After President Joe Biden and Democrats in the House and Senate were closing an exceptional week of success after success on Saturday, pulling into a Senate vote that would transform the U.S. response to climate change, combat inflation, lower Medicare prescription drug prices and the federal deficit, and increase the energy supply, The New York Times published an article attacking the American president, depicting him as weak and ineffective, while speaking primarily, almost entirely, only to Republican pollsters, strategists, and politicians.
Critics, journalists, and even some New York Times readers are calling out the paper of record, and its top reporters.
“In Senate Battle, Democrats Defy Biden’s Low Standing (for Now)” was the title of the Saturday article that essentially was a megaphone for the MAGA crowd, published in the Times’ politics section.
The article’s subhead made clear what readers could expect: “’The billion-dollar question,’ as one Republican pollster put it, is whether Democratic candidates in crucial Senate races can continue to outpace the president’s unpopularity.”
“In a Senate split 50-50,” wrote the Times’ Shane Goldmacher and Maggie Haberman, “Democrats on the campaign trail and in Congress have zero margin for error as the party tries to navigate a hostile political environment defined chiefly by President Biden’s albatross-like approval ratings,”
Rather than describe historic legislation as productive for the American people, and literally, a massive undertaking that will have positive global effects, the Times reporters opted to frame the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) as a partisan, political scheme.
“In Washington, Senate Democrats are racing to bolster their position, pressing for a vote as soon as Sunday on a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
Dan Froomkin, editor of Press Watch, latched onto the Times article and reporters.
“The only context that matters to these blindered horse-race analysts is Biden’s approval rating. The lies, the conspiracy theories, the threat to democracy,” he noted, presumably referring to Trump, “are irrelevant.”
Soledad O’Brien, the well-known former CNN anchor who now is chair of the Starfish Media Group, which she founded, and host of “Matter of Fact with Soledad O’Brien,” and is a frequent critic of the media offered her thoughts:
“It’s so gross,” she responded.
“And it gets worse,” Froomkin added. “Look who they quote: Republican pollster, anonymous Republican strategists, dude who runs Republican Super PAC, Mitch McConnell, one Dem pollster, Republican strategist, Republican Senate candidate, Republican Senate candidate, Republican strategist…”
Indeed, Haberman and Goldmacher quote “Robert Blizzard, a Republican pollster,” “Republican strategists involved in Senate races, granted anonymity to speak candidly,” “Steven Law, who leads the main Senate Republican super PAC,” “Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader,” “Geoff Garin, a Democratic pollster,” “Corry Bliss, a veteran Republican strategist,” Joe O’Dea, a GOP candidate, GOP Senate nominee Blake Masters, “Andy Surabian, a Republican strategist advising a super PAC supporting Mr. Masters,” and “Christina Freundlich, a Democratic consultant.”
That’s seven Republicans, an unknown number of unnamed anonymous GOP strategists, and two Democrats.
In a negative article about President Joe Biden, The New York Times didn’t include any quotes from President Joe Biden or the White House. Not even anonymous ones.
The Times almost entirely ignored Biden’s accomplishments from the past week chocked full of wins.
Here’s how Haberman and Goldmacher served up those facts:
“With a strong job report on Friday, long-stalled legislation moving and gas prices on the decline — albeit from record highs — it is possible that Mr. Biden’s support could tick upward.”
By contrast, on Sunday the Associated Press reported on Biden’s “legacy-defining wins,” including noting that a “summer lawmaking blitz has sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to Biden’s desk, and the president is now on the cusp of securing what he called the ‘final piece’ of his economic agenda with Senate passage of a Democrats-only climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead.”
That economic agenda is what the Times called “a sweeping legislative package that represents their last, best sales pitch before the midterms to stay in power.”
A CNN opinion piece Friday noted “Joe Biden sure is suddenly notching up an impressive string of victories. And they’re not minor. In fact, Biden is on a roll when it comes to both domestic and foreign policy.”
Over a week ago, NBC News’ senior national political reporter Sahil Kapur noted, “If this deal passes,” referring to the Inflation Reduction Act, which did pass on Sunday, “Biden will have inked wins on: Drug pricing, Climate/ACA $$, Higher taxes on corporations, $1.9T Covid rescue plan, $1.2T infrastructure law, New gun law, Chips/China bill, KBJ on SCOTUS, 73+ lower court judges, VAWA re-up, Postal reform.”
He adds: “This is not a trivial agenda.”
That list did not include all the wins Biden had last week before the IRA passed, including: 528,000 jobs added in July, unemployment at a 50-year low (3.5%), the killing of terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri, CHIPS Act passage, PACT Act passage to help veterans affected by toxic burn pits, and gas prices dropping daily.
Meanwhile, others continued to blast the Times’ reporting.
“Hard to believe this kind of bad, ‘conventional wisdom’ reporting is still happening, where they’re saying Biden is ‘albatross’ around Dem candidates’ necks and it’s all…a mystery….” tweeted Michelangelo Signorile, a veteran journalist, SiriusXM Progress host, and writer of books and a Substack newsletter.
Some New York Times readers in the paper’s own comments section were equally critical.
“Times pundits fail to distinguish between ‘job approval’ polls versus the relative popularity of the two parties’ agendas,” wrote Baxter Jones. “Republican candidates have no agenda beyond tax cuts for their big contributors, banning all abortions, voter suppression, and abolishing Obamacare with no clue of how to replace it. Oh, and climate change denial.”
Another reader wrote: “Nothing about abortion or extremism? No Democrats to quote? I hope there will be a follow up from a Democratic perspective.”
“Wow!” wrote yet another reader. “I can’t believe the premise of this article is so simplistic. Nothing is happening in this election other than how popular Joe Biden is. No mention of the anti-choice crowd and the shellacking they took in Kansas. Or how voter registration has vastly increased across the country since the Dobbs decision. (And one of the authors is a woman, presumably of liberal bent.)”
“No mention of the fact that the recent legislation passed (and passing, as I write this on Saturday night) by the Democrats is wildly popular with wide swaths of the populace, and even more popular with narrow swaths such as veterans,” they continued.
“If all you have to do to control the congress is lambast the incumbent president, then we should start doing that the moment another Republican gets into the White House. Whence all this ‘hate Joe Biden,’ stuff. Populism, or right-wing radio with nothing else to sell? I hope most Americans are smarter than that.”
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‘Tarnished Image’: Gallup Releases Devastating SCOTUS Poll – as Conservative Justices Snipe at Kagan’s Warning
Ever since December of 2021, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case that six months later would overturn Roe v. Wade, a 49-year old precedent – “settled law,” Americans were assured by the Court’s Justices in their confirmation hearings – ensuring women have the constitutional right to abortion, Chief Justice John Roberts has been accused of losing control of his justices.
On Thursday, just days before the high court begins its new term, as one of the Justices’ spouses delivers testimony on her role in the coordinated efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, amid sniping by the Chief Justice and a conservative justice at their liberal colleague, and anger across the nation so virulent the midterm elections appear to be rapidly swinging back to Democrats, the right-leaning Gallup organization has released a new poll that’s absolutely devastating for the Chief Justice and the Court he was entrusted to lead – not to mention American democracy itself.
“Supreme Court Trust, Job Approval at Historical Lows,” Gallup’s damning headline reads.
“47% trust the judicial branch; previous low was 53%,” “40% job approval of U.S. Supreme Court is tied for record low,” and “Record-high 42% say Supreme Court is too conservative.”
Translated, that means the legitimacy of the court is in question, despite entreaties from Justice Samuel Alito, who authored the Dobbs opinion that discarded nearly five decades of settled law to achieve a desired goal: rescinding the constitutional right to abortion, and with it, quite possibly not far down the road, the constitutional right to contraception, same-sex intimacy, and same-sex marriage.
“‘Less than half of Americans say they have ‘a great deal’ or ‘a fair amount’ of trust in the judicial branch of the federal government, representing a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago, including seven points since last year,'” Politico reports, quoting an advanced copy of Gallup’s findings.
“This represents a 20-percentage-point drop from two years ago,” Gallup’s own report reveals, “including seven points since last year, and is now the lowest in Gallup’s trend by six points. The judicial branch’s current tarnished image contrasts with trust levels exceeding two-thirds in most years in Gallup’s trend that began in 1972.”
Respect for the Supreme Court was such a non-question that from 1976, when Americans’ “trust and confidence” in the nation’s highest court stood at 63%, Gallup, it appears, did not even ask the question again in polls again until 1997, when the answer came back at 71%.
Today, under Chief Justice Roberts, it is a mere 47%.
Also today, Ginni Thomas, the far right wing activist spouse of one of the Court’s most right-wing jurists, Clarence Thomas, is testifying before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack regarding her role in efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.
This week Justice Alito, also a far-right conservative, delivered a thinly-veiled attack against Justice Elena Kagan, a liberal, in a rare public forum.
So did the Chief Justice, just weeks earlier.
“The very worst moments [in the court’s history] have been times when judges have even essentially reflected one party’s or one ideology’s set of views in their legal decisions,” Justice Kagan said recently, sparking anger from the right. “The thing that builds up reservoirs of public confidence is the court acting like a court and not acting like an extension of the political process.”
“Judges create legitimacy problems for themselves when they don’t act like courts,” she also said, and “when they instead stray into places that looks like they are an extension of the political process or where they are imposing their own personal preferences.”
“If, over time, the court loses all connection with the public and with public sentiment, that is a dangerous thing for democracy,” Kagan warned.
Chief Justice Roberts later delivered a terse retort.
“Simply because people disagree with an opinion is not a basis for questioning the legitimacy of the court.”
Bloomberg Law columnist Vivia Chen, citing the well-respected constitutional scholar and retired Harvard Law professor of law, Laurence Tribe, recently wrote: “Chief Justice Roberts Is Officially Irrelevant.”
“Having had both John Roberts and Elena Kagan as my brilliant students in constitutional law, and having watched each of their careers unfold, I can’t help thinking that one of them, Justice Kagan, has grown into her role as a wise jurist,” Tribe told Chen in response to the Roberts-Kagan flap.
“Chief Justice Roberts has dwindled in stature as his cliches have lost their power and even their relevance,” Tribe added.
Justice Alito entered the sparring match this week, telling The Wall Street Journal: “It goes without saying that everyone is free to express disagreement with our decisions and to criticize our reasoning as they see fit. But saying or implying that the court is becoming an illegitimate institution or questioning our integrity crosses an important line.”
It was a clear swipe at Justice Kagan.
“It’s embarrassingly obvious that recent decisions rendered by the conservative supermajority hew to a certain political agenda,” Bloomberg’s Chen noted, asking: “where does one start? I guess Dobbs was a biggie because it destroyed almost 50 years of reproductive rights for women.”
“Then,” she added, “there’s the decision that crippled New York’s gun-control law and the one that severely cut back climate change regulations. And let’s not forget how the court keeps siding with religion, as if the separation of church and state is an optional part of the Constitution.”
“That the Supreme Court lurched so far to the right in less than a year is breathtaking,” Chen observes. “It’s like we’re suddenly transported to a country where Wayne LaPierre, Christian fundamentalists, corporate polluters, and the ghost of Phyllis Schlafly are calling the shots.”
(For those looking fore even more justification of how the Supreme Court is undermining its own legitimacy, this video clip offers an additional answer.)
All this turmoil, turbulence, and trouble comes days before the Court begins its new term.
“The Supreme Court will return to work on the first Monday of October, after a three-month summer break, with all the determination of a Renaissance-era explorer looking for new lands to conquer,” snarked – or warned – The Nation‘s Elie Mystal. “Last term, the court’s conservative supermajority showed it was willing to ignore precedent (overturning Roe v. Wade), reality (issuing rulings that will lead to more gun violence and climate pollution), and facts (making up evidence in the praying-football-coach case) to arrive at its preferred judicial outcomes.”
“This term, the high court will cement its grip on political life in America, overturning affirmative action and other critical protections along the way,” he says.
“The conservative Supreme Court has been willing to suppress the vote or let Republican-controlled state legislatures gerrymander district maps to the point where the popular vote is all but meaningless, but so far, the court has been unwilling to throw away enough votes after the fact to change the outcome of an election. We’ll see if there’s a first time for everything.”
How bad could it be?
A picture’s worth a thousand words.
Affirmative Action. Tribal Sovereignty. LGBTQ+ Rights. Voting Rights. They’re all on the chopping block this coming Supreme Court term—and this is just what we know so far. In this essential SCOTUS preview, @ElieNYC lays out what’s at stake this term. https://t.co/i3C1vHntmY
— The Nation (@thenation) September 29, 2022
Barr Blasted for Defending Trump and Claiming ‘Children’ Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka Should Not Be Part of Fraud Case
Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr is defending Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump after New York Attorney General Tish James announced she is suing them, the family business, and other people associated with their business in a massive civil fraud case.
James says she expects to be able to stop Trump from engaging in certain business operations in the state of New York, after alleging he fraudulently inflated and deflated the value of his assets based on if it would help or hurt him.
Barr, who gained a brief moment of praise from Americans for making clear Trump should not have stolen classified government documents and should have returned them, is being equally criticized after going to bat for the Trump family.
Despite years of investigations from James’ Office and other investigations, like out of the Manhattan DA’s office, Barr called the filing of charges a “political hit job” and “gross overreach,” while suggesting the actual case against Trump and his family is meritless.
“It’s hard for me not to conclude that this is a political hit job,” Barr said Wednesday on Fox News. “I’m not even sure that she has a good case against Trump himself, but what ultimately persuades me that this is a political hit job is that she grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this.”
It was that phrase, “the children,” that angered many.
Donald Trump, Jr. is 44, Ivanka Trump is 40, and Eric Trump is 38.
Barr, who has a history of using cherry-picked information focused on one aspect of James’ massive 220-page, $250 million lawsuit.
Barr complained, “this is [Trump’s] personal financial statement, prepared by the CFO, accounting firms were involved in it.”
“The children aren’t going to know the details of that, nor are they expected in the real world to do their own due diligence and have it reviewed independently.”
Those “children” were or still are officers of The Trump Organization, and other Trump businesses. Given that Trump has created his empire as “pass-through” businesses, some have said they had an obligation to know what the valuations of the businesses were — and certainly once Trump became president, Eric and Don Jr., some might say, had a greater responsibility since their father told the American people he was stepping away from the business.
Bill Barr tells Fox that NYAG Letitia James “grossly overreaches when she tries to drag the children into this” because Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka, are not “expected in the real world to due their own due diligence.” pic.twitter.com/dIyFhe9XrO
— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) September 21, 2022
MSNBC’s Chris Hayes did not hold back in his criticism of Barr, tweeting, “‘drag the children’ is an amazing phrase for grown-ass adults.”
“These ‘children’ were senior executives who ran the company,” reminds Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor. “Eric, for example, is 38 years old and took the Fifth over 500 times in his deposition in this matter.”
“When it’s infants being taken from their parents at the border, it’s ‘Oh well, sucks for them, shouldn’t’ve broken the law,’ but when it’s a 44yo, a 40yo and a 38yo doing white-collar crimes, it’s ‘HOW CAN THESE PRECIOUS CHERUBS POSSIBLY BE EXPECTED TO KNOW HOW THE WORLD WORKS?’,” tweeted journalist Bonnie Stiernberg.
“Bill Barr claimed on Fox News that it was a ‘gross overreach’ for AG James to sue Trump’s children,” says attorney and political commentator Dean Obeidallah. “Those ‘kids’ are currently Trump corporate officers in case of Don Jr/Eric while Ivanka is a former officer. They were personally involved in the wrongdoing. They HAD to be sued.”
“It’s amazing how white people can remain children well into their 40’s but black children are adults as soon as they can reach the counter,” responded author Patrick S. Tomlinson.
Attorney Dave Johnson sums it all up.
“N.Y. Bus. Corp. Law §715(h): ‘An officer shall perform his duties as an officer in good faith and with that degree of care which an ordinarily prudent person in a like position would use under similar circumstances.’ Barr is indisputably and intentionally lying to the public.”
Watch above or at this link.
Critics Slam Reporters Over Obsession With Biden Flying to Vote in Delaware: ‘Desperate for a Scandal’
Fascism and right wing extremism, the cost of rent and groceries, power outages, and voter registration in response to the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade are all on the rise, but White House reporters and the mainstream media Tuesday night were obsessed not with those issues facing Americans but with one question: Why did President Joe Biden fly to Delaware that evening to vote in his state’s primary election?
And they’re paying the price, at least from critics angered at what they see is the nationwide mainstream media desperate for a Biden scandal that does not exist, forcing them to try to create one out of thin air.
Bloomberg News and Bloomberg Business were among the most obsessed with what many on social media felt was a non-story.
“President Biden, who depended on mail-in votes to win office in 2020, unexpectedly flew Air Force One to his home state of Delaware on Tuesday to cast a primary election ballot in-person,” Bloomberg Business Executive editor for U.S. Government news Mike Shepard wrote in a tweet promoting Bloomberg News White House Correspondent Jordan Fabian’s report: “Biden Jets to Delaware to Vote Instead of Using Mail Ballot.”
Melody Murphy, the chief brand officer for Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro United Way, responded by summing up what many others were saying: “This is not news. Thankful for a President that exercises his right to vote as all of us should. So many other things to report on.”
Susan Bordson, a communications consultant also responded to Shepard’s tweet, saying, “Desperate for a scandal, eh?”
“I smell desperation from some of the DC Beltway newsrooms that primarily market themselves as *DC insider gossip* publications to have a scandal. They’re SCRAPING,” she added.
How big a story did the media want this to be?
Politico’s White House Bureau Chief Jonathan Lemire, an MSNBC host and frequent commentator, was among the first to report the news, kicking off the rush to report with a very incomplete tweet.
“NEW,” Lemire wrote for maximum attention. “President Biden and the First Lady are leaving the White House to make an unannounced trip to Wilmington, Delaware.”
NEW: President Biden and the First Lady are leaving the White House to make an unannounced trip to Wilmington, Delaware
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) September 13, 2022
To the average American that easily could sound like a crisis. Was the president sick?
25 minutes later Lemire added this tweet, explaining, finally, that the President was off to vote:
Biden confirms that he is taking Air Force One to Delaware to vote in the state’s primary – and ignores question as to why he did not vote absentee pic.twitter.com/Uc1GDsslNZ
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) September 13, 2022
CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe posted four tweets Wednesday morning about the President’s trip to vote, reporting on questions the White House press secretary was forced to field.
“Aboard AF1 to Detroit, @PressSec pressed by reporters on why @POTUS and @FLOTUS flew back to Delaware Tues. for primary day and didn’t vote early in person or absentee,” O’Keefe tweeted.
“In response, @PressSec said the president has maintained a busy schedule and ‘It worked out best for him to vote on Tuesday. He thought it best for him’ to vote in person. (But the president was home in Delaware Saturday and had nothing on his schedule besides afternoon mass.),” he added.
His last tweet on the topic reads: “Should add: @PressSec said @POTUS and @FLOTUS Biden wanted to vote in person in part to thank election officials and poll volunteers, who’ve been the subject of scrutiny and harassment in recent years like never before.”
Responses to O’Keefe’s Twitter thread were angry.
One read: “You realize that the President was modeling democracy and showcasing the importance of everyone engaging in the civic process of voting, correct? Jesus. This country is in the grave political peril that is because of the national media and rubes like this.”
Blomoberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, one of the most prolific reporters during the Trump years, frequently serving up important scoops, was also among those focused on President Biden’s travels, posting several tweets about the news.
Biden didn’t answer when asked why he hadn’t simply requested and returned an absentee ballot. Delaware also offered in-person early voting on Saturday, when Biden was at his home in Wilmington.
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 14, 2022
Daily Kos’ political director David Nir responded, “On top of everything else wrong with this tweet, there *was* a very important statewide primary for auditor. The incumbent was convicted of corruption in July and got ousted tonight. So this tetchy complaint isn’t even accurate.”
Economist David Rothschild, a frequent commentator, added: “(1) Good example to vote in all elections (2) Previous president flew masses of US employees each weekend to his resorts, then charged US millions to house and feed them.”
National security and civil liberties journalist Marcy Wheeler also weighed in, blasting Jacobs:
“Jennifer Jacobs’ big scoops about Trump were that he and several other people in the White House were lying about COVID Dxes. Her big scoop about Joe Biden is that he did his civic duty.”
Attorney Eugene Freedman also served up criticism of Jacobs’ tweets.
“The extremist takeover of school boards is based on this mentality that they are not high-profile elections, so they’re not worth voting. It’s why books are banned. It’s why state legislatures are gerrymandering state & Congressional districts. All elections are important!”
Will Stancil, a policy researcher at the University of Minnesota, responded to one of Jacob’s tweets, saying: “The last president tried to hold G8 at his private resort, moved White House operations to his other private resort for half the year, and regularly charged the government for stays at his corruption hotel, and you’re gonna complain about Biden using government resources to VOTE?”
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