over five years and only "in part" due to energy prices. Plus, that 35 percent was actually down from 36 percent in 2003.

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Thursday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

# From Stone's story on the Wednesday, November 12 edition of ABC's World News:

GIGI STONE: ...check ups are being canceled, surgeries postponed. Doctors here in Boston say they're seeing an increasing number of patients who cannot afford the most basic preventive health measures like a blood test, which makes it more likely controllable conditions will escalate into major medical problems. And then there's the expensive trip to the pharmacy.
GEORGIANNA EACMAN: My co-pay is $247.
STONE: That's a month?
EACMAN: That's a month.
STONE: With bills mounting, diabetic Georgianna Eacman stopped filling her prescriptions for insulin.
EACMAN: It is very humiliating to admit not only could I not support myself but I didn't even know how I was going to get the medication for tomorrow.
STONE: Eacman is now finding more affordable medicines at a low-income health center in Boston. It is a wrenching situation so many Americans find themselves in today, forced to choose between short-term survival and long-term health. Gigi Stone, ABC News, Boston.


# NBC Nightly News:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: If you've looked at the price of oil lately, then you've seen it falling hard. That would be good news, but home heating oil prices have been slow to follow. And despite record levels of government help available, at least to pay heating bills, communities around this country are worried people will simply not have enough money to keep warm in the cold winter during this cold economy. Our report from NBC's Michelle Kosinski.

MICHELLE KOSINSKI: 82-year-old veteran John McPherson loves his independence. He was on the beach at Normandy as a teenager. Now, he faces a different battle. Sometimes, his entire Social Security check goes to the heating bill.
KOSINSKI to McPHERSON: Was it really cold this morning?
JOHN McPHERSON: Oh, god.
KOSINSKI: He's been cutting back-
McPHERSON: Sometimes I don't eat.
KOSINSKI: -on food.
McPHERSON: You'll be so hungry, you don't feel like eating, you know what I mean?
KOSONSKI: That's what it takes to pay the heating bill?
McPHERSON: Yeah. I get these cup of soup things.
KOSINSKI: But this winter could be worse. Just as more Americans are facing financial tough times and a cold winter is predicted, the U.S. Department of Energy says we will still be paying more than the five-year average to heat our homes this winter, even with falling oil prices. For electric heat, you can expect to pay nearly 10 percent more than you did last year. Natural gas, over 3 percent more. And though your heating oil bills could be as much as 13 percent lower, that's still $500 more than that five-year average. At this Boston non-profit, people have been lining up to apply for aid since summer. Not all will qualify.
JOHN DREW, ACTION FOR BOSTON COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT: People do not have enough income. I'm gonna get really upset. Do not have enough income to live on, who worked hard all their lives. There's infants who are at risk. And as a national government, as a national priority, we've got to do better.
KOSINSKI: One study showed 73 percent of low-income families have cut back on necessities to afford heat, 35 percent went without medical care, 20 percent without food for at least a day.
ROBIN SHERMAN, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DONAHUE INSTITUTE: It's hard to imagine a situation where we could afford to buy fuel for all of the people who are gonna have difficulty.
KOSINSKI: The winter feels longer for Americans who will be struggling to stay warm. Michelle Kosinski, NBC Nws, Boston.

CNN: Conservatives Partially to Blame
for Murders of Illegals?

In the 3 PM EST hour of Wednesday's Newsroom program, a report by CNN correspondent Joe Johns, along with a subsequent interview by anchor Rick Sanchez, raised the implication that anti-illegal immigration rhetoric, particularly from conservatives, might be partially to blame for a spike in so-called hate crimes against Latinos. During a clip in Johns' report, which was about the recent murder of an immigrant from Ecuador by teenagers, columnist Ruben Navarrette speculated that "[w]hen people go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum, they shouldn't be surprised. At the end of the day, many people out there, and particularly young people, who are very impressionable, think, 'Hey, you know what? This is one group we can do this to.'" At the end of his report, Johns added that "[t]he question that's already being raised by activist groups in the newspapers is whether anti-immigrant rhetoric has created a climate for this kind of thing."

After the report, Sanchez interviewed Mark Potok of the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, who added that "really, racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda....have made their way out into the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on. And before you know it, they are on talk radio, they are on some cable news talk shows." Strangely, the CNN anchor then went on a bit of a tangent by bringing how Newsweek recently reported that "the Secret Service has now confirmed that threats against Barack Obama spiked when Sarah Palin began impugning his patriotism."

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

Johns' report, which began just before the bottom of the 3 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, focused on the recent murder of Marcello Lucero, and how his murder, allegedly by a group of teenagers on Long Island, might be part of a wider trend of "ethnically-motivated hate crimes." The CNN correspondent aired clips from a press conference where local Latino community leaders spoke out in anger in reaction to the murder, as well as reactions from other people in Suffolk County, New York. The only other clip came from Navarette, whose full quote is above. Besides the clips, Johns mentioned how "a recent Justice Department report shows Latinos are the chief victims of ethnically-motivated hate crimes" and how the report states that "Latinos were the victims of hate crimes 61 percent of the time."

After Johns' report, Sanchez went immediately to his interview of Potok. He praised Potok's organization as he introduced him: "There is nobody in this country that does a better job monitoring and following this type of thing than the Southern Poverty Law Center. There are be -- they are to be commended for their work. I've worked with them many times on stories like this one, and we're -- we're lucky enough to be joined now by Mark Potok. He's one of the directors there at the Southern Poverty Law Center."

Sanchez then asked Potok, the head of the SPLC's "Intelligence Project," if the Lucero case was an "isolated incident." He replied, "No, Rick, and thanks for the kind words about -- about SPLC. It's not an isolated case, and what some of the other people in your setup piece said is absolutely true. You know, basically, what we've seen over the last seven or eight years is increasingly, the kind of demonization and vilification of immigrants, and specifically, immigrants with brown skin....and that has been driven entirely by their exploitation of the anti-immigration issue."

Note how Potok specifically avoided using the word "illegal," and used the more general (and more biased/loaded) label "anti-immigration." The CNN anchor himself actually used it in his next question: "Do you believe -- I was about to ask you. The anti-immigration issue, which is -- some great arguments that are made on both sides of this argument. But when it gets very personal, do some people get the impression it gives them a license to do things that they normally wouldn't do?"

Potok then went on the offensive in response to Sanchez's question:

POTOK: Sure, and, you know, there may be, as you say, arguments on both sides. But here's the bottom line. You know, what we are seeing happening is really, racist conspiracy theories and false propaganda -- ideas like, you know, one-third of American prison cells are filled by undocumented immigrants -- you know, Mexico is engaged in a secret conspiracy to reconquer the Southwestern United States. These ideas jump out of these white supremacist groups. They have made their way out into the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on. And before you know it, they are on talk radio, they are on some cable news talk shows. You know-
SANCHEZ: Yeah-
POTOK: And they get out there into the minds of the population. And these alleged hate criminals, I have to say, these young guys, you know, they're classic in the sense that, you know, if, indeed, they're guilty of what they're accused of, you know, they undoubtedly felt that they were somehow carrying out the wishes of their community, being good kids.

Strangely, the CNN anchor then brought up what he called a "similar issue" concerning Palin's now famous "palling around with terrorists" line about Barack Obama's association with William Ayers:

SANCHEZ: I've got to ask you, Mark, one quick question before you go. We did some research here and we found out that there is a report. It was filed by Newsweek. They say the Secret Service has now confirmed that threats against Barack Obama spiked when Sarah Palin began impugning his patriotism. I bring that up because it's similar to what you were just talking about. What do you take from that?
POTOK: Well, I think it's absolutely true, and I wouldn't completely lay the blame at Sarah Palin's feet. You know, I think the very idea of a black man being elected, you know, to the White House is shocking to some subset of the American, you know, kind of white population.
SANCHEZ: So you're saying if you give them just the right information, you could kind of make them crazy with that?
POTOK: Well, I'm saying that when-
SANCHEZ: If you push them?
POTOK: When figures of authority, whether they be sort of pundits or preachers or politicians, say, you know, these people are coming here -- as one Congressman said not too long ago, to kill me and to kill you and to kill our families -- that, you know, some people, especially young men, take that message to heart, and before you know it they're, you know, going after somebody with a baseball bat and-
SANCHEZ: Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mark, let's do this again. Stay on top of it. We thank you, and we'll continue to run these stories and let people know what's going on out there.
POTOK: Rick, thanks.

It should be noted that the SPLC has included mainstream conservative groups such as the Young Americans for Freedom on its "Intelligence Project" list of "hate groups."

For more on the media's use of SPLC and the organization's listing of the Young Americans for Freedom as a "hate groups," see Kyle Drennen's October 11, 2007 item on NewsBusters, "CBS Early Show Sees Racism Epidemic in America" at: newsbusters.org

While the "conservative" or any other analogous term isn't used during either Johns' report or Sanchez's interview, it's not that much of a jump to figure out who is being referred to when Navarette spoke of people who "go out on the airwaves or in print or at the stump as a politician, and they beat that drum" and when Potok referred to "the larger anti-immigration movement -- the Minutemen groups and so on," "talk radio," and "cable news talk shows."

BDS Gone Loony: Actor/Playwright Blames
Bush for Writer's Block

Catching up with some pre-election whining, as James Taranto highlighted Friday in his "Best of the Web Today" compilation, character actor/playwright Wallace Shawn "blames President Bush for wrecking his love life and causing writer's block." Shawn, a short man with a distinctive voice you'd recognize from his many guest roles on TV shows (IMDb page), from Murphy Brown to Law & Order: CI (screen shot is from a 2006 episode of that NBC drama), complained to the Times of London: "Bush has openly mocked law and proclaimed a certain pleasure in sadism and exulted in holding prisoners and mistreating and torturing them, really. Of course this affects one emotionally: my emotional life has been very strongly affected by the fact that Bush was president and my writing life is affected by my emotional life."

Taranto quipped: "If Wallace Shawn's output increases substantially in the next four years, a lot of people may find they miss George W. Bush."

In the same collection of quotes, about George W. Bush's legacy, posted November 3 by the Times of London, Roseanne Barr kvetched: "I think the world is about to change for the better. Bush ruined it and now people have no choice but to try to put it back together. He's like Humpty Dumpty."

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

Shawn's complete reply: "I grew up in a country where my parents thought of Americans as benevolent people who were greeted joyfully by Europeans when they arrived in their jeeps at the end of World War II. Now we live in a time where you have to say that politicians openly proclaim the law of viciousness and trampling over people they didn't like: Bush has openly mocked law and proclaimed a certain pleasure in sadism and exulted in holding prisoners and mistreating and torturing them, really. Of course this affects one emotionally: my emotional life has been very strongly affected by the fact that Bush was president and my writing life is affected by my emotional life."

The Times of London article: entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

IMDB's page on Shawn: www.imdb.com

Taranto: online.wsj.com

Chef: 'On Behalf of All the People of
England, Congrats' on Obama

No place is safe from expressions from foreigners pleased by Barack Obama's election. On Monday's Late Show, in the midst of demonstrating how to prepare a recipe for squid, British chef Jamie Oliver paused to tell David Letterman: "Can I just say, on behalf of all the people of England, congratulations on your new President. We like him very much." Letterman replied: "Oh, that's nice to hear. Thank you very much."

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

Oliver, "The Naked Chef," was on the show to promote his new book, Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life: search.barnesandnoble.com

-- Brent Baker