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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Obama’s Media

"Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands?" — Thomas Jefferson

As the presidential campaign begins to heat up and the Republican candidates continue to beat each other in their quest for the nomination Obama is gathering his forces, especially those in the media. This includes journalists, opinion writers, TV talking heads, and Hollywood fellow travelers.

For some Washington reporters and media execs, cheering their team from the sidelines just isn’t good enough: Tugging on a red, white and blue Team Obama jersey is the answer.

That’s the case for a whopping 19 journalists and media executives, including five from the Washington Post and three each from ABC and CNN, who’ve gone into the administration or center-left groups supporting the president.

The Washington Examiner ran an article last week stating:

“Those inside the administration hit 14 this month when the Post’s Stephen Barr joined the Labor Department. That’s a record, say some revolving door watchers, and could even be much higher: The Post reports that “dozens” of former journalists have joined the administration, although Washington Secrets couldn’t verify that tally.

Many are in communications and speech writing offices, most prominently Jay Carney, the president’s spokesman who ran Time’s Washington bureau, and husband to ABC’s Claire Shipman. Some joined as the news business collapsed, many to finally voice their politics, and others, notably former Transportation spokeswoman Jill Zuckman, because she liked her future boss, Secretary Ray LaHood, a rare Republican in the administration. That relationship rocked: LaHood broke through the lower-tier Cabinet P.R. ceiling to become one of the most well-known Transportation secretaries ever. She had worked for the Chicago Tribune.

The revolving door isn’t a surprise to critics of the media and Obama. “The number of reporters going into the Obama administration merely confirms what I knew and what most conservatives long believed,” said Noam Neusner, himself one of the few reporters hired as a Bush speech writer. “There is a vast supply of liberals in newsrooms, they are very happy to support Obama administration policies if they can get hired and they barely hide their ideology in the way they cover the news.” Neusner, who I worked with at U.S. News, said that he too might have been guilty of a pro-Bush bias, but said correctly: “My editors and colleagues were surprised to hear that I was a Republican.”

A former GOP Capitol Hill and cabinet spokesman added, “It’s frustrating to see so many reporters that had relationships with trusted sources give up their ‘impartiality’ and start playing for the other side. It does show that the game is stacked in favor of the other side when most reporters still working in their profession remain silent.”

Stephen Hess, a presidential and journalism scholar at the Brookings Institution, said reporters can be “conflicted” when they trade places. “On the other hand,” he added, “reporters going back to journalism after a stint in government are always better reporters in that they now understand how government really works.”

With the so-called journalists getting on the Obama train it was time for the campaigner-in chief to get out to Hollywood and bring the actors and movie moguls on board. Of course he is doing this with your money.

Last week he spent three days in southern California dipping into the coffers of the useful idiots in the film industry with his $35,000 per plate dinners. People like George Clooney, Barbara Streisand, and Steven Spielberg were quick to dole out the cash for these events.

Obama also ventured up the Pacific Northwest where there are no lack cash-rich lefties ready to contribute to his campaign. John Hayward writes in Human Events:

“The Oval Office sits empty, as President Obama invests most of his time in running for re-election. Even his “2013 budget proposal” was nothing more than a campaign document. Any resemblance between that proposal and a serious attempt to perform the duties of governing was purely coincidental. And remember, his previous budgets were equally absurd – not just controversial, but obviously impossible to pass, and packed with delusional assumptions and big-spending wish lists.

Obama also spends a great deal of time on tours to promote D.O.A. legislation he introduced solely for the purpose of demonizing its opponents, like his $450 billion “jobs bill,” which was almost as silly as his budget proposals.

Today finds the President in Seattle for a few more big-bucks events, as reported by the Seattle Times:

President Obama plans to make a cash withdrawal from his base of wealthy Democratic donors in the Seattle area Sunday, popping in for two fundraisers as part of a West Coast campaign swing.

No public events have been announced for the president's visit, but donors who pony up thousands of dollars can get up close and personal.

First up is an exclusive brunch at the Medina home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.

The event costs $35,800 per couple and 100 people are expected to attend, according to a Democratic Party official.

Then Obama will head to a larger fundraiser at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, with tickets starting at $100 for balcony seats and up to $7,500 for VIP seating and a receiving-line photo with the president, according to event invitations. Up to 400 people are expected at that event, which will include a lunch catered by chef Tom Douglas and a performance by the Robert Cray Band.

This comes on the heels of another $38,500-per-plate extravaganza in California yesterday. Via Twitter, Mark Knoller of CBS News is keeping score: “In Seattle, President Obama does 2 more fund-raisers - bringing 3-day total to 8 & total since filing for re-election to 92.” Obama filed for re-election on April 4, 2011. That’s 92 fundraisers in a little over ten months.”

National elections are expensive, and even with all the advantages of incumbency, a President seeking re-election would be obliged to spend some time raising money. Byzantine campaign finance laws increase the amount of time a candidate must devote to such activities. But at some point, the amount of time spent on campaigning and fund-raising becomes excessive - especially when coupled with a willingness to twist the duties of the President’s office, such as providing leadership on the federal budget, into campaign tools.

It’s also food for thought when assessing the viability of various Republican campaign strategies against the President. No one is going to be able to out-spend him. In fact, the ability to prevail despite a massive imbalance in campaign spending should be a top item of interest in any Republican resume.”

And then of course there is the case of Media Matters, the left-web site that promotes Obama and his radical agenda. The Daily Caller has been running a series of articles on Media Matters’ financial backers and how they are attempting to demonize conservatives.

Media Matters has raised millions of dollars from major liberal foundations since its inception, benefiting from heavyweight organizations like the Tides Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute.

A report Friday in The Daily Caller detailed the sources of about $29 million in Media Matters donations dating back to 2003. Though much of the group's finances are secret, the $29 million represents more than half of Media Matters' total funding in that time.

The left-wing Tides Foundation accounted for $4.38 million of the sum. According to the Caller, more than half of that contribution was in place before the Media Matters launch in 2004. The Open Society Institute also donated more than $1 million, in installments over three years.

Funding for the liberal media advocacy group comes from dozens of other organizations. Among them, according to the report, are the anti-war, the Barbra Streisand Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Joyce Foundation. President Obama sat on the board of the latter until 2002.

According to the Caller, Media Matters has received nearly $1 million from the Ford Foundation since 2010 — even though the group reportedly was planning to run an ad against Ford as part of its campaign against Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs when he was with CNN, because Ford was advertising on his show.

This brings me to the point I want to make concerning the involvement of the media, especially the film industry, in progressive, left-wing politics.

Back in the mid-1980s I took several courses in film making believing these courses would help me with my presentation skills. During these courses we viewed and then discussed films like The Red Balloon, Battleship Potemkin, Olympia, and Triumph of the Will.

The Red Balloon demonstrated the use of a simple object in a film to draw the viewers’ attention to the adventures of a young boy as he journeyed the streets of Paris. The 1925 silent film Battleship Potemkin, by Sergei Eisenstaedt, presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that occurred in 1905 when the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin rebelled against their officers of the Tsarist regime. It was the first film to use cut-aways and inserts such as close-ups, a broken pair of eyeglasses, a baby carriage bouncing down the stairs, and a dead child, to invoke feelings for the demonstrators being chased down by Tsarist troops.

Olympia and the Trump of the Will were documentary and propaganda films made by the Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. Olympia was made in 1938 and depicted the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. It was the first documentary feature film of the Olympic Games ever made. Many advanced motion picture techniques, which later became industry standards but which were groundbreaking at the time, were employed — including unusual camera angles, smash cuts, extreme close-ups, placing tracking shot rails within the bleachers, and the like. The techniques employed are almost universally admired, but the film is controversial due to its political context. Nevertheless, the film appears on many lists of the greatest films of all-time, including Time magazine's "All-Time 100 Movies.

Triumph of the Will was a pure propaganda film. It chronicles the 1934 Nazi Party Congress in Nuremberg, which was attended by more than 700,000 Nazi supporters. The film contains excerpts from speeches given by various Nazi leaders at the Congress, including portions of speeches by Adolf Hitler, interspersed with footage of massed party members. Hitler commissioned the film and served as an unofficial executive producer; his name appears in the opening titles. The overriding theme of the film is the return of Germany as a great power, with Hitler as the True German Leader who will bring glory to the nation.

Triumph of the Will was released in 1935 and rapidly became one of the best-known examples of propaganda in film history. Riefenstahl's techniques, such as moving cameras, the use of long focus lenses to create a distorted perspective, aerial photography, and revolutionary approach to the use of music and cinematography, have earned Triumph recognition as one of the greatest films in history. Riefenstahl won several awards, not only in Germany but also in the United States, France, Sweden, and other countries. The film was popular in the Third Reich and elsewhere, and has continued to influence movies, documentaries, and commercials to this day.

So with all this in mind I am composing a letter from Fräulein Riefenstahl to Barack Obama with some advice on how to dazzle the electorate with his message of hope and change.

Schatzi, it's been over a year since I last wrote you. Please forgive me. It's been so hot here I can barely stand to touch the keyboard. Not that I don't appreciate the green energy projects you funded to cool off this place, but dear, you know even with the trillions you spent, those projects just keep going under. Yes, I know it helped put billions in the pockets of your donors, but hell is not freezing over you know and we could use energy for the air conditioners.

Anyway, I forced myself to endure the scorching temperatures and pitchforks to congratulate you on those brilliant HHS regulations forcing people to fund insurance coverage for abortions, sterilizations and birth control against their consciences.

Darling Adolf just loved to do that sort of thing. Remember — are you old and well-read enough to remember? He figured out that if he could get people to operate against their conscience on small things, big things like Judenrein (Clean out the Jews) would be easier. Of course, that was just a start.

Martin Bormann said it just right: "National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable." For the party to rule, he said the Churches' influence in the leadership of the people "must absolutely and finally be broken." He was taking about the Nazi party, but heavens, Progressives, Democrats, and Nazis — state control is state control.

So, this move by your Administration is just a great first step. You had all the social justice crowd in the church supporting you, and now those wicked bishops — how many divisions do they have anyway? — had to step in to try to put a stop to this.

Well, the match is set.

On your side you have some real geniuses. I mean all the media is helping you sell the fairytale that you are battling people who want to force women to forego contraceptives. Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a real feather in your cap; arguing that all women deserve free contraceptives and that religious institutions shouldn't be imposing their values on their employees is, you should pardon the expression, pure Göbbels. And you can count on the press to let her get away with this big lie. After all isn’t Media Matters, MSNBC, and NBC the same as Der Strümer?

The media want to replace old fashioned religion with civic religion as much as you and I do. So, some Catholics have and continue to threaten to shut down their social welfare services rather than comply with such things? Great! The sooner the people learn that the state is the provider of all things, the better — for you and your party. Of course, not necessarily better for them or their country, but that's not the point, is it?

I suppose you have some other good ideas in the wings at HHS. Off the top of my head here are some ideas for you: Make public schools serve pork and require all kids to eat it; force Christian Scientists to see physicians and take medicine; make the Mormon Tabernacle Choir admit Moslems; ban religious circumcisions of males; draft the Amish into the military; outlaw Lutheran lutefisk parties and bake sales.

My goodness, the possibilities once you control the levers of power! And what could possibly give you more power than controlling healthcare delivery? Imagine the rake offs, too. Plastic surgeons want liposuction and botox coverage? Let them kick in to your party. Somebody's poor mom is too old for treatment, cross your palm with silver and a hospital bed becomes available. Why am I telling you this, you of all people? I mean Mr. President Chicago Way, right?

And then your opponents are playing this rather stupidly. Letting you and the press frame this as a women's rights issue, not a Constitutional issue. (Is it just gossip or is it true that Harvard Law School where you attended and the University Of Chicago Law School where you were a lecturer, are mortified? Who cares? That Constitution is so old and updated anyway. Ask Justice Ginsburg, even she's not crazy about it.) Maybe next year you can wait until Congress is in recess and replace it with something newer from Zimbabwe. Well, you certainly don't need me to advise you on how to destroy religion or the Constitution.

I was delighted to see how you are reviving the Sturmabteilung. Of course,MOTUS TRUTH TEAM 290 you can't credit us — we all discussed it here and understand. Calling it a Truth Team, a "grassroots communications team" will go over much better, but, schatzi, we all know where you got that idea. The explanation is another bit of brilliant propaganda: "The goal is to ensure that when Republicans attack President Obama's record, grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the facts with the undecided voters in their lives."

I mean even Michelle Obama's Mirror calls it the "SS. See something, Say something." I think she means it sarcastically but check out the great logos she's come up for the Truth Team!! We couldn't do better and we tried in between KZ camp roastings.

She didn't even get to Project Narwhal, a data-mining outreach operation designed to snare even more low information voters than the media can rope in.

And it's working on ill-educated single women, who'd apparently gladly give up their right to worship as they choose in order to get someone else to pick up their contraception tab, never realizing they're giving up something for nothing, because there really is no free lunch.

I figure a couple years of this and there will be no private insurance companies because they'll be run out of business, or employer provided health insurance because it's all going to be too expensive. And then you'll have the entire country in the palm of your hand. Don’t forget Adolph’s Germany had free health care, except for Jews and other untermensch.

If I had a heart, liebchen, it would be singing right now.

P.S. I keep meaning to tell you — when you tilt your chin skyward like that, you remind me so much of the Italian heart throb Benito.

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