Chief Propaganda Minster Jay Carney

I enjoy the occasional sparring on the political forums.  Not because I expect to change anyone’s mind, but just for the entertainment of the process.  It’s like a hobby.  But occasionally I actually learn something new.  The other day, in the course of a discussion on, what else, Obamacare, my left leaning antagonist mentioned a quote by Speaker of the House John Boehner, alleging that Obamacare would be a major job killer for the years 2010 and 2011.  The time frame seemed a little squirrely, so I asked for a source.

And the adventure began.

The “source” turned out to be a link to ‘The Last Word,’ Larry O’Donnell’s MSNBC show.  O’Donnell referred to a video clip of Press Secretary Jay Carney saying that Boehner said that (at about the minute mark).

A video of somebody saying that somebody said something isn’t exactly my idea of a source.  At that point I decided to check Google.  Ten seconds later, I had this:

Boehner Tweet

A tweet from Boehner of a Bloomberg News Report with the title, “Health Care costs will skyrocket next year thanks to ObamaCare.”  So there was never a Boehner quote. It was the title of an article.

Now I don’t blame my forum opponent so much.  Most lefties just depend on their usual propaganda sources and I didn’t have much expectation that he would have a legitimate source.  I don’t even blame Larry O’Donnell so much. His job is to be a propagandist for the administration. If he lies, well, consider the network he works for.  That’s what they do.  The entire network is geared to provide talking points.

But I do blame Jay Carney.  He’s the Press Secretary of the Obama administration.  He has an obligation to be factual, or at least as factual as should be expected at the time he says something.  Although he’s supposed to provide talking points, they are supposed to be somewhat moored to the truth.

But there is actually more blame to go around; the Washington Press Corps.  Carney made that statement in an entire room of Washington reporters.  Supposedly these are supposed to be savvy, insiders who should have sniffed out a falsehood.  Instead, they bought it hook, line, and sinker.  Not one of them had the presence of mind to fact check Carney.  So the fact that the White House Press Corps won’t do their job means that Carney, rather than functioning as the White House Press Secretary, gets to function as a Propagandist instead.

Holder’s Comment Gets No Coverage

English: Eric Holder, Attorney General Nominee

English: Eric Holder, Attorney General Nominee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since immigration has once again reared its ugly head as an imminent issue, complete with a “comprehensive” bill designed to keep the pesky details hidden from the great unwashed, I’ve been discussing it online in political web forums.  It’s an interesting issue since its almost invisible until some legislation brings it from the back to front burner, and I have to wonder how an issue that causes such explosive passion and interest can then shut itself off and go dark until… well until the next time.  I’m guilty of it myself.  Unless there is some legislation, like the current bill, the Arizona legislation, or the 2007 immigration reform attempt, I don’t think about it much either.

But back to the online political forums.  One thing I’ve noticed that’s different now from previous occasions when immigration has been a hot issue is that the proponents are now so cagey about their amnesty support.  They’re not demure about supporting amnesty, but they have become much shyer about the why.

Now of course partisan Democrats want the new voters and new customers for social services and some Republicans want a steady flow of cheap labor, but the philosophical underpinnings seem to be a bit hazier.  Generally I’ve discovered on forums, at the least from the left, is that when you chase them down, eventually you find out that many believe that immigration to the United States is a civil right.

That’s an idea that’s even crazier than it sounds once you break down what that actually means.  Does anyone in the world have a right to come to the US to live and work?   Yes.  Even if 2 or 3 billion people want to come here?  Yes.

That’s a political position which seems insane, but our Attorney General, Eric Holder, just subscribed to that very position.  Last week, during a speech to the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund, he gave a speech, in which he made that very point, stating, that he believed a path to citizenship was a matter of civil and human rights.  Since that is such an off the wall position for the Attorney General to have, since it has no basis in US law, you would think that would have been a well reported on speech, consuming newspaper headlines and hours of cable news gabbing.

You would be wrong.

Oh it’s been well covered in the conservative blogosphere.  I’ve seen articles in the National Review Online and the Powerline blog, as well as many others, but as far as news goes, I’ve searched and I’ve not seen the speech reported in an actual news site except as an opinion piece. So if you’re the average person who only catches the news from a network news show or the occasional newspaper headline, you’ll never know that the chief law enforcement officer in the United States thinks that a brand new, just made up civil right, is the reward for breaking actual US law.  The left really seems to believe this.  I recall reading decades ago an article in a leftist magazine that recommended a wet foot-dry foot immigration policy.  Actually we’ve more or less had that for decades.  But I doubt that’s what the American people would want, nor would they agree with Holder if they knew his immigration views.

But they’re not going to know.  It won’t be reported, and reporters are not going to question Holder on it.

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The Associated Press will no longer use the term ‘Illegal Immigrant’

I just wondered what took so long:

The Associated Press will no longer use the term “illegal immigrant,” its executive editor said Tuesday, a decision that comes as negotiations over a deal on comprehensive immigration reform are continuing.

The AP – which has about 1,400 daily U.S. newspaper members – made the change to reflect labeling of behavior, not people, executive editor Kathleen Carroll wrote.

“The Stylebook no longer sanctions the term ‘illegal immigrant’ or the use of ‘illegal’ to describe a person,” she wrote. “Instead, it tells users that ‘illegal’ should describe only an action, such as living in or immigrating to a country illegally.”

Carroll acknowledges that the new guidance will “perhaps just a bit at first” make writers’ jobs more difficult. “But while labels may be more facile, they are not accurate,” she writes.

Under the heading “illegal immigration,” the AP’s Stylebook will list acceptable variations including “living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission.”

The article doesn’t say what they will replace it with; probably undocumented immigrant or some variation.  But I’ve noticed the gradual push on news shows when illegal immigration is the topic, invariably the pro illegal representative will either not use that term or will state he doesn’t accept the legitimacy of that term.  You know, along the vein of “no human being is illegal.”  The goal of course, is to make the term un-PC so as to delegitimize the political opposition by delegitimizing the term.

Really, I’m surprised this didn’t happen during the 2007 immigration battles.  But now that the AP has made this move, I expect the New York Times, Gannett, and basically everyone else in the main stream media to follow suit.  Eventually, even ICE will have to scrub its website of the soon-to-be racist epitaph

In a way, they have a point.  The term illegal immigrant isn’t really descriptive of who these people are.  They are not immigrants since they don’t even have a right to be in the country, let alone settle down here.  So I’ll do my part and refer to these border crossers and visa over-stayers as illegal aliens.

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How Much Is Media Bias Worth?

Although the media consensus was that Obama won the 2nd debate “on points”, and the polling on who won seems to bear that out (Gallup Obama win 51%, Romney win 38%), he hasn’t had the big bounce back in the polls that one would expect.  With the extra help he had from the moderator from DNC, err… I mean, CNN, Candy Crowley, you would expect a rebound to bring the polls back to something similar to what they were before Romney’s big first debate win.  But it hasn’t happened.

HEMPSTEAD, NY - OCTOBER 16:  U.S. President Ba...

HEMPSTEAD, NY – OCTOBER 16: U.S. President Barack Obama (R) speaks as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (L) listens and moderator Candy Crowley (C) plots to help President Obama (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

Why not?

In the days prior to the first debate, Gallup showed Obama at 50% and Romney at 45%, a five point advantage.  In the days after the first debate, the race had shifted substantially to dead even; Obama and Romney both at 47%.    After the second debate; the one that Obama won?  The Rasmussen Daily Tracking Poll for Saturday the 20th shows Romney 49% and Obama 48%.  In other words, Obama didn’t benefit from his win.

There have been a couple of theories as to why Romney was able to make up such ground on the strength of one debate performance.  One is that Romney just looked more Alpha next to Obama on stage, helping Romney close the gender gapamong women voters.  Another is that this was the first opportunity much of the country has had to see Romney, and surprisingly, they liked what they saw.  Considering that Romney has been the prospective nominee for most of the year, how is it that just now, the American people are getting their first unfiltered look at the Presidential nominee mere weeks before the actual election?  Particularly with the amount of media attention shown on this race?

As I predicted back in February, this was going to be a campaign between the Republicans against the Democrats and the mainstream media working together.  That is a tough combination to beat, but from the moderating in the Republican Primaries to the moderating in the second debate, the MSM has abused the position of power they hold in our society to take sides in this political contest.  It’s hard to draw another conclusion when during the 2nd debate President Obama made reference to the moderator about a transcript of a speech he had made that the moderator just happened to have with her at the moderator podium. How would he know she had a copy with her?  And why, of all the data and information that she would have, would it include that particular speech?  Curious indeed.

Romney’s coverage in the media has consisted of Democratic attacks and then pundits sitting around and discussing those attack ads.  That was the bulk of the political coverage over the past few months.  With that sort of coverage model, how is the public ever going to be able to draw informed conclusions on the candidates?  So when the public actually got to see Mitt Romney for the first time, in a 90 minute unfiltered debate, he didn’t appear at all to be the image that had been carefully crafted of him by the media.  He didn’t seem to be a racist, sexist, homophobe, or a cross between Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, and Mr. Potter from, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Instead they saw a serious competent businessman, not a murderer or tax evader.

That wide divergence of perception explains the polls.  Even if Obama has another win “on points” in the 3rd debate on Monday, I don’t see the race changing based on the debate.  The perception of Romney has already changed.

So to my original question, how much is media bias worth?  Since Romney was 5 points down before the first debate and the race is neck and neck now, that’s your answer.

Five percentage points.

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The Left Makes Up Their Own Romney Tax Plan

At one of the web forums I visit, some liberals had caught notice of this bit of news:

(CBS News) President Obama is seizing on a study out Wednesday to support his argument that Mitt Romney is focused on boosting the rich at the expense of the middle class.

The study from the Tax Policy Center looks at the impact of Romney’s tax plan, which he promises will be revenue neutral. Romney has vowed to cut tax rates by 20 percent across the board, repeal the estate tax and get rid of taxes in investment income for those making up $200,000. He says the reduction these tax cuts will have on tax revenue will be offset in part by eliminating deductions and loopholes, though he has refused to say what deductions and loopholes he would eliminate.

The Tax Policy Center – a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute – found that if Romney wants his plan to be revenue neutral, it will result in “large tax cuts to high-income households, and increase the tax burdens on middle- and/or lower-income taxpayers.”

They found that would be the case no matter how he ultimately structures the plan. In fact, the group operated on the assumption that Romney would first eliminate deductions and loopholes for the wealthiest Americans.

“Even when we assume that tax breaks – like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction, and the exclusion for health insurance – are completely eliminated for higher-income households first, and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall revenue-neutrality- the net effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-income households,” it said.

I read as far as “…a joint project of the Brookings Institution…” when I realized the study being referred to here was a phony.  The Brookings Institution is of course a left-liberal think tank.  Officially, it’s “non-partisan” as is required for a 501(c)3 organization, but it is generally staffed by researchers who are left leaning and provides reports and analysis that supports Democratic Party initiatives.  That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t do legitimate research, but it’s helpful to know which direction the bias is coming from.

So rather than just accept the CBS news article, as I was meant to, I followed the link to the actual abstract of the Tax Policy Center’s analysis here.   One of the first things I noticed is that they are not even scoring Romney’s plan.  “We do not score Governor Romney’s plan directly, as certain components of his plan are not specified in sufficient detail, nor do we make assumptions regarding what those components might be.”  So rather than score Romney’s plan, they make up a plan similar to what they think the final legislation will be.  And of course, make assumptions as to its components. Now, that should have ended the matter right there, but apparently the non partisan researchers at the Tax Policy Center will be more than willing to fill in any of the blanks themselves.

Another error the author’s make, (and this one is even more egregious than making up their assumptions) is that they assume that Romney’s 20% tax cut is on top of the Bush/Obama tax cuts.  The author’s point to Mitt Romney’s website as the source of this information; however that condition is nowhere on Romney’s website.  In fact, Romney’s site emphasizes that his plan is a variation of the tax plan from the Simpson-Bowles deficit plan, lower marginal rates, with few deductions; exactly what Democrats say they want, until a plan is actually offered.

So given that the authors add two tax cuts on top of each other, it’s easy to see how they came up with a plan that they don’t regard as workable.

This was all information that I dug up in just a few minutes, however I’ve yet to hear this counter argument in the main stream media.  It’s an example of the media’s bias of course, but specifically, confirmation bias.  The press release for this report fit the media’s prejudices so there was no need to even look at the abstract.  It just sounded right.   On Morning Joe this morning they spent 10 minutes talking about the report without anyone, even alleged conservative Joe Scarborough, challenging its assumptions.

The win goes to Obama on this one, but only because the truth was successfully embargoed by the media.

Stephanopoulos’ Other Shoe Dropping

English: American television journalist and a ...

Image via Wikipedia

I admit I was puzzled when during January 7th’s New Hampshire debate, moderator George Stephanopoulos kept pressing and pressing candidate Mitt Romney on the issue of contraception.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But I do want to get that core question. Governor Romney, do you believe that states have the right to ban contraception? Or is that trumped by a constitutional right to privacy?

ROMNEY: George, this is an unusual topic that you’re raising. States have a right to ban contraception? I can’t imagine a state banning contraception. I can’t imagine the circumstances where a state would want to do so, and if I were governor of a state-

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the Supreme Court had ruled on that …

ROMNEY: -or a legislator of a state, I would totally and completely oppose any effort to ban contraception. So you’re asking, given the fact that there’s no state that wants to do so, and I don’t know of any candidate that wants to do so. You’re asking: Could it constitutionally be done? We can ask our constitutionlist here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I’m sure Congressman Paul …  but I’m asking you: Do states have that right or not?

ROMNEY: George, I don’t know whether the states have a right to ban contraception. No state wants to. I mean, the idea of you putting forward things that states might want to do that no state wants to do and asking me whether they could do it or not, is kind of a silly thing I think.

At the time, I was thinking that had to be one of the dumbest lines of questioning in a Presidential debate that I could recall.  Of all the issues that were facing the American Republic, contraception wasn’t even in the top 10,000, let alone the top ten.  Why waste precious time talking about a totally unimportant political topic?

But that was then.

Now, post Komen controversy, it’s a little clearer.

Dick Morris offered a theory on Hannity yesterday that Stephanopoulos was acting under White House guidance in order to generate hopefully some sound bites that could be construed as anti-contraception.  Why contraception and not the liberals favorite social issue, abortion? The polling on abortion has changed.  Now, fewer people describe themselves as either pro abortion or pro choice, depending on your flavor.  But contraception?  Who’s against that?

Since contraception wasn’t even on the radar in January, this really requires an assumption of close contact and coordination between the White House and either ABC News or George Stephanopoulos.  Unfortunately, that’s not too far fetched.

The Daily Caller is running a multipart expose ofthe Soros sponsored website Media Matters.  What’s noteworthy is how the Caller reveals the close cooperation and coordination it enjoyed with the administration.

Media Matters also began a weekly strategy call with the White House, which continues, joined by the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. Jen Psaki, Obama’s deputy communications director, was a frequent participant before she left for the private sector in October 2011.

The idea that Stephanopoulos worked with the White House in doing battlefield preparation for the election by trying to ensnare the likely Republican Presidential Candidate with an issue that nobody, except for those inside the White House, was aware would become a political issue within the next month; seems all too likely.

Certainly it’s happened before.  The journalist club Journolist, which kept Jeremiah Wright out of the mainstream news for months during the 2008 campaign still exists under the new appropriate name of Cabalist.  Of course in the case of Journolist, these were reporters who were coordinating their coverage with each other, exchanging talking points and discussing what should and shouldn’t be published.  That a certain ABC News This Week host might be coordinating directly with the White House isn’t at all far fetched.

Although not proven at this point.

It does explain Stephanopoulos’ wacky line of debate questioning better than any other reason I’ve heard of though.  Frankly, as untrustworthy as the Media is, I don’t think they should be moderating Presidential debates.  I’d rather the moderators come from think tanks or Universities that have actual debate professors who know how debates should be run.  The TV News channels wouldn’t likely want to give up their monopoly and if you were Barrack Obama, you wouldn’t want them to give it up either.

With this sort of media advantage, it will be hard to beat Obama regardless of any polls or issues.

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