Category Archives: 60 Minutes

>All hail Christie: Governor’s bigger-than-life persona has national media starry-eyed — and missing some facts

>It seems that the tarnish is finally starting to show on Chris Christie’s armour. As the national news media is swooning over Christie and very often refuse to fact check much of which he says, others are beginning to wake up and look at the facts as they are. Often times the facts tell a far different story than the one being told by Christie and his cronies.

This third editorial written by the Star-Ledger’s Kevin Manahan, talks about this very subject and alls out 60 Minutes, Face The Nation, MSNBC “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough and others for asking softball questions without tough follow-up question of the Governor and falling for his tough guy, honest answer, Youtube persona. Which many New Jerseyians know is an act that is wearing thin based on polling numbers that have him less popular at home than he is away from it:

As the segment on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” opens, co-host Joe Scarborough applauds his in-studio guest, Gov. Chris Christie, while stumbling over the words of a song playing in the background — “My Hero” by Foo Fighters:

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero …

A day after introducing his $29.4 billion budget, Christie is performing on the Cheerios circuit, and it’s clear from the start this is going to be another 10-minute neck rub for the Republican superstar who, Scarborough believes, is carrying the weight of national reform on his broad (but reportedly slimming), blue-suited shoulders.

For more than a year, most of the national media have tripped over themselves to tell the governor how great he is, or have allowed him to tell the nation himself. It’s fitting that radio and TV host Glenn Beck lovingly calls Christie “the conservative porn star,” because dozens of media outlets — magazines (national and niche), newspapers (New Jersey and beyond), radio (AM and FM), TV (network and cable) — want to climb into bed with Christie and kiss him all over.

In addition, interviewers often don’t have a good grip on what’s happening in New Jersey, outside of what they see in YouTube clips posted by the Christie P.R. machine. Many simply don’t do their homework (“What’s the tool kit?” Scarborough once asked a Star-Ledger reporter). They rarely have a challenging follow-up question and they leave fact-checking to someone else (one inflated Christie’s approval rating to 70 percent). Their shallow questions are tailor-made for Christie riffs on what a great job he’s doing.

You’d expect the batted eyelashes and cuddling from conservative personalities like Neil Cavuto (Christie’s Mendham neighbor) or Imus or Rush Limbaugh, and from conservative talking head Ann Coulter, who refuses to take Christie’s presidential “no” for an answer. But even the usually even-handed “60 Minutes” let Christie go unchallenged in an interview about state finances, and some faithful readers (and online commenters) believe the New York Times — staunch defender of liberalism — has inched perilously close to the Christie hero-worship line, too.

A headline on a Washington Post blog asked, “What is it about Chris Christie?”

The blog lauded Christie for making “even the toughest position sound like nothing more than common sense” — even though the toughest” positions enumerated were typical Republican stances.

Why do the media love him? Because Christie is a novelty — engaging and entertaining — a plain-tawkin’ slugger at a time when the Republican bench is weak. He is seen as Everyman: a guy who has a problem with his weight and his “L’s,” but he is also a savvy politician who, while protecting the tax returns of the rich, can make some middle-class taxpayers believe he is fighting for them.

A large part of Christie’s allure to the media is that he might be president or vice president someday soon.

Why does Christie love them? Well, because he has carefully chosen the interviewers — part of a media strategy to build a national profile. And they don’t ask tough questions.

“Christie understands that he can get a bounce in New Jersey from a gushing national media,” Rutgers political science professor Ross Baker says. “Voters figure if they’re making a fuss about him, he must be all right.”

Is it working? Yes, outside New Jersey, anyway. Recent polls show the governor is more popular outside the Garden State than in it.

And, of course, here, within the borders, the questions tend to be more challenging.

Before this February morning is done, Ann Curry of “Today” will schmooze over Christie’s weight loss: “You look good,” she says, and she spends more time (five questions and comments) prying into the number of pounds he has lost than finding out about the state’s proposed budget or how Christie feels about the union-busting attempt by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker….

Read More >>> Here

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Chris Christie, Face the Nation, Gov.Scott Walker, Morning Joe, the Star-Ledger, Today Show

>Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

>In a CountyFair blog post on the website MediaMatters.org, blogger Jamison Foser asks a simple question “ Doesn’t Anyone Remember Christine Whitman?

It’s a great read and analogy of what transpired in the early 1990’s when young Republican Governors were swept into office and faced huge budget deficits after Bill Clinton became President and what is happening today.

“A young Democrat is elected President on a theme of hope and change, does some of the things he was elected to do, Republicans howl and win control of Congress in a landslide mid-term election, and the media becomes infatuated with a new crop of Republican governors who are trying to dramatically reconfigure state budgets.

“That’s a reasonable summary of the current state of affairs, but it also describes the first few years of Bill Clinton’s presidency. But it isn’t the similarity that’s striking: After all, there’s a reason the phrase “history has a way of repeating itself” exists. Or, perhaps more appropriately: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” See, what’s really striking about the current situation is how few reporters seem to remember what happened in the 1990s.

Most notably, the past few weeks have seen massive media attention paid to state budget deficits, and attempts by Republican governors like Chris Christie to blame out-of-control pension obligations for those deficits (even as they pursue deficit-increasing tax cuts…”

Foser goes on to talk about how NJ Governor Christie Whitman cut taxes and raided the state pension fund in order to close New Jersey’s budget gap even though many critics warned that the State Pension system would see significant shortfall 15-20 years down the road, which of course is what is happening to be now!

“Whitman was one of those star Republican governors of the early 1990s. Like so many other Republican governors who win media attention for innovative approaches, she made her name through the not-so-innovative strategy of cutting taxes. Since she had to offset those tax cuts in order to balance New Jersey’s budget, she reduced payments into the state’s pension system. And that, as the New York Times noted last August, “contributed to the growth of the unfunded liability” that is now widely blamed for New Jersey’s budget shortfall.”

He went on to state that none of this should have come as a surprise to anyone because “when Whitman was defunding the pension system in order to cut taxes, there were warnings that this is exactly what would happen. Here, for example, is a September 5, 1994 Washington Post article:
“The first thing Christine Todd Whitman did upon taking office as governor of New Jersey in January was to cut the state’s income tax. Then in July, as she signed into law her first state budget, the Republican cut taxes again while simultaneously closing the huge deficit left by her predecessor.

This is what her supporters call the Whitman miracle, the fiscal accomplishment that has sent her stock soaring among New Jersey’s voters and transformed her on the national scene from a political unknown into one of the Republican Party’s newest stars.

But the key to the Whitman miracle lies neither in her political philosophy nor in her spending cuts, but rather in the fine print of her budget. Contained there is a series of arcane fiscal changes that some experts say amount to this: Christine Todd Whitman has balanced New Jersey’s books and paid for her tax cut by quietly diverting more than $1 billion from the state’s pension fund.

Whitman calls what she did a “reform” of the pension system that puts it on a more “sound actuarial footing.” Others are less charitable. The one thing that even the actuarial consultants hired by the Whitman administration agree on, however, is that the chief effect of the changes will be to shift billions of dollars in pension obligations onto New Jersey taxpayers 15 to 20 years from now.”


“At best, this represents a gamble that the state’s economy in the early part of the next century will be stronger than it is today and better able to shoulder pension responsibilities. At worst, according to fiscal experts, Whitman’s move represents politics at its most cynical.

In recent years financially strapped governments around the country — including Washington, D.C., and New York state — have raided their pension funds for cash, gambling that when the bills come due their local economies will be in a better position to pay them.

“The New Jersey pension system was highly rated in terms of its fiscal integrity,” said [Henry] Raimondo of the Eagleton Institute. “Now that’s compromised. She has effectively slowed down” the amount of “money going into the system, and in around 2010 the liability to New Jersey taxpayers is going to grow dramatically.”

Foser concluded his post by adding:
“Let’s review: A Republican governor of New Jersey reduced payments to the state pension system so she could cut taxes. Critics warned doing so would cause significant budget shortfalls in 2010. 2010 rolled around, and — surprise! — so did budget shortfalls. And now those shortfalls are used by New Jersey’s current Republican governor (along with many in the media) to justify cutting pensions (while again cutting taxes.)

Basically, conservatives have staged an end-run around having a public debate over cutting pensions in order to pay for tax cuts. Rather than making the argument that tax cuts are more important than pensions, they just went ahead and cut taxes, raiding the pension system in the process, then waited 15 years for predictable — and predicted — deficits, which they now point to as evidence that the pension system is unsustainably generous. And they’ve done it with the help of countless news organizations that fall for this shell game.”

You really need to read the full post, it’s fascinating how history has once again repeated itself.
You can read it >>> here

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Bill Clinton, Bill O'Reilly, budget deficit, Gov. Christie Whitman, Media Matters, New Jersey, pension deficit, Republican Governors, state pension system, tax cuts

The Obama Lovefest

From last nights 60 Minutes comes these few minutes with Andy Rooney:

F.D.R was one of our country’s greatest presidents and even he was disliked by millions, so what it is about President Obama that has everyone swooning? According to Andy Rooney, maybe it’s because he’s just that good.

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The Obama Lovefest

From last nights 60 Minutes comes these few minutes with Andy Rooney:

F.D.R was one of our country’s greatest presidents and even he was disliked by millions, so what it is about President Obama that has everyone swooning? According to Andy Rooney, maybe it’s because he’s just that good.

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Andy Rooney, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Obama Lovefest, President Obama

CBS: Did Wall Street speculators create oil price bubble?

Raw Story – One of the most inexplicable economic events of the past year involved the doubling of the price of oil last spring and summer from $69 a barrel to nearly $150 — driving gasoline and heating oil costs through the roof — followed by its even more rapid collapse this fall to under $50

60 Minutes looked into various theories of what happened and concluded that “many people believe it was a speculative bubble .. and that it had more to do with traders and speculators on Wall Street than with oil company executives or sheiks in Saudi Arabia.”

Oil is traded on the commodities futures market, whose original purpose was to enable farmers and manufacturers to stabilize their expenses and receipts. But in 2007, those markets began to behave erratically.

Read More about it >>>HERE

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Filed under 60 Minutes, CBS News, commodities, oil companies, Oil Prices, Raw Story, Saudi Arabia, speculators, Wall Street

CBS: Did Wall Street speculators create oil price bubble?

Raw Story – One of the most inexplicable economic events of the past year involved the doubling of the price of oil last spring and summer from $69 a barrel to nearly $150 — driving gasoline and heating oil costs through the roof — followed by its even more rapid collapse this fall to under $50

60 Minutes looked into various theories of what happened and concluded that “many people believe it was a speculative bubble .. and that it had more to do with traders and speculators on Wall Street than with oil company executives or sheiks in Saudi Arabia.”

Oil is traded on the commodities futures market, whose original purpose was to enable farmers and manufacturers to stabilize their expenses and receipts. But in 2007, those markets began to behave erratically.

Read More about it >>>HERE

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Filed under 60 Minutes, CBS News, commodities, oil companies, Oil Prices, Raw Story, Saudi Arabia, speculators, Wall Street

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Borowitz Report – In the first two weeks since the election, President-elect Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the past eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

Millions of Americans who watched Mr. Obama’s appearance on CBS’ “Sixty Minutes” on Sunday witnessed the president-elect’s unorthodox verbal tick, which had Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opened his mouth.

But Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements carries with it certain risks, since after the last eight years many Americans may find his odd speaking style jarring.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, some Americans might find it “alienating” to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon. “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, the public may find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate – we get it, stop showing off.”

The President-elect’s stubborn insistence on using complete sentences has already attracted a rebuke from one of his harshest critics, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska.

“Talking with complete sentences there and also too talking in a way that ordinary Americans like Joe the Plumber and Tito the Builder can’t really do there, I think needing to do that isn’t tapping into what Americans are needing also,” she said.

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Filed under 60 Minutes, Andy Borowitz, Barack Obama, complete sentences, Controversey, Joe "the Plummer", President-Elect, Sarah Palin, The Borowitz Report