October 9, 2009

From The Situation Room Oct. 8, 2009. Tony Blankley tries to rationalize the NRCC's sexist statement about Nancy Pelosi saying 'taxpayers can only hope McChrystal is able to put her in her place'. In Tony Blankley's world, the media doesn't pay any attention to Republicans unless they're behaving badly. Really Tony? You're joking right? Because I sure as hell don't see any shortage of Republicans getting face time in the media no matter how they're behaving. The media has had so many 'exclusive' interviews with John McCain since he lost the presidential election I'd almost swear they didn't realize who won. I can't get the man off of my television screen.

And I think Tony needs to take a look at this from the good folks over at Think Progress with a snapshot of the media coverage of Republicans from back in January-- REPORT: GOP Lawmakers Outnumber Democratic Lawmakers 2 To 1 In Stimulus Debate On Cable News

As Media Matters has documented, during the Bush administration, the media consistently allowed conservatives to dominate their shows, booking them as guests far more often than progressives. The rationale was that Republicans were “in power.”

It appears that old habits die hard. Even though President Obama and his team are in control of the executive branch and Democrats are in the majority in Congress, the cable networks are still turning more often to Republicans and allowing them to set the agenda on major issues, most recently on the debate over the economic recovery package.

On Sunday, conservatives began an all-out assault on President Obama’s economic recovery plan, with House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) both announcing that they would vote against the plan as it stood. Despite Obama’s efforts at good faith outreach, congressional conservatives have continued to attack the stimulus plan with a series of false and disingenuous arguments.

The media have been aiding their efforts. In a new analysis, ThinkProgress has found that the five cable news networks — CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Fox Business and CNBC — have hosted more Republican lawmakers to discuss the plan than Democrats by a 2 to 1 ratio this week.


Boy Tony, how can the Republicans ever manage to get their message out without making sexist remarks about Nancy Pelosi when the media ignores them like that?

And David Gergen tries to rewrite history pretending that St. Ronnie would never have behaved so badly. Two words David. Southern Strategy.

Transcript below the fold.

BLITZER: John, let me -- let me play this little clip from the speaker, Nancy Pelosi, because she's been criticized by Republicans who say she needs to be put in her place.

And this is her response.


PELOSI: It's really sad. They really don't understand how inappropriate that is. I'm in my place. I'm speaker of the House -- the first woman speaker of the House. And I'm in my place because the House of Representatives voted me there. But that language is something I haven't even heard in decades.


KING: This is a woman who is incredibly proud of the fact that she is the nation's first woman female speaker. And that's why you see her jaw clenching there as she fires back.

But, again, Wolf, we can have this conversation as a bunch of reasonable adults and say, well, is it -- put a woman in her place, that's bad language. But we're in an environment where the Republicans understand how unpopular she is and they are playing to their base. This is all about the midterm elections Gloria talked about. And Nancy Pelosi is now the leading lightning rod for Republicans in the country, much like the old Jesse Helms/Ted Kennedy battles years ago.

And is the language offensive?

The Speaker certainly thinks so.

But are the Republican using her to gin up their base?

You bet.

BORGER: You know, I think -- I -- I think Nancy Pelosi said they didn't understand. I think whoever wrote this did understand exactly what he was doing. Maybe she wrote it. It was very purposeful. It was to draw attention to what they're trying to talk about, which is, you know, her failed economic policies or Afghanistan or whatever it is. And here we are (INAUDIBLE)...

BLANKLEY: On this one it was Afghanistan and it was pointing out that -- that the general had better advice.

No, but you're exactly right. I mean when I was up there -- I mean, if you're in the minority...

BLITZER: When you were up where?

BLANKLEY: Up working for Newt on the Hill -- and you're not -- before he became speaker. When you're in the minority -- and the same thing for the other party when they're in the minority -- nobody pays attention unless you -- and this -- the media only is -- pays attention if you're nasty or rude. And -- because the media is tropic to -- to that kind of personality clash.

So once they've said that nasty thing and used that, you know, nasty language, then you've got national TV covering it and they can raise their point.

HENDERSON: The GOP, though, has a woman problem.

GERGEN: Wait a minute. Hold it.


HENDERSON: Sixty percent of women...


HENDERSON: ...actually identify either as Democrats or Democratic lean -- leaning Independents. So this certainly doesn't help their strategy of trying to, you know, broaden their base.

GERGEN: Yes. Tony -- I want to just ask Tony a question, Tony Blankley.

Tony, would you have issued a statement with sexist language in it like that?

BLANKLEY: Well, I wouldn't have used (INAUDIBLE)...

BORGER: Careful.


BLANKLEY: Yes, I would not have...


BLANKLEY: I would not have used sex. But let me tell you what we did, because we were holding a press conference. It was like 1992. We had a -- a tax cut that we couldn't get a vote on on the floor. And Newt held a press conference and we got no coverage. We went back a day or two later and Newt said, Tom Foley, comma, "that thug," wouldn't let us have a vote.

Then we got the coverage and -- and the media had to explain why Newt was calling him a "thug" just because we couldn't get our tax cut proposal on the floor. We desperately wanted the public to know we were for tax cuts.

That's the dilemma, because the media...


BLANKLEY: ...covers that.

GERGEN: If the -- I'm -- I'm sorry. Tony, there was a time when with the Republican Party believed that if you could advance ideas, you could get attention.


GERGEN: And what you're saying is you have to -- you have to really...


GERGEN: You have to use personal insults.

BLANKLEY: You have to attach the idea...

GERGEN: (INAUDIBLE) I just don't believe that to be true.

BLANKLEY: You just have to -- you have to attach the idea to something the media will cover, because -- because they won't cover -- they didn't cover the Democrats when they were in the minority on their alternative proposals to...

GERGEN: But do you have to use -- do you have to use personal insults?

BLANKLEY: Unfortunately...


BLANKLEY: ...the media defines what...

GERGEN: ...the way the Republicans (INAUDIBLE)...

BLANKLEY: The media -- yes.


BLANKLEY: The media defines what it's going to cover and when you're polite, the media doesn't cover it.

BORGER: Well, but the idea...

BLANKLEY: And that's the sad truth.

BORGER: But the idea gets lost here.

BLANKLEY: No, it doesn't.

BORGER: We're not talking about the idea. The -- the clip we showed was of Nancy Pelosi defending herself against those Republicans who wanted to put her in her place.

BLANKLEY: This particular clip. But all over town, they're talking about the reason that they -- they did that, regarding the general and her lack of knowledge about expertise in -- in military matters. So, yes, it works and...

BORGER: Even though she's been a rank -- been a ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, right?


BLANKLEY: I'm just saying that, you know...

BLITZER: I think the bottom line, Nia, in what Tony is saying is the Republican statement had used the phrase "she needs to be put in her place, but she needs to be corrected" or something like that, it wouldn't have generated the -- the interest that it obviously has now generated.

HENDERSON: Right. And in some ways, he's right. I mean, if you think about what Joe Wilson did, the "you lie" comment on the floor, I mean, all of a sudden, he got attention for, you know, talking about immigration and the problem with immigration in -- in the health care...


BLANKLEY: That's the way Washington works.


HENDERSON: ...worked in that instance.

BLITZER: We'll leave it on that note, guys.


BLITZER: David, hold your thought.

GERGEN: It represents a sad decline...

BLITZER: All right. It represents what, David?

GERGEN: Please.

BLANKLEY: I agree, David.

GERGEN: It represents a sad decline in politics when...

BLANKLEY: I agree.

GERGEN: ...when people don't agree -- I mean Ronald Reagan did not have to use that kind of language to have the power of ideas and power of persuasion. It's a sad decline.


BLITZER: All right...

BORGER: I agree.

BLITZER: On that note, we'll leave it, David Gergen and company.

Guys, thanks very much.

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