October 21, 2009

Good Girl Mika

Unbelievable. CNN edited by the White House...on the air. At least there's no pretense about who's writing the script. Gives lapdogs everywhere a bad name.

Hot Air, on the not so secret briefing between Obama and his favorite media figures. Seems Keith Olberman and Rachael Maddow, MSNBC's divisive, partisan commentators were among the invited elite. Here's Allahpundit...

Needless to say, The One’s entitled to talk to whomever he wants, but playing pattycake with MSNBC’s primetime stars does further raise the question of why Beck and Hannity are problematic “opinion” shows while Olbermann and Maddow aren’t. And yes, that question is entirely rhetorical.

...and Gawker has MSNBC's latest gaffe...hard to remember which huckster they're having on today....as Gawker said...if Fox News did this, there would be sit-ins.

Ace is all over CNN's Gloria Borger's "analysis", written soon after she got her briefing from Obama...

Obama whines about FoxNews' "biased" coverage, and the media say nothing, as the rest of the media knows they offer this kind of biased, partisan "analysis" every single day.

Every. Single. Day.

Borger's piece isn't particularly remarkable, except for the suggestive timing of it coming out right after her chat with Obama, in which he surely whined about every Republican who won't "help him with the mopping."

The Head-Pat Media puts this crap out there every day. And then they have the gall to call FoxNews partisan?

It only seems partisan to them because it's the opposite of the partisan messaging they engage in every single day.

When Obama and his Liberal Spirit Squad talk about Republicans "offering solutions," what they really mean is "Republicans should offer their votes." Because that's what is wanted -- votes. Not input, not constructive criticism, just the rubber stamp of their votes.

And, of course, Borger goes through this whole essay without noting that Democrats have supermajorities in both houses of Congress and don't need a single Republican vote to pass anything they want, including defeating any and all filibusters.

But Democrats won't pass this. Thus the need for Republican votes. And just the votes, thank you -- Democrats want their at-risk members to be able to vote against this horror so that they can get re-elected. They want Republicans to vote for this obscenity so that they don't have to.

Republicans do have ideas about health care. Obama just isn't interested in listening.

Read Borger and Ace, but Borger's snarky reminder to conservatives about the cost of $40 billion to fully fund the 40,000 troops needed in Afghanistan comes off as incoherent, considering her network's cheerleading for a health care package 30 times that size, and the Dems scoffing at a mere $54 billion that would be saved through tort reform, a conservative initiative. Let's weigh the stakes of winning or losing Afghanistan against the benefits of creating another unsustainable government entitlement, (but first remind me again real quick what those benefits were.)

The Democrats are in a bind. A majority of Americans don't want their Obamacare reforms. It it gets strangled in the cradle, their leader and figurehead is politically damaged. If they pass a horrible bill, they will pay a price themselves at the polls. I am increasingly persuaded that conservatives should be wishing and working for the former. Not because I would take any great pleasure in seeing the president discredited. But because we will all have to live with the consequences of the legislation for many years, if it gets through.

But back to the war on Fox...

To their credit, WaPo's Ruth Marcus and Helen Thomas and ABC's Jake Tapper have spoken out against the White House attacks on a private media conglomerate. But the yawns emanating from the rest of the media are telling.

Where is the "liberal" in a media that sits silent, cowed and self-censoring in the face of a government openly singling out one of their number to delegitimize on the basis of political differences?

All Presidents do what they can to tailor the message through their favorite messengers. Just maintaining lists to track who's with you and who's against you used to be unconscionable. Nixon was pilloried for it, and Dems still gasp in horror at the memory. But the insinuation by this administration that they will be the arbiters of legitimacy in the media universe is hubris run rampant, and it is unprecedented. Still waiting for the outrage from the rest of the media.

And of course it's easier to manage the message effectively when the news room is willing to read your emails live on the air as soon as they hit the Inbox. But this president is signaling an intention to do a lot more insinuating of the state into the media. They talk a good game of supporting quality journalism, and now it's clear they plan to put themselves in charge of defining what that is. And what do you know? The one network willing to challenge them must be read out of polite society....turns out.

This group is especially adept at message control. It's the heart of campaigning, and that's what Obama and his team do well. Down the road in media-government cooperation.....well, the newspaper bailout will probably come eventually (and they'll promise to try to keep it under 900 billion). Taxpayer dollars will flow to those who stay on message. Maybe the bailout will be expanded to include other forms of media that show through their journalism that they merit government support. You know who you are. Now..in the meantime, who will rid them of this meddlesome network?

The new Head-Pat Media** arrangement turns the role of American journalism on its head. Does that bother anyone important in a media universe that used to take pride in being liberal...and knew what that meant? (** attributed to Ace)

Politico reports on the Obama administration strategy of marginalizing their most powerful opponents. Get it? There's no need to debate the opposition's ideas. The imperative is to destroy them. Jen Rubin comments, with excerpts from Politico in italics...

It is not simply Fox but any critic (e.g., business groups, citizen protesters, talk-show hosts) who must be treated as illegitimate, if not evil, and not on the merits of their arguments or on the subjects they address:
Obama aides are using their powerful White House platform, combined with techniques honed in the 2008 campaign, to cast some of the most powerful adversaries as out of the mainstream and their criticism as unworthy of serious discussion.

We were promised an end to business as usual, but instead we have a more vicious and personalized version of attack-dog politics:

All of the techniques are harnessed to a larger purpose: to marginalize not only the individual person or organization but also some of the most important policy and publicity allies of the national Republican Party. … The campaign underscores how deeply political the Obama White House is in its daily operations — with a strong focus on redrawing the electoral map and discrediting the personalities and ideas that have powered the conservative movement over the past 20 years.

This is straight out of the Rahm Emanuel playbook. Opponents are not defeated; they are destroyed. Forget about engaging on the issues; opponents must be vilified and disqualified from being taken seriously.

Post-partisan, I think they call it.

UPDATE 10/22:

Tucker Carlson:

The official White House position is that the rest of the media should join Team Obama in ostracizing a news outlet that the White House doesn’t like. This raises several obvious questions:

Since when does the federal government get to make programming decisions, much less decide what is and what is not a legitimate news organization?

Where did political consultants—people who spend their lives lying to reporters—get the moral standing to make pronouncements about journalistic ethics?

When did liberals agree it was OK to use government power to muzzle opinions they don’t agree with?

And, most of all, when did the press decide to go along with all of this?

UPDATE: Obligatory update after the other networks in the White House press pool stood up to Barack Obama when he tried to exclude Fox News from the pool interview with the pay czar. Good for them.

As Moe Lane put it: "White House tries to muzzle media; draws back a bloody stump."

Jen Rubin, quotable as ever...

...the administration is doing the impossible — offending the mainstream press and forcing some of Fox’s toughest critics to ride to its defense. Nice work, fellas.

[...] it’s disturbing that at a time when we still lack a strategy decision on Afghanistan, unemployment is sky high, and health-care reform is in disarray, this is what consumes the White House. For an administration that was supposed to transcend petty partisanship, it has become, yes, the spitting image of the Nixon White House — defensive, vengeful, and self-destructive.

And the obligatory Krauthammer column: Fox Wars

Posted by dan at October 21, 2009 10:28 PM