September 15, 2009

Howard Kurtz asks his panel of the editor of The New York Times Week in Review and The New York Times Book Review Sam Tanenhaus, the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody and the Washington Post's Ceci Connolly what they think of the right wing's preemptive freak out over President Obama's speech to school children last week.

Tanenhaus says it is an indication of what he calls "the death of conservatism" which is the theme and name of his book.

Brody thinks the President has a "perception problem". Hmmmm.... I wonder what might have contributed to that. The media overplaying the right wing screechers that should otherwise be dismissed couldn't have possibly contributed to that, could it David?

And Ceci Connolly says the "media are addicted to conflict". And don't blame them for feeding us crap on a daily basis since that 24 hour news cycle is so hard to fill up. Well here's a thought. Why not fill it with something besides crap? Somehow Amy Goodman manages to find an hours worth of news every day that you guys can't find the time to report on in that 24 hour cycle. Imagine that. I would imagine that a good deal of our readers here at Crooks and Liars could recommend more stories that are worth reporting on than there would be time for in the 24 hour news cycle, even on a "slow day".

I'd like to think that Sam Tanenhaus' observation is the correct one and that this over the top rhetoric does mean the death of the conservative movement, but our "mainstream media" along with a lot of other powerful forces are going to do their best to make sure it doesn't happen any time soon.

Transcript below the fold.

KURTZ: Sam Tanenhaus, that didn't sound like a former Soviet Union to me and of course, the elder President Bush -- Bush 41 have given a speech to school kids. So was this a bogus story...


KURTZ: ...and if so, why did the media give it so much attention?

TANENHAUS: Oh my gosh. I mean, absolutely right -- oh my gosh you know, here is a case where the President of the United States actually wants to speak to the schoolchildren. Before anyone's seen this speech he's being compared to Saddam Hussein.

This is, I'm afraid, an indication of what I would call the death of conservatism -- of movement conservatism. The enmity and animosity now goes not even toward a particular president, almost to the Office of the presidency itself and to the understanding that schoolchildren might profit from what turns out to be a very anodyne and tearful and an optimistic speech.

BRODY: To the point of absurdity.

KURTZ: Let me get to David Brody and I just want to throw one thing at you. Florida Republican Chairman, a guy named Jim Greer said that Obama was trying to indoctrinate American schoolchildren to his socialist agenda. Once the White House released the text he flipped and said it was a good speech and he would let his kids to watch. So the media don't seem to make anyone pay a price; this whole pre-emptive strike against things troubles me.

BRODY: Greer clearly jumped the gun but I think that the media missed this story, Howie. The media missed the perception problem that this president has. In other words, you go back to the bank bailouts and I understand George Bush and you can go back and talk about how he was kind of responsible for that at the beginning, but the bank bailouts, the stimulus, health care.

He already comes in as a Democrat -- as a big government liberal Democrat and there are folks, look at tens of thousands of people yesterday on the Mall down in D.C. I mean, you look at these and the town halls...

KURTZ: Right.

BRODY: So all of this is a perception problem for the president.

KURTZ: I want to give Ceci the last word. Media are addicted to conflict. Critics say he may brainwash the kids and this is in advance before he has said anything.

CONNOLLY: Media are addicted to conflict to a certain extent. It's also true now that we have a lot more air time to fill and there are going to be some slow days when somebody is going to grab something like that and toss it out there. KURTZ: Just to be clear I'm all for people criticizing a speech that has actually been given, it's when this person hasn't even spoken yet that seems like this gets a little overheated.

Ceci Connolly and David Brody, thanks very much for joining us this morning.

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