Sunday TV Obama Appraisals: 'Moderate,' 'Spring Time in America!'--4/27/2009
2. 'Ethicist' for NYT: 'Great to Have President Who's...Not Insane'
3. ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson Still Promoting Universal Health Care
4. Cafferty: Scolds GOP 'Hardliners' for Using 'Socialists' Tag
5. Gumbel on Gang Violence: 'Why's Nobody Talking Gun Control?'
Asked by George Stephanopoulos to name the "most important thing we've learned" about President Barack Obama during his first one hundred days in office (which is still three days away), David Sanger, a Washington correspondent for the New York Times, asserted: "I think we've learned that he's more moderate than we had expected." That says a lot about the mindset of New York Times reporters and prompted George Will to retort, during the roundtable segment on ABC's This Week: "He's less moderate than I thought. He's going to design our cars. He's going to design our light bulbs. He's going to tell us where our house shall be built. This is supervisory liberalism in the most nagging, annoying sort."
Bob Schieffer brought aboard CBS's Face the Nation the Washington Post's Bob Woodward and Tina Brown, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Beast site, to assess Obama. Brown could barely contain herself, trumpeting "what a force-multiplier Michelle Obama has turned out to be" as she and her husband work in "flawless concert," so while "the world is talking about torture and the Bush administration, then we have Michelle with her vegetable garden. Talk about Spring time in America!"
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Sunday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
Brown's excitement: "One of the great surprises is what a force-multiplier Michelle Obama has turned out to be because these two are working in such, sort of, flawless concert. You know as the world is talking about torture and the Bush administration, then we have Michelle with her vegetable garden. Talk about Spring time in America! There's a real sense that these two are operating in a kind of wonderful symbiosis that we really haven't seen, I don't think ever, between a President and a First Lady."
Sanger's complete answer on the April 26 This Week: "I think we've learned that he's more moderate than we had expected. I think we've learned that he is quite determined to follow through, almost as a checklist, on his campaign promises. And I think we've also learned that we don't really know his bottom line. Whether it's the banks or Iran, we haven't yet figured out whether or not there's an element in this personality that wavers a bit."
Appearing on Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, Randy Cohen, the "The Ethicist" columnist for the New York Times Magazine, blurted: "I'm a huge Obama fan. I think it's such an unbelievably great thing to have a President who's competent and not insane."
Cohen's praise for President Barack Obama, combined with the cheap insult of former President George Bush, came just before a "but" as he expressed disappointment with Obama's pledge to not prosecute CIA operatives who "tortured" terrorists.
Cohen, who also helms the "Moral of the Story" blog for NYTimes.com, has long had disdain for Bush. In 2003 he questioned if Bush could "honorably" continue to serve in office and in late 2005 he was disgusted with Bush compared to Bill Clinton: "We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war."
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Friday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The November 21, 2005 CyberAlert item, "New York Times' 'Ethicist' Charges Bush 'Lied the Country Into a War,'" recounted:
Sunday's New York Times Magazine features another weekly submission from Randy Cohen, writer of "The Ethicist" column, about a non-political topic -- who should pay for damage done to an office building by a doctor's patient -- but on Friday's Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS Cohen made clear his disgust with President Bush. When Ferguson raised Bill Clinton's name, Cohen reacted with outrage that Ferguson was still concerned about such old news: "Oh, Clinton, he's been out of office for, you know, how long? Seven years. Some little lie about his personal life. We've got a guy now who lied the country into a war. You're talking about Clinton from seven years ago?" Actually, Clinton left office fewer than five years ago. Cohen advised that on Monica Lewinsky "he should have said, 'None of your business' and then after that, it's between him and his wife."
Cohen's hostility to President Bush isn't based on recent events. A MRC CyberAlert item in June of 2003 recounted: "Since President Bush is either a 'liar' or 'corrupt' or just plain 'incompetent' now that his reasons for war with Iraq have all been found to be untrue, the 'ethicist' columnist for the New York Times wondered on CNN whether Bush can 'honorably' continue to serve in office."
Full rundown: www.mediaresearch.org
For Cohen's weekly "The Ethicist" column: topics.nytimes.com
For his "Moral of the Story" blog: ethicist.blogs.nytimes.com
Good Morning America medical expert Dr. Tim Johnson on Friday gave ex-Health and Human Services nominee Tom Daschle a forum to promote his calls for a government-run health care system. Co-host Robin Roberts made it clear in an introduction to the segment that there would be no discussion of the tax problems that forced Daschle to withdraw his nomination. Johnson, however, did offer softballs about what might have been. He cooed: "How hard is it for you to be sitting somewhat on the sidelines, compared to what you would have done?"
The medical doctor also agitated for quick action on a universal health care bill. Johnson extolled: "We hear constantly, if health care isn't done this year, politically, it's going to be impossible...Do you agree?" In a break from past cheerleading for government run health care, the medical expert actually asked a few challenging questions of the former Democratic Senator. He asserted: "Most Americans will say they're for health care reform. But they don't want to pay any more for their health care. Or very little more. Can you have health care reform without increasing, overall, the costs for individual Americans?" Johnson also brought up Republican opposition to the legislation.
[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Friday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
A March 2 CyberAlert item, "ABC: 'National Shame' Will Propel Obama's Health Plan to Victory," recounted:
"Ultimately," President Barack Obama will get his way on "universal" health coverage, because of "just one fact" ABC's Dr. Tim Johnson declared "I want to let everybody hear," and that is the "national shame" of how "we spend more than twice as much, per person, on health care in his country as the average of all other industrialized countries, yet we're the only one that doesn't have universal coverage."
Complete rundown: www.mrc.org
On October 19, 2007, the ABC News correspondent queried then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton: "Do you think the Republicans who are against [universal health care] are immoral?" On April 26, 2007, GMA co-host Robin Roberts introduced a Johnson segment on a new congressional health care bill by Ted Kennedy. She enthused, "You're very happy about this. You say it's bold and politically brilliant."
On the September 24, 1993 edition of 20/20 Johnson praised: "I say the Clintons are almost heroes in my mind for finally facing up to the terrible problems we have with our current health care system and bringing it to the attention of the public."
A transcript of the April 24 segment, which aired at 7:14am, follows:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Next week, though, marks 100 days in office for President Obama. He has made it clear that health care reform is a big priority. We have an exclusive interview with the man who was once President Obama's top choice to overhaul health care, former Senator- Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. He took himself out of the running after a controversy over his taxes, a controversy he did not discuss in the interview But what he did offer our medical editor, Dr. Tim Johnson, his views on health care reform.
During his regular commentary on Friday's Situation Room, CNN's resident curmudgeon Jack Cafferty blamed Republican losses in the 2008 election, in part, on their use of the "socialist" label against Democrats. After reporting on a "conservative faction of the Republican National Committee" wanting to use this label against their opponents, and how they petitioned RNC Chairman Michael Steele to consider a resolution about it, he described the faction as "hardliners."
Before reading some of the viewer responses to his commentary, he returned to gushing over Michelle Obama, suggesting that she might be President in the future. Cafferty also told one apparently conservative respondent who used the fascist and communist labels to "lighten up."
[This item, by the Matthew Balan, was posted Friday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
The commentator made his regular "Cafferty File" commentary seven minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program. He began immediately with his swipe at Republicans: "Wolf, it seems like some Republicans still have not figured out that they lost big-time last November, in part, because the American people are sick and tired of their style of politics. Exhibit A: a conservative faction of the Republican National Committee wants the party to brand Democrats as socialists."
After quoting from a RNC member's accusation against President Obama, Cafferty complimented RNC Chairman Michael Steele's apparent response to it, and used the "hardliner" label against the conservative Republicans: "A RNC spokesman wouldn't say what Steele thinks about all of this, but...a memo...earlier this month suggests that while he agrees with hardliners who say the president is leading the country toward socialism, he's probably not going to make it official party policy -- good thinking on his part." He also recounted how some Republicans "threw around the 'socialist' label during last year's campaign...and more recently, Congressman Spencer Bachus of Alabama claimed that there are 17 socialists in Congress. None of this seems like a real good way for the Republican Party to attract voters. I guess we'll find out."
He asked his "Question of the Hour" as if it were rhetorical: "The question is this: is it a mistake for some Republicans to try to brand Democrats as 'socialists'? Go to CNN.com/CaffertyFile, post a comment on my blog. Here's a hint: yes."
Before he came back and read some of his viewer responses near the end of the hour, Cafferty responded to preceding report about Michelle Obama's multiple visits to federal agencies, all the while gushing over the first lady: "...She is just so gracious and so appealing. Who knows -- maybe she'll be president one day." As you might expect, all but two of the responses that he read agreed with his viewpoint. He told one of the two who disagreed with him to "lighten up."
CAFFERTY: "Linda writes from Kentucky, 'This is precisely why I have no faith at all in the Republican Party. They keep trying to appeal to their knuckle-dragging base. I notice Meghan McCain [coughs] -- pardon me, making the rounds, trying to yank the party back to some semblance of reason. More power to her.'
Cafferty briefly returned to fawning over Mrs. Obama at the end of the segment, asking anchor Wolf Blitzer, "You'd vote for Michelle Obama if she ran for president, wouldn't you Wolf?" This is from the man who confessed his crush on the first lady in March. It's not surprising that the commentator proposed this question, since CNN itself conducted an online poll at the beginning of April asking if Mrs. Obama should run for president in 2020.
For more on Cafferty's crush on Michelle Obama, see the March 4 CyberAlert item, "CNN's Jack Cafferty Confesses His 'Crush on Michelle Obama,'" at: www.mrc.org
For more on CNN's poll about Michelle Obama running for President, see the April 6 item by Matthew Balan on NewsBusters.org, "CNN.com Poll: 'Should Michelle Obama Run For President in 2020?'" at: newsbusters.org
Bryant Gumbel is still around, popping up monthly on HBO, which provides him with a platform to continue forwarding liberal nostrums unrelated to reality. On this month's edition of Real Sports, the sports news magazine he anchors, Gumbel decided the answer to inner-city gang violence is...more gun control!
Following a story on a rash of seven shootings with five deaths of high school athletes in the Norfolk/Virginia Beach/Portsmouth region of Virginia, an area reporter Jon Frankel described as "besieged by gangs, guns and fear," Frankel told Gumbel "that there has been a real growth of gang activity in the area" as authorities have "really seen tremendous growth of these kids, you know, putting down stakes and saying 'this is our turf, stop messing with us.'" To which, Gumbel responded: "Let me get on my own soapbox here: I mean, they're talking about doubling the anti-gang unit. Why's nobody talking gun control?"
As if gangs don't use guns to murder in states with strict gun control.
[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Saturday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]
From the in-studio discussion, after the piece ran, on the April edition of Real Sports which first aired on Tuesday night, April 14:
BRYANT GUMBEL: Seven shooting in such a short period. Do they have any theories as to why the sudden escalation?
-- Brent Baker