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The 2,815th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
10:10am EST, Friday January 30, 2009 (Vol. Fourteen; No. 21)
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1. Network News Embraces Obama's Wall Street-Bashing
After years of agitation over what they saw as President George W. Bush's self-righteous moral certitude, journalists on Thursday night embraced President Barack Obama's vilification of those working for Wall Street firms who got a bonus last year. "Shameful," NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams teased his newscast, "that's how President Obama labels those Wall Street types paying themselves big bonuses while getting billions in tax dollars." Reporter Chuck Todd referred to how Obama was "channeling his inner populist" as he "got upset about something that the public has been angry about for weeks." CBS's Katie Couric led with how "we found out what it takes to get Barack Obama angry," that "employees of financial companies in New York collected nearly $18.5 billion in bonuses last year" and "the President called it 'shameful.'" Chip Reid related how "the President told advisors the anger rose straight from his gut" before Reid relayed that another liberal politician, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, "said the President's remarks are 'a welcome breath of fresh air.'" Echoing Couric, ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced: "The President did not mince words this afternoon. Indeed, he was angry."

2. CNN's Zain Verjee: 'The World Wants Obama, the Road Show'
During Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Zain Verjee exclaimed about how much "the world is waiting" for President Obama to begin his international travels: "The world wants Obama, the road show." She also gushed over how his "rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool" and how he will be in "really big demand overseas."

3. ABC's Cuomo Again Whines About Lack of GOP Support for Spending
Appearing on a panel for Wednesday's edition of FNC's Hannity, Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo once again fretted about a lack of support for Barack Obama's massive new spending bill. After mentioning an earlier interview he conducted with House Minority Leader John Boener, Cuomo complained: "He [Boehner] said that he was impressed by President Obama, that they thought there would be compromise, that they would get away from the politics as usual." Following a discussion of the fact that not one House Republican voted for the "stimulus" bill, Cuomo lamented: "They said they were thinking about us. They said that was the analysis, because they don't know how to deal with this situation. So there's no reason to cling to the normal partisan lines. They did just that." In an earlier interview with Boehner on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Cuomo asserted that the pressure was on politicians to "get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending."

4. CBS's Rodriguez to Coulter: Shouldn't Republicans Move to Middle?
While discussing Rush Limbaugh's opposition to the Obama administration's massive spending bill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked author Ann Coulter: "But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan...So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?" Coulter did not feel "behooved," responding: "I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle."

5. MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell: Sarah Palin 'Called Obama a Terrorist'
During Thursday's 3 PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O'Donnell derided Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for attending the annual Alfalfa dinner in Washington, D.C., declaring: "Sarah Palin is coming to D.C. she ran as a maverick this whole campaign, wanted nothing to do with people in Washington, the anti-establishment candidate, and now she's coming to the most exclusive dinner in Washington, to hobnob with perhaps the President, ambassadors, senators, all the people she derided during the campaign. What's up with that?" O'Donnell spoke with Republican strategist John Feehery and Democratic strategist Morris Reid. O'Donnell turned to Reid and asked: "Didn't she call him a terrorist on the campaign trail?" In fact, Palin charged that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," like his long-time Chicago associate and former domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers. In response, Morris went on a Palin-bashing rant, during which O'Donnell laughed hysterically

6. On MSNBC, O'Donnell Calls for Republicans to Denounce Limbaugh
During the Wednesday 3 PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O'Donnell, who on Tuesday admired President Obama's "cojones" for attacking Rush Limbaugh, grilled Republican Congressman Mike Pence on comments Limbaugh made in response to the President: "He said 'we are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black President.' Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh?...why don't you feel like you could denounce something like that? Are you so beholden to someone like Rush Limbaugh that you can't say that...that's not the type of rhetoric, when America's trying to come together and do something for the unemployment rate, in your state of Indiana, now 8.2 percent. Is that the type of rhetoric we need?"

7. ABC's Claire Shipman on New Law and 'Female-Friendly White House'
On Thursday's Good Morning America, reporter Claire Shipman touted legislation about to be signed into law by President Obama that "promises to level the playing field when it comes to pay discrimination." She enthused that the bill, which would give women more time to file salary discrimination lawsuits, "not only evokes change, but also the impression of a female-friendly administration." The GMA correspondent also noted Michelle Obama's support for the legislation and spun her as "a First Lady that will champion the issues of working women."


 

Network News Embraces Obama's Wall
Street-Bashing

     After years of agitation over what they saw as President George W. Bush's self-righteous moral certitude, journalists on Thursday night embraced President Barack Obama's vilification of those working for Wall Street firms who got a bonus last year. "Shameful," NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams teased his newscast, "that's how President Obama labels those Wall Street types paying themselves big bonuses while getting billions in tax dollars." Reporter Chuck Todd referred to how Obama was "channeling his inner populist" as he "got upset about something that the public has been angry about for weeks."

     CBS's Katie Couric led with how "we found out what it takes to get Barack Obama angry," that "employees of financial companies in New York collected nearly $18.5 billion in bonuses last year" and "the President called it 'shameful.'" Chip Reid related how "the President told advisors the anger rose straight from his gut" before Reid relayed that another liberal politician, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, "said the President's remarks are 'a welcome breath of fresh air.'"

     Echoing Couric, ABC anchor Charles Gibson announced: "The President did not mince words this afternoon. Indeed, he was angry." Dan Harris, who showcased a clip of left-wing cable TV host Jon Stewart, backed up Obama's take: "These bonus numbers are not only infuriating to the President, many Americans are bewildered and angry, too."

     [This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted Friday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Only the CBS Evening News, in a follow-up piece from Anthony Mason, noted how many on Wall Street have "taken huge pay cuts" and explained how bonuses are part of basic compensation: "While it's true that more than $18 billion in bonuses was paid to Wall Street workers in 2008, that plunged nearly 50 percent from the record $34 billion two years ago. The average worker saw a 37 percent drop in bonus pay last year to $112,000. That's the lowest level in five years. What's more, Wall Street uses the term 'bonus' differently." Viewers then heard from Scot Melland of Dice Holdings:
     "It's more than likely that the bonuses paid to these financial services people accounts for 50 percent or 75 percent of their total compensation and it's geared to revenue brought in or success they brought into the firm. So it's more akin to a sales commission than what you or I would think about as a bonus."

     The MRC's Brad Wilmouth provided these transcripts of the Thursday, January 29 stories on CBS and ABC:

     # CBS Evening News:

     KATIE COURIC: Tonight, huge bonuses on Wall Street, outrage on Pennsylvania Avenue.
     BARACK OBAMA: That is the height of irresponsibility.

...

     COURIC: And good evening, everyone. In the second week of his presidency, we found out what it takes to get Barack Obama angry, and this is what did: a report that employees of financial companies in New York collected nearly $18.5 billion in bonuses last year, even as the industry was drowning in debt and collecting taxpayer bailouts. The President called it "shameful." From the White House, here's Chip Reid.
    
     CHIP REID: In the Oval Office today, the President blasted Wall Street bankers for taking billions of dollars in bonuses while pleading for a bailout to keep them afloat.
     OBAMA CLIP #1: -at a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them-
     OBAMA CLIP #2: -that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.
     REID: The President told advisors the anger rose straight from his gut as he read reports that New York City securities industry employees got more than $18 billion in bonuses in 2008, the sixth highest total on record. It's about the same amount they got in 2004. But then, Wall Street was flying high. Now they're getting fat bonuses while millions of Americans are watching their nest eggs evaporate. It's time, the President lectured, for Wall Street to show some discipline.
     OBAMA: -that they have to start acting in a more responsible fashion if we are to, together, get this economy rolling again. There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.
     REID: The President said he plans to talk directly to Wall Street executives, just as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner did earlier this week, when he stopped Citigroup from taking delivery of a $50 million private jet after the bank got $45 billion in a taxpayer bailout.
     OBAMA: We shouldn't have to do that because they should know better.
     REID: Late today, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, who has some oversight responsibility over Wall Street, said the President's remarks are "a welcome breath of fresh air." He said he looks forward to working with the Obama administration "to ensure that Wall Street wakes up to its new responsibilities and abides by a new code of corporate responsibility." White House officials say the President wants nothing less than to redo the way Wall Street does business. That ambitious goal will begin when he issues new regulations governing the financial industry soon.


     # ABC's World News:

     CHARLES GIBSON: Welcome to World News. Tonight, President Obama lashes out at the billions in bonuses paid on Wall Street.
     BARACK OBAMA: That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful.

...

     GIBSON: Good evening. The President did not mince words this afternoon. Indeed, he was angry. On a day when the government reported a record number of workers filed claims for unemployment benefits, President Obama came down hard on Wall Street for paying $18 billion in bonuses to executives last year.
     OBAMA: At a time when most of these institutions were teetering on collapse and they are asking for taxpayers to help sustain them, and when taxpayers find themselves in the difficult position that if they don't provide help that the entire system could come down on top of our heads, that is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful. There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to get bonuses. Now is not that time.
     GIBSON: So with more on the bonuses, Dan Harris is here. Dan?

     DAN HARRIS: Hi, Charlie. These bonus numbers are not only infuriating to the President, many Americans are bewildered and angry, too. Even as Wall Street firms buckled under losses from risky mortgage-related investments, and even as taxpayers shelled out hundreds of billions of dollars to bail those companies out, the state of New York estimates that the bonuses that Wall Street firms paid out last year represented the sixth largest hall ever. There is anger on the street-
     UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Disgusted, outraged, it's appalling.
     UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think it's shameful.
     HARRIS: -on the Web with people calling for those bonuses to be collected back, and on late night TV.
     WALL STREET EXECUTIVE: If you don't pay your best people, you will destroy your franchise.
     JON STEWART: You don't have best people! You lost $27 billion! Do you live in "Bizarro World"?
     HARRIS: Wall Street executives often argue that bonuses are needed to retain the best and brightest.
     STEVEN HALL, STEVEN HALL AND PARTNERS: The only assets that the company has are the people that can make the money. Without those people, there's no business, there's no way of generating revenue and making profits.
     HARRIS: But with banks firing, not hiring, these days, others say that argument simply does not fly.
     PROFESSOR JONATHAN KOPPELL, YALE UNIVERSITY: I'd like to see somebody who's willing to actually test the market if they thought that their bonus was not good enough. You know, let's roll the dice and say, "Hey, you know, Bob, sorry, we could only give you a $500,000 bonus this year. If you want to walk out the door and try and find yourself a better job, knock yourself out."
     HARRIS: Wall Street may be playing a dangerous game here at a time when Congress is considering rewriting the basic rules of American capitalism.
     KOPPELL: When you send the message loud and clear to Congress that you are incapable of policing yourself, you are basically asking for Congress to write a more intrusive regulatory set of rules.
     HARRIS: And tonight, administration sources tell ABC News that next week, when the administration unveils a major new plan to fix the financial system, there are going to be provisions in there that crack down on Wall Street bonuses.

 

CNN's Zain Verjee: 'The World Wants Obama,
the Road Show'

     During Thursday's Situation Room, CNN's Zain Verjee exclaimed about how much "the world is waiting" for President Obama to begin his international travels: "The world wants Obama, the road show." She also gushed over how his "rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool" and how he will be in "really big demand overseas."

     The correspondent made her "road show" comment during an introduction to a short report on the President's first trip to Canada, which gave a little history of the past two presidents' first foreign trips, and also possible other overseas destinations for the commander-in-chief in the near future. The report also featured two clips from Darrell West of the Brookings Institution, who highlighted the importance of international trips for President Obama, and how other world leaders will want to interact with him, in order to "get a piece of him, find out who he is, what his priorities are."

     [This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Thursday evening on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     After her report, Verjee gave her "rock star vibe" line. Anchor Wolf Blitzer then asked, "His personal background -- how much of a difference do you think that will make?" The correspondent replied, "Yeah, it's going to be a critical difference, because beyond the media attention, beyond the public interest, beyond the potency of his office -- he's really considered a world citizen. He has ties to people in places no other president has had."

     In other words, Verjee is referring to the President's years in Indonesia, as well as his familial ties to Kenya. On that note, if McCain had been elected, would the mainstream media highlight how he was born in the Panama Canal Zone, and his many years in a Vietnamese POW camp?

     The full transcript of Verjee's report, which aired at the bottom-half of the 4 pm Eastern hour of Thursday's Situation Room:

     WOLF BLITZER: So much on his agenda -- the president of the United States -- he's got a huge economic crisis at home. He's also got major national security issues, and now, there's word he's planning a visit to a foreign country, the first of its kind. Let's bring in Zain Verjee -- she's working at this story. Zain, where is he going and when is he going?
     ZAIN VERJEE: Well Wolf, the first travels of a new president always have great symbolic value, and the world is waiting.
     VERJEE (voice-over): The world wants Obama, the road show.
     DARRELL WEST, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: It is important for President Obama to travel around the world, even though our -- his chief focus has to be on the domestic economy, the global situation very much affects that economy.
     VERJEE: Only one foreign trip has been nailed down for President Obama -- Canada, February 19th.
     President Bush's first trip was to Mexico on February 16th, 2001. President Bill Clinton took his first foreign trip in April of 1993 to Vancouver, Canada, and met with Russia's leader. President Obama will have to consider going to key world meetings. Just in April alone, 20 countries with the largest economies meet in London; a NATO meeting in France; the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. President Obama has also promised to address the Muslim world from a Muslim capital.
     WEST: He is the new kid on the block, so every world leader wants to get a piece of him, find out who he is, what his priorities are. Obama talked a lot during the campaign about how he wants the United States to act differently, and so leaders around the world want to see exactly what does that mean.
     VERJEE (on-camera): Some experts say Mr. Obama's rock star vibe will make his personal diplomacy a much more potent tool, and he is going to be in really big demand overseas, Wolf.
     BLITZER: He certainly will be. His personal background -- how much of a difference do you think that will make?
     VERJEE: Yeah, it's going to be a critical difference, because beyond the media attention, beyond the public interest, beyond the potency of his office -- he's really considered a world citizen. He has ties to people in places no other president has had.
     BLITZER: He certainly does, and he made a point of that, especially in that interview with Al Arabiya.
     VERJEE: Right, exactly.
     BLITZER: All right, thanks very much, Zain, for that.

 

ABC's Cuomo Again Whines About Lack of
GOP Support for Spending

     Appearing on a panel for Wednesday's edition of FNC's Hannity, Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo once again fretted about a lack of support for Barack Obama's massive new spending bill. After mentioning an earlier interview he conducted with House Minority Leader John Boener, Cuomo complained: "He [Boehner] said that he was impressed by President Obama, that they thought there would be compromise, that they would get away from the politics as usual."

     Following a discussion of the fact that not one House Republican voted for the "stimulus" bill, Cuomo lamented: "They said they were thinking about us. They said that was the analysis, because they don't know how to deal with this situation. So there's no reason to cling to the normal partisan lines. They did just that." In an earlier interview with Boehner on Wednesday's Good Morning America, Cuomo asserted that the pressure was on politicians to "get past the age-old battle over tax cuts versus spending." And although Cuomo did at least admit that there has been wasteful spending in last year's bailout bill, he also introduced the GMA piece on a lack of congressional action with horror stories about the awful economy.

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     Also appearing on Hannity was former ABC reporter Jami Floyd. Floyd, who is now an anchor on In Session's Best Defense, chided the Fox News host for attacking the "stimulus" bill from a conservative angle. She derided: "See, I want to talk about bipartisanship, and you want to talk about socialism. This isn't socialism." While not offering specifics, she also asserted: "This is time for all Americans to step up to the plate and give. That's what's got to happen."

     Floyd is perhaps best known to MRC readers for a shockingly biased report that compared Muslim terrorist to a group of radical anti-abortion protestors. On the November 28, 2001 edition of 20/20, she attacked: "Since September 11, the word 'terrorist' has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign. But many believe we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion crusaders." See a November 29, 2001 CyberAlert for more: www.mediaresearch.org

     (Floyd contacted the MRC and asked for a clarification. As noted in the CyberAlert, Floyd's story looked into the tactics of a radical abortion group that sent a powdery substance to a New York doctor:

After recounting how last week many abortion clinics received letters containing a white powdery substance, which tested negative for anthrax, Floyd warned: "If Americans can learn something from the Wortmans about how to live with fear, then perhaps we can also learn something from those who live to spread fear. Since September 11th the word terrorist has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign, but many believe we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion crusaders."

Floyd proceeded to list those who have murdered abortion doctors, such as Paul Hill who killed two, and then she interviewed Army of God leader Donald Spitz about his belief that he prefers "live babies over live abortionists."

There's no doubt a small number of radicals use intimidation tactics, and sometimes even murder, to achieve their ends, tactics which can be classified as terrorism. But to equate that with al Qaeda's tactics as displayed on September 11 is ridiculous. There are at least two major differences. First, the anti-abortion terrorists are targeting specific individuals, not murdering everyone in a neighborhood around a clinic or thousands in a community because they elected a pro-abortion city councilor. Second, while the anti-abortionists are subverting the democratic process which has delivered a result with which they disagree, they are aiming to end a specific policy, not trying to destroy U.S. society and all the rights and freedoms it protects.

     END of Excerpt)

     A partial transcript of the January 28 FNC segment, which aired at 9:33pm EST:

     SEAN HANNITY: And tonight on our "Great American Panel" he is the co- anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC News. Chris Cuomo is here. She is the coauthor of "Why You're Wrong About the Right." Conservative columnist, also, on Sports Illustrated, S.E. Cupp joins us tonight. She is a criminal defense attorney and the anchor of "Best Defense" on Tru TV. Jami Floyd also is with us. All right. Big news of the night is an issue we all care about, the economy. Republicans voted against it, Chris; Democrats all voted for it. I talked to John Kyl today. He expects, similarly, the same result in the Senate.
     CHRIS CUOMO: Look, I think it's troubling to all of us. We had the opportunity to speak to the whip, John Boehner. He said that he was impressed by President Obama, that they thought there would be compromise, that they would get away from the politics as usual. What is upsetting about this- because it's not surprising. Right? A party line vote, you expect it on something where there was so much disapproval going into it, but they said they'd do it differently. They said they were thinking about us. They said that was the analysis, because they don't know how to deal with this situation. So there's no reason to cling to the normal partisan lines. They did just that.
     HANNITY: But there are some real fundamental principles. S.E., we're conservatives.
     S.E. CUPP (columnist): Yes.
     HANNITY: I believe in limited government. I believe capitalism. I believe tax cuts. It worked for JFK. It worked for Reagan. It didn't work for George W. Bush to get him out of the recession and the negative impact of 9/11. So why should Republicans abandon their principles? I'm glad they stood firm.
     CUPP: Me, too, and I'm really proud of Republicans, and I hope this -- this bill gets a tougher go of it in the Senate. You know, I've got to say my favorite part of this package is that no money goes to Illinois if Blagojevich is still in office. Democrats got it right there. Good job.
     HANNITY: Contraception, we went through the whole list of the radical spending and pork barrel in here. Barack Obama has promised no earmarks. This is full of earmarks.
     JAMI FLOYD (host, "Best Defense"): I think there's one place we agree. This is an opportunity for the Republican Party to begin redefining itself. We know what the values of the party is, and we know- are. And we also know what the party has stood for in the past. But as Chris said, there is a promise in Washington to the American people from both sides of the aisle to work in a bipartisan fashion. And so it is disappointing-
     HANNITY: But let me ask-
     FLOYD: -even though I hear where you're coming from. We know what you stand for: 80 percent of the American people support this plan. And they're watching.
     HANNITY: I like the word "bipartisan." It sounds nice. You know, let's sing "Kumbaya." We can all get along. But here's the reality. There are fundamental principles. Rush Limbaugh has created a big controversy in the interview with me. He said if Barack Obama were to adopt Reagan along with Lincoln and FDR and cut taxes, he'd support him. He would defend him. But if he's going to adopt socialism, if we're going to expand health care, he's going to oppose him and wants it to fail, because he knows it's not in the best interests of the country. And it's been misinterpreted almost all over the media.
     FLOYD: See, I want to talk about bipartisanship, and you want to talk about socialism. This isn't socialism.
     HANNITY: It's not?
     FLOYD: This is time for all Americans to step up to the plate and give. That's what's got to happen.
     HANNITY: Give. To be patriotic?
     FLOYD: That's what's got to happen.
     HANNITY: Wait a second. To give-
     FLOYD: This is a time- this is a time for service across the board. That's what this is about.
     HANNITY: Let me ask you this. All right, let me ask S.E. this.
     FLOYD: And sacrifice is what we're all going to have to do.
     HANNITY: Wait a minute. The average American works five and a half months a year to pay their tax bill.
     CUPP: Right.
     HANNITY: And Joe Biden says, Chris, that we're not patriotic if we're not willing to step up and pay more. That's almost offensive to people that pay so much.
     CUOMO: What it is, is partisan rhetoric that you're used to hearing. The question is will anything be different? We've talked before. So do you cut taxes? Will that help? Do you spend? Will that help? I've read hundreds of pages of experts on this. You know that when you read the research, it's very specific. There seems to be no real answer. It depends on what the situation is at the time. And this is totally unprecedented. So my concern as a journalist is when I hear that you're telling me the same thing you would have told me four years ago, eight years ago, 12 years ago, when this is supposed to be different -that you care about the Americans first.
     HANNITY: It worries me. See, I pointed this out the other day. Reagan had a far worse economy than he inherited: 21.5 percent interest rates, inflation out of control. We lost 10 million new jobs.
     CUPP: That's right. Right.
     HANNITY: He dropped the top marginal rates from 70 to 28 percent, we created $20 million new jobs and we doubled revenues to the government.
     CUPP: Yes. Yes.
     HANNITY: It was, you know, unprecedented success.
     CUPP: Tax cuts work. What bothers me about this is that this wasn't bipartisan. This is a Democratic package. Republicans were largely shut out.
     HANNITY: Yes.
     CUPP: And the plan the Republicans had cost half as much, would have created twice as many jobs in twice as fast a time. Why wasn't that looked at?
     CUOMO: They weren't shut out. They weren't shut out. They had this big powwow. They all come up. They say they want a compromise. That's not what happened. Tax cuts definitely work as long as the people getting them spend that money. In this economy-
     HANNITY: Republicans can't offer any new bills as these new Draconian rules were accepted by Nancy Pelosi.

 

CBS's Rodriguez to Coulter: Shouldn't
Republicans Move to Middle?

     While discussing Rush Limbaugh's opposition to the Obama administration's massive spending bill, on Thursday's CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked author Ann Coulter: "But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan...So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?" Coulter did not feel "behooved," responding: "I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle."

     [This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The January 29 segment actually began with co-host Harry Smith trying to offer a fair assessment of Limbaugh's comments about wanting President Obama to "fail": "I think if you listen to what Rush Limbaugh has said, 'I want him to fail,' he wants big government to fail...He wants certain things that are especially involved in this stimulus package to fail. I don't think he's sitting there saying 'as an American citizen, I want the presidency and the country to fail.'" Coulter agreed: "That's exactly right. In fact, I put it sort of the reverse way. I said, yes, of course, I want him to succeed, but that means he'll govern as a conservative.'...I sort of admire Rush's verve for switching it around that way." However, co-host Julie Chen wondered: "Oh, you admire that he put it that way? Don't you think it's a little bit irresponsible for him to put it that way?"

     Later, Smith's sense of fairness disappeared: "How interesting is it, though, that there's a guy on the radio who has an audience of some millions of people, you have one Republican congressman who said 'well, it's easy for Sean Hannity, it's easy for Rush Limbaugh, to throw stones. It's harder if you're in the Congress.' He goes back on his hands and knees and apologizes a day later, 'Rush, please forgive me! I knew not what I was doing!' This is crazy. I mean, that's the voice, that's the fringes. Right?"

     Rodriguez went on to challenge Coulter's opposition to the Democrats' so-called "stimulus" plan: "Let me ask you something, if this economic stimulus plan works like Nancy Pelosi and President Obama think it will, will you eat humble pie? Will you say ‘I was wrong and they were right?'"Coulter replied: "No, I would, but it's " it never works, it's not going to work this time." Rodriguez concluded: "But you said you would if it does?"

     Here is the full transcript of the segment:

     7:00AM TEASE:
     HARRY SMITH: Lots to talk about this morning, including the war of words that seems to be erupting between the White House and Rush Limbaugh. We will look into that in just a little bit.

     7:13AM TEASE:
     SMITH: Also ahead, President Obama versus Rush Limbaugh. We'll see what conservative author Ann Coulter thinks about the brewing battle.

     7:30AM TEASE:
     HARRY SMITH: So if you're the President of the United States, should you say, 'don't listen to Rush Limbaugh, go ahead and help me pass my-'
     MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: That sounds more like Rush Limbaugh than the president, that impersonation.
     SMITH: 'Don't listen to him because I'm trying to pass my economic stimulus plan.' And if you're Rush Limbaugh and this mood in the country where things are so difficult, should you go ahead and say 'I'm not sure I want the president to succeed, I want to see him-'
     JULIE CHEN: No, he said he wants to see him fail.
     SMITH: Well, it's more nuanced than that. And speaking of nuance, who better than -- to help us delve into the world of nuance -- than Ann Coulter. And she is here and we're going to have that conversation here in just a couple of seconds.

     7:31AM SEGMENT:
     HARRY SMITH: While President Obama and Republicans in Congress are trying to be gracious toward each other, an ideological battle has broken out between the president and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Democrats have launched an online petition in response to Rush Limbaugh's comments that he hopes Obama will fail in his presidency.
     RUSH LIMBAUGH: We want to promote failure. We want to promote incompetence. We want to stand by and not object to what he's doing simply because the color of his skin? Sorry. I got past the historical nature of this months ago.
     SMITH: President Obama told congressional leaders at the White House on Friday that, quote, 'you can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done.' After a glib comment by White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Limbaugh suggested that Mr. Obama is more frightened of him than he is of Republican leaders. Saying, quote, 'which doesn't say much about our party.'
     LIMBAUGH: What is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what's gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it?
     SMITH: And we are joined by conservative columnist Ann Coulter, author of 'Guilty: Liberal Victims and Their Assault on America.' So this conversation is going on, it's very interesting, because if you take things out of context, I think if you listen to what Rush Limbaugh has said, 'I want him to fail,' he wants big government to fail.
     ANN COULTER: Right.
     SMITH: He wants certain things that are especially involved in this stimulus package to fail. I don't think he's sitting there saying 'as an American citizen, I want the presidency and the country to fail.'
     COULTER: Right.
     SMITH: He wants these things to fail. Do I have that right?
     COULTER: That's exactly right. In fact, I put it sort of the reverse way. I said, yes, of course, I want him to succeed, but that means he'll govern as a conservative.'
     JULIE CHEN: So what do you think of him-
     COULTER: I sort of admire Rush's verve for switching it around that way.
     CHEN: Oh, you admire that he put it that way? Don't you think it's a little bit irresponsible for him to put it that way? I mean, the way you put it, seems much-
     COULTER: It's basically the same thing. His makes me laugh more.
     MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: So you like that one? But don't you think that right now is not -- it behooves the Republicans to be a little bit more in the middle? I mean, what are -- they're not -- their voices aren't going to be heard anyway, as we saw with this economic stimulus plan. Even if they want something, if the Democrats want something else, that's what's going to happen. So doesn't it behoove them to be more bipartisan and meet in the middle?
     COULTER: I think it's just the reverse. I mean, we just ran John McCain, we are so sick of being in the middle. And the other thing is, when you govern, you do have to -- Republicans had to accede to demands of their president, George Bush, like the huge prescription drug program, they weren't very happy with the amnesty bill. So, you know, we've already -- or they, as politicians, have had to compromise and engage in horse trading. Now we can be principled.
     RODRIGUEZ: But how are they going to have a voice in this administration?
     COULTER: Well, I think they will have a voice. I mean, they already got, it's a tiny little piece of the bill, but they did get the birth control or the family planning -- I bet you the STD programs are going to be cut soon, too. And the main thing is that we go back to being the party of ideas, and we stand for something, and people, you know, we can make the principled arguments. Now I say 'we,' I'm not a politician, but I feel sorry for Republican politicians having to be compromising for the past eight years.
     SMITH: How interesting is it, though, that there's a guy on the radio who has an audience of some millions of people, you have one Republican congressman who said 'well, it's easy for Sean Hannity, it's easy for Rush Limbaugh, to throw stones. It's harder if you're in the Congress.' He goes back on his hands and knees and apologizes a day later, 'Rush, please forgive me! I knew not what I was doing!' This is crazy. I mean, that's the voice, that's the fringes. Right?
     RODRIGUEZ: That's the power.
     COULTER: Well, I think -- I mean, we do have different roles, conservative spokes people and politicians. Like I say, politicians, you know, they do have to be diplomatic. I wouldn't want to be a politician. Rush Limbaugh wouldn't want to be a politician.
     CHEN: Well, that's my question to you. If you feel so passionately about your beliefs and you make good money through books, why don't you run for office and try and spark change that way?
     COULTER: It's a very different job, and I wouldn't like it and don't think I'd be good at it. I mean, just to take two examples from President Bush, immediately after the attack of 9/11, Bush is all over saying, 'Islam is a religion of peace.' He's inviting all these Muslims over for Ramadan. It's all -- he's attending, you know, Mosques. I didn't have to do that. When they have the unveiling of the Clinton presidential portrait, Bush has to say nice things about Bill Clinton. I didn't have to do that.
     RODRIGUEZ: You couldn't do that.
     COULTER: I couldn't do that. But I understand why a president has to and you -- that is what a politician does. So we do have different roles. And actually, I think it was kind of dopey for the Congressman not to realize that and to bother making that point. But the strangest thing is having the president attack Rush Limbaugh.
     SMITH: Here's-
     RODRIGUEZ: Let me ask you something, if this economic stimulus plan works like Nancy Pelosi and President Obama think it will, will you eat humble pie? Will you say 'I was wrong and they were right?'
     COULTER: Well, there's no way-
     SMITH: Probably not.
     COULTER: -it can work. No, I would, but it's-
     SMITH: Here's my question, though, is it-
     COULTER: -it never works, it's not going to work this time.
     SMITH: Might this-
     RODRIGUEZ: But you said you would if it does?
     COULTER: Sure, well, we're going to be out of the recession by the end of the year if the government does nothing. I think this is going to delay -- it's a little hard to prove that, but big government, it doesn't work in Cuba. It hasn't worked anyplace. It's not going to work.
     SMITH: Here's my contention. I think that maybe Republicans by -- they're being put in -- they, by their own ax and by what's happened in the election, their -- this is their time in the wilderness, and perhaps this is where they actually find out who they are as opposed to what they've been over the last ten years or so.
     COULTER: Yeah, I mean, I think we have a pretty good idea of what that is, but like I say, now you don't have to make compromises. Now you don't have to build majorities. You can go back to first principles. I mean, as Reagan showed, that is popular with Americans.
     CHEN: If the final seconds, what is your role, then? You say we all have roles. What's your role?
     COULTER: Gin up the troops, prepare the troops for battle.
     RODRIGUEZ: And gear up for President Palin, right, in your ideal world?
     COULTER: Perhaps.
     RODRIGUEZ: Alright.
     SMITH: Ann Coulter, thanks for stopping by.
     COULTER: Thank you.

 

MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell: Sarah Palin
'Called Obama a Terrorist'

     During Thursday's 3 PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O'Donnell derided Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for attending the annual Alfalfa dinner in Washington, D.C., declaring: "Sarah Palin is coming to D.C. she ran as a maverick this whole campaign, wanted nothing to do with people in Washington, the anti-establishment candidate, and now she's coming to the most exclusive dinner in Washington, to hobnob with perhaps the President, ambassadors, senators, all the people she derided during the campaign. What's up with that?" O'Donnell spoke with Republican strategist John Feehery and Democratic strategist Morris Reid. O'Donnell turned to Reid and asked: "Didn't she call him a terrorist on the campaign trail?" In fact, Palin charged that Obama was "palling around with terrorists," like his long-time Chicago associate and former domestic terrorist, Bill Ayers.

     [This item, by the MRC's Kyle Drennen, was posted Thursday afternoon, with video, on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     In response, Morris went on a Palin-bashing rant, during which O'Donnell laughed hysterically: "Well, I think she called him a terrorist among other things. But listen, the woman's hungry. She's got to eat, Norah. We got to feed the woman, don't we...You know, she lives in public housing, we got to feed her on the public dole. She got a bridge to nowhere. We love Sarah Palin on the Democratic side. We can't get enough of her...I think -- I don't think she knew -- I think she -- Norah, I think she thought it was just her, and Buckwheat, and Alfalfa, with the President at dinner. She's just clueless, it's ridiculous."

     Earlier in the segment, even Feehery took cheap shots at the Alaska governor: "You know, the big news is she didn't get $11 million for that book contract. I think that's the thing that people are really worried about. That's a lot of money for a book contract and she didn't get it. So that's good news."

     Here is the full transcript of the January 29 segment:

     NORAH O'DONNELL: Also, some news today about former Republican vice presidential candidate, Sarah Palin. Because she's actually headed to Washington this weekend. That's right, she says she's going to lobby for some stimulus funds for her home state of Alaska. But perhaps, more interesting, is that she is slate to attend a high profile dinner where she could run into President Obama. That's right. There's also big questions about whether she is setting her sights on a White House run in 2012?
     SARAH PALIN: No. Not at all. Not at all. No. But now we'll have an available source of funds so that we're not coming close to any ethical line.
     O'DONNELL: Joining us now is Democratic strategist Morris Reid and Republican strategist John Feehery. Alright, great to have both of you on. What about this, John? Sarah Palin is coming to D.C. she ran as a maverick this whole campaign, wanted nothing to do with people in Washington, the anti-establishment candidate, and now she's coming to the most exclusive dinner in Washington, to hobnob with perhaps the president, ambassadors, senators, all the people she derided during the campaign. What's up with that?
     JOHN FEEHERY: I can't wait, Norah. What excitement for everybody.
     [O'DONNELL LAUGHS]
     FEEHERY: You know, the big news is she didn't get $11 million for that book contract. I think that's the thing that people are really worried about. That's a lot of money for a book contract and she didn't get it. So that's good news. You know, Norah, on this whole thing on the Gridiron or Alfalfa, whichever club this is-
     O'DONNELL: Alfalfa.
     FEEHREY: You know, if she didn't come in and she was invited, that would be a controversy, too. Sarah Palin makes news wherever she goes. And that's the part of Sarah Palin that you all love about her.
     O'DONNELL: Well, I want to play what she said yesterday. Because she did talk to reporters for about eight minutes. Specifically, it's the second sound bite we have here and it is about this dinner. Because she was asked if, in fact, she was heading to this dinner. And the reason it's interesting is because her staff denied to reporters, like myself, that she was actually going to this dinner. And then, she came out and revealed it. Listen to what she had to say about why she wanted to come here to Washington for this dinner.
     PALIN: Alfalfa dinner, yes. In fact, that's because President Obama is scheduled to be there. And how often will I have an opportunity to have dinner with the president. I will take up that offer to do so, yeah.
     O'DONNELL: Morris, didn't she call him a terrorist on the campaign trail?
     MORRIS REID: Well, I think she called him a terrorist among other things. But listen, the woman's hungry. She's got to eat, Norah. We got to feed the woman, don't we.
     [O'DONNELL LAUGHS LOUDLY THROUGHOUT]
     REID: You know, she lives in public housing, we got to feed her on the public dole. She got a bridge to nowhere. We love Sarah Palin on the Democratic side. We can't get enough of her.
     FEEHREY: You know, Norah, there's nothing like having dinner with 2,000 of your closest friends and the president. So it's going to be a small intimate dinner.
     O'DONNELL: However, it is not 2,000 people.
     REID: I think -- I don't think she knew -- I think she -- Norah, I think she thought it was just her, and Buckwheat, and Alfalfa, with the president at dinner. She's just clueless, it's ridiculous.
     O'DONNELL: Well, she is meeting also with a number of senators, including the Republican leader in the Senate Mitch McConnell, as well as, I think, some -- Senator Snow, there's going to be a private dinner for her at Fred Malik's house. So she is doing a little bit of courting. Many people think that could mean she's gearing up for 2012. Morris Reid, John Feehery, great to talk to both of you. Thanks so much.

 

On MSNBC, O'Donnell Calls for Republicans
to Denounce Limbaugh

     During the Wednesday 3 PM EST hour on MSNBC, anchor Norah O'Donnell, who on Tuesday admired President Obama's "cojones" for attacking Rush Limbaugh, grilled Republican Congressman Mike Pence on comments Limbaugh made in response to the President: "He said 'we are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black President.' Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh?...why don't you feel like you could denounce something like that? Are you so beholden to someone like Rush Limbaugh that you can't say that...that's not the type of rhetoric, when America's trying to come together and do something for the unemployment rate, in your state of Indiana, now 8.2 percent. Is that the type of rhetoric we need?"

     Read about O'Donnell describing Obama's "cojones" in the January 27 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org

     Pence defended Limbaugh's opposition to Obama: "Well, look, Norah, I don't believe Rush Limbaugh's got a racist bone in his body. And if you're suggesting that his statement had a racist element to it, I would commend you to, you know, a greater understanding of the positions that he's taken. He's a man that's about opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or color. And think that's why he's so admired and appreciated all across America."

     Later in the broadcast, O'Donnell complained to Washington Post reporter Chris Cillizza: "...you still see the conservatives in the House unwilling to criticize him. I just had Congressman Mike Pence on and I asked him whether it was appropriate, Rush Limbaugh's comments, about whether he should denounce that they 'have to bend over just because he's a black president.' And Congressman Pence would not denounce those comments." O'Donnell went on to reference a Republican Congressman who criticized Limbaugh on Tuesday: "And then yesterday, Politico reported that Congressman Gingrey had told Rush Limbaugh to back off. And that led to Congressman Gingrey to call into Rush Limbaugh today to apologize, some might say grovel."

     O'Donnell was puzzled: "Barack Obama went up and told the House Republicans that they should stop, essentially, listening to Rush Limbaugh. That Rush Limbaugh's the reason that stuff hasn't gotten done. But it looks like these House conservatives are sticking with Rush Limbaugh." Cillizza replied: "...they know that the best way to survive in politics is to keep the base of the party happy... And so, I think they are all, sort of, paying homage, knowing Rush's power within the conservative base of the party."

     [This item was prepared for CyberAlert by the MRC's Kyle Drennen]

     Here are the relevant excerpts from January 28:

     3:00PM TEASE:
     NORAH O'DONNELL: Rush Limbaugh goes nuclear. The conservative talk show radio host continues his critique of the new president and says today that it is up to him to hijack the Obama honeymoon.
     RUSH LIMBAUGH: This is not -- this is not about the economy. It's about big government. It's not about creating private sector jobs. This whole -- this whole dog and pony show today at the White House was a total sham.

     3:21PM SEGMENT:
     O'DONNELL: Anyway, on another matter. I do want to ask you about Rush Limbaugh.
     PENCE: Sure.
     O'DONNELL: Because, he has said, 'I hope he fails,' talking about President Obama. And Rush Limbaugh also said this, he said 'we are being told that we have to hope Obama succeeds, that we have to bend over, grab the ankles, bend over forward, backward, whichever, because his father was black, because this was the first black president.' Do you agree with Rush Limbaugh?
     PENCE: Well, let me speak specifically to what Rush Limbaugh said about America. I actually heard a little bit of him this afternoon. I mean, we all hope America succeeds. And in that vain, we hope our president succeeds. And I think Rush Limbaugh, who I admire and like millions of Americans, I cherish his voice in the public debate, I think that is what he was saying. But, what he was also saying was where Barack Obama is going to pursue the implementation of campaign promises, where he's going to grow government, grow spending, depart from traditional values, or take positions with regard to our national defense that are antithetical to conservative values-
     O'DONNELL: No doubt-
     PENCE: -we certainly hope there will be strong opposition from voices like Rush Limbaugh and from leaders here on Capitol Hill. So we appreciate his statement-
     O'DONNELL: No doubt you can agree with-
     PENCE: -I understand what he was saying, Norah. And, you know, we all hope our president succeeds, we all hope America succeeds. But that doesn't mean we're always going to agree with what the best solutions are for the country.
     O'DONNELL: No doubt you can agree with Rush Limbaugh about -- that he is calling this stimulus package essentially a sham, what's going on, that it's just too full of wasteful spending. But on that specific thing, that, 'we have to bend over because this is the first black president,' why don't you feel like you could denounce something like that? Are you so beholden to someone like Rush Limbaugh that you can't say that-
     PENCE: Oh, gosh, Norah.
     O'DONNELL: -that's not the type of rhetoric, when America's trying to come together and do something for the unemployment rate, in your state of Indiana, now 8.2%. Is that the type of rhetoric we need?
     PENCE: Well, look, Norah, I don't believe Rush Limbaugh's got a racist bone in his body. And if you're suggesting that his statement had a racist element to it, I would commend you to, you know, a greater understanding of the positions that he's taken. He's a man that's about opportunity for all Americans, regardless of race, creed, or color. And think that's why he's so admired and appreciated all across America. But look, you know, on this stimulus bill, I appreciate Rush's voice out there. Nancy Pelosi just said on the House floor, and I respect her greatly, she said after defending all the different spending programs in this bill, $136 billion in program spending, she said quote 'we are taking America in a new direction.' Well, Norah, I thought we were trying to pass a stimulus bill that in the short-term was temporary and fast acting and would create jobs in America. And that's what the Republican alternative is going to do. Rush is out there championing the kind of stimulus bill that'll put Americans back to work. We're grateful for that, we're going to keep fighting for it right here.
     O'DONNELL: Congressman Mike Pence, Republican of Indiana and chair of the House Republican Conference, thank you so much for joining us.
     PENCE: Thank you, Norah.

     3:31PM TEASE:
     O'DONNELL: Is the honeymoon really over for President Obama? At least one person says yes and today, he's taking the credit. The president's trouble with Rush Limbaugh. That's next on MSNBC, The Place for Politics.
     LIMBAUGH: He doesn't need a Republican vote at all. And I think the pressure, the purpose of this meeting today was -- or the result of the meeting was he knows he's in trouble because he desperately wants Republican support. Because when this goes down the tubes, he wants to be able to say that all of Washington was complicit.

     3:46PM SEGMENT:
     O'DONNELL: It's President Obama's first full week in office, and right now, his loudest critic seems to be Rush Limbaugh, who says he plans to stop the president's honeymoon period. Well, Chris Cillizza is Washington Post White House reporter and author of 'The Fix' on washingtonpost.com. Chris, good to see you. Thanks so much for joining us.
     CHRIS CILLIZZA: Hey Norah, thanks for having me.
     O'DONNELL: I know you've written about this and we heard Rush Limbaugh again today saying he's the one who's going to end Obama's honeymoon. Is he now the face of the opposition?
     CILLIZZA: You know, at least for the moment, Norah, he is. And I think that's because it comes at a very unique time for Republicans. They've just lost the White House, they've lost more seats in the Senate, more seats in the House, over the last two elections. And we still don't have a chairman of the RNC, who in theory at least, would be the person who would be, sort of, the critic battling with Barack Obama. Rush Limbaugh is extremely high profile and above all else, a smart businessman. He knows picking a fight with the President of the United States ensures him that we'll be talking about it, that his ratings will probably go up, very smart strategy on his part.
     O'DONNELL: Well, no doubt it will probably help his radio ratings, but you still see the conservatives in the House unwilling to criticize him. I just had Congressman Mike Pence on and I asked him whether it was appropriate, Rush Limbaugh's comments, about whether he should denounce that they 'have to bend over just because he's a black president.' And Congressman Pence would not denounce those comments. And then yesterday, Politico reported that Congressman Gingrey had told Rush Limbaugh to back off. And that led to Congressman Gingrey to call into Rush Limbaugh today to apologize, some might say grovel. Listen to this, Chris.
     PHIL GINGREY: I clearly ended up putting my foot in my mouth with some of those comments and I just wanted to tell you, Rush, and all our conservative giants who help us so much to maintain our base and grow it and get back this majority, that I regret those stupid comments.
     LIMBAUGH: Well I -- look, I appreciate that.
     O'DONNELL: So what about this? Because this is really interesting. Because Barack Obama went up and told the House Republicans that they should stop, essentially, listening to Rush Limbaugh. That Rush Limbaugh's the reason that stuff hasn't gotten done. But it looks like these House conservatives are sticking with Rush Limbaugh.
     CILLIZZA: Well, Norah, you know from following politics, that the first lesson for all politicians that they hue to more closely than anything else, is survival. And they know that the best way to survive in politics is to keep the base of the party happy. And whether people agree with him or not, Rush Limbaugh clearly has a big audience among the conservative base, and so getting crosswise with him is not a smart way to go about doing your business. If you're Phil Gingrey, a guy from Georgia, a conservative, probably very little electoral problems, you don't want Rush Limbaugh agitating against you for weeks and months to come, maybe helping to stoke a primary challenge to you. You want to keep your head as low as possible, you do not want him up there bashing you. And so, I think they are all, sort of, paying homage, knowing Rush's power within the conservative base of the party.
     CILLIZZA: No doubt. Chris Cillizza with the Washington Post, great to talk to you.
     O'DONNELL: Thank you, Norah.

 

ABC's Claire Shipman on New Law and 'Female-Friendly
White House'

     On Thursday's Good Morning America, reporter Claire Shipman touted legislation about to be signed into law by President Obama that "promises to level the playing field when it comes to pay discrimination." She enthused that the bill, which would give women more time to file salary discrimination lawsuits, "not only evokes change, but also the impression of a female-friendly administration."

     [This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Thursday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

     The GMA correspondent also noted Michelle Obama's support for the legislation and spun her as "a First Lady that will champion the issues of working women." At no time in the piece did Shipman feature anyone who disagreed with the concept of the pay gap or offer any downside to its passage. Author Warren Farrell explained how women often earn less because of job choice in his 2005 book "Why Men Earn More." A May 20, 2005 review in National Review observed:

Farrell's extensive research is persuasive: Women generally earn less than men because they choose jobs that are more "fulfilling, flexible, and safe." These jobs usually pay less. For example, the librarian with a graduate degree will earn less than a garbage collector who dropped out of high school. The same applies to the educated art historian working in a museum versus the uneducated coal miner working in a mine. The garbage collector and the coal miner get higher salaries because their work involves greater risk and less pleasant working conditions. Few workers are willing to accept the conditions in these blue-collar, male-oriented jobs " so employees willing to work in these fields are a more precious commodity than workers in lower-paying professions, including librarians and art historians.

Farrell suggests 25 ways women can level the salary playing field. Among his recommendations are that women choose careers in technology or science, work longer hours, accept more responsibilities, and take jobs that are more dangerous and in unpleasant environments. He notes, however, that these solutions -- instead of empowering women -- may leave them bereft of true power, which he defines as "control over one's life." He believes that "pay is about giving up power to get the power of pay," and that by choosing to make more money, women limit their options. They forfeit the quality of life they enjoyed when they worked less and in better, non-stressful working environments. They risk relinquishing a profession they feel passionate about for one they dislike. They also will have less opportunity to have children, take maternity leave, or work flexible hours to take care of their children. If they do decide to have children and raise them, chances are they will lose their position and their high salary.

     See National Review: www.nationalreview.com
    
     A transcript of the January 29 segment, which aired at 7:16am, follows:

     DIANE SAWYER: And coming up now, President Obama is going to sign today a bill that promises to level the playing field when it comes to pay discrimination. By his side will be first lady Michelle Obama, a vocal supporter of equal pay for equal work, of that bill throughout the campaign [sic]. Senior national correspondent Claire Shipman has more.
     ABC GRAPHIC: Equal Pay For Equal Work: New Law Signed Today
     MICHELLE OBAMA: Right now, the average woman is earning 77 cents to every dollar that a man earns here in the United States for the same work. SHIPMAN: It's an issue she talked about often on the campaign trail. And today, Michelle Obama will be by her husband's side, as he signs legislation protecting equal pay for women. The bill is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, now 70-year-old South Carolina tire plant supervisor, who famously lost a Supreme Court case in 2007. The justices ruling, she waited too long. After 19 years of work at the tire plant, Ledbetter got a tip she wasn't paid the same as men doing the same job.
     LILLY LEDBETTER: I was initially humiliated. I get degraded.
     SHIPMAN: Before today, women could only file discrimination suits within six months of first experiencing a pay gap. The new legislation allows suits later, as long as the alleged pay discrimination is continuing. Even in 2009, the income gap is still very real. On average, women earn almost 20 cents on the dollar than men do. Over the course of a career, that can add up to more than $200,000. Some jobs are more equal than others, though. Public school teachers, unionized nurses and government workers have very little pay disparity, based on race or sex or religion. The biggest gap? Blue-collar, non-union jobs. Service workers at stores, for examples, or restaurants are often paid wildly different wages. The fast coordination between the White House and lawmakers to get this done not only evokes change, but also the impression of a female-friendly administration. And, very likely a first lady that will champion the issues of working women. For "Good Morning America," Claire Shipman, Washington.
     ROBERTS: And Michelle Obama has said that will be one of her top causes.

-- Brent Baker

 


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