Friday, May 27, 2011

I Was Not a Fan, but I Admire What Oprah Winfrey Accomplished

I don’t think I ever watch an entire Oprah Winfrey show.  It wasn’t the type of show that really appealed to me.  Nevertheless, I have great administration for what Winfrey did when she first burst on the national scene in Chicago in the mid 80s.

In 1983, Winfrey moved to Chicago, where I grew up, and took over a moribund show called “AM Chicago” on WLS-TV, Channel 7, the Chicago television station owned and operated by ABC.  In three years and through sheer will and hard work, she turned the show into a national phenomena and renamed it the “Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Within a short period of time, Winfrey founded and ran Harpo Productions to not only produce and syndicate her show but to create other spin-off productions that have now become household names.  She is responsible for the “Dr. Phil Show” and the “Dr. Oz” show among many other television and movie ventures.  She has employed scores of people, giving good salaries and benefits. In 1985, she even appeared in a film called “The Color Purple” and was nominated for the best supporting actress academy award.

While I was not necessarily in sync with her politics, I admired the way she carried herself in public.  I was also dismayed by the way many in the media decided to take shots at her once she became successful.  Here was a woman who overcame a very disadvantaged and troubled childhood, and yet as so often happens, some in the media had to belittle every little flaw they saw in Winfrey. 

It is really more of a commentary about what has happened in this country more than it is on Winfrey.  It seems that many people in our society just can’t stand to see a successful, self-made person, and so they must claim that they are lucky and not deserving of such success.

Luck had nothing to do with Oprah Winfrey’s success.  She earned every penny of the millions she has amassed and has given many millions to a multitude of worthy causes.  I wasn’t a fan of the show, and she and I would probably not agree on a lot of things, but in my opinion, what Winfrey accomplished deserves everyone’s respect.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What the Biased Media Won't Say Or Will Hide About Recent Events

The budget that President Barack Obama delivered to Congress in February was voted down 97 to 0 on Wednesday.  That’s right.  The President’s budget received no votes from a Senate that has a Democratic majority.  Surprised?  How many of you have heard that?

I’m an admitted news junkie, but I don’t have the time to see every broadcast or read every newspaper, but there are very few places where you can find the fact that I just revealed to many of you.  I found it a story on the “Politico” website buried in a story headlined “Senate rejects Ryan budget.”  The story led with the defeat of the House Republican budget, crafted by Wisconsin Republican Representative Paul Ryan.  His budget, which passed the House easily, was voted down in the Senate by a 57-40 vote.  Later, the entire Senate voted on Obama’s budget, which as I wrote earlier, did not receive one vote.

As I wrote two days ago, I am still waiting for the editorial outcry in the media about the fact that we are well over 60 days into military operations in Libya initiated by President Obama, and still no Congressional resolution of support for his action.  What Obama is doing is in violation of the 1973 War Powers Act, and one could make a very good case that his actions are in total disregard for the United States Constitution.  I thought Obama was a Constitutional scholar?

Wait.  There is even more misrepresentation, intentional or otherwise, in the main stream media.  Several days ago, a Democrat won a special congressional election in New York district held by the Republicans for 58 years, signaling glee in liberal media circles.  Joe Klein, as biased a reporter as you will ever meet, declared that this indicated a vote for socialism and a rejection of the Republican plans to reign in entitlement programs to save the budget.

The liberal media reports left out a few facts.  The winner, Democrat Kathy Hochul, received only 47 percent of the vote.  She won the election because the opposition vote was divided between a Republican candidate, Jane Corwin, and a so-called Tea Party candidate Jack Davis, who ran as a Democrat in the last election.  In other words, more people voted against the Democrat than for her, but the vote was split.  It is still a victory for the Democratic Party, but it hardly indicates a trend as the liberal media is contending.

I have continuously lamented that the bias in the mainstream media has become so pronounced that many reporter are downplaying if not ignoring completely relevant facts.  Where do you go to get the whole story?  In this posting alone, I have offered facts, not opinions, which many readers probably haven’t known until reading this blog.  Remember, the Obama budget went down in the Senate by a 97-0 vote, and reporters wonder why there is so little public trust in the news media.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What If Bush Started a War without Authorization?

In yesterday’s post, I talked about how many pundits who are not enamored with President Barack Obama have started a little game called, “What if George Bush did what Obama just did.”

Today would be a good time to play that game since it has been over two months now that President Obama committed our troops to some kind of military action against Libya.  Despite the fact that two months have transpired, Obama has still to receive any kind of Congressional resolution supporting his action.  Of course, the Obama administration has yet to even define the military mission.  Is it a war?  Is it a military excursion?  Is it a police action?  What is it?  Why aren’t reporters still asking these questions on a daily basis?

Can you imagine the uproar in the main stream media if George Bush had committed our troops to any military action during his administration without Congressional authority?  The headlines calling for his impeachment would probably be endless.  Editorials in the New York Times and other liberal newspapers would be overwhelmingly negative toward Bush’s action. Democrats would be apoplectic.  In fact, they were when they had feared then President Bush might attack Iran without Congressional approval. 

During the later part of the Bush Administration, there was a famous video clip of Senator Joseph Biden, who is now Vice President Biden.  At the time, then Senator Biden was being interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC and said, “Launching an attack without Congressional approval is an impeachable offense.”  Biden vehemently said that if Bush initiates an attack on Iran without Congressional approval, he would immediately move to begin impeachment proceedings against the then President.

As many of you may remember, Bush was excoriated in the media for sending our troops into war in Iraq under what many claimed were false pretenses.  However, President Bush received Congressional action for the war in Iraq.  The House of Representatives approved the resolution to authorize an attack on Iraq by a vote of 296-133.  The Senate approved the identical resolution by a 77 to 23 margin.  The approval came in October 2011, but the war didn’t begin until March 20, 2003.

Believe it or not, there actually is a resolution authorizing the Libyan action waiting for a vote, but the few reports that exist indicate that the resolution may not be introduced until next week.  I must give credit to CNN since they are the only news operation that has been giving this issue any significant coverage.  Even Fox News, the news operation that liberals claim undermines President Obama, has hardly mentioned this scenario.

Maybe President Obama thinks that his election was a mandate that he does everything the opposite of former President Bush.  Maybe that’s why he has decided to commit our military troops first and then hope to get Congressional approval later.  The only problem is that he is shredding the Constitution and existing war powers law in the process.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Media Clips Unflattering Camera View of Obama

I was watching the joint news event between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and I noticed a quick camera shot of President Obama while Netanyahu was explaining that Israel will not go back to the 1967 borders as Obama had requested just a day before the met.

That camera shot, which showed a contemptuous and condescending Obama, lasted just about a second and was never repeated.  I couldn’t help wonder why the contempt that Obama displayed was not discussed by political pundits more than it was.  After the news opportunity, reporter on just about every news station did agree that there was an icy relationship between the two heads of state, but no one repeated that very telling camera shot.

Many people who are not terribly fond of the current President play a little political game called “what would the media do if former President George Bush did the same thing.”  Can you imagine Bush sitting with any head of state and responding in such a negative way?  The main stream news media pundits would go wild.  All the weekend news shows would be showing that glaring look over and over again.

What happened on Sunday’s news shows?  Well, all the news shows did touch on the Israeli situation, but none dwelled on the terse look that Obama gave Netanyahu. 

Now, I have said in many postings that it appears the main stream media will be cheerleading for Obama’s re-election even more than it did for his first term, but it seems that most of the news stations are going out of their way to avoid anything or any camera shot that can prove to be embarrassing to the President.

If you have a chance, go to one of the news stations’ websites and find a video clip of the meeting between Obama and Netanyahu.  Then ask yourself, how would the media react if George Bush acted that way?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Media People Who Belittle Politicians They Don't Like

Yesterday I wrote about the very civil and wonderful conversation that took place on the Fox News Channel between host Bill O’Reilly and a guest with polar opposite views, the veteran actor, Ed Asner.  I also commented that such an interview might not be possible on MSNBC.

I have made no secret in my postings about my disdain for the bias at MSNBC, even suggesting that it is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party.  As a news junkie, however, I watch all the news stations, even the ones that I find totally biased.  During the show “Hardball” a few days ago, host Chris Matthews was interviewing comedian and social commentator Bill Maher about potential Presidential candidates from the Republican Party.  Being MSNBC, both Matthews and Maher did everything they could to belittle and berate the candidates and the Republican Party.

To me one of the most unfair parts of their discussion involved the denigrating of Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann.  Maher called her the candidate for people who think Sarah Palin is too intelligent.

That’s what is so disappointing about many of the shows on the 24-hour news stations.  They focus so much time on personalities even to the point of being cruel to those whose political philosophies they don’t like.  During my career, I have often noticed that especially liberal commentators have this tendency to question the intellectual capability of anyone that doesn’t embrace liberal orthodoxy.

The attack on Michelle Bachmann was not only hideous; it was misleading.  Let’s compare her academic background to that of her attackers.  Many of you who follow the news may be surprised to know that Bachmann has a very impressive academic and professional background.  She graduated from Winona State University and later received a law degree from Oral Roberts University.  She then continued her graduate education, earning a master’s degree in tax law from William and Mary Law School.  Prior to be elected to the House of Representatives, Bachmann was a tax attorney for the Internal Revenue Service.

As for Chris Matthews, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Holy Cross.  Later, he did graduate work in economics at the University of North Carolina.  However, there is no record of him receiving a graduate degree.  Matthews has spent most of his career as a congressional staffer and political commentator.

Maher is well known for his comedy shows, first on ABC and then on HBO.  Maher, whose official name is actually William Maher, Jr., earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.  He has spent most of his career as a very popular comedian and social commentator.

There you have it.  Two television hosts with rather good academic and professional backgrounds questioning the intellectual capability of a woman with a great academic and professional background.  As I was watching Matthews and Maher berate Bachmann, I wondered if either gentleman could interpret the tax code to save their lives.  I don’t know for sure, but something tell me no.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Civil Media Interview Between Polar Opposites

Yesterday I saw something you rarely see on our combative 24-hour news stations.  I witnessed a civil interview between two people who admit to be being polar opposites in political philosophies. 

Bill O’Reilly, the self-avowed traditionalists host on the Fox News Channel, was interviewing Ed Asner, the veteran actor who makes no apologies about being a very liberal even socialist advocate.  There was no attempt by either one of them to embarrass the other.  They both talked as though they had been best friends for years.  At the end of the interview, O’Reilly said that he always enjoyed having Asner on the show and declared, “You’re an honest guy and a patriot.”  Asner then leaned across the table shook O’Reilly’s hand and said, “I enjoy you.”

It amazes me that Fox News is labeled as such a biased station by the main stream media.  What I saw yesterday probably could not be repeated on MSNBC.  Tune in to Chris Matthews’ show sometime and watch him try to belittle and berate anyone who doesn’t agree with him.  I remember several times when he had activists from the Tea Party on his show.  Matthews seldom interviewed the person.  Instead, he spent most of the segment time angrily lecturing the person on what is wrong with the point of view that person espoused.

Even worse is this new addition to MSNBC, Martin Bashir.  A short while back, Bashir was interviewing the former Republican congressman from Colorado Tom Tancredo.  He pointed out that Tancredo once said several months ago that because he viewed President Obama’s policies as being soft on international terrorism that he might be a greater threat to national security than Osama Bin Laden.  Bashir then pointedly asked if Obama should be shot in the head like Bin Laden was.  Tancredo was stunned by the question, and replied, “God, no.  I don’t want to see any harm come to the President.”

Bashir and Matthews unfortunately are the norm at MSNBC and sometimes Fox and CNN.  It appears that new many hosts on our 24-hour news networks are not interested in learning about the point of view of someone with whom they may disagree.  They seem more intent on demonizing and vilifying those who do not share their philosophy.  In a very real sense, it actually appears that they are bringing people on their show to solely discredit them if they harbor different ideas or solutions to today’s social, political and economic problems.

I’d like to thank Bill O’Reilly and Ed Asner for a wonderful viewing experience.  You two gentlemen proved that people can disagree completely and still have a civil, polite and, dare I say, even friendly conversation.  Isn’t that what this country is really supposed to be about?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

News Media Practices Selective Outrage About Infidelity

It was no surprise to me when the news media disclosed that former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was unfaithful to his wife, Maria, and had a love child with a former staffer.  Isn’t this almost par for the course with many celebrities, whether they are in politics, entertainment, or sports?

What has always bothered me about these disclosures is the selective outrage the news media shows.  When the adulterer is a conservative Republican, the media goes out of its way to highlight the hypocrisy of the Republican Party, which presents itself as the party of family values.  When a Democratic politician proves to be unfaithful, then the media usually says that it’s just another normal human flaw, and it shouldn’t be considered a factor in their public performance. Many in the media also go to great pains to assert that what someone does in their private life should have no bearing on how they are perceived in public, especially if they like the politician who has fallen.

Are you kidding me?  Isn’t the way someone treats anyone in private, especially a spouse, children, friends, brothers, sisters, and co-workers really the truest mirror to that person’s character?  That’s not supposed to matter in politics, especially where both men and women try to gain voter confidence through trust?  How can you trust someone’s public record if that person mistreats or betrays those close to him or her in private?  And why is the media so intent on protecting someone’s private peccadilloes, especially if it is someone that they have editorially supported?

The professional spinmeisters and compliant editorialists can do a lot to shape an exaggerated or false image, and the Kennedy family example may be most blatant of our lifetime.  How did we ever get to the point where a person’s personal behavior and character should have no influence on how that person is perceived as a public person?  Is it because that many in our vaunted communications professions, both news media and public relations could never withstand the scrutiny of their own private lives.

Look at the history of the way the media has covered politicians and their infidelity.  Ben Bradlee, the former managing editor of the Washington Post, has admitted that he knew of the cheating ways of President John F. Kennedy, but because they were close friends, Bradlee, who was a young Washington reporter at the time, did not disclose Kennedy’s shortcomings in any of his stories. 

A more recent example is the way many in the news media covered up John Edwards indiscretions until he was no longer a viable candidate for President in 2008.  Bob Schieffer, host of the CBS News’s “Face the Nation” said that reporting on Edwards' extra-marital affair was not important because he had already dropped out the race.  The reality is that “The National Enquire” ran several stories about the Edwards' affair with another woman long before the first caucus or primary was held in 2008.  The rest of the main stream media ignored those stories because many of them liked Edwards' political philosophy, and they didn’t want to see him politically hurt by such a disclosure.

A very liberal reporter once told me that Democrats usually get a pass on marital infidelity because they don’t preach about moral values.  That same reporter also admitted that many liberal reporters love to catch Republicans in compromising sexual positions because they always talk about morals and family values.

Now let me see if I’ve got this right.  If you talk about morals in the public square and fail to live a perfect life, the media has the right to savage you.  If you never claim to have any morals, then you have a license from the media to live a completely immoral life.  Sounds crazy to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Media Targets Republicans Running for President

I was watching the “O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News yesterday, and Bill O’Reilly commented that any Republican running for President is probably going to be hammered by a main stream media that most likely will be doing everything it can to support Barack Obama for re-election.

As evidence, he showed a videotape segments from last Sunday’s “Meet the Press” during which host David Gregory implied that announced Republican candidate Newt Gingrich might be racist for saying that a black President Barack Obama should be best known for having the most Americans on food stamps.  Gingrich bristled at the implication, labeling it "bizarre." After showing the clip, O’Reilly said that many reporters will accuse Obama critics of being racist.

While I already wrote a posting giving my impression that the media will play in the race card in the 2012 election, I thought that O’Reilly might have been overreacting to the Gregory incident with Gingrich.  Then I picked up my copy of the Arizona Republic this morning and saw two very derogatory references to Gingrich.  On the editorial page, there was an unflattering cartoon of an overweight Gingrich in a Revolutionary War outfit saying, “I only regret that I have three wives to give my country.”  On the following page, I read a very negative column by Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen who accused Gingrich of getting his facts wrong and using “the ugly language of demagoguery.”

While I vote Republican, I am not always enamored with Gingrich, but he strikes me as being a very bright man who has many ideas that are worth exploring.  That doesn’t seem to matter to the main stream media because in less than one week (Gingrich announced his candidacy late last week), I have witnessed the news media do everything it can to savage this man.  Now I no longer think that O’Reilly was exaggerating yesterday.

Because of my decades in various forms of professional communications, I have come to know many reporters.  Most of them are wonderful people, and most of them admit to being quite liberal.  However, their visceral dislike for Republicans at times seems almost irrational.  It is one thing to disagree with any politician on policy, but I know reporters who I consider to be good people who actually think Republicans are evil.  I have often said that just because Republicans might not agree with your liberal solutions to problems does not mean that they want the problems to continue.  They just have different solutions that do not include soaking the taxpayers.

Despite the lack of fairness in our media, modern day Republicans need to toughen up a bit and remember some historical facts.  The great Republican Ronald Regan won two presidential elections by large margins even though the media at the time was overwhelmingly hostile toward him.  There was no talk radio, Internet or Fox News at the time to balance the tremendous bias of the major news networks, yet it didn’t deter Reagan.  History has proven that if a Republican has a good, sound message, the public will buy it no matter how much the liberal media tries to distort it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

How Can You Trust a News Media Host Who Advises the President?

I have often complained about how many of our so-called journalists have been cheerleaders for Barack Obama since before he was even elected President in November 2008.  I have discussed the incredible bias of MSNBC, a 24-hour news operation that seems to be totally dedicated to the re-election of Barack Obama.

Now comes word that Fareed Zakaria, host of a CNN program entitled, “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” has been advising President Obama on foreign policy matters.  Zakaria, who is also an editor-at-large for Time magazine, admitted that he has had face-to-face meetings with Obama about how to adjust policy in the Middle East.

You didn’t have to watch Zakaria show very long to realize that, like most people in the main stream media, he leaned far to the left.  He also would tend to be very hostile with guests that were opposed to anything that President Obama proposed.

This disclosure of Zakaria tends to support my premise that reporters and commentators are not just biased anymore.  They are openly cheerleading for one political party or another or for one advocacy position over another.  The worst part of it is that many so-called journalists will ignore completely any information that does not conform to their political, social or economic template.   Do you remember the old saying, “why let facts stand in the way of a good story?”  Nowadays, too many in the media ignore the facts completely. 

Actually, I believe that things have even gone beyond openly cheerleading to actually making irrational claims.  Day after day, a news junkie like me sees, hears and reads news media people proclaiming things that often make no sense at all, especially if you don’t agree with them. Whether it involves global warming, immigration, disaster of human origin or not, and politics of any kind, you are highly unlikely to get the entire story from one source.  You will be lucky if you get the entire story nowadays from cumulative sources.

Given this new revelation, I have two questions for CNN.  How can you expect anyone to trust the hosts of your news programs?  Secondly, after what he has admitted, why does Fareed Zakaria still have a job at CNN?

Media Ignores Obama Administration's Threats to Freedom

The Obama Administration’s National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has filed two suits that should send chills up the spine of anyone who truly believes in freedom.  Unfortunately, our so-called free press is doing everything it can to ignore these two important stories.

In Arizona, the NLRB has gone to court to void a state constitutional amendment that only allows secret ballots for union voting.  The amendment was passed in 2010 by Arizona voter by a 61 to 39 percent margin.  The amendment was passed because of fears that without a secret ballot, unions might coerce workers into voting for a union.  Basically, if a company chooses not to voluntarily allow a union to be formed; only a secret vote of the employees can force the issue, according to the Arizona amendment.

The confidentiality of the voting booth is considered a sacred right in this country.  No one should ever have to know how you vote about any issue or candidate unless you choose to disclose your decision.  Evidently, the Obama Administration is so pro-union that it is trying to use the courts to force workers into disclosing their preferences regarding any attempt to unionize them. Maybe I’m missing something here, but this seems to fly in the face of voting rights that we hold dear in this country.

Another right that I suspect most Americans would believe is important is the right of a business to locate wherever it desires.  Unfortunately, the NLRB under the Obama Administration is trying to place curbs on that right, too. 

Boeing is being sued by the NLRB for attempting to move some of its aircraft production to South Carolina. The NLRB wants to force Boeing to build its new production plant, which is designed to produce the innovative 787 Dreamline airliner in Washington, which is a big union state.  Building the plant in South Carolina, which is a right to work state, would reduce the cost of production significantly, but since the NLRB believes that Boeing is trying to avoid further unionization of its work force, it is violating federal law.  Businesses in general rightfully fear that an NLRB success in this suit would set a dangerous precedent and give the federal government power to dictate to any company where they can locate their plants in order to placate union organizers.

The big fear that I have about both stories is that hardly anyone in our mainstream media is reporting on these two big threats to our freedom.  Go on the websites of the major news networks and try to find stories on these two law suits.

As I have said in previous posts, we have so many advocates in our main stream media that have invested so much of their credibility in getting Barack Obama elected, that it is rather difficult to call what we have a free press anymore.  These same advocates appear to be working overtime to avoid reporting on any story that might enrage many in the electorate who do not want overbearing federal intervention in our lives.  A free press is supposed to provide a check and balance to oppressive government, but our media in large part is unfortunately proving to be nothing more than a propaganda arm of the Obama Administration.  Too bad for us.

Friday, May 13, 2011

News Media Polling Data Depends on the Sample Used and Questions Asked

Earlier this week, the Associated Press came out with a new poll that said President Barack Obama now has a 60 percent approval rating.  The President has received a good bump in most approval polls because of the killing of terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden, but the 60 percent seemed to be out of the norm.
Some conservative pundits started to question the polling sample used and discovered that it was heavily skewed toward those who consider themselves Democrats.  If that is true, and I have no way of knowing if it is, than the high approval rating would make sense.

Marketing experts have known for years that you can pretty much construct a poll to give you any kind of result you want.  That's why it is so important to take every poll announced with a bit of skepticism and check the accuracy record of the polling firm used.  Over the years, Gallup, Rasmussen and Zogby have seemed to be the most reliable polling firms.  In Fact, the Rasmussen polling firm has been right on target in the last two national elections.

Political candidates also have been known for having very accurate internal polling operations.  They want to know exactly where they stand with the voting public, so they can adjust their campaigns to gain a more favorable outcome.

Issue polls are also a big favorite of the media.  However, you can skew the results of these public opinion polls by the way a polling question is asked.  During the Bush Administration, there was a poll that indicated that 67 percent of the sample was opposed to the way the war was going in Iraq.  Although I wasn't part of the sample, I probably would have been opposed to the way the war was going at the time, but for totally different reasons than many of the other respondents.  I supported President Bush in general, but was disappointed that he would send troops to war with constraints on the rules of engagement.  I strongly suspect that others who said they were opposed to the way the war was going were doing so for reasons polar opposite to mine.

The key thing to remember is that many media organizations will construct polling data to give the impression they want about a candidate or issue.  Think back to the election of 1980 when most of the news media was opposed to the potential election of Ronald Reagan as President.  On the Sunday before the election, just about every news media poll said the election between Reagan and the incumbent President Jimmy Carter was too close to call.  On election day, Carter conceded the election before the actual polls in California closed.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Media Perpetuates Falsehoods on Immigration Issues

Over and over again, I lament the lack of real journalism in our mainstream media.  However, it’s one thing to skew the facts; it’s quite another thing to create and propagate falsehoods about a social issue.

One of the best examples is the way the mainstream media reports on the effects that enforcing immigration laws has on the families that are in the United States illegally.  Media for years has often highlighted how families are “brutally” separated when some members of the families are caught here illegally and deported.  Even President Barack Obama in his speech on immigration yesterday tried to spotlight such a falsehood.

The fact is that no law enforcement organization is keeping families from staying together.  If a person is deported, the other family members of that person are free to go back to the country of origin. That is true for anyone who is deported.  The reality is that the other members of the family who are in the United States illegally don’t want to leave, and so they are creating the situation by which they are separated, not any local, state or federal official.

The sad thing is that the media has been so biased in its reporting on the illegal immigration issue, you would come away from their reports with the impression that the people who are here illegally are victims, not lawbreakers.  Of course, anyone who wants our immigration laws enforced are also subjected to be characterized as racists by many in the news media.

I challenge our so-called journalists in the media to really examine the issue of immigration.  When I say examine, I mean also revealing the immigration policies of other countries, which, for the most part, are far more stringent than the immigration laws in the United States.

There is also a broader issue at play in this debate.  When you see public officials and advocates in the media supporting lax enforcement or no enforcement of immigration laws, they are actually undermining respect for all laws.  If you don’t like a law, work to repeal it. 

In a real sense, public officials who find it politically inconvenient to enforce certain laws are violating their oath of office, but can you imagine anyone from our biased news media challenging an office holder on that issue?  When you have so many advocates in the news media, many legitimate questions are unfortunately never asked.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

News Media Reaction to Bin Laden in Pakistan Indicates Ignorance of U.S. Foreign Policy History

Now we know that Osama Bin Laden had been living in Pakistan for quite some time, and maybe he had been actually protected by some officials in the Pakistan government.  The reaction of many in the news media makes me wonder if many reporters have ever taken a high school history course.

Pakistan has been a shaky ally of the United States for decades, but an historical review of the United States foreign policy shows scores of questionable relationships with dubious regimes all over the world.  For the most part, Pakistan has helped the United States in the war on terror and aided in the capture of high ranking officials of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  This has been difficult for a nation that has a large Muslim population that is not exactly thrilled with the United States.

In an ideal world, the United States would only form alliances with nations that share our values.  Unfortunately, we don’t and probably never will live in an ideal world.  For decades, Presidents of both parties have directed foreign policies based on a somewhat simple premise that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  This has often resulted in very difficult situations.

In World War II, the United States allied with Russia to defeat what at that time was a much greater danger and evil, the Nazi Germany of Adolf Hitler.  Both the United States and Britain understood what a terrible dictator Russian Joseph Stalin was, but the priority was to deal with the Nazi threat first and then handle Russia later. My father fought in the war and admitted that when his battalion got to Berlin, they thought about pushing the Russian army all the way back to Moscow.  It didn’t matter that there was a short-lived alliance at the time, there was significant mistrust between the allies and Russia.

Of course, a world weary by a very destructive war was in no mood to continue fighting, and President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill came to an agreement with Joseph Stalin to divide Europe into basically Westerns-style democracies and Communist Socialist nations.  In hindsight, many historians criticized the agreement that eventually led to a very costly four-decade cold war between the Communist bloc countries and the Western alliance of democracies, but the context of the times made the decisions by Roosevelt and Churchill necessary.  Both didn’t believe that their countrymen would support a continuation of a war that cost so many lives.

During the cold war, the United States began an alliance with another despot, the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. As someone who treated most of his political opponents as traitors, it seemed to many Americans at the time that the United States was maintaining a very unsavory alliance.  When a White House reporter asked then President Lyndon Johnson why the U.S. would be friendly with the Shah, he answered in a very colorful way.  Johnson said, “We would rather have him inside our tent pissing out than outside our tent pissing in.”

In 1979, an Islamic revolution brought an end to the reign of the Shah and ushered in an Iranian regime that has been very hostile to the United States.  American embassy employees were taken hostage and were not released until Ronald Reagan was inaugurated in January 1981.  Since then, the United States has had nothing but difficulties with the Iranian government.

Despite harboring Bin Laden, Pakistan is likely to maintain a tenuous alliance with the United States for some time to come.  For reasons that most of us will never learn, Presidents of both parties have decided that it’s better to have Pakistan inside our tent pissing out than outside our tent pissing in.

Monday, May 9, 2011

OK...The 2012 Presidential Election Is Over

The liberal advocates in the main stream media, which is most of the main stream media, have declared the 2012 Presidential election over, and Barack Obama is the runaway winner.  Now that he has successfully carried out the killing of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, no Republican can beat him next year.

It is true that President Obama’s gutsy decision to approve the raid on the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan has gone a long way toward erasing many of the doubts his detractors had about his leadership.  The way he has handled the aftermath of the successful endeavor has also been impressive.  Unlike the liberal advocates in the media, I can’t read minds and hearts, but I suspect Obama is downplaying his success because he may understand how short-lived that may be in the ever changing world of political opinion.

It’s too bad that Obama’s liberal cheerleaders in the media don’t have his perspective.  You only have to go back 20 years to see a President, George H. W. Bush, who was riding high with a 90 percent job approval rating following the first Gulf War, only to lose the 1992 Presidential election to Bill Clinton.  The economy back then turned sour, and the voting public quickly forgot about President Bush’s success in getting Iraq out of Kuwait, and largely blamed him for the economic decline.

Twenty years later, the current President is not experiencing nearly as high approval ratings, and he still has to struggle with a very sluggish economy that doesn’t look like it is going to improve soon. If next year at this time, gas is at $5 a gallon and the unemployment rate is between 8.5 and 9 percent, the political dynamics could be completely different for President Obama.  The fickle voting public may have forgotten all about Obama’s success in killing Bin Laden.

There are so many other things that can happen to President Obama both positively and negatively between now and November 2012.  His popularity will rise and fall depending on a myriad of circumstances, some he can control, others he can’t.  If fact, there are so many things that can happen before the first political primary in 2012 that I wouldn’t dare to predict what the political landscape in this country will look like then.

As I have often lamented, it’s sad that we don’t have many true journalists to put the President’s recent success in its proper perspective and proportion.  Since we have so many in the news media pulling for his re-election and a few openly campaigning against him, it is difficult for the public to gauge the political environment at any given time.  However, if the liberal cheerleaders forget the history of 20 years ago, they may be surprised to see it repeated next year.   Nevertheless, it’s way too early to be making any rational predictions about the outcome of the 2012 Presidential election, so I will take a pass.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Why Does the News Media Give Credibility to People Like Michael Moore?

As long as I live, I will never understand how the news media picks out certain people to interview all the time as if they have some great insight that the rest of us mere mortals are lacking.  One of these media creations is Michael Moore, who was featured on CNN last night bellowing about the killing of Osama Bin Laden as if he is some great guru of foreign affairs.

The thing that troubles me the most about the media time given to what appears to me to be a self-absorbed clown is that few people in the media ever challenge some of his ridiculous statements.  Last night, he claimed Bin Laden was executed and should have been brought to New York to stand trial for his crimes.

Sorry, Michael.  I don’t think what Bin Laden did would be considered a crime.  Instead, most rational people would consider it an act of war, and he was rightfully killed in another act of war.

Michael Moore is a self-confessed socialist who is believed to be worth more than $10 million.  No hypocrisy there.  He is noted for his so-called documentaries, which are really leftist propaganda films about American life.  Of course, the themes of these films are decidedly critical of American society and politics, especially those people with conservative and traditional philosophies.  Moore is a college dropout, but he often claims to be one of the brightest people alive and has reportedly said that he memorized the inaugural address of President John F. Kennedy.

In one of his movies, “Fahrenheit 9/11,”  Moore is interviewing Michigan Congressman John Conyers about what Moore considered the passage of unconstitutional legislation, such as the “Patriot Act.”  Conyers said that most of the congressmen and senators didn’t even read the bills before they were passed into law. 

To my dismay, I’ve never seen a news person challenge Conyers or Moore on that statement. I interviewed lawmakers when I was a reporter, and I worked with both state and federal legislators on bills when I was a communications professional in the health care field.  I can say without hesitation that most legislators don’t have the time to read legislation.  That is why they have large staffs of attorneys to read the bills and summarize them for the lawmakers to decide how to vote. 

By the way, have you ever seen the size of most pieces of legislation?  There aren’t enough hours in the day for any one person to read every piece of legislation.

To imply that lawmakers not actually reading the “Patriot Act” invalidates it as Moore does in his propaganda film is absurd.  Under that standard, President Obama’s health care reform legislation should be invalidated because I can guarantee you that hardly any congressman or senator read that huge piece of legislation word for word.

The sad thing to me is that most people in the media who have ever reported on the legislative process know how it operates, and they know how false that part of Moore’s film was.  Yet, because the media has somehow decided to present Michael Moore as one of our quintessential arbiters or what is right and wrong in society, he can present a litany of falsehoods and get away with them.

As I was watching Moore present another one of his irrational rants for Piers Morgan on CNN, I was reminded about how one of Piers' former countryman might have responded to what he just heard.  The late Winston Churchill was often confronted by people who thought they knew more than him about the great issues of the day. If I may take the liberty to paraphrase the great Churchill, “I wish I could be as sure of one thing as Michael Moore seems to be about everything.”

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Silliness of Blaming Inanimate Objects

I’ve often said that the news media has fostered false, illogical premises that have gone on for decades.  One of these false premises is gun violence. 

I know.  A lot of people will say that the media just uses it as a term to describe all the crime that people commit with guns.  However, the term itself is inherently false, and shouldn't accuracy be the news media’s number one priority?

The truth is that there is no such thing as gun violence.  Guns are inanimate objects that have no emotions.  They cannot, by themselves, kill or hurt anyone or cause any destruction.  Someone must cause the gun to purposely or accidentally discharge itself for anyone to get hurt.  Nevertheless, the news media continues with this illogical and absurd premise of blaming an inanimate object for what people do with it.

I don’t own a gun.  I may never own a gun, but I am totally opposed to government denying citizens the right to own any object just because other citizens abuse that object to cause to harm to other people.  Think about it logically. People have used baseball bats and tire irons to hurt and kill other people, but we never hear the media talk about baseball bat violence.  Just recently in Arizona, a Muslim man was convicted of running over his own daughter with his truck because he was angered by her becoming too Americanized.  I don’t recall the media lamenting truck violence.

The state where I live, Arizona, has some of the least restrictive gun laws in the country.  Yet I haven’t noticed any major shooting wars going on in the streets of Arizona like there are in some south side communities of Chicago where I grew up.  In fact, it is now legal to carry a concealed firearm without a permit, and the crime rate has decreased.

Nevertheless, the news media is more concerned about promoting gun control advocacy groups.  In today’s issue of The Arizona Republic, there is a front-page story about a gun control group ripping Arizona for its lack of restrictions on guns.  Nowhere in that story are facts about the crime rates of states with less restrictive gun laws.  The truth is that the nine states with the lowest crime rates in the United States all provide their citizens the right to carry guns.  Where is the journalism, Arizona Republic?

Guns by themselves do not kill people anymore than cars drive drunk. To the gun control advocates in this country and their supporters in the main stream media, those facts mean very little.  In their world, advocacy trumps reality every time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Politics Involved in Almost Every Government Decision

I am often amused when advocates in the news media criticize a government official they don’t like of playing politics with an issue.  The truth is politicians are always factoring politics into the decisions they make.  That’s why they are called politicians.

Certainly, the detractors of President Barack Obama will now accuse him of playing politics with the death of Osama Bin Laden.  He is already getting some flack for his upcoming trip to “ground zero” in New York.  Detractors are saying that he is going to milk the incident for everything it is worth.

That’s why I always lament the lack of true journalists in our news media.  True reporters that don’t have an ideological axe to grind would admit that any President would take advantage of such a momentous achievement for political gain.  After all, if the Navy Seal operation had failed, Obama would be roundly criticized and face months of embarrassment in the United States and across the world.

Related to Obama’s trip to New York has been a decision by former President George W. Bush to not attend the ceremonies.  The invitation by the President was gracious as was the reaction to it by the former President.  A Bush spokesman said that the former President appreciated the invitation, but that he prefers to stay out of the limelight.  Staying in the background has been a consistent stance of Bush since he left office.  He has gone out of his way to avoid criticizing his successor. It appears at first glance that both Bush and Obama have handled the killing of Bin Laden with the utmost care and class.

Speaking of the former President, today the outgoing mayor of Chicago, Richard M. Daley, met with the Chicago City Council for the last time as mayor.  During his farewell address, he gave great credit to former President Bush for helping him revamp the Chicago Housing Authority.  Daley said that Bush knew he wouldn’t get many votes, if any, from the occupants of government housing, but he shook hands with Daley on an agreement that would provide more money to public housing in Chicago than Daley ever expected.  I wonder if the Bush haters in the liberal media will report on that.  Don’t hold your breath.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is MSNBC the New "Air America?"

Yesterday, I expected the Obama cheerleaders in the main stream media to gloat over the capture of Osama Bin Laden, but the anchors at MSNBC were so partisan, it seems that they should just rename the network “Air America,” the now defunct liberal radio network that lasted about six years.

This posting is not about whether or not President Obama deserves a great deal of credit for the capture of Osama Bin Laden.   He does.  As I wrote yesterday, he made a very gutsy decision that could have gone wrong and embarrassed him completely.  However, partial credit for the successful raid needs to be shared with the Bush Administration, which started the operation four years ago by appearing to obtain crucial information about a Bin Laden courier from enhanced interrogation procedures.

To their credit, President Obama and his press secretary, Jay Carney, have made every effort to indicate that the killing of Bin Laden was an American victory to be shared by all Americans, Democrat and Republicans.  Evidently, the people at MSNBC didn’t get the White House memo because there have been non-stop rants about how misguided Obama’s critics have been and a definite attempt to minimize any credit due to the Bush Administration.

It didn’t take MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews very long to launch into a tirade against the so-called “birthers” who have questioned whether Obama was born in the United States.  I really don’t know what that had to do with the successful Navy Seal operation.  Ed Schultz was practically foaming at the mouth declaring Obama to be a great leader and condemning those conservatives who dared to ever question his leadership.  Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell did their fair share of conservative and Republican bashing yesterday, too.

Fox News has often been criticized, unfairly in my opinion, for being a shill for the Republican Party.  There is no doubt that Fox News’s Sean Hannity is a blatant conservative Republic partisan, but he makes no bones about it.  You know immediately when you turn on his show where he stands and how he will tilt the issues.  However, the rest of the hosts on Fox, with the exception of Glen Beck, are very fair in their analysis of politics and question Republicans and vigorously as Democrats.

Aside from “Air America,” I have never seen a network so blatantly partisan as MSNBC.  Many critics of the network have joked that it should be renamed MSDNC because it appears to operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic National Committee.  Nevertheless, I have no desire to see the network taken off the air because I see nothing wrong with them offering a totally liberal network in the marketplace of free expression.  My only wish is that MSNBC would be more honest about its obvious bias.  As I have often said, we have way too many media advocates and far too little real journalists.

Unfortunately for MSNBC, they keep losing in the ratings.  Evidently the American viewing public has not bought into the constant drumbeat of liberal orthodoxy.  The network regularly gets its brains beat out by Fox News in the television ratings war.  By apparently mimicking the formula at “Air America,” MSNBC runs to risk of ending up the same way.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

On May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama authorized a raid on a home in Pakistan that resulted in the death of the world’s number one terrorist, Osama (Usama) Bin Laden.  As a frequent critic of the President, I congratulate him on making a courageous, risky move to finally get the mastermind behind the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001, and so many other terrorist attacks around the world.

As I write this posting, I don’t know how the media will play this story in the days and weeks ahead.  Predictably, I expect the pro-Obama members of the media to gloat that the current President did what President George W. Bush couldn’t do.  I also imagine that those in the media who do not favor Obama will claim that he wouldn’t have succeeded without continuing the terrorism policies of the previous president.

There is some truth to both sides.  No matter what rhetoric a candidate uses while running for office, once someone takes the oath of office as President of the United States there is a reality that person must face.  Although Obama campaigned on closing the terrorist retention camp at Guantanamo Bay and bringing our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan, he has done none of that.  My guess is that he had that meeting every President has with the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he learns about the magnitude of the threats that our nations is really facing.  To his credit,  President Obama has put campaign talk aside and has done what is necessary to keep the war on terror going, even if he doesn’t want to call it that.

Of course, Obama didn’t execute the raid himself, no President does.  That was done by an outstanding group of Navy Seals, an elite force of the military that did a remarkable job under the most difficult of circumstances.  Our military stands ready to protect this country no matter who is in the Oval Office.

Nevertheless, the former state senator from Illinois who gained a reputation for voting present in the state legislature didn’t vote present this time.  President Obama made a very decisive and courageous decision.  If it had gone wrong, it would have further the impression that he was soft on terrorism, and he would have faced a huge embarrassment both at home and abroad. Congratulations again. Mr. President.  This is one time you truly proved this skeptic wrong.