After the GOP victory in the November 2010 elections, with a net pickup of 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats, the Obama Administration has been attempting to cultivate a moderate, centrist image to regain its footing with the American public. President Obama’s deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts, which would have expired on January 1, 2011, and his personnel shakeups in the White House worked to improve Obama’s standing with the public to above the critical 50% level by the end of January 2011.
However, in the past week, President Obama has now returned to the approximate level of public approval prior to the November elections, with about 45% of the public approving of his performance. The two main daily pollsters, Rasmussen Reports and Gallup, demonstrate this recent decline in approval, with Gallup measuring 45% approval/47% disapproval and Rasmussen showing 46% approval/53% disapproval. The mainstream media has yet to report upon this end to Obama’s polling resurgence, despite the lavish attention paid to the rise in ratings. Rasmussen reported on this recent slide today in its report:
The president’s Approval Index ratings have fallen nine points since Monday as the crisis in Egypt unfolds. Most of the decline comes from a fall in the number who Strongly Approve of the president’s performance (30% on Monday, 23% now). However, for the first time since mid-December, the number who Strongly Disapprove has moved back over the 40% mark for five straight days. The Strongly Disapprove total had been above 40% for most of 2010 but fell to the high-30s after the president and Senate Republicans reached a deal to extend the Bush Administration tax cuts.
The major issue commanding media coverage in the past week or so has been the ongoing protests in Egypt against President Mubarak’s regime. The inconsistent and highly publicized statements of the Administration about the crisis, from Vice President Biden asserting that Mubarak was not a dictator and shouldn’t resign to Obama’s recent demands that Mubarak “immediately” begin a transition to a new government, may have unsettled some Americans who were moving in Obama’s direction in response to his post-election centrist manoeuvrings. Unfortunately for President Obama, it appears that his Administration’s handling of the crisis may have again soured the middle 10% of the country on his leadership.
In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larsen stated with specificity that the proponents of Obamacare now have the 216 votes they need to pass Obamacare later today through the House of Representatives.
Here’s the NBC News twitter feed reporting Larsen’s comment:
‘We have the votes now — as we speak’ to pass Obama’s health care bill, chairman of Democratic caucus says on ABC’s ‘This Week’
It could be a bluff, but this news certainly is a bad sign for the majority of Americans who oppose the Obamacare package while it is great news for President Obama, who, if Larsen is correct, will undoubtedly receive glowing media coverage and perhaps a bounce in the polls should his health care package receive 216 votes later today.
In a startling review issued today by the Associated Press regarding Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) requests, it was revealed that the Obama Administration substantially increased the use of so-called “exemptions” to disclosure under FOIA, effectively undermining the many rhetorical claims by President Barack Obama that his administration will be the “most open and transparent in history.” The AP explains the findings of its review:
WASHINGTON — The government’s use of legal exemptions to keep records secret rose during President Barack Obama’s first year in office, despite promises of increased openness, an Associated Press review found.
The review of annual Freedom of Information Act reports filed by 17 major agencies found that overall, the use of nearly every one of the open-records law’s nine exemptions to withhold information rose in fiscal year 2009, which ended last October.
Among the most frequently used exemptions: one that lets the government hold back records that detail its internal decision-making. Obama had directed agencies to stop using that exemption so frequently, but that directive appears to have been widely ignored.
Major agencies cited that exemption to refuse records at least 70,779 times during the 2009 budget year, compared with 47,395 times during President George W. Bush’s final full budget year, according to annual FOIA reports filed by federal agencies.
As Sunshine Week begins, I want to applaud everyone who has worked to increase transparency in government and recommit my administration to be the most open and transparent ever, an effort that will strengthen our democracy and ensure the public’s trust in their government.
We are proud of these accomplishments, but our work is not done. We will continue to work toward an unmatched level of transparency, participation and accountability across the entire Administration.
Perhaps the establishment media will report upon this clearly misleading Obama statement, especially in relation to the unmentioned 50% increase in FOIA exemption claims by his Administration, in the days to come and bring some level of honesty to the media’s reporting on the transparency issue. Obama’s statement, on his first full day in office as President, claiming that broadly granted FOIA requests are the key to an open government is a timely reminder of how far removed the first year of Obama’s government has been from the rhetoric used by President Obama on the issue of open and transparent government:
The prolific use of FOIA exemptions is one measure of how far the federal government has yet to go to carry out Obama’s promise of openness. His first full day in office, Obama told agencies the Freedom of Information Act, “which encourages accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government.”
At a time when the establishment media, led by the NYT, is ignoring the untoward Democratic procedure trickery regarding Obamacare (“Slaughter Solution”) and downplaying the substantive special interest pork Obama is using to purchase votes, the NYT truly sets the standard for Obama worship with the photo reproduced here, showing Obama as a messiah-like figure in front of large cross, with a halo around his head, clearly intended to draw comparisons to Christian savior Jesus Christ.
This is nothing new for the NYT, their Obamaphile journalists like Peter Baker and other establishment media, as the cheerleading of the Obama candidacy and then Presidency has been continuous and systemic since the inception of Obama’s campaign for President in 2007. As the clock counts down on perhaps the most important vote in Congress in decades, the House vote on Obamacare, we can expect to see even more frantic Obama worship by the establishment media in the attempt to convince the American public to support the unpopular bill. Centrist, independent and non-ideological Americans are left to wonder what establishment media coverage of the Obama Administration would look like if the narrative-setting giant NYT reported in an objective, as opposed to supportive, manner regarding the Obama Presidency.
A final note from this NYT article bears mentioning. Despite tons of rhetoric about how this week’s House Obamacare vote is so critical to Obama’s Presidency, the establishment media also sets a new narrative into action, claiming that if the House vote fails, Obama’s Presidency will be a-okay. Apparently the establishment media, as orchestrated by the Obama Administration, wants to have all its bases covered as this final week of the Obamacare battle begins.
Still, for all the potential consequences, it is probably too hyperbolic to suggest the presidency rides on this moment. If he fails this week, Mr. Obama could still recover. Even a weakened president has enormous capacity to set an agenda. For all the damage Mr. Clinton absorbed from the failure of his health care plan and the Republican takeover, he eventually found his footing again and won re-election handily.
If your only source of information was establishment media reporting, it would be easy to draw an altogether false conclusion from the recent attacks by John Patrick Bedell (Pentagon gunman) and Joseph Andrew Stack (suicide pilot) that a wave of “right wing extremism” or “tea party terrorism” is descending upon America. This narrative is being pushed relentlessly by the establishment media, despite indisputable countervailing facts as shown in detail below. An objective review of the writings and activities of the suspects in each of the recent horrific terrorist attacks by Americans on Americans – Joseph Andrew Stack (airplane suicide bomber), John Patrick Bedell (gunman at Pentagon), and Amy Bishop (massacred fellow professors) – unequivocally demonstrates that each of these deranged individuals actually have closer ties to the American left than any right wing group.
Accordingly, a casual observer of establishment media reports on Bedell and Stack would conclude, falsely, that both were “right wing extremists” despite the indisputable facts that both men strongly hated the former Republican Bush/Cheney Administration while one (Stack) was a proponent of Communism and another (Bedell) was a registered Democrat. While it is true that both men engaged in anti-government rantings, such rantings alone do not prove that either man was a “right wing extremist”. Neither man was a registered Republican or had any history of tea party activism or right wing activism, yet the establishment media made exactly those claims in its “reporting”. Such intentionally misleading reporting by the establishment media on Bedell and Stack are examples of the most odious aspects of the establishment media’s strong left wing bias in its reporting.
In an e-mail message describing the event, another professor, Joseph Ng, wrote, “She started with the one closest to her and went down the row shooting her targets in the head.” He continued: “Blood was everywhere with crying and moaning. We were in a pool of blood in disbelief of what had happened.” The message was published on the Web site of The Orange County Register after Dr. Ng, who had not intended to make it public, sent it to a friend.
Dr. Ng, Dr. Moriarity and the others on the far end of the room dove under the conference table. Dr. Moriarity crawled over to Dr. Bishop and grabbed her by the leg, yelling, “Amy, think about my grandson! Think about my daughter! I helped you, I helped you before, and I’ll help you now,” she said.
Dr. Moriarity said she had often acted as a “sounding board” for Dr. Bishop and had given her advice when she came up for tenure.
But in the room, any such relationship seemed forgotten. Dr. Bishop shook Dr. Moriarty off, turned, and pointed the gun down at her. “She looked at me and fired — and it clicked,” Dr. Moriarity said.
Dr. Bishop did not speak, Dr. Moriarity said. “She just looked angry,” she said. “The expression on her face never changed. Until the gun jammed — the last expression I saw was more of a perplexed look.”
While we believe that no political party or politician deserves any blame for the actions of deranged individuals such as Bedell, Stack and Bishop, the American left’s use of these recent terrorist or extremist incidents to “prove” that a wave of “right wing extremist” or “tea party terrorist” attacks are hitting America is intentionally dishonest and appears motivated by a left wing ideological desire to use the tragic incidents to score political points against Republicans as the high-stakes partisan debate over health care unfolds in Washington, D.C. Considering the dishonest cherry-picking of facts by the establishment media in their relentless efforts to portray Stack and Bedell as “right wing extremists”, the media’s failure to report, let alone pursue, the clear indications that Bishop was a “far left political extremist” is clear evidence of untoward ideological left-wing bias and screening at work in today’s media reporting to the American people. One can only hope that Americans are not taken by the dishonest, ideological narrative creation engaged in by the likes of the New York Times, Washington Post, CNN and Christian Science Monitor and instead the media is shamed into reporting all the facts on these matters.