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2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

The news last week that recently hired Yahoo News Washington DC Bureau Chief David Chalian was fired for a truly unbelievable “hot mic” moment was bad enough–but digging into his background re-enforces the mess that likely awaits Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan come debate time.

Chalian was fired for yucking it up with fellow reporters by saying that “They (Republicans) are not concerned at all.  They are happy to be having a party while black people are drowning (Hurricane Isaac).”  You can hear the “hot mic” comment here along with the, almost as disturbing, huge laughs this got from the reporters he was talking to.

In an earlier piece, I made the point that the folks selected to moderate the three Presidential debates and the one VP debate were very concerning–and possibly incapable of approaching this crucial role objectively.  This revelation regarding David Chalian should win over any of those who thought I was making too much of this story–here is why.

David Chalian’s Background

As noted by Tucker Carlson, Chalian was not a mere media foot soldier.  He had risen through the ranks to become Political Director at ABC news (2007-2010), Political Editor for PBS NewsHour (2010-2012), and had just been hired as the Washington DC Bureau Chief for Yahoo News (November 14, 2011-last week).  Not too shockingly, his professional accomplishments include an Emmy nomination for producing Charlie Gibson’s infamous Alaska interview with Sarah Palin in 2008.  There is simply no chance that his personal hyper-partisan and crass political viewpoint did not come up in the private job interviews he had with the network brass that eventually hired him.

Worse yet is that, recalling the four news organizations who are supplying the moderators, two of Mr. Chalian’s former employers will be controlling the conversation in what will be the most watched debates in political history.

First, you have the PBS NewsHour.   This is both where Chalian had worked until last November as Political Editor and the home of Jim Lehrer who will moderate the first debate.  Second, you have ABC News, where Chilian served as Political Director for three years.  This news room is providing Martha Radditz as the moderator for the Paul Ryan vs. Joe Biden debate.

This is not to say that these moderators share the same despicable view of Republicans that Chalian was revealed to have, but what it does point to is the internal culture that thrives in these organizations.  Simply put–there is a great chance that this bias not only exists in the other “journalists” who have climbed the totem pole at these networks, but that it will shine through one way or another in the upcoming debates.

Upon being hired by Yahoo News last year, Chilain did an interview in which he said working with Yahoo would provide, “an unparalleled opportunity to deliver high impact, high quality storytelling in what is shaping up to be a really consequential presidential election.”  Huh…I wonder what he meant by “high impact” storytelling?


((To read original story click here– “The 2012 Presidential Debates: When Moderators Aren’t Moderate” ))



The post 2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers appeared first on The Conservative Reader.

Iowa’s First Night With Newt As Candidate

Iowa’s First Night With Newt As Candidate

Monday night I got to see essentially the same man I saw a year ago at the 2010 Polk County Republican Spring Banquet.  This is a guy who has spent the past 12 years of his life dedicated to working with smart people to come up with solutions to America’s problems, and who comes across as thoughtful, smart (make that brilliant), and ready to work.

I say “the same”, because even a year ago, Newt Gingrich already seemed like a man bent on the idea that we can fix the American healthcare system without creating a yet another new bureaucracy incapable of bending to the people’s will.  A year ago he was pressing substantive health care reform ideas that acknowledged the deepest problems the Federal government has with running programs like Medicare… the government is just incapable of managing the fraud and abuse that have become one of the largest tax-payer boon doggles of all time.

I say “the same”, because a year ago Newt came to Des Moines with not only an air of confidence in himself that comes from decades of experience in the public eye, but a sense of purpose in his own life beyond giving a speech to a room full of Republican activists.  He seemed a man already on a mission, perhaps already trying to find ways to do the job of president without the title.  Some would call him a “statesman”.

But let’s say he was also a different man.

On Monday, the former House Speaker seemed to have eschewed the grim demeanor he carried in 2010.  It was almost as if making the decision to run for President had taken a weight off of his shoulders instead of putting it on.  He answered questions from the press and from a very receptive audience of about 200 with ease.  He handled the big question of the day, regarding his comments on Sunday on Meet the Press, (where he confounded conservative Republicans by apparently criticizing Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan as “too big a jump” to the right), with a good explanation of his comments.  For those of you who are interested, he essentially stated he had not communicated his thoughts well and was concerned about making dramatic changes to a program that impacts every single person in America.  His emphasis seemed to be on caution and taking more of a phased approach to any changes in Medicare.  Frankly, the transcript from Sunday’s program seems to say about the same thing, so I’m struggling with why people are upset about his comments.

Perhaps if people took the time to read the transcript instead of the headlines. Just sayin’.

With the last in mind, I will say, “the same”, because he does and may for some time, struggle slightly with how he communicates a message that may have significant research, analysis, and a team of high-valued brain-power behind it, in a way that can be understood by folks who have not had time to walk through the thought-process with him.  He seems sometimes to suffer from a mild form of “Keyesitis” (for those of you who recall the enigmatic and hyper intelligent former US Ambassador and former Presidential Candidate Alan Keyes), or a predilection to speaking exactly what’s on his mind, even if the listener is unable to grasp the meaning easily.  More simply put, he can sometimes be too smart for his own good.  I don’t think he lacks the ability to explain himself, but in an age of entertainment, technology, and the 15 second sound bite, it is substantially more difficult to get these ideas across when the attention span of your listener is so severely limited, and the assumption that everything one needs to hear can be boiled down to a dozen words.

I suspect that as his campaign proceeds, he will work with his staff to formulate a message that can be more easily understood.  His biggest risk may be answering questions for which he has not prepared a clear and simple answer, unless he can get to where he can regularly think and explain himself candidly at the level of a high school student or college undergraduate.

It was good to see Newt again, and I’m looking forward to seeing other candidates as the lead up the Iowa Caucus continues!

More comments on Newt’s Des Moines event can be found at Kathie Obradovich’s blog.

2012 Debates Story Update: Fired and Disgraced Yahoo Bureau Chief Tied To Moderators Employers

American Gladiators: On the eve of battle, Paul Ryan arms the Right

With the release of his long term budget plan “The Path to Prosperity” there is no doubt that Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan is not only the talk of the town in Washington, but also the talk of cable news, YouTube, the blogosphere, my house, the White House, and probably even the Keebler Elf’s tree house (though I can’t quite get a read on how they lean politically). The fact that he has dominated the discussion across the Country for the last few days can’t be argued. I would take it a step further though. I would argue that Paul Ryan is the most significant Republican in America and will remain so through 2012, and that includes the eventual Republican Presidential nominee.

Exhibit #1 in making this case starts with the obvious; he has replaced talk with an actual plan. The American people know what instinct tells all humans, when you are facing a problem you need a plan solve it. While literally no one deemed the release of the Obama administrations budget last month a problem solving strategy, compared to mere words in the ether from Republicans the contrast required to reveal the extent of its weakness was nonexistent. Without contrast your position is without strength. Fundamentally this is the advantage the Ryan plan has now given Republicans.

To grasp the undeniable importance of contrast you need not look any further than the mind-boggling results of a Pew Research Center poll taken a month ago (March 8-14, 2011-m.o.e. +/- 3). The question was asked, “Who has the better approach to the budget deficit: Barack Obama, the Republicans in Congress, or is there not much difference at all?” To this 20% said “Obama”, 21% said “Republicans in Congress”, while a hard to fathom 52% responded “not much difference at all”. This is the ugly face of no leadership, and a complete repudiation of a Republican posture that, until a few days ago, spent months launching rhetoric into the discussion and not answers into the heart of the problem.

It is not so much that the Republican approach garnered only 21% approval, but after two years on an issue that upwards of 75% agree is a significant problem to have 52% not know that your approach is discernible from the Presidents is near criminal. Without leadership you have no solutions, without solutions from either side you have no distinction between the sides, thus leaving no advantage. To be exact, you get left with 52% who find you and your opponent interchangeable…not to mention a lot of work to do. The fact that, while others sat idle, his leadership has yielded a plan bold and realistic enough to supply the contrast needed to do this work is the first piece of evidence to support my claim that Paul Ryan sits atop the Republican mountain.

The work of moving polls like the one above will be focused on one, or I should say 33, targets. As shown by the current debate on this year’s spending, without a majority in the Senate a long term debt solution simply cannot be had. While you surely need the White House, holding the pen at the very end of the process does you no good. Make no mistake, the rubber meets the road for this entire clash in 33 Senate seat elections, and who will vicariously play a role in all? You guessed it… here is how.

It is not a reach to declare that the issue dwarfing all others in these 33 races will be spending and the deficit, nor is it so to assume that all Republicans Senatorial candidates will be running either directly on the Ryan budget plan, or on one closely derived from it. This means that on what will be the central issue of the election cycle, Paul Ryan has single-handedly created the agenda that Republicans nationwide will take to the voters. If the dynamics of this sound familiar it is because in many ways Ryan and his “The Plan for Prosperity” mirror Newt Gingrich and “The Contract with America”. In both cases one person, and more accurately, one document will be the unified cause of the Party. As this scenario unfolds Ryan will be this cause’s primary spokesman, and his performance in articulating and selling the plan will have a gigantic impact on all 33 Senate races. This task could not be in better hands. His unique ability as a spokesman leads to the final and least obvious point in proving that Paul Ryan’s star has fully risen.

You need not follow his career long to see that he is a different animal than most on the Hill. His grasp of fiscal issues and their individual numbers is stunning, and comes from an unusual childhood that saw him reading budgets in his early teens. Watching him in an interview setting leave talking points and party line generalizations behind in favor of using specific numbers to make his points is beyond both impressive and refreshing. The combination of this ability, his youth, and his willingness to apply his knowledge to doggedly pursue solutions in a world where most politicians settle for far less, could influence the next breed of leaders. If you think this is a stretch you must have forgotten how Bill Gates once made, of all things, it suddenly cool to be a “computer geek”. If this unlikelihood is possible it’s hard to argue that the same thing being done for “policy wonk” is outside the realm.

When considering all the evidence, the limb that one stands on in making the proclamation that he is the most significant Republican in the Country starts looking more like a sturdy branch. He is the creator of, the point man on, and the Party’s best spokesman for, the agenda of the central issue in the upcoming election cycle. While floundering for the previous two years Republicans succeeded only in proving that defending a philosophy is no substitute for fighting for a plan. His “Path to Prosperity” has armed the Republican Party with the ability to contrast themselves from their opponent. In fact, as it has played out, ultimate victory on this issue for Conservatives is defined by a President signing into law a form of the Ryan plan, case closed.

The next move now belongs to the Democrats, whose offering of a counter proposal later this week will be the inevitable showdowns final precursor. The coming weeks will be fascinating as the release of their plan will finally leave us with both combatants fully armored, with the walls sliding closed behind them, and each in plain view of the other. At long last both political parties will have their gladiators inside the coliseum…may the best idea win.

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