How do you solve a problem like Maria?

September 1, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Unbelievable.  Maria Bartiromo asks 44-year old Anthony Weiner if Medicare is so good, why don’t you have it? Is it me, or does Maria sound like she’s reciting, word for word, today’s Republican talking point?  First, CNBC misleads the country about the health of the economy.  Now, healthcare reform?  Wow.  And for the record, I visited my grandparents in Rochester, New York this weekend.  They’ve been in and out of the hospital a lot this year.  I asked them how they felt about Medicare, expecting a lukewarm response.  They said they were very satisfied and pleased with the care.

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So Fly

June 30, 2009 at 8:57 am | Posted in Barack Obama | Leave a comment
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Conservative Media Alive and Well

February 23, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I recently had an interview with a British journalist who asked me how I thought Obama was doing in office so far.  I mentioned the obvious return to campaigning on the trail during the stimulus bill battle.  But I also reflected on how his effort to charm the conservative media had failed to pay off.  Rush, Sean and the rest of the Fox crew had kicked the Republican Party back into a line of loyal opposition.  The post-inauguration spirit of bipartisanship had quickly faded.  My interviewer was quite surprised to hear all this babbling about the health of conservative media in the U.S. From here it seems the liberal media had taken over.  I decided to write an Op-Ed explaining how far from the truth this notion was:

Think liberal media is king, dominating the airwaves in the U.S.? Think again.

Days before the U.S. election, the Guardian’s Harold Evans wrote the U.S. media had turned alarmingly liberal, “captivated by the one,” with Obama enjoying twice as many positive news stories as his rival John McCain. Evans called out NBC’s cable network MSNBC for running “a non-stop campaign for Obama.”

And while the liberal media may have invaded U.S. newsrooms to shine the veneer on Obama’s political stardom, since the election, the right wing media has returned victorious, breathing life back into the Republican Party, quickly recovering from its post-election wounds.

Just weeks ago, this seemed as unlikely as Gordon Brown staging a comeback in the face of plummeting approval ratings. President Obama’s coronation, er, inauguration was visual evidence of his mandate by the American public.  Hundreds of thousands from all over the country descended on the Capitol to witness history.  No one inside the Republican Party dared rain on the parade, much less lead the charge for loyal opposition. Even Newt Gingrich, former Republican Speaker of the House, penned a letter to the GOP in support of bipartisanhip. Gingrich urged, “in a time when America is facing real challenges, Republicans should be working to help the incoming President succeed in meeting them, regardless of his Party.”

But just days into Obama’s administration, the spirit of bipartisanship was gone. The honeymoon was over.

The first shot coming from inside the sound booth of right wing radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, immune to Obama’s charm offensive on leaders of conservative media, openly declared, “I hope Obama fails.” The godfather of right wing radio leaned on Congressional Republicans to rally against the bill. And the bullying worked.

One by one, GOP defectors rushed back to Limbaugh. Republican congressman Phil Gingrey called into “The Rush Limbaugh Show” to apologize for telling Limbaugh to “back off” Gingrey told Limbaugh, “I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth on some of those comments…I regret those stupid comments.” Despite a country still high on Obama fever, inside Washington, Limbaugh had successfully orchestrated a political stalemate.

Even the so-called liberal media came under Limbaugh’s spell. He and conservative host, Sean Hannity of Fox News launched what Media Matters, a non-partisan media watchdog group, called a misinformation campaign, where both right- wingers repeated false statements about Obama’s plan on their radio and TV programs. In some cases, those statements were uncritically reported and repeated by the U.S. mainstream media. CNBC anchor Erin Burnett regarded Limbaugh’s Wall Street Journal Op-Ed on Obama’s economic recovery plan as a “serious” part of the discourse.

Although Republicans ultimately lost the fight over the stimulus bill, it passing 246-183 in the House of Representatives and 60-38 in the Senate, conservative media is back on top. Fox News Channel unleashed a punchy new advertising campaign this week, touting itself as the #1 cable news network 7 years and counting. In the full ad, Fox takes this jab at competitors CNN and MSNBC, “that deep in their little hearts they know that FOX NEWS CHANNEL IS NUMBER ONE in cable news and has been for years.” And the numbers prove it. TVNewser, an industry blog covering American TV news, reports Fox’s ratings are surging under the Obama administration. “So far during prime time FNC is averaging 2,495,000 Total Viewers, well ahead of CNN’s 1,254,000 and MSNBC 984,000 combined. FNC is up 23% Total Viewers and 28% in the [age] 25-54 demo in prime time from the two weeks prior to the Inauguration of Obama to the two weeks since.” Looks like U.S. conservative media is alive and well, and here to stay.

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