[[M E D I A]] * Has a Republican White House not content with paying small-time pundits like Armstrong Williams to tout the troubled No Child Left Behind law, now found ways to coerce favorable remarks from MSNBC-TV commentators? You’d certainly think so, to hear some of the statements issuing from their mouths these days. During the November 27 broadcast of NBC-TV’s syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Norah O’Donnell, the attractive MSNBC White House correspondent, said that “as much as people may disagree with President Bush about the war, many other things, what he does have, to some degree, is authenticity.” Then, just yesterday, Matthews himself--a former speechwriter for President Jimmy Carter who, nonetheless, has often sought to excuse Bush’s blunders and manifest lack of leadership--said on his MSNBC show Hardball that “Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs, maybe on the left--I mean--like him personally.”
This is the supposedly “liberal media” speaking? Worse, these are reporters who are paid handsomely to keep up with the latest U.S. political developments. Yet they’re either ignorant of or have turned a blind eye to polls showing that a majority of Americans (52 percent, according to Gallup) don’t believe Bush is honest or trustworthy, and that an overwhelming 64 percent (according to Harris Interactive) think the present U.S. administration “generally misleads the American public on current issues to achieve its own ends.” Gallup found a full 50 percent of respondents saying they dislike Bush. Are these the “whack-jobs” to whom Matthews refers?
PLACING BLAME: Speaking of polls, a new Zogby International survey finds that--contrary to GOP spin--the defeats last month of two Republican gubernatorial candidates as well as the rejections of four special-election ballot initiatives promoted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger can all be attributed in part to public disapproval of Bush and his policies.