- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 4, 2012

“Sugar Man,” “Detopia” and “Ethel” were among the 15 documentaries deemed eligible for an Oscar by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science on Tuesday. But not “2016: Obama’s America,” produced by Gerald Molen, who won an Oscar as producer of “Schindler’s List.” His ambitious film project with author Dinesh D’Souza depicting the nation in four years earned $33.4 million at the box office this year. That, apparently, was not enough to persuade the academy.

“The action confirms my opinion that the bias against anything from a conservative point of view is dead on arrival in Hollywood circles. The film’s outstanding success means that America went to see the documentary in spite of how Hollywood feels about it,” Mr. Molen told The Hollywood Reporter in the aftermath.

“I want to thank the Academy for not nominating our film,” Mr. D’Souza added.

LOVING THE TAX HIKES

The press continues to coddle the White House, though the election is long over. It appears President Obama needs a little help with that pesky fiscal cliff, with ABC News leading the charge. The network is underscoring Mr. Obama’s claims that tax hikes on the wealthy are the sole solution to economic catastrophe, says a Media Research Center analysis revealing that in the three weeks after Mr. Obama’s re-election, ABC’s “World News” devoted more than 10 minutes to tax hikes and just 35 seconds to spending cuts. That’s a 17-1 margin.

ABC has already plunged off the credibility cliff. No serious news organization could possibly commit 17 times more coverage to touting tax hikes as the solution to this crisis than spending cuts. ABC News is nothing more than the press office of the Obama administration,” declares Brent Bozell, director of the watchdog group.

There are other offenders. “The NBC Nightly News” gave more than four minutes to tax hikes, but less than two minutes to spending cuts, while “The CBS Evening News” gave 14 minutes and 10 minutes, respectively, to the two topics. CBS, incidentally, emphasized the “horrific downside of spending cuts,” Mr. Bozell notes.

VILIFYING REPUBLICANS

“Why is the GOP compromise proposal being labeled as evidence of the influence of extremists, while the president’s hard-line refusal to consider an alternative to his soak-the-rich scheme is not being spoken of as proof that he is no moderate?” asks Commentary magazine senior online editor Jonathan Tobin.

“There is an argument to be made that the tax code should be used primarily for the purpose of redistribution of income, as the president seems to be insisting. But it has nothing to do with balancing the budget and avoiding sending the economy into another tailspin. It is nothing but pure liberal ideology, in which achievement and investment is to be taxed punitively regardless of whether such a policy would actually improve the country’s fiscal health,” Mr. Tobin notes.

The “universal reaction of the liberal mainstream media,” he continues, “is to claim that the president is playing the moderate while his opponents are right-wing partisans blinded by ideology. We’ll soon see whether the president’s evaluation of his opponents is accurate. He is counting on the press echoing his talking points about the extremism of the Republicans and that they will be blamed for the fallout if no agreement is reached.”

Indeed, the Grand Old Party appears to be catching the blame. A Pew Research Poll released Tuesday reveals that 53 percent of Americans blame “Republicans in Congress” for the fiscal cliff stalemate, while a mere 27 percent blame President Obama.

CENTS SENSE

The Tea Party Patriots, the nation’s largest umbrella group for the grass-roots movement, remains ready to rumble.

“We have a challenge to President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner and all those who are pushing us over the fiscal cliff to act now,” says Jenny Beth Martin, national coordinator for the organization.

“The Tea Party Patriots dare the government to cut just one penny from each dollar the government spends — this year, next year, and for five years — to balance the budget. And this time, start the cuts first,” she explains, adding, “Americans have come to expect the worst from our government, including that a backroom deal will be made between the Obama administration and Congress without the knowledge or support of the American people. We dare the government to take fiscal and personal responsibility. For a change.”

CAST CALL

Yes, there’s money for moments when there are no polls, only poles.

“Many children’s first memories of the outdoors happen with a rod and reel in hand. The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation has partnered with Outdoor Nation to fund 10 projects, giving each up to $2,500 to support innovative and creative ideas that encourage multigenerational fishing.” Proposals must be submitted by December 21st and winners will be announced on Jan. 21.

See the details here: www.outdoornation.org/grants

CHENEYTOPIA

Dick Cheney journeys to Manhattan on Thursday to the swank Pierre Hotel to be feted by the Hudson Institute, and for good reason. He will receive the group’s annual Herman Kahn Award, “for his decades of high-level public service during some of the most fraught and critical moments in recent American history.” In review, he served as White House chief of staff for Gerald R. Ford; as a six-term congressman from Wyoming; as secretary of defense; and as vice president for eight years in the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Cheney, incidentally, has picked up a snappy book contract with Scribner for a practical but intensely personal second memoir about his three-decade battle with heart disease, to be penned with his cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner. The good-hearted Mr. Cheney plans to donate a portion of his proceeds to charity.

POLL DU JOUR

• 57 percent of Americans say they understand the implications of “going over the fiscal cliff.”

• 61 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats agree.

• 41 percent overall say they do not understand the implications; 37 percent and 41 percent of Democrats agree.

• 49 percent of Americans overall say President Obama and Republicans in Congress will not reach a deal on the fiscal cliff.

• 69 percent of Republicans and 36 percent of Democrats agree.

• 40 percent of Americans overall say an agreement will be reached between the two sides; 22 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 1,003 U.S. adults conducted Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Loose talks and shrill squawks to jharper@washingtontimes.com