John Stossel Gives Up His Golf Cart for More Serf-Like Ball and Chain

John Stossel has really embraced the Fox culture since moving from ABC News onto Fox Business. So far, we’ve seen him join Bill O’Reilly’s War on Christmas bandwagon, adopt a Glenn Beck-esque “green phone” (for Al Gore, of course), and drive around the News Corp building in a government-subsidized golf cart, visiting his buddies’ programs on Fox News when he’s not on Fox Business to tell them all the immoral free stuff they can get from the government, and why they shouldn’t. The golf cart made another appearance last night on The O’Reilly Factor, but rather than being a simple goofy representation of the perils of over-sized government, it represented something much more sinister.

“We will all be working for the government. We’ll all have some form of chain around us,” Stossel told O’Reilly. He then proceeded to wrap a complete ball and chain set around himself and declare that America is “on the road to serfdom” (which is also the name of a special on his Fox Business program airing this Thursday). While this shocking declaration hit a road bump as O’Reilly began daydreaming of his new role as knight in shining armor, Stossel insisted that the threat of a complete government takeover of American lives is very real – he’d explain later. And Stossel delivered with a Town Hall piece that touches on everything from his initial serfdom accusation to “Harrison Bergeron” to why the government doesn’t want students to have Amazon Kindles.

It even appeared on the (other) birthday boy’s Twitter feed. Here’s part of Stossel’s column:

So far, the Handicapper General is just fantasy. But Vice President Joe Biden did shout at the Democratic National Convention: “Everyone is your equal, and everyone is equal to you.” If he meant that we’re all equal in rights and before the law, fine. If he meant government shouldn’t put barriers in the way of opportunity, great. But statists like Biden usually have more in mind: They want government to make results more equal.

[...]

When colleges innovated by having students use Kindle e-book readers instead of expensive textbooks, the Justice Department sued them, complaining that the Kindle discriminates against blind students.

Stossel had a point there: the Obama administration tends towards obsessive micromanagement and unnecessary spending on things that the private sector could probably take care of itself. But throwing the gimmicky kitchen sink at Americans in the hope that one of these outrageous comparisons sticks dilutes the entire argument. It’s hard to imagine how Stossel will top his chain ensemble on The Factor, but chances are he’s saving the best for Beck (or the FBN special).

Yesterday’s O’Reilly Factor segment below:


Reporters Brave The Elements For Snowpocalypse 2010

What happens when the East Coast gets hammered by Snowpocalypse 2010 (or Snowmageddon)? The weather has become part of the story.

Besides Ali Velshi getting BaBaBooey’ed, here’s some more fun cable news occurrences today.

Check out this video compilation of Mike Viqueira (MSNBC), Major Garrett (FNC) and Suzanne Malveaux (CNN) having their live shots interrupted by wind/snow. It may be the best thing you see all day:

Meanwhile NBC News’ Luke Russert braved the elements in his own way, which he TwitPic’ed (via TVNewser).

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Glenn Beck: “Mediaite Is Growing To Be One Of My Favorite Sites”

Time for a little self-promotion.

Glenn Beck, who is a frequent topic of discussion here at Mediaite in both positive and negative ways (and everything in between), has been mentioning us on the radio recently. Here’s what he’s had to say.

Today he brought up the post Glynnis wrote last night about his Joe Klein smackdown, part 2, saying, “Mediaite is growing to be one of my favorite sites on being able to find out what’s happening in the press,” and, “They simultaneously love and hate me. At least they try to be fair.”

And last week, Beck had this to say:

There are times they take me down hard. They don’t like me at all. They have taken me down hard. But there are other times that they defend. And it’s not because they’re fans or not fans, it’s because that’s the way they see it, and they’re not just ideologues.

Thanks for reading, Glenn!

Check it out:

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CNN’s Ali Velshi Called “Dumbass” On Live Television By Prank Caller

We are big fans of Ali Velshi, and have long been proponents of what we deem to be a very bright future at CNN. That said – he is getting used to some of the guiding principles of live television. For example, if someone who has called into your show mentions Howard Stern, there is an extremely good chance that he is not who he purports to be. Secondly, by all means do not ask that caller a follow-up question, else you risk being called a “dumb ass” on live TV. Just like in this following video.


Columnist Asks Why MSM Isn’t Covering Haiti Disaster (But Anderson Cooper Is Still There)

Big Journalism correspondents usually stick to pointing out often legitimate spin against the right wing in the mainstream media, but Archy Cary went one step further to analyze the well-documented media bias against victims of natural and political disasters.

Asking “Has Haiti Fallen Victim to the MSM’s Short Attention Span?”, Cary notes that the media has been unreliable in following up on the victims of massive humanitarian disasters in the past, specifically in the Cambodian genocide perpetrated by the radical leftist Khmer Rouge. But he called out one journalist who is sticking with the story.

Cary is generally correct in his assessment. But then he proceeded to berate American journalists for repeating history:

Remember how, against the backdrop of Caribbean foliage, CNN’s Anderson Cooper breathlessly reported the earthquake carnage?  Remember how NBC’s Brian Williams did a touch-and-go at the Port-au-Prince Airport – the big dog reporting live from Haiti in casual attire? Remember how FOX’s Shepherd [sic] Smith tried, on-air, to facilitate the transfer of an adopted Haitian child to the U.S. couple who lacked only a signature from the U.S. Department of State to bring the child to America? Shep to the rescue.

The problem with this accusation is that the reason our memory of Anderson Cooper breathlessly reporting the earthquake carnage is so vivid is because he is still doing that on his program to this day. Cooper returned to New York for a week to anchor his show, but went back to Haiti this weekend. He wrote a blog post explaining that he left because he “needed a break,” but his conscience wouldn’t let him leave the story to die with its victims. Here is a clip of Anderson Cooper and Sanjay Gupta shamefully ignoring the Haitian disaster last night:


Yes, the media has a history of exploiting disasters rather than helping to pick up the pieces, but Cooper has been one of the few to remain loyal to the people whose plight he has helped broadcast around the world, and deserves a little more respect for his work than being called out for not paying enough attention to something he has been covering almost exclusively on his program.


Sarah Palin Can Win In 2012 As Long As No One Asks Her Hard Questions

After last weekend’s appearance at the Tea Party Convention more than one person came to the conclusion that a 2012 run for Sarah Palin was less the punchline (enter the hand) for a joke than an increasing reality.

Leaving aside Palin’s incredible mastery at the art of the soundbite, and her undeniably popular appeal, and the celebrity aura she manages to generate while expounding on the general betterness of “real” Americans, is it possible for Sarah Palin to actually win an election in 2012? Numbers genius Nate Silver crunches…well…numbers and comes up with some extremely wonky but very interesting scenarios, which he explains in detail here. The general conclusion, and there are a lot of variables, is that Palin has a solid chance at getting the GOP nomination as long as no one asks too many detailed questions about anything (something which no one appears to be doing at the moment). Some interesting notes on the factors weighing into how Silver weighted the variables:

  • Palin spent a great deal of time campaigning in exurban and fairly rural areas in 2008, and I suspect that it’s here — not necessarily among soccer moms in the collar suburbs — where her most enthusiastic voters lie.
  • No college voters: Early polls of the 2012 Republican field, such as from Marist and Rasmussen, show Palin overperforming among this group (or, if you prefer, underperforming among college graduates), which certainly squares with my intuition about where her appeal lies.
  • White Evangelicals: Although Palin also polls well among this group, a lot of this may be because a lot of white evangelicals are also rural and lack a college degree — that is, although Palin runs well among evangelicals, it may not be because they’re evangelicals. Nor, although Palin has increasingly invoked religious rhetoric in her speeches, does she have the scholarly religious credibility of someone like a Mike Huckabee or a Pat Robertson. It’s conceivable that Palin could get outflanked by a Huckabee or lose votes to a Santorum among voters who are evangelicals first and working-class whites second.
  • Although this is a bit speculative, we look at the percentage of McCain voters in each state who said their votes were determined because of energy or terrorism policy, which appear as though they’ll be Palin’s core issues. These issues — particularly terrorism — lend themselves relatively well to the meta-narratives that Palin prefers and require less policy nuance than something like the economy or health care.

    And some primary scenarios:

    Although Iowa is not a perfect match for her — not quite as many no-college voters as she’d like — it holds a caucus rather than a primary, which tends to bring out a more conservative electorate. The most obvious concern for Palin in Iowa, if he runs, is Mike Huckabee, who won there in 2008. She could also conceivably lose a war of attrition if a candidate like Santorum eats away some of her evangelical vote, or if her organization and infrastructure is not up to par. The inclusion of a regional candidate like John Thune or Mike Pence could cut either way for Palin; they are not yet terribly well defined and it’s unclear whether they’ll run to the right-center.

    And the perfect plan:

    Win Iowa. Win South Carolina. Clean up in orange states. You probably have enough momentum to survive the consolidation of the GOP field which is liable to occur at this point.

    Get ready to hear one or all of these theories expounded on by the various sides, depending — politicos love their numbers! Also, there is a lot more where this came from.

    A First Look at Palin’s Primary Math
    [Nate Silver]


Whoa! Stephanopoulos Surprised By Wife’s Striptease On Live Broadcast

Since leaving his influential gig as host of This Week, George Stephanopoulos has had to adjust to the lighter, free-form style of ABC’s Good Morning America. While some critics have called him a bit uptight, most chalk up any early critiques to growing pains. However, perhaps in a concerted effort to loosen George up, today he received a rather startling birthday surprise: his wife Ali Wentworth’s imitation of Diane Sawyer followed by a shocking stiptease-like reveal. It was, by turns, funny-strange AND funny-ha-ha!

To George’s credit, he played off of this somewhat odd and staged moment very well, though it did appear to be a complete surprise to him. And to Wentworth’s credit – she really went for it! It was not just a delightful insight into their marital dynamic, but a refreshing example of known personality playing the fool in the name of good, goofy fun. It appears that neither George nor Ali take themselves too seriously.

Happy birthday George!