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Time Mag's Grunwald Frets Chambliss Will Cause GOP to Shift Right --12/3/2008


1. Time Mag's Grunwald Frets Chambliss Will Cause GOP to Shift Right
In a Tuesday posting before the results were in from Georgia's run-off Senate election between incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss, who won, and Democrat Jim Martin, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald fretted a Chambliss victory "could reinforce the dangerous message that recent electoral results have been sending to Republicans" which is that "GOP moderates like Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays and GOP pragmatists like North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory keep losing, while most Republican survivors have been conservatives from conservative districts and conservative states." So, Grunwald worried, "the party keeps looking more like Chambliss and moving further in his direction -- even more white, even more to the right, even more eager to fight."

2. 'Rather: Unleashed' = Evils of 'Huge Conglomerate' Owning News
As if anyone would be interested in Dan Rather being "unleashed," Tuesday's edition of the IFC Media Project, a weekly far-left show that presumes the media are biased to the right, featured Rather whining about too much entertainment in news and blaming "the big, huge international conglomerate that now owns so many of the news outlets" for bringing American journalism to "a crisis point" -- not his own embarrassing political hit job on President Bush based on forged documents -- for blocking "investigative" journalism.

3. CNN's Brown Lectures Obama for Brushing Off Media's Questions
On Monday's No Bias, No Bull program, CNN's Campbell Brown lashed out at President-elect Barack Obama for his flippant response to a reporter's question: "Mr. President-elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn't just about the media. It's about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn't. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn't you mean?"


Time Mag's Grunwald Frets Chambliss Will
Cause GOP to Shift Right

In a Tuesday posting before the results were in from Georgia's run-off Senate election between incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss, who won, and Democrat Jim Martin, Time magazine's Michael Grunwald fretted a Chambliss victory "could reinforce the dangerous message that recent electoral results have been sending to Republicans" which is that "GOP moderates like Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays and GOP pragmatists like North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory keep losing, while most Republican survivors have been conservatives from conservative districts and conservative states." So, Grunwald worried, "the party keeps looking more like Chambliss and moving further in his direction -- even more white, even more to the right, even more eager to fight."

Grunwald used the piece to attack Chambliss for being a "textbook Bush-Cheney Republican" and praised Martin for potentially being a repudiation of Bush and a "candidate of the middle class."

Grunwald started by reminding readers that Georgia is still "an extremely conservative state" despite a Time magazine article from June which wondered if Georgia would be "Obama's Ohio" in the election. The writer used this characterization of Georgia to frame Martin's potential win as "a crowning embarrassment for the GOP" and attacked Republicans by saying it would "rival Obama's own victory as a repudiation of the Bush agenda of tax cuts for the rich, pork for the well-connected, belt-tightening for the working poor, drill-baby-drill, strict-construction judges and military adventurism." That's when the Chambliss-bashing began, as Grunwald went on to say, "not to mention the political cynicism that made Chambliss notorious after his ads in 2002 comparing his opponent, triple-amputee Max Cleland, to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein."

[This item is based on a Tuesday posting, by MRC intern Lyndsi Thomas, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Later in the article, Grunwald ripped Chambliss as a "near-parody of a Bush-Cheney Republican," claiming Chambliss has "supported Bush on just about everything but its efforts to rein in outrageous farm subsidies. He is so tight with the sugar industry that he attacked a whistleblower who reported safety problems after an explosion at a Georgia mill killed 14 people. He has been an ardent supporter of sending American troops into harm's way even though he avoided serving in Vietnam through student deferments, as well as an allegedly bum knee that hasn't hampered his reputation as one of the best golfers in Congress. On a recent appearance on Fox News, he warned that if he isn't re-elected, 'you're going to see an economic stimulus like you won't believe.' As if that would be a bad thing!"

On the other hand, Grunwald described Martin as simply "a mild-mannered former state legislator and human resources commissioner who is unusually progressive for a statewide candidate in Georgia."

Grunwald's biggest concern, though, was a win by Chambliss would "reinforce the dangerous message that recent electoral results have been sending to Republicans" which is that moderates, like Connecticut congressman Christopher Shays and North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory, lose elections while most Republican "survivors" are conservative. Grunwald argued that Chambliss's win would move the party further in his directions, which he described as being "even more white, even more to the right, even more eager to fight."

He concluded:

A Chambliss victory would not send much of a message to the nation; it would just confirm the obvious fact that Georgia is more conservative than the nation. But it could reinforce the dangerous message that recent electoral results have been sending to Republicans. GOP moderates like Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays and GOP pragmatists like North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory keep losing, while most Republican survivors have been conservatives from conservative districts and conservative states. So the party keeps looking more like Chambliss and moving further in his direction -- even more white, even more to the right, even more eager to fight.

It's a defensible electoral strategy -- if you're trying to win elections in the Deep South. But the rest of the country isn't likely to embrace Chambliss any more than it has embraced Bush.

According to Gruwnald, the view by many conservatives that the Republican Party is too moderate is untrue. He claimed that Republicans in Washington have not failed to defend traditional values as they "got two conservative justices on the Supreme Court, passed all kinds of laws restricting abortion and stem-cell research, and practically shut down the government to try to save Terri Schiavo." He goes on to say that there is "little evidence that Americans soured on the GOP because of its profligacy" and uses John McCain's "crusade against earmarks" to prove that Americans "don't seem to be crying out for austerity and deregulation." But is McCain the best example of a "conservative" Republican to use? He did support the $700 billion bailout to buy bad mortgages and the debt of large institutions, and that's when his poll numbers really began to go downhill.

For Grunwald's December 2 piece, "What's Really at Stake in Georgia's Senate Runoff," go to: www.time.com

'Rather: Unleashed' = Evils of 'Huge
Conglomerate' Owning News

As if anyone would be interested in Dan Rather being "unleashed," Tuesday's edition of the IFC Media Project, a weekly far-left show that presumes the media are biased to the right, featured Rather whining about too much entertainment in news and blaming "the big, huge international conglomerate that now owns so many of the news outlets" for bringing American journalism to "a crisis point" -- not his own embarrassing political hit job on President Bush based on forged documents -- for blocking "investigative" journalism.

After offering the trite banality that "investigative reporting, finding out what people in power don't want the public at large to know and disseminating it, is one of the most important roles of journalism," Rather argued: "It causes trouble because the big, huge international conglomerate that now owns so many of the news outlets, they have special needs in Washington. They are asking for favors, these people, needing favors -- regulatory, legislative needs -- of the very people that good investigative reporters would be digging into and exposing."

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

Part of the "Dan Rather: Unleashed" commentary on the December 2 edition of the IFC Media Project on the Independent Film Channel:

Investigative reporting, finding out what people in power don't want the public at large to know and disseminating it, is one of the most important roles of journalism in its role as the so-called Fourth Estate. And investigative reporting has gone badly out of fashion. The trend line is against it.

There are reasons. The reasons: It takes longer, it's more expensive than other kinds of coverage, and it causes trouble because the big, huge international conglomerate that now owns so many of the news outlets, they have special needs in Washington. They are asking for favors, these people, needing favors -- regulatory, legislative needs -- of the very people that good investigative reporters would be digging into and exposing, if you will. And this comes in conflict.

I think it's one reason, that it's not too strong to say, that American journalism today is at a crisis point. We either are going to steady ourselves, get back to basics, the basics of what our role in a system of government such as ours is and should be, or we're going to continue this slide downward where news and entertainment are undistinguishable.

IFC's page for the program: www.ifc.com

CNN's Brown Lectures Obama for Brushing
Off Media's Questions

On Monday's No Bias, No Bull program, CNN's Campbell Brown lashed out at President-elect Barack Obama for his flippant response to a reporter's question: "Mr. President-elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn't just about the media. It's about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn't. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn't you mean?"

During the press conference where Obama unveiled his national security team, Peter Baker of the New York Times brought up the tough primary fight between the President-Elect and Mrs Clinton: "...[Y]ou were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring." The outgoing Illinois senator replied, "I mean, I think -- this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you're having fun."

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

Brown reacted sarcastically to this "having fun" remark: "There we go again. The pesky media -- all we want to do is have a little fun, stir things up for our own amusement. I mean, really, how silly of that reporter to dare ask you, Mr. President-Elect, how it is that you completely mocked Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience just a few months ago, and yet today, you think there is no one more qualified than she to lead your foreign policy team? It's a clever device, treating a question so dismissively in an attempt to delegitimize it, but it is a legitimate question. As annoying how you may have found it, it is a fair question."

The full transcript of Brown's monologue, which came during her regular "Cutting Through the Bull" feature just after the top of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program on Monday:

CAMPBELL BROWN: First tonight, though, as always, we are 'Cutting Through the Bull.' No one here needs to be reminded of how heated things got between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during the campaign. She trashed him, saying he wasn't ready to be commander-in-chief. He trashed her, mocking her foreign policy experience as first lady. Well, now, of course, they have put all of that behind them, so that she can become his Secretary of State. Naturally, given all that was said, this issue came up during an exchange with reporters today. This is worth listening to.
PETER BAKER, NEW YORK TIMES: You talked about the importance, just now, of having different voices and robust debate within your administration. But, again, going back to the campaign, you were asked and talked about the qualifications of the -- your now, your nominee for Secretary of State, and you belittled her travels around the world, equating it to having teas with foreign leaders. And your new White House counsel said that her resume was grossly exaggerated when it came to foreign policy. I'm wondering whether you can talk about the evolution of your views of her credentials since the spring.
PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: I mean, I think -- this is fun for the press to try to stir up whatever quotes were generated during the course of the campaign. No, I understand, and you're having fun.
BROWN: There we go again. The pesky media -- all we want to do is have a little fun, stir things up for our own amusement. I mean, really, how silly of that reporter to dare ask you, Mr. President-Elect, how it is that you completely mocked Hillary Clinton's foreign policy experience just a few months ago, and yet today, you think there is no one more qualified than she to lead your foreign policy team? It's a clever device, treating a question so dismissively in an attempt to delegitimize it, but it is a legitimate question. As annoying how you may have found it, it is a fair question. It was only in March of this year that Greg Craig, your new White House counsel, put out a memo over four pages long, outlining point by point Hillary Clinton's foreign policy claims, calling them all exaggerated, just words, not supported by her record.
Now, look, maybe you regret what you said about Hillary Clinton. Maybe it was, as you suggested today, all just said in the heat of the campaign. If that is the case, and you are both now rising above it, then you deserve to be commended for that. And you could have been explicit in saying all of that today. You could have explained the evolution of your thinking, instead of belittling a question you didn't like.
Mr. President-Elect, reporters, we hope, are going to ask you a lot of annoying questions over the next four years. Get used to it. That is the job of the media, to hold you accountable. But this isn't just about the media. It's about the American people, many of whom voted for you because of what you said during the campaign, and they have a right to know which of those things you meant and which you didn't. Apparently, as you made clear today, you didn't mean what you said about Hillary Clinton. So, what else didn't you mean? The media is going to be asking, and you were wrong today. Annoying questions are about more than just the press having fun. Annoying questions are about the press doing its job and the people's right to know.

-- Brent Baker