When New Jersey Democratic Senator Frank Lautenberg announced on Thursday, February 14, 2013, that he would not seek a sixth term in the Senate, reporters were undoubtedly and immediately interested in the news. With only 100 people serving in the U.S. Senate, it is understandably an important and breaking development. While the news of a retiring senator typically prompts an examination of their political record while serving in office, it also starts the speculation as to who might be running for the seat next. Continue reading
In the last few days leading up to the Michigan primary yesterday, the liberal and once popular website Daily Kos, started to encourage its readers to get involved in the open Michigan primary by doing something they wouldn’t normally think of doing. The Daily Kos told its all-liberal readers to pick up a Republican ballot and vote for Rick Santorum. The Daily Kos’ idea was to give Rick Santorum a primary victory in Michigan, deny Mitt Romney a win and cause chaos in the Republican primary. Readers responded with enthusiasm at the thought of helping Rick Santorum win the Republican nomination because they believed he was the weakest candidate to take on President Obama.
The Daily Kos went into a full out campaign – even sending out an email blast to its’ Michigan readers. The day before the Michigan primary, Jonathan Martin of Politico tweeted: @jmartpolitico: The 8500 MI’anders on Daily Kos email list got note today: “Please vote for Rick Santorum…”
While most all of the main stream media journalists ignored the Daily Kos’ campaign, some on Twitter questioned just how effective the Daily Kos could be. After all, as Martin pointed out, they only had 8,500 supporters in Michigan?
Immediately, the power of the Daily Kos and its’ uber liberal founder Markos Moulitsas was on display. Political strategists were wondering if the Daily Kos still had any power or if the liberal class has moved on to David Brock’s Media Matters for America.
Markos’ campaign for Santorum went into over-drive. He tweeted and re-tweeted messages all day Monday encouraging and celebrating his supporters’ missives about supporting Santorum.
But the media’s prediction that Santorum would make Michigan a race or possibly even win it turned out to be spin. Romney easily won the state despite Markos’ campaign. And we learned that the Daily Kos’ power isn’t what it used to be.
ABC News and George Stephanopoulos have a credibility problem with conservatives and middle America. And it seems to be getting worse.
It’s not just that ABC News hired former President Clinton’s White House spokesman and counselor George Stephanopoulos as a journalist; it’s that
the pack mentality at ABC News doesn’t see it as a problem.
“The planning meetings (at ABC News) have little political diversity. Everyone is left of center and at ease with their liberal ideals. The other viewpoint is rarely raised and never fully represented,” a current ABC News producer told me last week.
And this week is a perfect example of the problem. Stephanopoulos opened Good Morning America’s show the morning after Congressman Anthony Weiner’s press conference clearly feeling sorry for Weiner and dismissing the negative media coverage. Stephanopoulos went on to interview Democratic activist and close friend James Carville on Weiner’s Twitter troubles and asked “what’s illegal, if anything?” Carville responded to his friend in agreement. While NBC’s Today Show and CBS’s Early Show interviewed Andrew Breitbart, the man who broke the Weiner story, Stephanopoulos’ team at Good Morning America never reached out to the conservative to request an interview.
But this week’s bias is certainly not unique for ABC News. Stephanopoulos currently has an ABCNews.com story running where he interviews his buddy and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and gives this prediction: “After serving in two administrations and becoming a top Democrat in the House, if Emanuel does a good job as mayor Democrats will talk about him for a 2016 presidential run.” Stephanopoulos also interviewed Emanual last week and titled the article “Rahm Emanuel: President Obama ‘Consistent’ on Israel”.
The week before Stephanopoulos “interviewed” Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and gave her nothing but softball questions. He didn’t even give her one follow up question after she dismissed the criticism over rapper Common’s White House invite.
But the bias at ABC News doesn’t stop with just political activist turned “journalist” Stephanopoulos. Obama White House Spokesman Jay Carney is married to ABC News reporter Claire Shipman. Shipman regularly reports for ABC World News Tonight and Good Morning America on political issues with no mention to the viewers that she is married to the Obama White House Spokesman. The morning after the memorial service for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Shipman criticized Sarah Palin on Good Morning America for comments interpreted by the left as inciting and encouraging violence. Shipman produced former Clinton White House strategist and Democratic activist Paul Begala to weigh in on the controversy and then showed a Keith Olberman attack video (her husband was Vice President Biden’s Spokesman at the time). Perhaps more troubling, the ABC News’ website currently erroneously claims that Carney doesn’t work at the White House. Shipman’s bio reads: “Shipman, a Columbus, Ohio, native, now resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband, Time magazine White House correspondent Jay Carney.” Not disclosing their reporters’ relationships with Obama Administration officials is clearly not an issue for ABC News.
There is also Christiane Amanpour, host of ABC News’ ‘This Week’ Sunday Show who is married to former Clinton State Department spokesman and Democratic activist Jamie Rubin. There is also no mention of Rubin on Amanpour’s ABC News’ website bio.
And there is former ABC News Congressional Reporter Linda Douglass who was the 2008 Obama campaign spokeswoman and now works in the Obama Administration.
And there’s former ABC News reporters Geoff Morrell and David Ensor who currently work in the Obama Administration as spokespeople.
And ABC News reporter Chris Cuomo, who’s brother is New York Democratic
Governor Andrew Cuomo – again, no mention in Cuomo’s bio.
ABC News also has as its Political Director an out-and-proud partisan liberal named Amy Walters. Walters’ bias is legendary and her associates don’t even challenge the claim that she is a partisan liberal Democrat. “She actually owns it, there is no pretense,” said one ABC News producer.
While the hiring of George Stephanopoulos as a legitimate and impartial journalist was laughable in itself, ABC News top brass actually think they have a balanced team. One current ABC News employee said to me last week, “George was seen by David and Diane as unbiased and Ben has accepted that premise. Nobody talks about Claire’s conflicts of interest and Chris has been here long enough that nobody cares.” The employee was referring to former ABC News President David Westin, Diane Sawyer and current President Ben Sherwood. “Ben needs to look no further than George’s Bottom Line (on ABCNews.com) to understand the enormity of our morning problem,” she added.
But imagine the rage from liberals and the main stream media if NBC hired Karl Rove to replace Matt Lauer?
While some outsiders expected early on that new executive Ben Sherwood would make the necessary corrections to ABC News’ bias trouble, Sherwood has been criticized internally with making the situation worse by avoiding the bias issue altogether.
It’s telling how Stephanopoulos is consistently compelled to defend Democrats rather than ask probing questions that are fair and balanced. Instead of asking follow up questions to understand the issue, as normal journalists do, he makes statements. And his statements always defend the Democrats. Always. And why not? He is, after all, a Democratic political operative that has for years worked to elect liberals to elective office. He now gets to do it from the perch of the Good Morning America anchor chair surrounded by ABC News producers and reporters who don’t question his journalistic integrity or his bias.
ABC News and Sherwood must make changes to the ABC News team if they are ever going to convince conservatives that both sides of issues are well represented on their network. At the very least, Sherwood needs to fire Amy Walters, stop Stephanopoulos from interviewing his friends, bar Shipman from reporting on any political issues, be transparent and honest about reporters’ connections to Democratic political operatives and hire conservatives to balance their coverage. Sherwood, by the way, has a sister, Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, who works for Obama at the White House too.
The powerful anti-gay Democratic State Senator from New York, Carl Kruger, was outed this month by the New York Post for allegedly taking bribes that were used to partially pay for his gay lover’s water front mansion. In its front page March 11 story, the Post outed the Democrat as a hypocrite because of his 2009 vote to deny equal marriage rights to gays despite having an alleged romantic relationship with a man. The Post labeled the politician’s partisan affiliation prominently in the first sentence of the article. The same day, New York Magazine used the label “Democratic” as the third word in its first sentence to describe Kruger in its’ breaking news story. New York Magazine even finished their piece by admonishing, “if true, it serves as a helpful reminder that the phenomenon of hypocritical politicians who live gay lives in secret, but vote against gay issues in public, is not reserved for only one side of the aisle.” But The Advocate magazine, the supposed promoter of gay rights and reason, only sits on the left side of the aisle. It dropped Kruger’s political affiliation from its story’s headline and lead paragraph when it announced the influential Democrat’s troubles. In fact, the editors of The Advocate only alluded to Kruger’s political affiliation in the last sentence of the last paragraph of their story by saying Kruger was “one of eight New York Democrats to vote against the state’s marriage equality bill, which failed to pass the senate.”
Was it a mistake or was it deliberate? A look at the facts suggests it is part of The Advocate’s ongoing partisan bias – a bias permeating the gay media, but not always part of the left’s media playbook. The Advocate’s cover-up and obvious strategic move is steeped in history. Earlier this year on January 3, The Advocate writer Julie Bolcer wrote an article titled: “Iowa Republican Obsessed With Marriage Issue?” Note the partisan affiliation announced in the title. The lead sentence in Bolcer’s story also messaged the anti-gay candidate’s political relationship, “A friend and former campaign adviser to Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats says the Republican who led the recall effort against three state supreme court justices, is “obsessed with the gay-marriage issue.”” The word “Republican” is used consecutively throughout Bolcer’s piece and in gratuitous ways.
But it wasn’t the first or last time The Advocate tried its’ partisan tactic. In November 2010, Bolcer also wrote an article titled: “Iowa Republican Predicts Removal of More Judges”. Note the title announcement of the politician’s political affiliation again. The lead sentence of Bolcer’s piece also once again messages the anti-gay politician’s political party connection, “Following a voter recall of three Iowa supreme court justices who voted for marriage equality, state senate Republican leader Paul McKinley said the four remaining justices would be at risk of losing their jobs unless lawmakers give Iowans a chance to vote on a constitutional amendment to outlaw same-sex marriages.”
And in October of 2010, Bolcer writes yet another article for The Advocate about an anti-gay candidate titled: “N.Y. Republican: Gays Are “Dysfunctional”. The hopeful politician’s political attachment was also described in Bolcer’s first sentence, “Carl Paladino, the Republican candidate for governor in New York.” It’s a pattern consistently repeated throughout The Advocate’s online archive.
The Advocate’s obvious double standard in describing politicians’ political affiliations is glaringly partisan. When a Republican is anti-gay, the political relationship will be announced in the title of the article, messaged in the lead sentence and repeated throughout the piece. But when a Democrat is anti-gay, the political membership will not be mentioned in the article’s title or even lead sentence. In the case of Kruger, The Advocate only took a passing shot by referring to the politician’s colleagues’ political association.
Even New York Magazine, known for being a left-wing operation, describes Kruger as a Democrat. So why would The Advocate cover it up? Continuing to shill for the Democratic party after its’ disastrous two years of Washington control is foolish and naive. And pretending that anti-gay elements exist in just the Republican party alone is one of the erroneous assumptions that led to Prop 8’s passage in California. Readers deserve better from a publication calling itself their advocate. As for the editors, for whom do they think they are advocating?
State sponsored media is so last year. And the news that NPR CEO Vivian Schiller has been forced out of her job is a good first step in stopping federal funds from going to support a news organization. In the U.S., there is no need for government sponsored media – there are plenty of independent and private news outlets to choose from. Having multiple news sources is the only way to get the real story anyway. Anyone listening or reading to one news source is being spun. Every news organization, albeit every reporter, carries bias into news reporting. Left leaning news organizations, as well as right leaning ones, can give a great perspective if multiple news outlets are used to fully inform. It’s scary when an American believes their preferred news source is the only unbiased coverage.
Schiller and the other left leaning reporters and producers at NPR and its affiliate stations around the country should be allowed to spin the news to the left – but the rest of us shouldn’t have to pay for it with our tax dollars. Federal sponsorship of NPR to the tune of tens of millions of dollars doesn’t make sense. The Democrats, of course, have been happy to keep the tax dollars flowing to NPR because of the support they receive from its news coverage. Imagine the outrage if Fox News received federal funds. The new Republican Congress is right to cut the state sponsorship for NPR. If listeners want the news it produces then they will need to pay for it. It’s a basic principle of supply and demand. If NPR is as crucial to understanding the news as the liberals say then it will be supported by those who need it. Make no mistake about it: Schiller created this blow-back by accepting tax dollars and making the editorial choices she did. It was only a matter of time before someone said, “Why am I paying for this ideological coverage?” NPR’s editorial decisions over the years to support left leaning politicians, ideas and an expansion of government programs are certainly supported by some Americans – but this partisan coverage should not receive tax dollars to do it.
NPR will survive. Its’ federal funding won’t. It may not look like its current propped up form this time next year, but NPR will continue to advocate for liberal policies and report the news as it sees it. And I bet we see Schiller working for another liberal organization soon enough; she has demonstrated that she is an advocate for the left.
The idea that Jane Harman is quitting Congress because she is a frustrated moderate is absurd. Harman is worth an estimated $300 million and so she thinks she can dine and dash at taxpayers’ expense. She has been missing in action from our 36th district for years. She didn’t hold a single public forum before the government healthcare vote despite her constituents’ pleadings and protests. She has consistently ignored the people of the South Bay and is only seen when there is an election at hand. Harman has been aloof and disconnected for years.
She quit Congress because the Democrats were no longer in control and millionaires don’t like to toil away in the minority. Why would she run for a new term if she really had no intention of finishing it? What changed so abruptly? Lee Hamilton announced May 3, 2010 that he would be leaving the Woodrow Wilson Center job that Harman is now taking. Harman and the Woodrow Wilson Center should come clean on exactly when their conversation started. If it is found that Harman was already making inquiries to take the Center’s top job before her November election then she owes the voters an apology. Harman resigning a few weeks in to a two year term is offensive to the voters. In fact, Harman served all of 33 days of her 730 day commitment before announcing her departure – that’s a cost to taxpayers of $126,575.34 of wasted time when you figure her annual office budget is $1.4 million.
Sadly, we are not surprised by her lack of respect for us – it’s been a pattern. Millionaire politicians think they can do what they want without facing the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, Los Angeles taxpayers also have to foot the million dollar special election bill to pay for Harman’s selfishness. Harman should pay for the election to fill her vacancy with her personal fortune and reimburse the taxpayers for her ego-centric decision. After all, Harman can afford it; Los Angeles taxpayers already have a huge budget deficit.
The person who replaces Harman should be someone with real world experience, not some re-cycled politician with tired ideas seeking higher office and creating more special elections. Janice Hahn and Debra Bowen are career politicians that have been so unimpressive that it would be a mistake for voters to send them to Washington. Hahn helped create the financial mess that Los Angeles finds itself in and Bowen hasn’t produced the changes at the DMV she promised. Why send uninspiring bureaucrats to do the same thing in Congress? We’ve seen what they deliver and we should say, “No thanks.”
Isn’t there someone in the South Bay that knows how to balance a budget and make the necessary tough decisions that we expect of our representatives? Is there someone in the 36th District that could bring new ideas to Washington without maneuvering for their next gig? How about we find someone that will also come back home to the South Bay after serving and live under the same laws that they helped create? Thomas Jefferson is asking for someone to stand up – and the voters are asking the same ‘ole politicians to sit down.
United States Senator Barbara Boxer — she insists on being called by the full title — not only doesn’t work with Republicans in Washington, she doesn’t work very well with members of her own Democratic Party. Unlike our other U.S. Senator, Diane Feinstein, Boxer consistently advocates for radical views and fringe issues. Boxer is antagonistic towards California’s business community, votes exactly the way the unions instruct her, rarely meets with people and groups she disagrees with and is known for her grand ego and mean-spirited temper. Boxer has spent 28 years in Washington and is considered by many to be the consummate self-serving politician insulated from everyday people. If you think Washington, DC, is broken, Barbara Boxer’s radical tenure is one of the main reasons.
Boxer has for years blocked oil drilling on land and in shallow waters. It was Boxer who helped lead the effort to push oil drilling into deep waters — so far out that it was next to impossible to stop wells from leaking or do necessary repairs in the ocean. But for Boxer, as long as her radical environmentalist friends couldn’t actually see the drills then she was ok with drilling. Boxer’s policy wasn’t based on philosophical beliefs or actual concerns for the environment; she just wanted it out of sight. Sadly, we saw the repercussions of Boxer’s radical drilling views during the BP Gulf Coast oil disaster when even the government couldn’t make the necessary repairs to the oil rig because of the depth of the ocean waters it was in.
Boxer has also not just been pro-choice but has worked to make abortions federally funded. Boxer has advocated the use of tax dollars to support women who want their abortions paid for by others. Boxer hasn’t just wanted healthcare reform to better serve those that get sick and can’t pay for healthcare, she has advocated and worked hard for a public option to replace our current system. Boxer has pushed for a federally run healthcare system similar to how the federal government runs the post office — federal control with local service centers. Boxer also continues to believe in an economic plan that is based around more federal spending and higher taxes to pay for the spending. Boxer is advocating for even more stimulus money than the $900 billion already spent by the Obama Administration.
Californians who expect politicians to work with others to find solutions to our problems must not support Boxer for re-election. And moderate and independent voters who believe we must stop the bickering in Washington and end partisan roadblocks must recognize that Boxer is abig part of the problem. The San Francisco Chronicle, the most liberal newspaper in the state and Boxer’s hometown newspaper, said it best when it decided NOT to endorse Boxer for re-election. The editorial read:
“The incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, has failed to distinguish herself during her 18 years in office. There is no reason to believe that another six-year term would bring anything but more of the same uninspired representation. … Her most famous moments on Capitol Hill have not been ones of legislative accomplishment, but of delivering partisan shots. … (Californians) deserve a senator who is accessible, effective and willing and able to reach across party lines to achieve progress on the great issues of our times. Boxer falls short on those counts. … Boxer’s campaign, playing to resentment over (Carly) Fiorina’s wealth, is not only an example of the personalized pettiness that has infected too much of modern politics, it is also a clear sign of desperation.”
It is time to change Washington and that means making sure the bitter and partisan Barbara Boxer is not there representing the largest of the United States. Each state gets only two people to represent it in Congress. Boxer has done nothing to suggest she’ll serve the people of California any better in the next six years than she has in the last 18, which is not at all. Californians should step out and be the first to send the message that Washington politicians must stop being bitter partisans and start working together. Defeating Boxer will send that message.
Voters across the country are holding out-of-touch politicians accountable for their years of egocentric decisions and callous indifference to constituents. Southern California Democrat Jane Harman exemplifies the politician that voters are tired of. Harman’s career in Congress may very well end in California’s primary election on June 8th.
What is clear to district voters is that Harman’s silly and childish public fight with Speaker Nancy Pelosi has neutered her ability to be effective in introducing or passing legislation. Its clear Harman won’t work with Republicans and can’t work with her own party’s leadership. She has single-handedly alienated most everyone she needs to be an effective voice for the people in her coastline Los Angeles district. Harman’s self-proclaimed expertise on national security issues has also become a thorny issue for the conservatives who think she isn’t tough enough and the liberals who think she is too tough. Harman is proof that if you are everything to everyone then you’re a soul-less politician without a base. Harman’s television commercials comically mention no issues but instead show pictures of the district with upbeat music playing while her name is splashed on the screen – a constant reminder to voters that we don’t know who she is or what she stands for after 8 terms in Congress. But voters have tired of being ignored by the multi-millionaire Congresswoman who failed to hold any legitimate town hall meetings on Obama’s healthcare plan even though voters in the district were calling for them. Harman, the richest Democrat in Congress, just ignored the requests and petitions from voters and kept a low profile during the debate. Harman likes to pay attention to the voters closer to her elections.
But California’s unique election process offers voters the chance to classify themselves as “Declined to state” instead of choosing between Republican or Democrat. Harman’s district, which runs from San Pedro to Venice, has one of the highest concentrations of voters classified as “declined to state” in all of California. The independent and unaffiliated voters of the district will decide who represents Los Angeles’ coastal communities in Washington, DC for the next Congress. And the timing couldn’t be more perfect for Harman to lose her seat in the primary election of June 8th. Email chains and community buzz have Democrats and Republicans joining together to dump Harman in the primary by voting for Marcy Winograd. For Democrats, Winograd is a grassroots liberal more connected to the traditional base and willing to listen to the activists of the party. For Republicans, Winograd presents an obvious and stark contrast to their conservative principles of lower taxes and personal responsibility.
Winograd’s tough grassroots campaign has forced Harman to ignore the healthcare debate and call for higher taxes and defense spending cuts despite the fact that her district is home to some of the Nation’s most respected defense contractors. Winograd has effectively outed Harman’s liberal policies at a time when voters are concerned with the traditional tax and spend tactics of this Congress.
Waiting for Winograd or Harman after June 8th, is Mattie Fein. Fein is the best hope for Republicans to take back the district and a rising star in Republican politics. Fein is smart, humble, funny and wildly experienced. She is a mother who speaks comfortably about job creation in the casual beach community of Venice as well as national security policy in the halls of Congress.
Fein will blunt Harman’s self-proclaimed expertise on intelligence and national security issues by challenging Harman’s quixotic ideas of dealing with terrorists. And Fein’s approachability and personality are more in tune with the beach culture of the district than Harman’s limousine liberal attitude.
Without even trying Harman has actually succeeded in uniting the parties together – they are now united to defeat her.