Dem Strategist’s White House Trash Talk Removed From LA Times Article

On Friday, a very thinly-sourced LA Times article that attempted to re-ignicaddellte the now-dormant feud between the White House and Fox News contained a rather inflammatory quote from former Carter administration pollster Patrick Caddell. The newest version of the article does not. When you see the quote, the omission gains a layer of irony atop its bravado.

Peter Nicholas’ article relies on on anonymous source paraphrasing an unnamed White House official, an uncertain timeline, and things Caddell says he has heard about other unnamed strategists, to suggest that the White House tried to intimidate Democratic strategists into boycotting guest appearances on Fox News. Despite a lack of key details, the story is the LA Times’ #1 most-viewed article.

When I first saw the piece, ironically, the only thing that stood out as newsworthy was this quote from Caddell:

Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House. “They know better than to tell me anything like that,” he said.

Now, that passage simply reads, “Caddell said he had not gotten that message himself from the White House.”

I tried to reach out to the LA Times, and to Caddell through Fox News, but neither have responded to explain the omission. To the naked eye, it looks like somebody thought better of trash-talking the White House. In accusing the White House of chilling dissent, it looks like Caddell got a little overheated.

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TBogg is the Boyfriend Keith Olbermann Deserves?

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I hate to break it to you, TBogg, but KO is spoken for.

The Firedoglaker is at it again, attacking yours truly in a fit of blind partisan snrage (that’s “snark” and rage”), and once again getting his facts wrong.

The provocation this time was the fact that I pointed out Keith Olbermann’s fingerbang salute to Carrie Prejean. I actually took it pretty easy on KO, of whom I am a big fan. Unfortunately, some liberals require blind idolatry, even when it runs counter to actual liberalism.

I went on to critique the left’s treatment of Prejean, another big no-no in TBogg-land.

First, though, he references the last story he got wrong about me:

When we last saw  Conservative Pet Liberal Tommy Christopher he was getting blog-killed by Big Bunny because he had the blogdacity*  to go “shame shame” over Guy Cimbalo’s hatefuck article/post thingy. As it turned out, pretty much anyone who was familiar with Cimbalao’s article shared Tommy’s opinion, but the timing of AOL’s de-Tommyfying was enough to throw the wingnuts into a frenzy.

Well, they’re always in a frenzy, but it was kismet that day because the Mexicans, Muslims, and Negroes  were  behaving themselves. At least for for a few hours.

Now we see that Tommy has washed up on the shores of the  Mediaite (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) blog which is kinda of like the crackbaby lovechild of Politico and Tiger Beat (”Who’s Hot Who’s Not!” “Win a Dream Date with Dreamylicious Jake Tapper!” etc.).

The “wingnuts” in a frenzy? Right, like The Huffington Post, or Howard Kurtz? He also displays the same class that led him to make fun of special needs children last time, tossing his barbs at crack babies here. Real nice.

He also forgot to check his facts again. I got fired from Politics Daily, asshole. I still work for AOL now, still write about politics for them. AOL offered me a new job the next day.

He also posits that I only defend young, hot, conservative women. You know, like Kevin Jennings or Van Jones. Boing!

True, I was also fortunate enough to land a great gig with Mediaite that permits me to get out of my jammies and into the real world once in a while.

Factual lapses aside, he also goes on to miss the entire point of my post. By attacking Prejean’s tits and masturbatory habits, the left has amplified her importance well beyond what it should be, and made themselves look ugly in the process. Keith Olbermann’s (thankfully non-glistening) fingers may be worth a chuckle to some, but at what price? What average American is going to watch that and say “My, that Keith Olbermann is a clever fellow. Let me probe his views on marriage?”

TBogg says “As to his point that she has been amplified, her book sales (#846) at Amazon tell another story.” I say the problem was never that she was selling books.

Finally, before TBogg tries to accuse someone of being a “Conservative pet liberal,” maybe he should think about elevating his own editorial standards to at least equal Hannity’s. At least he admits he’s “mistaken” when somebody busts him.

Busted by Daily Show, Hannity Apologizes for ‘Inadvertant’ Use of 9/12 Crowd Footage – 1st draft

This is a first draft of an article I posted at Mediaite. Here’s the final version.

As we reported yesterday, the eagle eyes of The Daily Show noticed that Sean Hannity substituted news footage from the 9/12 rally for last week’s much-lower-attended Super Bowl of Freedom. The effect was to make the latter event seem like a much bigger deal than it was.

Last night, Hannity apologized. Let’s see if his explanation washes, and try to figure out which is the legitimate news organization.

Here’s what Hannity had to say:

(video 1)

“And finally tonight, although it pains me to say this, Jon Stewart? Comedy Central? He was right. Now on his program last night, he mentioned that we had played some incorrect video on this program last week while talking about the Republican healthcare rally on Capitol Hill. He was correct, we screwed up, we aired some video of a rally in September, along with a video from the actual event. It was an inadvertant mistake, but a mistake nonetheless, so Mr. Stewart. you were right, we apologize. But by the way, I wanna thank you, and all your writers, for watching. (Laughter)”

Hannity says they “played some incorrect video,” but that’s not really accurate. The video they played was a pre-edited clip package. This wasn’t a case where the technical director hit a wrong button, this was edited together in advance. Someone had to seek out that older footage to add it in with the footage from that day. Who would do such a thing? Here’s the original segment. Pay close attention to the opening seconds:

(video 2)

Griff Jenkins, hmmm, where have we heard that name before? Wasn’t it also his crew that was “reprimanded” for whipping up a 9/12 crowd for the cameras?

While the White House took some lumps over their treatment of Fox News, incidents like this certainly seem to underscore their overall point. One of the linchpins of Fox News’ defense is the idea that there’s a wall between their news and opinion programming. Problems with their news programming notwithstanding, this defense is leaky at best.

The “opinion show” defense is only really operative when it comes to opinions. When it comes to news content on opinion shows, they retain some duty to present facts accurately and fairly. When I asked Fox to clarify those standards in the past, they refused.

Aside from that, the bleed-through of Fox’s opinion programming to their news desk extends beyond driving their news editors to cover certain stories. Fox’s news personnel are frequent guests on these opinion programs, blurring the line and attaching their credibility to the likes of Hannity or Bill O’Reilly.

But in this case, there was no-one from the newsroom to act as ombudsman for Hannity. His show’s producers edited Fox News footage together in a false way, and they played the package twice. It is legitimate, then, to ask whether the news desk is convinced by Hannity’s explanation. It is their credibility at stake.

The recent dustup over the Treasury Department’s attempt at excluding Fox News’s Major Garrett from a round-robin interview revealed apparent walls-within-walls within Fox’s news operation, too. Their original report, which stated that the Obama administration was behind an attempt to freeze Fox out of the interviews with Feinberg, contained no documentation or direct quotes from any of the principles. Why didn’t they interview Major Garrett for that spot? When Garrett finally did tell his story, only after Fox News had capitalized on the story, it turned out that Fox’s original report was incomplete and misleading.

This was underscored by the fact that Fox News’ Senior Vice President for News Michael Clemente had just spent the weekend filling in the gaps in that original report.

It would appear, then, that apart from their opinion arm, there are actually 3 distinct chambers of the Fox news operation: The news desk, the reporters, and the executives. It seems they would like us to judge the credibility of each separately.

We asked Fox News if their news operation satisfied with Hannity’s explanation of the misuse of their footage by an opinion show, if we could get an explanation from the video editor and/or the technical director explaining how this accident occurred, and if we could get Fox News Channel’s editorial standards with regard to presentation of news content during opinion programs. We await their response.

Jake Tapper “defending” Fox News?

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Disclaimer:  This is not an argument IN ANY WAY in defense of Fox or Fox News.

Was ABC’s Jake Tapper “defending Fox News” as the Huffington Post reported today after Tapper asked:  “It’s escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations “not a news organization” and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one…?”

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My answer is a resounding no. Not AT all.

What Jake was doing was what Jake does.  He  does that a lot … I won’t lie and say he hasn’t infuriated me on a number of occasions when asking certain questions (Sorry, Jake) but, it IS his job to ask these questions.

Consider this:  Major Garrett of Fox News is, in a way, a colleague of all of those who frequent the White House Briefing Room … and, I would assume that most of those attending those meetings are friendly with one another, and generally think that those colleagues ask good questions – Major Garrett (also who infuriates me, in fact so much that I tweeted “F*** YOU MAJOR”  once after he asked what I felt was a particularly vexing question) actually asks quite good questions and he works with Fox News … so does Shep Smith.

So, it should come as no surprise that Jake would ask this question of the White House Press Secretary Mr. Gibbs … considering they BOTH work with Garrett EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.

So, to again answer the question “Was Jake Tapper defending Fox News?”  No.  I think, and I’m probably wrong, but I think Jake was defending a colleague who he respects.  And, I would too.

Postscript:  Of course, I can’t fail to note the many times CNN has been complicit in ridiculousmongering (ie Obama as the Antichrist) and MSNBC in funmaking (ie Teabaggers) – I still say Fox is far more egregious across the board … but that’s a different matter :).

ThinkProgress Ambushes Fox Ambusher

Ahhh, “ambush.”  ‘Tis a funny word when said twice, pee-inducing when said thrice.

ThinkProgress ambushed Fox News producer Jesse Watters at the Values Voter Summit to ask him why he ambushes people.  Very clever.  Unfortunately, progressives lack that innate prickishness that comes so naturally to guys like Watters, so while it is intellectually satisfying, it lacks a little zazz.

I give the guy points for quick thinking, but it was his quest for truth that fucked him up a little.  He had a real winner in the Amanda Terkel ambush, and he should have stayed on that.  When you’ve got a minute to ask questions of someone you don’t mind burning a bridge with, keep the focus on the stalking.  For example:

When you were pursuing Amanda, did you make that “Ch-ch-ch-ch…ah-ah-ah-ah” noise from the Friday the 13th movies?

Was she dressed in a way that you thought might get her raped, given the right circumstances?

If so, do you think she would have enjoyed that had she also been transformed into an 11 year-old boy?

Also, how creepy was it to tell the reporter to say “hi” to Amanda and her boyfriend?

There are different kinds of ambush interviews, mind you.  Watters’ Cape Fear style is at the extreme end of the spectrum.  ThinkProgress’ reporter was at a press-covered event, and approached Watters on neutral, mutually safe ground.

O’Reilly tormentor Mike Stark is also at the Values Voter Summit, getting thrown out of Bill O’Reilly’s closed-to-the-press “Press Courage Award” speech.  I guess you could say he was scrubbed.  Like a loofah, get it?  Bah!

Is Keith Olbermann Finished?

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Ordinarily, a story at Redstate with the title “How Does Keith Olbermann Have A Job?” would be about as noteworthy as a Megan Fox story at Asylum.  There’s a little twist to this one, though, as conservative gadabout Caleb Howe had an unexpected tag-team partner on this one.  Perhaps this is a sign of the Apocalypse, but the Redstate mainstay sourced HuffPo’s Jason Linkins, and the two teamed up for a convincing trouncing of Olbermann.

The host of Countdown has had a very bad week.  Caleb and Jason lay out the case against Olbermann with lots of tasty sauces and seasonings which I recommend you sample, but it boils down to this: Olbermann got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, and now he’s trying to put the cookies back in the jar.  The problem is, they’re all chewed-up and spit-covered.  GE and Rupert Murdoch made a deal to silence the feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly, said deal to commence on June 1.  Now that the deal has become public, Olbermann is trying to erase the cowardly way in which he complied with the deal.

On June 1, Olbermann delivered an emotionally impassioned speech about how he was going to retire his Billo feud, impressions and all, in order to make the world safe from O’Reilly’s murderous talk show.  At the time, it struck me as the oddest, most overwrought thing I had seen Olbermann do.

The fact that he allowed his corporate masters to rape whatever journalistic integrity he had was bad enough, but to cover it up with an announcement from atop such an altitudinous mare turns walking this back into a journalistic Bridge to Nowhere.

That’s not the least of Olbermann’s problems, though.  His whole “I’m shocked, shocked to find that there are lobbyists hosing my show!” act when banishing Richard Wolffe from the show holds about as much water as a paper shot glass.  Again with the mushy, partially digested cookies.

While Caleb wonders how Olbermann still has a job, Linkins thinks he will pull through this episode.  I agree with Linkins that this incident won’t end Countdown, but it hurts, and there are other not-so-good signs.  Rachel Maddow bested her Countdown lead-in for the first time this week, perhaps a signal that the angry liberal niche is being overtaken by the chilled-out one.

I hope that Olbermann does adapt and survive.  Despite his flaws, I remain a fan.  I’ll take Howard Beale over Ted Baxter any day.

Going forward, he ought to stick to what he does best, which is everything but delivering  journalism lectures (how stoked do you think Dana Milbank is about this?).  When you’re serving up (admittedly tasty) Hot Pockets, you shouldn’t act like you’re Jaques Pepin.

To the liberals who are skipping Keith to watch cool-kid Rachel Maddow at 9, I suggest making room for both.  Sure, everything looks great now, but if the GOP makes a comeback in 2010, we’re going to need Keith around to spit a little fire.

Billie’s Quickies…Sweet, sweet pecksniffery

bllieddoseHey, anti health care/insurance reform protesters are you organizing online?  Well, if so, conservative bastion of democracy Bill O’Reilly has a few words for you and your wacky 1st Amendment buddies:

The Internet’s driving this kind of stuff. … There was always this crew, this anarchist crew, these people can’t fit into society, they’re angry for whatever reason, they want to cause trouble. They’ve always been there. But now they’re coordinated by the internet, now they can talk to each other. It’s like child molesters, you know? I mean, child molesters have always been around but now they got a place to go and gather and do their evil deeds.

Oh dear.  Sweet, Sweet pecksniffery.

via http://thinkprogress.org/2009/04/01/billo-child-molesters/