"Say what you will about George W. Bush. He never complained about the media coverage he received. But here is President Obama, riding high off victories in the general election inexplicably talking about Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and lamenting how the poor state of discourse in political media today is affecting compromise in Washington," says Joe Concha, an analyst for Mediaite.
Relations between the White House and Fox News have been chilly for years, counterproductive since Fox is the most watched cable news network. Mr. Obama does not call much on Fox News correspondents during news conferences. And more recently, he named the network, along with Mr. Limbaugh, as contributors to incivility in the public discourse.
"It is odd, and small, and disappointing to hear the president broach Fox News publicly without mentioning its polar opposite, MSNBC," Mr. Concha points out. "It was the latter that, on the week before the election, had 51 percent of stores about President Obama positive, with no negative stories, all while 68 percent of its stories about Mitt Romney were negative, with zero positive stories."
Fox favored Mr. Romney, according to those Pew Research Center numbers.
"And that's the point. Both networks engage in providing varying level red meat for its audience on a daily basis. But to call out one network and not the other squarely places Mr. Obama's credibility on the issue into question," Mr. Concha says, later concluding, "If the president believes that serving up a one-sided analysis on the state of media will help break the gridlock he has greatly contributed to, well, he's simply been watching too much TV to truly be paying attention."
AL GORE, PART TWO
Brace for Al Gore impact: The former vice president's new book "The Future" is in stores Tuesday, weighing down shelves at nearly 600 pages.
The hefty volume showcases "six critical drivers of global change in the decades to come," promises publisher Random House, though Mr. Gore still appears to be in joyless alarmist mode, convinced that from the Internet and media a new "global mind" has emerged that links "thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases." And of course, the influence of a "U.S.-centered system" is waning, a persistent theme among left-leaning revisionists who can't wait to mourn the loss of U.S. exceptionalism.
The controversial sale of his public-affairs network Current TV to Al-Jazeera now forgotten, Mr. Gore embarks on a 20-city book tour that begins in Manhattan on Tuesday and ends in mid-February. He'll be in the nation's capital Thursday, then it's on to Nashville, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and points west. The events boast a $35 admission price. Most are sold out.
Mr. Gore is already asking fans to tweet their ideas about the future to him. He appears feisty — as feisty as the days when he appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine in newfound earth tones and tight jeans during the 2000 presidential race. So brace for impact.
"Mapping the future is a risky undertaking. Perhaps the only thing riskier is doing nothing," Mr. Gore observes.
"I will not be supporting the Senate's proposed 'immigration reform' should it reach the House. I cannot and will not support any immigration reform proposal that institutes an amnesty program or does not begin with a comprehensive plan to secure the borders," proclaims Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican.
"The Senate's proposed plan does not fix our nation's broken immigration system. It rewards law breaking and encourages a new flood of illegals, perpetuating the very problems it claims to solve. Our nation's failed experiments with amnesty have proven it only encourages more illegals willing to wait it out for their turn at free citizenship."
Question for White House spokesman Jay Carney during the Monday press briefing: "How often does the president go skeet shooting?"
Mr. Carney: "I don't know how often. He does go to Camp David with some regularity, but I'm not sure how often he's done that."
Question 2: "Is there a photograph of him doing it?
Mr. Carney: "There may be, but I haven't seen it."
Question 3: "Why haven't we heard about it before?
Mr. Carney: "Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs."
Where did film producer David Klawans get the idea for "Argo," the meticulously made, award-winning movie that has earned more than $180 million at the box office and showcases actor-director Ben Affleck? The answer: Mr. Klawans is a content gleaner, and he likes government documents.
"Nearly every day, for upward of 10-hour stretches, the independent film producer speed-reads police blogs, articles from RSS feeds and niche-interest journals in dogged pursuit of an elusive prize: a story on which to base his next movie," says Los Angeles Times film writer Chris Lee, who reveals that "Argo" emerged from a declassified story in the quarterly CIA journal "Studies in Intelligence," which self-described news junkie Mr. Klawans came upon in 1998.
"It's like going on the beach with a metal detector," he notes.
POLL DU JOUR
• 54 percent of small-business owners say health care costs are hurting their operating environment "a lot."
• 19 percent say health care costs hurt their operations "a little"; 23 percent say they have no effect.
• 53 percent of the owners say taxes on small businesses are hurting their operating environment "a lot."
• 27 percent say taxes hurt their operations "a little"; 17 percent say they have no effect.
• 46 percent say government regulations are hurting their operating environment "a lot."
• 26 percent say regulations hurt their operations "a little"; 22 percent say they have no effect.
Source: A Wells Fargo/Gallup poll of 601 small-business owners conducted Jan. 7 to 11 and released Friday.
• Boisterous criticism, press releases to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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