July 3, 2011

In Coverage of Cain’s Candidacy, AP Reporter Has Strange Definitions of ‘Controversy’ and ‘Storm’

herman-cain_052111Yesterday, Tim Graham at NewsBusters did an excellent job of addressing a key aspect of a report submitted by Associated Press reporter Errin Haines, who is African-American, of the presidential campaign of Herman Cain, who is also African-American. Haines questioned “voters’ ability to look past his skin color and perceive him as a serious candidate.”

Herman Cain attended the We The People Convention in Columbus, Ohio this past weekend. He arrived late Friday afternoon, and was greeted by several hundred attendees who were still there after the day’s breakout presentations had ended (total attendance was reportedly “about 1,000″, according to Joe Hallett at the Columbus Dispatch; I heard a number of 1,100 from a person affiliated with the event). For Errin Haines’s benefit, I can attest that every one there looked past Herman Cain’s skin color and perceives him to be a serious candidate. Cain also was the featured speaker at the event’s concluding dinner on Saturday night.

There are three other aspects of Haines’s report which I found quite offensive, and I will air them now.

First is her take on a supposedly “controversial” Cain comment:

His campaign has also been marked by controversy, including his comment that he would not want a Muslim bent on killing Americans in his administration.

Yeah, she really wrote that.

Dang, Errin. You would think that Cain should should be seeking out dozens upon dozens of Muslims “bent on killing Americans” for his administration, and that there’s something wrong with him if he isn’t. I’m almost afraid to ask Ms. Haines what’s not controversial. Maybe seeking out Christians who aren’t bent on killing Americans?

Then there’s this:

Just this week, Cain accused comedian Jon Stewart of disliking him because he is an “American black conservative.”

Well gee, Errin, Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted on June 23, in commenting on a video posted by NB’s Geoffrey Dickens on June 10, that “he (Stewart) impersonated Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain using an Amos and Andy voice.” Ms. Haines, before you consider Cain’s response “controversial,” you need to name a black liberal politician equivalently mocked by John Stewart. You didn’t, and until you do, Herman Cain is right, and you’re characterizing the wrong thing as “controversial.” Stewart is the one who created controversy. Cain merely offered a plausible explanation for the fundamental belief underlying Stewart’s “comedy.”

Finally, here’s how Haines described the atmosphere at Cain’s official announcement of his presidential candidacy in May:

Cain has been on a remarkable trajectory since entering the race more than a month ago, when a crowd of 15,000 stormed a downtown Atlanta park to cheer him on at his campaign announcement.

Yeah, she really wrote that too.

“Stormed”? (In context, “storm” means “to attack or assault.”) This is absolutely pathetic. Did those who attended Cain’s announcement kick others out of the park? Did they knock down the fences to get in? Did they leave a lot of trash behind? Ms. Haines seems to be betraying a desperation to come up with something, anything, which might make the Tea Party movement and Tea Party-supported candidates appear violent — apparently up to and including making things up — or perhaps to build up a mythology about Cain’s presidential announcement that got its first false description the very day it occurred.

You see, the original AP report covering Cain’s announcement described the crowd as “raucous.” Given that word’s definition (“1. harsh, strident, grating; 2. rowdy; disorderly”), even that was an unfair stretch. Watch the announcement video, AP and Errin. Who the heck do you guys think you’re kidding?

It must really annoy a lot of folks in the establishment press that Herman Cain’s candidacy is already serious, and intensely so. Expect the misrepresentations, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods to continue — perhaps for the next 9-1/2 years.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Columbus Dispatch Reporter, ‘Surprised’ That Tea Party Is Not in GOP Lockstep, Admits to Being Asleep For Over Two Years

WeThePeopleLogoMaybe we ought to nickname him Rip Van Geier.

In his coverage of this weekend’s We The People Convention in Columbus, Ohio early Saturday morning, Columbus Dispatch reporter Ben Geier found it “surprising” that many attendees would “go after the Republican Party and House Speaker John Boehner” in expressing their opinions relating to developments in Washington. It’s as if he’s totally unaware of what the movement’s leading members and its grass roots activists have been saying (and proving) since the first anti-stimulus rallies in early 2009 (and earlier rallies — see this NewsBusters comment), since Utah Tea Partiers unceremoniously ousted supposedly entrenched incumbent Bob Bennett in May 2010, and since Ohio Tea Partiers ran serious but largely unsuccessful opposition candidates for State Auditor, Secretary of State, and the State Republican Party’s Central Committee slots that spring.

Since Rip Van Geier missed it, here’s the message: The Tea Party movement isn’t about propping up a party; it’s about electing sensible, Constitution-following conservatives to political office regardless of party, revising state and federal laws to reflect constitutional principles, and of course educating the general populace about those principles and their importance.

I attended the We The People Convention, attended almost a dozen breakout sessions during its two days, participated in one of Saturday’s panels with fellow Ohio bloggers Matt Hurley and Maggie Thurber, and spoke with a number of people who have attended other activist conferences. Thus, I can confidently attest that Geier’s description of the We The People breakout program as “a number of small sessions” is totally inadequate.

Here are excerpts from “Rip’s” report (bolds and numbered tags are mine):

GOP Takes Lumps at Conference

It’s no surprise to hear members of the tea party movement railing against liberals, progressives and especially President Barack Obama.

But to hear them go after the Republican Party and House Speaker John Boehner is a bit more surprising.

That’s exactly what people at the We the People Convention got from tea party founder Jenny Beth Martin [1] during her lunchtime address yesterday at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

“Just because they have an ‘R’ next to their name doesn’t give them a free ride,” Martin said to loud applause.

… Ohio’s first We the People Convention concludes tonight after a speech at noon by Wall Street Journal columnist John Fund and an evening address by GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain.

… Martin spoke particularly harshly about Boehner, calling him out for not cutting the $100 billion from the budget that he and other Republicans pledged, and for not standing up to Democrats on the budget.

(Ohio Republican Party spokesman Chris) Maloney said that the Ohio GOP was proud to have worked with the local tea party groups during the 2010 election [2], and he thought they would continue to work together [3] during the 2012 cycle to “retire Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown.”

… In addition to Martin’s speech, the convention featured a number of small sessions [4] with speakers from such groups as the Heritage Foundation and School Choice Ohio …

Notes:

  • [1] — Martin is “co-founder and national coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots from Atlanta.” She is not the “tea party founder.” Geier could have gone to the We The People program, which describes her as “Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator.” I guess clicking is a hard thing to do.
  • [2]

    — The Ohio Republican Party, which I prefer to call ORPINO (The Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) had a pretty significant staff exodus earlier this year, and I’m tempted to give Chris Maloney the benefit of the doubt for this howler if he’s among the newbies. But he needs to know his history, and it’s certainly not as he describes it.If ORPINO “worked with the local tea party groups during the 2010 election” (as framed, Maloney’s statement carries a heavy implication of “most” or “all”), it’s one of the Buckeye State’s best-kept secrets.

    The fact is that ORPINO, as documented here, here, and here (for starters), was bound and determined to clear the field in last year’s State Attorney General race for all-time RINO and recently soundly defeated former U.S. Senator Mike DeWine. To do so, ORPINO Chairman Kevin DeWine convinced a much better primary opponent to run for Auditor instead. Largely as a result of that backroom deal, Tea Party-supported candidates ran against ORPINO’s chosen and endorsed candidates for Auditor and Secretary of State, and fielded a nearly complete slate of candidates for the state Central Committee.

    ORPINO was so nervous about the possibility that their candidates and committee members might go down to primary defeats that, in an unprecedented move, it spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on colorful mailers, customized to each Central Committeeperson’s represented area, extolling their slates’ (cough, cough) “Tea Party Values.” Additionally and also unprecedented, on Primary Election Day ORPINO placed several representatives handing out similar literature at polling places throughout the state.

    These “successful” moves obviously took significant money away from ORPINO’s general election efforts. While the party can obviously point to the statewide sweep achieved by the GOP slate in November as proof of success, yours truly and other observers strongly believe that the its underfunded situation in the fall caused by its paranoid opposition to arguably stronger primary candidates in the spring nearly allowed incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland to overtake Republican challenger John Kasich in the election’s final weeks after trailing badly until October. This weakened Kasich’s opening mandate, making it much more difficult than it should have been to pass SB5, a collective-bargaining bill similar in many ways to Wisconsin’s related and better-known measure. Sparse on-hand cash may have also contributed to the fact that ORPINO did little to counteract the Wisconsin-like demonstrations and attacks by leftist organizations and unions as SB5 moved through the legislature.

  • [3] — To “continue working together,” one has to have worked together previously. Chris Maloney and ORPINO can pretend all they want, but that has yet to ever happen to any meaningful degree.
  • [4] — Geier “somehow” never got around to telling readers that well over 1,000 people attended We The People. What he described as a “number of small sessions,” as shown here, really consisted of 90 sessions on roughly 50 topics presented by subject matter experts in the areas of campaign organization, management, and strategy; statewide issues; national/international issues; historical perspectives; and online activism and advocacy. Ohio residents made well over half of the presentations. Several people who have attended other similar events told me they were especially impressed by the how-to focus of so many of the modules. Attendance at the sessions I attended was hardly “small,” ranging from about 50 to about 120.

Like the Tea Party movement itself, We The People was built from the ground up. This year’s event came about because of a recognition that as important as the achievements in last year’s congressional and U.S. Senate races were, it will take ongoing activism at the local, county and state levels to effect genuine long-term change, build an organizational and philosophical bench, and bring about an ultimate return to this country’s constitutional core values.

Ben Geier’s Dispatch effort comes off as a bit petty and designed to minimize the significance of an effort which could wind up being seen as the prototype for a successful activist education, training, and networking event in the coming years.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Reuters, AP Run Interference for Dem Gov. Dayton in Minn. Shutdown

Weekend coverage emanating from Minnesota via Reuters and the Associated Press is doing its level best to run interference for Democratic Governor Mark Dayton, who has chosen to shut down the government rather than sign a budget which does not include tax increases.

One unbylined AP report is a softball Q&A which inadvertently gives away that Dayton’s intransigence is, from his point of view, far more about party politics than the welfare of Minnesotans. In a longer AP profile by Patrick Condon with help from Martiga Lohn, Dayton abuses the Bible, in this case Luke 12:48 (as “progressives usually do), and reveals the all too typical liberal guilt found in born-wealthy liberals. In that second report, Condon provides another giveaway by drawing a parallel to President Obama and DC Democrats who are heading down a similar path on the national level. It’s a pretty obvious reminder to Dayton that he can’t afford to have a Democratic governor give in on the issue and set a problematic precedent for Washington.

But let’s begin with the coverage at Reuters by Todd Melby, who decided to unnecessarily include “colorful” language (though with a warning) in his report:

Minnesotans frustrated, angry over state government shutdown
(Warning: Use of strong language in paragraph 3)

Tara and Jose Garcia wanted to spend the holiday weekend camping with their four children.

But a Minnesota government shutdown prevented them from pitching a tent at a state park. So they checked out county campgrounds, only to find those parks overflowing with people.

“It’s bulls–t,” said Tara Garcia of Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. “I am just feeling, ‘Are you kidding? C’mon!’”

So the Garcias parked their minivan at Ft. Snelling, a state historical site nestled on the edge of the Mississippi River, just outside Minneapolis. That too was closed. They wandered the desolate paths anyway, with nerf guns in hand and a gaggle of kids, all under age 8.

After Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican legislative leaders failed to reach agreement on a $5 billion budget deficit Thursday, state offices, parks, highway rest areas and a state zoo were shuttered. In addition, 22,000 government workers were hit with layoff notices.

When negotiations broke down, the two sides were about $1.4 billion apart with Democrats insisting on a tax increase for the rich and Republicans strongly opposed. The partisan impasse angered many people.

“You have a job to do, figure out how to do your job,” said Laura Sandquist, 27, of Bloomington, Minnesota, who was at Ft. Snelling with her husband. The pair were not there to visit, but to unload their bikes and go for a ride along the river.

Jeff Sandquist, also 27, did not think the shutdown would actually happen. “It’s mean,” he said. “I’m sure they are both to blame.”

The “clever” Mr. Melby used Jeff Sandquist’s response to avoid the fundamental point: If the legislature passes a law or indicates that it will do so to keep the government running and the governor either vetoes or refuses to consider it, it’s the governor’s action which has caused the government to shut down. Also, as is usually the case in the ignorant mainstream press, Melby characterized Dayton’s desired income-tax increases as affecting “the rich,” when they really affect high-income earners who may or may not be rich.

Dayton’s answer to AP’s softball question in the wire service’s brief Q&A makes a mockery of his and Democrats’ claim to the be the party of compassion:

On who loses politically in a shutdown: “I think the Republican majorities in the House and Senate and I will all suffer politically. I told them at the very beginning of session, I told their leaders, we can either make each other look good or we can make each other look bad. Our political fortunes are kind of inexplicably tied together here.”

Sure, the question is (conveniently) about “political” suffering (if this were an interview of a GOP governor refusing to accept tax increases, it would be about “the people suffering”), but one benchmark dictating who suffers is who causes the suffering. It is because of Dayton alone that, as the longer AP report describes, “State parks and the Minnesota Zoo are closed, highway projects are stalled and thousands of government workers are at home without pay for the foreseeable future.” If raising taxes is such a popular action in the Gopher state, a) tax increases could pass separately in an up-or-down vote without holding up the entire state budget, and b) the legislature wouldn’t be in the GOP’s control in the first place. Neither is the case, indicating that Dayton, with media help, is attempting to win the battle not on its merits, but instead by building a false sense of pressure.

Dayton’s biblical reference reads as follows in Condon’t item:

“My father’s favorite quote was from the Bible: ‘Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required,’” Dayton told The Associated Press on Friday afternoon in his Capitol office.

Two points: First, the Biblical admonition is a personal one, and second, having the state force you to “give” isn’t “giving” at all, and does nothing towards meeting the Biblical requirement.

Dayton’s born-to-wealth guilt is embodied in the following two paragraphs:

The political ideology underpinning Dayton’s actions isn’t limited to his experiences as a personally wealthy man. In Friday’s interview, he described his years after graduating from college at Yale, which included a short time teaching in an inner-city school in New York City.

“All these kids in my classroom were just as wonderful creations as I, and through no choice of our own, I was born into this great good fortune and they were born into this abject poverty,” Dayton said. “The injustice really seared my conscience.”

Dayton’s reaction to the inner-city classroom situation, contrary to Condon’s assertion, is totally based on “his experiences as a (guilty-feeling) personally wealthy man.” Dayton doesn’t appreciate that in a properly structured education system with competitive schools, any kid can grow up to be a great person, do great things, and, if it’s their chosen path, become wealthy by working hard and creating value for others. The tragedy is that the inner-city public school system he wishes to perpetuate — “Dayton has said publicly that he opposes school voucher programs” — will likely never do that for the vast majority of its students.

The following text from Condon’s piece makes it clear that this is a critical moment for Dayton, who in Condon’s eyes can’t be a worthy carrier of the “courageous” liberal flame unless he wins this battle:

Last week, President Barack Obama echoed Dayton when he called for upper-bracket income tax increases as a means of shrinking the country’s debt. Obama even used a term Dayton has repeated like a mantra: A “balanced approach” to describe a mix of tax increases and spending cuts they both have said is the surest way to restore stability to government budgeting.

“I do think Democrats around the country are looking for models of courage, and strong leaders they can use as a model,” said Jeff Blodgett, a longtime friend who was an adviser to one of Dayton’s closest allies, the late Sen. Paul Wellstone. “He isn’t afraid to be honest and direct about his principles.”

Dayton stands now as the heir to Minnesota’s long line of successful liberal Democrats, a tree that includes Wellstone and former vice presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale.

It’s equally clear that this is a pivotal moment for Republican legislators in what has sometimes been called the Land of 10,000 Taxes. The nation will be watching to see who bends first.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Registration for World Youth Day hits record high

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:00 am

From Vatican City:

Jun 28, 2011 / 12:26 pm

World Youth Day organizers announced today that 440,000 young people have already signed up for the international gathering set for this coming August – a record enrollment figure this far out from the event.

“World Youth Day is an extraordinary experience for a Church which is a friend to the young, sharing their problems, a Church which is at the service of the younger generations,” said the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, at a June 28 Vatican press conference.

“It is an epiphany of the Christian faith on a truly global scale. And young people – especially in our old Europe, deeply secular and secularizing – have a special need for all this,” he said.

Cardinal Rylko went on to give some of the highlights for the six-day event that will take place in the Spanish capital from Tuesday, August 16 to Sunday, August 21.

The Pope will arrive on the evening of Thursday, August 18. Over the next four days he will preside at a total of nine events with young people.

This includes a meeting with young female religious on the Friday morning, followed by a gathering with young academics. Pope Benedict will end the day by joining young people for the Way of the Cross through the streets of Madrid.

On the Saturday the Pope will hear confessions at Madrid’s Jardines del Buen Retiro before going onto the city’s cathedral to offer Mass for seminarians.

The highpoint of his visit, though, will be Sunday morning Mass at Cuatro Vientos Airport with hundreds of thousands of young pilgrims. So far, 745 bishops, 13,455 priests and 4,585 seminarians have committed to being there, too. …

Go here for the rest of the story.