Republicans have been almost universally blamed for the government shutdown in melodramatic reports from the White House, amplified by a sympathetic liberal media. The press, however, literally teed up the blame game many days ago.
A new Media Research Center analysis of broadcast news coverage shows that ABC, CBS and NBC spent the two weeks before the actual shutdown carefully positioning congressional Republicans — especially conservatives and tea party folk — for one whack after another.
"By the time the shutdown actually took place on Tuesday, news audiences had been repeatedly instructed to think about it as a GOP-generated crisis," says Rich Noyes, research director for the Media Research Center.
The study examined coverage from Sept. 17 to 30 to find that out of 39 shutdown stories, 21 collared Republicans for "triggering the crisis" compared to four that blamed both sides and absolutely none, as in zero and nada, that blamed Democrats.
All that recent name-calling and vilification of Republicans prompted CNN correspondent Jim Acosta to confront White House spokesman Jay Carney about the phenomenon. Mr. Acosta asked "if this White House is trying to taunt Republicans into shutting the government down."
Could be. President Obama's shutdown summit with pivotal lawmakers at the White House on Wednesday evening could open a whole new vista of possibilities.
"If Democratic congressmen, or a Democratic speaker of the house, pursuing a liberal policy objective, was subjected to similar ridicule or insults from a Republican president or a Republican senate majority leader, you can bet that the networks would have made such language the centerpiece of their coverage," Mr. Noyes observes.
FOR THE LEXICON
New term for the fencing erected around the World War II Memorial following the government shut down, referenced by Twitchy.com and other sources.
The term, at this writing, was credited to none other than Joseph Curl, Washington Times columnist and editor of the Drudge Report. President Obama did not benefit from the greater implications of it all.
"Obama sent more protection to the World War II Memorial than he sent to Benghazi," tweeted Rep. Steve Stockman, Texas Republican.
ON BEHALF OF THE VETS
Judicial Watch, meanwhile, has already filed a Freedom of Information Act with the U.S. Park Service, seeking "any and all" information about the decision to close the aforementioned memorial, even as the incredible World War II "Honor Flight" vets — many in their 90s — assembled at the site for a visit of a lifetime.
The American Center for Law and Justice, a constitutional law firm in the nation's capital, is prepared to take legal action if the Obama administration does not reopen the World War II Memorial. The organization is also calling on President Obama to apologize to the vets.
"What we are witnessing is a disturbing violation of the First Amendment rights of our nation's heroes," chief counsel Jay Sekulow says. "By spending money to bring in barricades to attempt to shut down an open-air memorial is abhorrent and deeply insulting to World War II vets who defended the very freedoms that are now threatened by the Obama administration's actions. We are prepared to take legal action if this injustice is not corrected."
The Republican National Committee has offered to cover the cost of keeping the World War II Memorial open for the next 30 days
"The Obama administration has decided they want to make the government shutdown as painful as possible," says chairman Reince Priebus, who visited the site Wednesday afternoon. "The committee has put aside enough money to hire five security personnel to keep this memorial open to veterans and visitors. Ideally, I'd hope to hire furloughed employees for this job."
Mr. Priebus also suggested that the Democratic National Committee join in to help support the memorial. The DNC's response, from spokesman Mo Elleithee: it's a "silly stunt."
FROM ANN'S MENU
Blueberry French toast, tangy pork tenderloin, lasagna noodle bake, quiche Lorraine, lake house enchiladas, barbecue beans, chocolate chiffon pie, Great-Granny's banana cake, Fluffernutter sandwiches.
— A selection from the 80 recipes included in "The Romney Family Table," a cookbook published Wednesday by Ann Romney.
She is donating all proceeds from the book to charity.
Talk radio kingpin RushLimbaugh often cautions his listeners about "low information voters" who are only inclined to take in the most sweeping of political messages, primarily from liberals, progressives and Democrats. But there's a new genre to consider.
Meet "occasionally interested people" surely is the bane of every political strategist who ever tried to drum up support for a candidate among those who may be distracted, oblivious, ambivalent. Credit for coining the term goes to Sean Astin, himself the host of Vox Populi, an online radio show soon to reach the regular airwaves.
Mr. Astin is a Democrat and the familiar actor who played the hobbit Sam in the endless "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, among many roles. "We are now ready to launch the show as a viable competitor in the national pundit marketplace," Mr. Astin declares.
Things change: The Cultural Assets Office of the Beijing Municipal Government reveals that the winner of the 2013 Beijing International Screenwriting Competition will be named later this month in Los Angeles during a monumental event titled "China's Entertainment Industry: The Next Chapter," meant to highlight "major opportunities in China's cultural industry" and future trends.
The competition was open to U.S. citizens only; the winning screenplay, however, will be shot in Beijing. There are some heavy hitters involved. The competition kick-starts "a new era of cross-cultural collaboration and supporting a close and sustained creative dialogue between China and the U.S.," says three-time Academy Award-winning director James Cameron.
POLL DU JOUR
• 36 percent of U.S. voters think that "the Obama administration is secretly trying to take everyone's guns away"; 62 percent of Republicans and 14 percent of Democrats agree.
• 32 percent of voters overall think major sporting events like the Super Bowl are "rigged by referees and league offices" for better ratings and more money; 34 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats agree.
• 26 percent overall think "Muslims are covertly implementing Shariah law in American court systems"; 42 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of Democrats agree.
• 25 percent say that President Obama is "secretly trying to figure out a way to stay in office beyond 2017"; 44 percent of Republicans and 11 percent of Democrats agree.
• 23 percent overall think "the U.S. government has engaged in the assassination of political leaders who tried to spread a political message they didn't like"; 27 percent of Republicans and 23 percent of Democrats agree.
• 19 percent overall believe "there is a secret society such as 'Skull and Bones' that produces most of America's political and financial leaders to serve the interests of the wealthy elite"; 15 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats agree.
Source: A Public Policy Polling survey of 700 registered U.S. voters conducted Sept. 25 and 26.
• Glaring facts and innuendo to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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