Sometimes, the left simply can’t argue against hard facts. In a book excerpt warning of the “resurgent right” on Salon.com, leftist Lee Fang accused Brent Bozell of “gross exaggeration” in describing media apathy on Obama scandals.
Fang reported that in a speech at the Council for National Policy in February 2009, Bozell claimed by the time the national networks ran "a single story on Reverend Wright, 42 states and the District of Columbia had voted." Dear Mr. Fang: please identify the exaggeration in that fact.
Surprise: New York Times Actually Takes Seriously Obama 2007 Video Praising Rev. Wright (With Caveats)
In a bit of a surprise, New York Times reporters Jeremy Peters and Jim Rutenberg filed a longish article on a recently unearthed Obama video from 2007 showing the president in a fiery, racially charged mode and praising his anti-American pastor Jeremiah Wright, a video downplayed or ignored by most of the mainstream media: "Race at Issue for Obama As Right Revives '07 Talk."
Less surprising was the snotty text box: "New fodder for a favorite topic in conservative circles." And the reporters took care to trace the tape's provenance down the conservative media food chain.
In a stunning omission on Wednesday's NBC Today, brief coverage of a 2007 video of Barack Obama completely ignored the then-Senator praising his controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright as a "great leader, not just in Chicago, but all across the country." The NBC morning show adopted a dismissive attitude toward the video, with co-host Savannah Guthrie leading off the broadcast: "Conservatives circulate a five-year-old video, in a move the Obama campaign calls desperate." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
In the report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd further quoted Obama talking points: "In a transparent attempt to change the subject from his comments attacking half of the American people, Mitt Romney's allies re-circulated video of a 2007 event that was open to and extensively covered by the press at the time."
The Washington Post suddenly discovered Ed Klein’s best-selling anti-Obama book The Amateur on the front page of Thursday’s Style section. Reporter/book blogger Steven Levington announced the book "contains scenes that did not occur or that were vastly misconstrued, according to those who Klein says were present."
Levingston completely ignored the most headline-grabbing allegations in the book, that in a recorded interview, Rev. Jeremiah Wright said Obama pal Eric Whitacre tried to buy his silence in 2008. Instead, Levingston went on a tear against Klein’s 2005 book about Hillary Clinton.
The Post used a pull quote from an old review by John Podhoretz: "Thirty pages into it, I wanted to take a shower. Sixty pages into it, I wanted to be decontaminated." Klein’s most unbelievable tale had Bill Clinton telling someone he was going to "rape his wife."
Levingston reported he conducted a two-and-a-half hour interview with Klein -- and somehow, Reverend Wright isn’t worth mentioning? He reported Klein insists he does not publish a fact unless at least two sources corroborate it. What Levington does not mention is that this same tactic – grab headlines with anonymous sources recreating meetings that just a few insiders attended – is the bread and butter of Washington Post bigfoot Bob Woodward (that, and controversial tactics like an alleged deathbed interview with William Casey).
Levingston makes space for Klein so he can be denounced as a fabricator by an Obama flack, a Clinton flack, and by "Media Matters in America" [sic].
The bias is really on display when Levingston writes the Klein book "repeats longstanding conservative opinions about Obama – that he is a Muslim, a closet socialist and riddled with delusions of grandeur."
To review: most of us conservatives think Obama is a agnostic golfer, a most obvious socialist, and find it funny when people find humility in a guy who announced "We are the change we’ve been waiting for" and claims to CBS that only a president or three have a greater record than he does.
Levingston raised one example from the book, a meeting Obama held with (liberal) historians, one of whom apparently dished to Klein:
In June 2009, Obama invited a group of nine eminent historians to the White House for dinner and an off-the-record discussion of presidential history, an evening Klein re-creates in "The Amateur" based apparently on one anonymous historian who attended and left disillusioned with his host. In Klein’s telling, Obama regaled the historians with a long list of his intended accomplishments as president.
"It was, by any measure," Klein concludes, "a breathtaking display of narcissistic grandiosity."
Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University and author, most recently, of a biography of Walter Cronkite, attended the meeting. He describes it as a casual history book club discussion — the president did not grandstand about his ambitions, nor did he discuss policy.
"It was more to talk about other presidents, not himself," Brinkley recalled. "I found the president to be breathtakingly humble." Brinkley said he was disappointed Klein "inflated and twisted and distorted" the meeting. "It sounds like a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit of the reality. It’s nonsensical."
It's quite likely Obama wanted to at least feign humility while buttering up historians (no doubt with a long view on the old legacy). But it's also quite likely that Douglas Brinkley -- the man who wrote a syrupy biography of John Kerry for campaign use in 2004 -- is an Obama voter who knows which side he's on when discussing whether Obama has been amateurish as president.