- The Washington Times - Monday, January 25, 2010

Sins of omission

The mainstream news media spent 2009 protecting the Obama administration from the viable findings of bloggers, independent videographers and “new media” mavens.

Where was the coverage of White House “green jobs’ guru Van Jones, who signed a petition suggesting the Bush administration played a role in the September 11 attacks? Also mostly ignored: The follies of Climategate, of ACORN, and of revelations that White House communications director Anita Dunn appreciated Mao Zedong, but not Fox News.

“Instead of acting as government watchdogs holding the people in power accountable, the nation’s broadcast news networks deliberately suppressed and de facto censored embarrassing scoops — at least until President Obama or Congress took action and made them impossible to ignore,” says Tim Graham of the Media Research Center, which publishes a lengthy study of the trend Monday.

“This resistance to real news extended even to newspapers like the Washington Post and the New York Times, which are supposed to be more substantive and thorough than highly paid TV news talking heads or unpaid bloggers,” Mr. Graham says. “The news was not only slow in arriving, it was fast in disappearing.”

Both papers didn’t mention Mr. Jones until he resigned. Broadcast networks did not acknowledge ACORN’s willingness to help out a faux “pimp and prostitute” even after NBC’s Jay Leno parodied it all. ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, and the New York Times ignored Ms. Dunn; the major networks also suppressed Climategate.

“The ‘old media’ are in danger of losing even more audience members as long as they refuse to acknowledge news until after Democrats in Congress or the White House decide it’s news,” Mr. Graham says. “During the last administration, Newsweek editor Evan Thomas insisted: ‘Our job is to bash the president, that’s what we do.’ But in 2009, he proclaimed that Mr. Obama was poised above the country, even above the world: ‘He’s sort of God.’ ”

Mr. Graham adds, “The news media should not see its job as ‘bashing’ the president, but in 2009, it should not have been their job to inflate him into a celestial being, either.”

See the complete study here: www.mrc.org

The light brigade

Indeed, it is primarily the “new media” rushing to identify “Ellie Light,” a deft Obama defender who managed to place a heartfelt, pro-White House letter-to-the-editor in 42 newspapers in 18 states in the last week. Yes, The Washington Times ran the letter, along with Politico. Is it “astroturf” — fake grass-roots support drummed up by PR pros? Is there a real Miss Light?

“Some web sleuths believe that ‘Ellie’ is none other than Samantha Power, the former campaign aide to Barack Obama who was forced to resign for calling Hillary Clinton a ‘monster.’ Ms. Power has recovered from that snafu rather nicely; she now serves on the National Security Council. Power is also married to Cass Sunstein, one of the President’s many czars,” summarizes the Infidel Bloggers Alliance.

“He’s the guy who believes that animals should have legal standing to sue in the nation’s courts. Sunstein has also advocated ‘secret’ payments to experts outside the government, to shape opinion and prod them into action.”

Makes cents

Ten dollars, $20 — even 84 cents. It’s the kind of “change” Republicans believe in. Even in a credit-crazed world, the party has managed to keep a close eye on its treasure chest.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) netted $6.6 million in the month of December from contributions alone, has $8.4 million cash-on-hand — and $0 debt. This brings the year-end total to $81.3 million raised; the average contribution to the RNC during 2009 was $39.84. Currently, the RNC has 1.2 million active donors, adding a record-breaking 370,000 new donors in the last 12 months.

Give him space

Some people contend that lawmakers act like they’re from another planet. Then there are those convinced that otherwordly affairs play a distinct role in politics, like Denver-based activist Jeff Peckman, who insists the nation needs an “Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission” and demands that President Obama, in the name of “transparency,” release 60 years worth of official records about UFOs.

Mr. Peckman borrows Cold War reasoning from former President Reagan in an impassioned plea:

“President Obama, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the United States and the world, if you seek truth, come here to this historic opportunity. Mr. President, open the files on UFOs and extraterrestrial visitors. Mr. President, ‘tear down this wall’ of UFO secrecy,” Mr. Peckham says.

Something could be up, says Marek Kukula, public astronomer at Britain’s Royal Observatory, who warned Sunday that extraterrestrials may be, uh, hostile.

“Given the consequences of contact may not be what we initially hoped for, then we need governments and the U.N. to get involved in any discussions,” he told the Times of London newspaper.

“During this election year, I believe that the brightest stars will be those political candidates who are well-informed about the UFO-disclosure issue and the rapidly growing public awareness of extraterrestrial visitations,” Mr. Peckman tells Inside the Beltway.

“These brightest stars will encourage open and honest discussion of disclosure of government files on crafts and visitors of extraterrestrial origin. Political candidates that do not shine with a respectful and informed response to questions about UFO disclosure will regret it. They’ll be left behind eating stardust,” he adds.

Bumper patrol

“Thank you, Massachusetts.”

— Bumper sticker produced by Beltway reader David Denholm, who tells us, “In a fit of irrational exuberance, I had some printed to give to friends, and I’m selling what’s left on eBay.”

Poll du jour

• 49 percent of American voters are concerned that the federal government will do “too much” to fix the economy.

• 76 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents agree.

• 76 percent of Democrats say the government “will not do enough.”

• 35 percent of Americans overall say the $787 billion stimulus plan helped the economy.

• 31 percent say the plan hurt the economy; 29 percent say it had no impact.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 likely voters, conducted Jan. 18-19.

Beeps, bleeps, bleats to jharper@washingtontimes.com

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