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So I was in the midwest vacationing and visiting family. I don’t have cable at home, so I wash myself in the cable news when I’m spending any kind of time in a hotel (or rented home with cable). I don’t know why I do it. I’m usually fuming by the time I switch it off. It’s not just Fox News that pisses me off. CNN is actually worse in a way, because you expect them to be journalists along the lines of Walter Cronkite or Dan Rather. The only real news anymore is McNeil-Lehrer, which is deemed “heady” for market standards, but really isn’t much different from the CBS World News Tonight in the Cronkite era. Our standards have just lowered.
Yes, there’s a meme out there about the “liberal media establishment,” which basically consists of all media not owned by Murdoch or the Moonies. And the ascent of Fox ratings, along with the push for entertainment format, clearly has the mainstream media grovelling to avoid even the impression of liberal bias. As FAIR has pointed out, right wingers are interviewed on the talking head shows much more frequently than liberals – even on McNeil-Lehrer. So when they are compelled to report that the Swift Boaters are slandering a liberal candidate like John Kerry, they feel obliged to point out the Kerry played with some statistics to make some obscure argument about the economy and report the two occurrences in some equivalent fashion. Or when President Bush, after having referred to his Social Security “reform” package as privatization, then freaked out when his focus groups didn’t like the term, declared that any reporter using the term “privatization” to describe his plan was foregoing objectivity and showing political bias. And the “liberal media” more often than not, caves – the conservatives having played the ref effectively.
So it was that last week I was watching a daytime CNN show hosted by a woman named Soledad O’Brien. I think I have the name right anyway. She was reporting on the conflict over the potential sunsetting of the Bush tax cuts. As before, Obama is pushing a bill which will preserve the cuts for 99 percent of the public, and calling for a separate vote on the other two percent. The Republicans are well on message, claiming that Obama is exhibiting political gamesmanship (truth to tell, he is, but that’s really beside the point), and intending to filibuster (if necessary) any bill which does not incorporate the top one percent as well (who would still get the lion’s share of the cuts under Obama’s plan as well).
Anyway, the point is that the Republicans are willing to hold the 99 percent hostage in order to preserve the massive cuts for the top. But not only was O’Brien careful to avoid that point, she would not even refer to Obama’s plan as a tax cut plan. She talked about Republicans trying to sell their tax cut plan and Obama trying to sell his “economic message.” That Republicans in voting to kill Obama’s plan are actually essentially voting for a tax increase for the middle class didn’t even come up in explicit terms (I did switch over to Chuck Todd on MSNBC, and he did ask the question, though avoided the “hostage” terminology the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is using – the response from the Republican Governor of New Hampshire was that the Republicans wouldn’t be voting for a tax increase (and thus they wouldn’t be violating their lame oath to Grover Norquist, who will probably give special dispensation as he did with the payroll tax vote) because a few Democrats in the Senate (McCaskill, Tester, and others in tough reelection races) opposed “Obama’s economic plan” as well. But O’Brian wouldn’t touch it. It was Republicans for tax cuts and Democrats opposed, with Obama trying to be cute. She asked some Republican whose name I don’t remember if they would be willing to hold two separate votes, he didn’t give her a straight answer, and she didn’t press.
So here’s the graph that tells the story. I think it gets bigger if you double click on it.
The mantra is that Obama’s plan impacts small businesses. It does. about three percent of them.
Democrats are pressing Romney on the hostage issue, but they should be pressing Republicans in the Senate and House, and their own conservatives. It appears, with regard to the latter, that Reid did just that. The Republicans were calling his bluff and a vote, so they wouldn’t have to filibuster. But it looks like Reid won over a few of the scared conservative Democrats, and now the Republicans are scrambling for a strategy. Looks like they’ll have to filibuster the extension of middle class tax cuts.
By the way, the more people learn about “Obamacare,” the more they like it, myself included. So says the recent polling.
The Jefferson Project – before and after. Thanks to the organizers and 250 volunteers, yesterday – including a few Sohum expatriates. In fact, Richard Evans took the shots.
There’s more on the big day – a huge turning point – at the Herald.
The term “community organizer” earned some derision in the election campaigns four years ago. Well, here’s well-earned tribute to a few individuals who dedicated heart, soul, and sweat into a vision, after some setbacks, some of which were generated by those in government apparently suspicious of the dreaded “community organizer.”
We’ve had many such moments at our own Community Park in Sohum. Hopefully many more to come, once we’ve completed the EIR.
Addendum: About a hundred photos at Facebook.