GM Head Discredits Romney

Last week, Mitt Romney tried to structure his sentences in such a way that he could give himself credit for the success of the automotive industry bailout.

Not surprisingly, liberals and progressives jumped all over that complete revisionist history.

What is surprising, however, is that the head of General Motors, CEO Dan Akerson, agrees with the liberals and progressives.  He confirmed on CBS This Morning that it was indeed the bailout saved the auto industry and, in particular, it saved GM.  As a result, GM is now the #1 auto manufacturer not only in the U.S. but also in the world.

Of particular note is the discrediting of Romney’s statements, which is particularly satisfying given that Akerson paraphrases Ronald Reagan.  When Charlie Rose asks about Romney’s position on the bailout, Akerson responds:

“… [T]here was a wise man named Ronald Reagan, who once said ‘There’s no limit to what a man can accomplish if he’s willing to share the credit.'”

(Reagan’s original quote is: “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”)

A One Way Ticket to Nowhere

Shepard Smith of Fox News has recently made some statements on the air that are in direct contradiction to the “values” that are otherwise expressed on-air by those at Fox.  He blasted Newt Gingrich immediately after Newt’s rambling, self-aggrandizing concession speech.  And, more recently, he called out the Republicans for their position on marriage equality, stating essentially that the GOP is choosing to be on the wrong side of history.

Smith has hardly been the consummate truth-teller during his time with Fox.  But one wonders if his current contrary positions put him in career jeopardy.  Others at Fox seem much more willing to toe the line.

And if one thinks that Smith is possibly putting is job at risk, one also must wonder where else someone like Smith would find employment.

The journey to Fox News for any journalist seems to be a one-way dead-end street.  Journalists and personalities have come from other more legitimate media outlets to Fox News:  Brit Hume, Chris Wallace, Greta Van Sustern.  But I can’t think of anyone who has left Fox News who has continued their career path elsewhere.

When you go to work for Fox News, it would appear that the deal that you  make with the devil is this:  We’ll keep you employed at a competitive salary, but you give up any journalistic credibility you may have and therefore are essentially unemployable anywhere else.

It’s sort of a self-regulating agreement, too; you know that you can’t stray too far from the Fox talking points because there’s nowhere else for you to go.  Once you leave legitimate broadcast journalism, you’ll turn into the proverbial pillar of salt if you look back.

I fear for Shepard Smith.

Charles in Charge … of the Weather

As of yesterday, the British monarchy is officially superfluous, as this video attests.

Adding to the weirdness of this story is the fact that Charles, Prince of Wales, appeared on the BBC, and ITN – the Beeb’s corporate competitor – has posted the clip in its entirety.

By the way, Charles failed to mention that “the mist of May is in the gloaming, and all the clouds are holdin’ still.”

Back to you, Camilla.

Biden Endorses Marriage Equality

The Vice President, in an appearance on today’s Meet the Press, became the highest ranking U.S. official ever to have endorsed marriage quality. He described himself as “absolutely comfortable” with gay marriage.

The right wing is undoubtedly going to twist Biden’s words around and have a field day with this, but Biden describes the issue in the most understandable way possible.

Do Not Listen …

… to the pundits. Do not listen to Joe Scarborough, or Wolf Blitzer, or Larry Elder, or Rush Limbaugh, or Rachel Maddow, or David Gregory, or Gene Robinson, or Sean Hannity, or any of other those losers on Fox News, or any of the other talking heads.

Just listen to the speech.

The television coverage of Barack Obama’s speech today has consisted of hour upon hour of pundit blather, peppered with a few selected soundbites from the speech itself. But, aside from the initial live airing, they haven’t seen fit to air the whole speech. The underlying message is twofold: First, their viewers aren’t smart enough or interested enough to make assessments of news events for themselves. Second, they don’t care that their viewers abandon them for YouTube in order to get the real story.

Thanks, Gloria

Gloria Steinem made quite a stir over the weekend by pointing out a couple of the same things I posted here previously.

I’m not saying that Gloria gives a shit about my sorry little blog, but rather that there’s a case that needs to be made questioning John McCain’s wartime captivity as a qualification for the highest office in the land. In Steinem’s words:

“This is supposed to be a qualification to be President? I don’t think so.”

At least someone on the national scene is willing to take it on the chin by attempting to get people to look at this issue.

Thanks, Keith

There were some rumors floating around that Keith Olbermann had been stifled and his outspoken political diatribes would be silenced because he had just signed a lucrative contract with NBC, whose parent company is GE. (Contrary to what you might believe based on their warm and fuzzy image ads, GE doesn’t just make lightbulbs and energy-efficient dishwashers. They’re also one of the largest defense contractors in the world, and they profit greatly from American involvement in warfare.)

Any suspicions will be assuaged when you view one of his recent commentaries:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFH1Njzd3jA

Thanks, Keith.

Glare Ice from the Dick

If you’ve ever wondered how a transcript can fail to take nuance into account, consider the following exchange yesterday between Dick Cheney and Wolf Blitzer:

BLITZER: You know, we’re out of time, but a couple of issues I want to raise with you: your daughter, Mary. She’s pregnant. All of us are happy she’s going to have a baby. You’re going to have another grandchild. Some of the — some critics are suggesting — for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family, “Mary Cheney’s pregnancy raises the question of what’s best for children. Just because it’s possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father doesn’t mean that it’s best for the child.” Do you want to respond to that?

CHENEY: No.

BLITZER: She’s, obviously, a good daughter —

CHENEY: I’m delighted I’m about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf. And obviously I think the world of both my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you’re out of line with that question.

BLITZER: I think all of us appreciate —

CHENEY: I think you’re out of line.

BLITZER: We like your daughters. Believe me, I’m very sympathetic to Liz and to Mary. I like them both. That was a question that’s come up, and it’s a responsible, fair question.

CHENEY: I just fundamentally disagree with you.

BLITZER: I want to congratulate you on having another grandchild.

Absent from the written transcript are the icy glares of the VP, along with Blitzer’s bad-little-boy look when Cheney challenged him. Blitzer’s physical reaction to Cheney made a deer in the headlights seem like a Tibetan monk deep in meditation. (CNN has also conveniently edited out all of the uncomfortable pauses from the video that they now have posted on their website.)

Here’s the unedited version:

Mary Cheney herself is a public figure. For whatever reason, she decided to go public about her homosexuality and her surrogacy. (She conveniently managed to avoid talking about any of that until there was a book deal in the works and until her father’s tenuous 2004 election campaign was already over with.) How absurd that Daddy Dick considers all of this a private matter.

The fact that Dick can’t own up to this is newsworthy, particularly because the administration that Dick so staunchly defends (perhaps “barricades” would be a better word) is making policy decisions about gay marriage, gays in the military, etc. Why shouldn’t he have to explain his position and the disparity between his personal life (the oh-so-sacred family) and his public positions? Cheney, as a man with apparently no conscience, simply cannot reconcile the fact his job was made possible in part by organizations like Focus on the Family, who condemn his own daughter without compunction. So his only option is to lash out. What a scumbag.

It was not, however, Blitzer’s only option to weenie out and back away. Apparently, he’s been following Larry King’s lead when it comes to follow-up questions. I got news for you, Wolf. The tension that you almost created but then backed away from is what makes both good journalism and compelling television.

An Unidentified Source Has Said …

“Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one.”

–A.J. Liebling

People who write content for the web have been known to revel in the sentiment behind Liebling’s oft-quoted aphorism. The web has been perceived to be the great equalizer of the disenfranchised.

Republicans are out to change all that. And, to me, this is perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the Republican strategy — the concerted effort to control the press.

  • They try to incarcerate Judith Miller for not revealing her sources about who leaked the identity of the now-legendary CIA operative Valerie Plame to Robert Novak, rather than going after Robert Novak for reporting it. (Those of a more cynical frame of mind might say that Robert Novak is being rewarded for doing the dirty work of the Administration.) Result: They discredit the nation’s newspaper of record and put the few remaining actual investigative reporters on notice that they can be thrown in jail if they report truth.
  • They shame CBS News for airing a memo whose substance was true but whose source was questionable. Result: Dan Rather bites the dust and other networks are put on notice. (O.K., so I like Dan Rather’s similes about as much as a Texas longhorn likes a disease ridden horsefly biting its ass, but I would defend to the death his right to inflict them upon us.)
  • They take Newsweek to task for an article about the desecration of the Koran that is essentially true but whose details may be slightly askew. Then, in a move that has Karl Rove’s name tattooed all over its ass, they blame Newsweek for the unrest in the world (instead of acknowledging that Administration policies and a greed-based war might have something to do with it). Result: Newsweek capitulates and retracts the story, and other media outlets are consequently put on notice. Never mind that the Pentagon itself releases information only a few days later confirming almost exactly what the original Newsweek article had said regarding the desecration of the Koran, minus only the toilet. Apparently, in the hierarchy of desecration, there’s a major distinction between putting a Koran in the toilet and merely urinating on it.
  • They work to cut funding to Public Radio and Public TV, because those outlets attempt to report all aspects of the news, not just the lockstep party line and, especially, because they can’t get Bill Moyers to buckle the way other so-called journalists have buckled. Result: Have you listened to Public Radio lately? They now have all the political edge of Kathie Lee Gifford on thorazine. Puh-leeze, NPR! How many homespun Baxter Black-wannabes can we be expected to tolerate?
  • They invite the likes of “Jeff Gannon” into the White House. Need I say more?

This list only scratches the surface. But the net result of these offenses and the others like them is that the noise from the dominant press machine (controlled in large part by media conglomerates with a financial interest in remaining in good standing with the Administration) is loud enough to all but drown out the alternative voices.

What’s the next target? “My Weekly Reader”?