Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Hillary Is Smeared, Hillary Leads -- What's New?

I've come across a bunch of news items today that definitely deserve attention.
  • The New York Times has published the negative reviews of the two latest anti-Hillary books that I blogged about last night. They can be found here and here.
  • Joe Conason, an outstanding columnist linked to on our blogroll, also pans the two hit pieces in his column at Salon.
  • Greg Sargent has a great catch of a Boston Herald smear of Senator Clinton that was picked up by the Drudge Report.
    Matt Drudge is pushing a story today from the Boston Herald that tries to suggest that Hillary Clinton has had some "work" done on her face. The paper's story has "before and after" photos on line that purport to demonstrate this, with the "before" photo showing the skin on Hillary's face to be somewhat less than smooth, and the "after" photo showing her to be smooth-faced.

    There's a small problem, though. It turns out that the "before" photo was actually taken after the after one, meaning that her smooth-faced look preceded her less-smooth-faced look.

  • A recent poll that shows Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in a dead heat for the Democratic nomination has been receiving some attention. However, Mark Blumenthal at Pollster.com notes that the poll is clearly an outlier, as demonstrated by this graph.
  • Speaking of polls, there's a new one (pdf.) out from Franklin Pierce College that surveyed New Hampshire residents following the debate on Sunday. The poll has Clinton blowing away the competition in the eyes of Granite State voters.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Two New Reviews Slam Anti-Hillary Books

Two books smearing Hillary Clinton that are set to be released this week have been slammed in just-published reviews from The New York Times and Bloomberg News. The books, A Woman In Charge by Carl Bernstein and Her Way by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, have come under significant fire before even hitting stores for their numerous factual inaccuracies, questionable sources, insensitive remarks, and the authors' previous shoddy work.

Now that the books have been obtained by news agencies, they seem to be doing little better. Charles Taylor has written a scathing review of Bernstein's tome for Bloomberg, stressing that Bernstein's insider access has led him to become a pawn of the D.C. establishment.

An outlet for the grudges, suppositions and gossip of the sources it courts, insider political journalism finds its mission not in exposing the goings-on in the corridors of power but in flaunting its access to those corridors.

Bernstein bows to establishment Washington throughout "A Woman in Charge.'' In his view, it's always the Clintons who are at fault for failing to pay obeisance to a power structure that needs to be flattered and fawned over.

Taylor concludes by noting that Bernstein's dig at writer-turned-Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal --"once a journalist of some distinction"-- seems a perfect description of Bernstein himself. The review is a must-read.

The review of Gerth and Van Natta's even more partisan hit piece is not yet available online in full, but Matt Drudge has managed to scoop the Times once again by obtaining several quotes from Robert Dallek's critique. Dallek blasts Gerth and Van Natta, both investigative reporters for the Times, for "seem[ing] to detect no angels in Clinton's nature whatsoever, much less better ones, and the result is a one-sided figure who never quite springs to life or feels truly authentic." Dallek also notes the dubious nature of the authors' allegation of a "twenty-year pact" between the Clintons that would land them both in the White House for two terms. One of the sources for this claim, historian Taylor Branch, has called the story "preposterous."

Like so many of the Clinton stories that circulate through the news media, the truth seems to be of secondary importance to those who report them. Just yesterday, professional Hillary-hater Chris Matthews discussed on his Sunday morning talk show about how the story of the "pact" could pose a problem for Clinton, without noting that the story's accuracy is very much in doubt. Then again, Matthews probably hasn't read the book, let alone fact-checked it. As for those who did, the reviews speak loud and clear.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hillary News Roundup

There's been a lot to cover today, but here's a look at the most important stories I've found.
  • Greg Sargent at TPM Cafe's Election Central has got his hands on Carl Bernstein's soon-to-be-released biography/hit piece on Hillary Clinton, which apparently contradicts the main assertion of another "trash for rehash" book on the Clintons that is also going to be hitting shelves in the coming weeks. The second book, Her Way by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, has already come under fire for alleging that following Bill's election to the presidency in 1992, the Clintons' formulated a "pact" to have each of them serve eight years in the White House. The authors' source for their claim was historian Taylor Branch, who told the Washington Post on Friday that the book's assertion was "preposterous." Now Sargent has further proof that Her Way is factually challenged, which should come as no surprise given Gerth's disgraceful history.
  • A rare thumbs up to the Huffington Post for highlighting Tom DeLay's adultery absurdity in Jeffrey Goldberg's piece in this week's New Yorker. DeLay attempts to explain away his marital infidelity, which flies in the face of his sanctimonious and self-righteous posturing during the Clinton impeachment. Goldberg writes: "[DeLay] added that the impeachment trial was another of his 'proudest moments.' The difference between his own adultery and Gingrich's, he said, 'is that I was no longer committing adultery by that time, the impeachment trial. There's a big difference.'" Okay, Tom. Whatever you say.
  • New polls from the American Research Group give Hillary Clinton a lead in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The lead in Iowa is a first and it will be interesting to see whether the media gives it any coverage.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Brief Memorial Day Roundup

I'd just like to flag two interesting posts I've come across over the past week. The first we've seen far too much of, but the second is exactly what we need more of.
  • Chris Matthews is continuing his biased coverage of Hillary Clinton. This time he attacks Hillary by comparing her to (this is a new one) Luca Brasi. When the question of Rudolph Giuliani's family issues was raised by panelist Gloria Borger, Matthews downplayed it by saying nobody is perfect in this business. Really, Chris? Never heard you say that when you discuss and discuss and discuss the Clinton's marriage.
  • Ed Kilgore discusses the Third Way movement, the strategy center/think tank that bears its name, and explains to Chris Bowers why the idea isn't a threat to the Democratic Party or the progressive movement.

Clinton Smear Watch Returns

Just in time for the 2008 presidential campaign, Clinton Smear Watch is returning from hiatus in order to provide rapid response to the misleading coverage and smears that dominate the media's focus on the Clintons. This blog will provide the same fact-based debunking of false coverage of both Bill and Hillary Clinton as it did before, but its updates and posts will occur more frequently and will feature coverage of Hillary Clinton's campaign for the presidency.

I expect to have a great deal of work to do, since those on both sides of the political spectrum have already begun to attack Senator Clinton's bid for the White House, and hope that I am up to the challenge.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

American Prospect Blog Smears Bill Clinton

In criticizing an eight-day-old op-ed in the Washington Post written by DLC founder Al From and DLC president Bruce Reed, Charles P. Pierce smeared former President Bill Clinton with half-truths and misleading assertions at TAPPED, The American Prospect's blog. Mr. Pierce is outraged that Mr. From and Mr. Reed could dare state that "Clintonism has never been about mushy compromise and electoral expedience."

In an attempt to cast the former-president as a poll-obsessed politician and (it seems) a racist, Mr. Pierce brings up the fourteen-year-old execution of Rickey Ray Rector, while conveniently omitting discussion of Rector's crimes or his mental capacity at the time he committed them. Rector murdered two individuals, including a police officer, before attempting to commit suicide. Rector did not succeed in killing himself, but the shot caused him significant brain damage, and left him with an IQ of 70. Mr. Clinton, who was then governor of Arkansas, presided over his execution, where Rector allegedly said he wanted to save the dessert from his last meal for later. As tragic as the situation was, Rector was in full mental capacity at the time he murdered two people, and Mr. Clinton's position in favor of the death penalty had been established for a long time.

Mr. Pierce also mentions the well-known Sister Soulja episode, in which Mr. Clinton had the temerity to criticize the African-American rap artist for suggesting there should be "a week [to] kill white people[.]" Mr. Clinton also took issue with Sister Soulja's statement that "[i]f there are any good white people, I haven't met them."

Finally, President Clinton is criticized for "turn[ing] the screws further on an already punitive welfare-reform bill two months before the 1996 election[.]" Yet Mr. Pierce doesn't bother to mention that President Clinton was a champion of the impoverished throughout his presidency. Consider the actual facts presented by Sidney Blumenthal in his fine book The Clinton Wars:

Welfare rolls dropped by 60 percent, to the lowest level in a generation, and that decrease was almost all accounted for in increased employment. In addition, Clinton fought for and won a doubling of funding for federal child care, a doubling for the Head Start preschool program, an increase in the minimum wage, and tax cuts for 15 million working poor, lifting them above the poverty level. He also launched the Welfare to Work Partnership, with twenty thousand companies involved resulting in the hiring of 1.1 million former welfare recipients. According to the Census Bureau, poverty fell by 25 percent and child poverty by 30 percent under Clinton. This was the greatest decline in poverty since the Great Society had essentially wiped out poverty among elderly Americans. It was concentrated among blacks, Hispanics, and female-headed houses - the truly poor. (Clinton also doubled the amount of child support money collected from wayward fathers.) The number of poor dropped by 8.1 million. When the expanded government benefits were added in, the rate of poverty as measured by the Census Bureau dropped another 25 percent.

As usual, unabashed defenders of President Clinton (Mr. From and Mr. Reed in this case) receive the same amount of unwarranted and misleading criticism from the far left as they do from the right. Members of this out-of-touch bubble continue to attack Clinton for daring to try new means to achieve progressive ends. These liberals seem happy to wallow in their self-concocted misery, which has them believe that no president since FDR has done anything to help the poor. Mr. Pierce and these liberals will never give President Clinton credit for giving progressivism some mainstream credentials by abandoning the old failed methods that had produced twelve straight years of Republican rule. It seems as though they can't stop shading the truth about him either.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

See, I Told You So: GOP Noise Machine Goes Into Panic Mode Over Clinton And Gore's Global Warming Truth-Telling

As predicted on a prior post, the right-wing sound machine has attacked Al Gore's new global warming film, An Inconvenient Truth, and gone ballistic that Clinton and Gore have tried to tell the truth about climate change. Here are some highlights:

  • Sterling Burnett, a pundit and senior fellow at the National Center on Policy Analysis, compared Al Gore to Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, without producing a factual rebuttal of his arguements. As Think Progress notes, NCPA has received over $390,000 from ExxonMobil.
  • Fox News ran a graphic reading "Al Gore's Global Warming Movie: Could It Destroy Our Economy?
  • Fox News also aired a one-hour special entitled "Global Warming: The Debate Continues," which interviewed the few scientists skeptical of global warming, and tried desperately to frame the issue as "controversial." Needless to say, Fox did not feature any of the vast majority of scientists who believe in global warming.
  • Rush Limbaugh made numerous false statements on his May 22 and May 23 broadcasts. Limbaugh used faulty logic to explain why global warming "is unsupportable by facts." Here is Media Matters debunking of his remarks:
On the May 22 broadcast of his radio show, Limbaugh echoed Du Pont's criticism of global warming theory as unfounded and exaggerated. He claimed that the hysteria over climate change "is unsupportable by facts" and that the "Antarctica ice is actually increasing." Limbaugh's assertion is similar to a claim from one of the CEI television commercials that the "Antarctic ice sheet is getting thicker, not thinner," according to a recent study. But the primary author of the study in question, Curt Davis, has issued a statement refuting CEI's use of his research, as the weblog Think Progress noted. In the statement, Davis pointed out that he reported growth only for the interior Antarctic ice sheet. Rather than undermining global warming theory, this phenomenon is actually the result of climate change. Davis noted that "[i]t has been predicted that global warming might increase the growth of the interior ice sheet due to increased precipitation," a fact that he said had been "ignored by CEI in a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public."

Limbaugh also attacked Bill Clinton, as Clinton Smear Watch predicted the fringe right-wing might, for mentioning in a recent speech that climate change is "more remote than terror but a more profound threat to the future of the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren I hope all of you have." Rush attempted to counter that by quoting Clinton in 2000 as saying that terrorism was the most important issue for the country. However, Clinton's remarks about climate change specifically refer to the "children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren" of the students of to whom he was speaking. Clinton is not saying that the current temperature change is more or less important than terrorism, and we don't know whether he felt that way in 2000 or not. Clinton is addressing the long-term, and the consequences for future generations of ignoring climate change.

Limbaugh also claims that Clinton does not care about the global warming threat. He says, "if global warming is that big a threat, then why didn't he go after global warming with the Kyoto protocol? Why didn't he try to sell everybody in this country on it?" Well if Rush was paying any attention to what President Clinton was doing in the 1990s, instead of spending his time accusing the President of murdering Vince Foster (amongst other wild-eyed statements), he would know that President Clinton worked very hard to try to sell the Kyoto protocol to the American people. From Wikipedia:

The Clinton Administration released an economic analysis in July 1998, prepared by the Council of Economic Advisors, which concluded that with emissions trading among the Annex B/Annex I countries, and participation of key developing countries in the "Clean Development Mechanism" — which grants the latter business-as-usual emissions rates through 2012 — the costs of implementing the Kyoto Protocol could be reduced as much as 60% from many estimates.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Drudge: New York Times Planning Hit Piece On Clinton Marriage For Tomorrow's Front Page

Conservative gossip-monger and professional Clinton-hater Matt Drudge is gleefully reporting that the New York Times is planning to run a front page smear story on the state of the Clinton marriage.

When the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton comes up for many prominent Democrats these days, Topic A is their marriage, the NEW YORK TIMES is planning to report on Tuesday Page Ones.

"Democrats say it is inevitable that, in a campaign that could return the former president to the White House, some voters would be concerned and even distracted by the Bill Clinton's political role and his potential for the kind of episodes that led the House to vote for his impeachment in 1998."
Interesting that Drudge doesn't bother to note that Americans were very supportive of Bill Clinton during the impeachment proceedings, and that his poll numbers were outstanding during that period. Here's a CNN article from 1998:

Interviews with 852 adult Americans were conducted December 19-20, after the House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton.

Do you approve of the way Bill Clinton is handling his job as president?

             Now    Dec. 15-16

Approve 73% 63%
Disapprove 25 33

What is your opinion of the Republican Party?

              Now   Dec. 15-16

Favorable 31% 43%
Unfavorable 57 47

What is your opinion of both the Republican and Democratic parties?

             Favorable  Unfavorable

Republican 31% 57%
Democratic 57 30

Should your senators vote to remove Clinton from office?

Yes      29%                 
No 68

Should Clinton resign now?

        Now    Dec. 15-16

Yes 30% 33%
No 69 63

Do you approve of the decision to impeach Clinton?

Approve     35%             
Disapprove 63

Has the GOP in Congress abused its powers?

Yes         54%           
No 41

Who do you want to have more influence over the nation?

               Clinton   GOP

Now 60% 31%
October 53 39
September 44 43
But of course this is the paper that invented the Whitewater story, and attacked the Clintons for years when they were in the White House, so it should come as little surprise that they are back in attack dog mode. Drudge expects Pat Healy to file the piece later this evening, and once it is available I will make sure to update this post.

As Drudge might say DEVELOPING . . . (oh wait, he actually did say that).