Archive for November 2008
Originally published on MediaPutz.com on November 27, 2008
Media types conduct sleazy activities all the time, but usually only one sleazy thing at a time. Then we have media types who can multitask sleaze – media types such as Dick Morris.
Morris has repeatedly used his columns and Fox News appearances for which he is paid to do those activities. But he has also been promoting and raising money for the National Republican Trust PAC during those activities. And here’s where the double sleaze kicks in — he didn’t disclose that the PAC has paid $24,000 to a company apparently connected to Morris. And Morris’ e-mail newsletter frequently ran ads that state: “Paid for by The National Republican Trust PAC.”
As Media Matters has tabulated, between October 27 and November 17, Morris referred to GOPTrust.com in:
* 13 appearances on Fox News
* 4 columns posted on DickMorris.com
* 2 columns for The Hill
* 1 quote for a Newsmax.com article, the entirety of which was about Morris’ claim that a GOPTrust.com ad contributed to “a seismic shift for [Sen. John] McCain” in an October 31 Zogby poll
* 1 syndicated column for Creators Syndicate
* 1 column for the New York Post (owned by Rupert Murdoch)
This isn’t a slip of the tongue here and there – this is a contrived media strategy.
And Morris keeps on soliciting. Now that Morris has been confronted about this glaring lack of ethics and integrity, how does he justify these practices? Take a look from Monday’s “Hannity & Colmes”:
“Now in the last couple of days, some of the liberals have lashed back at me, claiming that somehow I’m getting paid by this group. But the fact is that all they’ve done is buy ads on my Web site. Like they buy ads in The New York Times. And I’m no more in cahoots with them than The New York Times is. And this has all been fully disclosed.”
Uh, no, this hasn’t been disclosed. Not by any of the media outlets previously mentioned. And uh, The New York Times doesn’t encourage contributions to advertisers in the middle of its content.
And these tie-ins aren’t subtle, again from Monday’s “Hannity & Colmes”: “pushing very, very hard for a trust called GOPTrust.com.” For $24,000, you could see why he is “pushing very, very hard,” ethics be damned.
Being aware of conflicts of interest becomes more crucial whether it’s multiple levels of media ownership or retired generals given talking points by the Bush Administration. What Morris doesn’t get is that integrity is build on avoiding and, when it comes up, disclosing conflicts of interest. But that assumes integrity is something Morris wants.
The media overlooks that Morris is a Republican and has helped mostly Republican politicians in his career. They only focus on his relationship with the Clintons. But given the way he trashes both Bill and Hillary Clinton whenever he can – and after all he wouldn’t be on FOX “News” if it weren’t for the Clintons – he doesn’t seem very grateful.
And since his political career has been reduced to occasional overseas consulting, his “journalism career” takes him to mostly right-wing outlets where he can spit out his anti-Clinton venom and his often inaccurate political prognostications.
But since his track record of ethics includes letting a prostitute listen in on the president’s calls while she sucks off Morris’ toes, we can’t be surprised he would stoop this low. So Dick Morris can’t be surprised when we give him the Media Putz of the week.
Dick Morris previously won the Media Putz on January 24, 2008.
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Tue, 11/25/2008 – 11:20am
In the Palin turkey video, now making its way worldwide, the governor is asked the traditional question asked this time of year, “What is it that you’re thankful for this year?”
“So thankful for the health and happiness of my family, that my son’s Striker brigade is safe over there in Iraq, relatively safe, and school’s going well for the kids, and Trig is happy and healthy, just very thankful for the health and happiness of my family.”
So what’s missing from this picture?
Well, if you were on the Christmas card list for the Palins this year, you would hear about what happened to the family: Trig was born, Track went off to Iraq, Mom ran for vice president, and of course, Bristol got pregnant and she is going to marry Levi.
Wait, Palin never mentioned that last part, did she? Bristol was lumped in with “school’s going well for the kids” along with Willow and Piper. Wouldn’t Mom have said “we’re happy for our daughter, soon to give birth, and for our new incoming son-in-law”? After all, Bristol would be really close to being 8 months pregnant at this point, something that might be obvious when she comes into a room.
In a household that took the news well that a teenage girl was pregnant and going to marry the father, you would think that might be worth mentioning. True, there might be some denial for a woman of Sarah Palin’s age to be a grandmother. But for a person who talks about her children a lot, it seems a rather glaring omission not to mention her ever-expanding pregnant teenage daughter close to giving birth.
Unless, of course, Bristol’s pregnancy isn’t true.
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 11/24/2008 – 1:05pm
Not coming to a theater near you: Three middle-aged men go on a road trip to rediscover the world they live in and how to improve it. But there’s one wacky catch: each of them runs a failing auto company, and they’re driving from Detroit to Washington, but they need a car that can get them there without falling apart. Oh, and if they take one of their one, which company gets the honor?
It was be quite cool, if they do take one of their own cars, to ask them what kind of mileage they get on that car. They might wish they were traveling in a Honda or Toyota if the price of gas actually meant something to them.
They would have time on this road trip to delve into why their companies haven’t been able to produce the kinds of cars Americans need and want, why foreign companies are able to make these cars, and perhaps, with several legal pads in tow, write up a plan to wisely use the potential bailout money.
Imagine if William C. Durant, Henry Ford, and Walter P. Chrysler were in a car — more than likely a Model T — taking days to go from Detroit to Washington. They would have had more time to develop plans, but they also possessed innovative minds. Innovation is what these companies succeed for long periods of time.
What we’ve seen from the current and recent executives of the Big Three is a lack of innovation, a lack of initiative, and a lack of concern. Resting on laurels or pressure to “buy American” aren’t ways to get new and potential customers to buy your products.
A road trip can be a good way to bring people together, at least it happens in the movies, whether it’s “Thelma & Louise,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” or the recent addition of “Soul Men.”
But if solving a long-time, ongoing major collapse of the last true bastion of American manufacturing is the goal, the road trip may not be long enough if the participants aren’t willing to be constructive parts of the solution.
The fact that they took individual private corporate jets to Washington in the first place is why they are in this made-for-the-cinema adventure. But it is that kind of madcap start that could spell a beautiful ending. Let’s hope the top executives are ready for a wild adventure, and a chance to learn something. If it has a happy ending, I might pay money to see that movie.
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Mon, 11/24/2008 – 10:40am
It was a lost point: when David Letterman had Katie Couric on his show last week, he didn’t ask her about the topic everyone thought he might bring up: What happened the night that John McCain blew off Letterman for Katie Couric?
Unlike most MSM issues that slip completely through, Letterman made good by getting Couric on the phone the next day, specifically to talk about that Wednesday night in September when McCain talked to a CBS star, but it wasn’t Letterman.
Couric said over the phone that McCain never mentioned that he was scheduled to be on Letterman. McCain told Letterman “I screwed up.” Couric told Letterman on the phone that if she had known McCain was supposed to do Letterman, she would have told the Senator to go on Dave.
Despite McCain’s “I screwed up” mantra, we never really got a good explanation from anyone in the McCain campaign as to specifically why McCain didn’t tell Letterman the truth. But at least on this past Thursday night, we got a little more insight on one of the more bizarre chapters of the 2008 presidential campaign.
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Fri, 11/21/2008 – 7:47am
It’s as official as it can be at this point that Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano will be the new Director of Homeland Security. Napolitano is well-suited and well-qualified for the post. And it didn’t hurt that she was an early supporter of Barack Obama.
You could say I’m biased since I did meet her briefly on my whirlwind Indiana tour in May. But she is a former U.S. Attorney, former Attorney General, and current Governor, all in a major border state.
And Napolitano can’t run for re-election in 2010, so she would need a job. There has been a lot of talk about her running for John McCain’s Senate seat in 2010, and she still might do so. But since McCain has announced that he is running again, she might be reassessing her chances.
The immediate drawback to the news is that her replacement in Arizona will be a Republican. Arizona does not have a lieutenant governor, and Secretary of State Jan Brewer will jump up to the top spot. But whomever was going to run for governor from the Democratic Party in 2010 knew the position would be open for some time.
But since Napolitano will be the third Homeland Security chief ever and the first Democrat, she would be an idea choice to redefine the position. This artificially created position, after the September 11 attacks, has been shaped in the George W. Bush mold.
Assuming this position will be around for awhile and actually useful — maybe — it is imperative to have someone in the position to truly reshape what the Homeland Security position should do. And assuming an 8-year run for President Obama, Democrats can shape this position — and the 22 agencies contained within — in a way to make it last well beyond the Obama years.
No more color charts, no using it to unnecessarily harass visitors to the U.S. – those are the easy choices. But FEMA is one of those 22 agencies. There is a lot under this umbrella. If you were Gov. Napolitano, how would you put your stamp on the Department of Homeland Security?
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Thu, 11/20/2008 – 11:00am
Ted Stevens — 40 years
Pete Domenici — 36 years
John Warner — 30 years
That’s 106 years of Republican Senate rule that is retiring or being pushed out (Stevens). Now the seniority of the Republican Party is down to Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), both elected in 1976.
The next three in seniority are Thad Cochran (R-MS) in 1978, Arlen Specter (R-PA) in 1980, and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in 1980.
Why is this important to Democrats and progressives? Well, the more senior Republican members tend to be more pragmatic and sometimes less harshly conservative.
In looking for bipartisanship, an Obama trademark, losing moderate Republican senators isn’t always the best thing, especially those that have an institutional memory of when the mood wasn’t as hostile.
The good news for Democrats is that the Republicans aren’t gaining from the back end. There will be no new Republican Senators from the 2008 class. There was only one new GOP Senator in 2006: Bob Corker (R-TN).
And for the six Republican U.S. Senators who joined from the 2004 class, all of them replaced a Democrat, a sign the Democrats can fight for those seats: Mel Martinez (R-FL), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), David Vitter (R-LA), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and John Thune (R-SD).
When a Senator knows his/her party won’t be in power for awhile, their minds start to wander. Specter will be 80 and Grassley will be 77 when they are up for re-election in 2010, both in states that are winnable for Democrats.
We still don’t know Minnesota and Georgia, but whether the Dems get to 60 may not be as important as holding onto the Senate for decades to come. Each seat that fight tooth and nail on is one less seat they need to worry about later on in case of losses from having control of the White House as well.
The period from 1995-2007 is a dark one for this country, thanks to virtual GOP dominance of Congress in that time. Democrats need to use their power wisely to help the people (not corporations and lobbyists), and if they can do so, their reign can be long and fruitful.
Originally published on MediaPutz.com on November 20, 2008
If you look at the fancy economic statistics over the last 40 years, the economic gains under Democratic presidents far outweigh the gains (and losses) under Republican presidents. And the outgoing White House “resider” has the worst record since Herbert Hoover, hands down.
This statistics apply in the real world. In bizarro right-wing radio world, the real statistics don’t compute. Nothing, of course, is ever the fault of a Republican president. No media figure truly gets this more than Rush Limbaugh.
Two months from today, Barack Obama becomes the 44th president of the United States. And he won’t be in control of anything until then. But in Limbaugh’s world, we are already in an “Obama recession.”
From the November 6 program:
“The Obama recession is in full swing, ladies and gentlemen. Stocks are dying, which is a precursor of things to come. This is an Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. He hasn’t done anything yet but his ideas are killing the economy. His ideas are killing Wall Street.”
In this passage, Limbaugh admits Obama hasn’t been able to do anything yet. But wait, his ideas are the problem? Such as giving those making under $250,000 a tax break? Such as investing in this country? Such as putting in regulation for banks and insurance companies so we don’t have to bail them out?
We’ve seen this approach before. When George W. Bush came into office in 2001, no matter what he did, everything was the “fault” of Bill Clinton. When Bush had virtually neutral job growth in his first four years, whose fault was that? Bill Clinton, of course.
Unlike Limbaugh’s dittoheads, Rush has benefited greatly from the Bush economic approach: give those who already have a lot of money and give them more. And the dittoheads pay the price.
Of course, those in Rush’s tax bracket also gained wealth in the rocking Clinton economy of the 1990s. True, some of the dittoheads didn’t gain as much as Limbaugh, but they were a lot better off in that decade.
But this is all part of the big right-wing plan to take advantage of the legitimate anxiety felt by those who were abandoned economically under Bush, and who are seriously worried about what will come next.
Limbaugh, who is so rich that he literally could use money as toilet paper, doesn’t have to worry about where his next meal will come from, whether he will have to choose between medicine and rent (especially if it’s OxyContin), and whether he will have savings when he is old.
But this is more than right-wing hate against a Democratic Party president. This is playing on the fears of those who have economically suffered and scaring them further. “Might turn into a depression.” Gee Rush, can’t you wait until January 20 to find out?
If Limbaugh were really concerned for his listeners and their economic plight, he would use his 3-hour radio show to blast Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Phil Gramm, the banks and insurance companies, and of course, Wall Street.
But this isn’t all about economic justice or fairness or even reestablishing America as the “land of opportunity.” This is all about the right-wing media, truth be damned, spewing blinding, irrational hate against a president-elect simply because he belongs to the “wrong party.” For once again using the airwaves to misguide and misinform, we gladly give Rush Limbaugh our Media Putz of the week.