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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 03/ 9/2011

Morning Bits

By Jennifer Rubin

He couldn't depart fast enough. "Departing NPR Exec Laments Jewish Control of Newspapers."

We can't defund fast enough. "An admission by a top executive at National Public Radio that the organization would be 'better off in the long-run' without federal funding may bolster ongoing efforts to rescind that funding. . . .The video showed [Ron] Schiller telling two men posing [as] members of an Islamic advocacy group that Tea Party activists are 'racist' and 'xenophobic.' Schiller also claimed that NPR 'would be better off in the long run without federal funding.'" And the taxpayers would be better off immediately.

The White House can't change the topic fast enough. "House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he has told the White House to put forward a plan to cut spending for the remainder of 2011, as the House and Senate attempt to avert a government shutdown. Cantor said he told White House Chief of Staff William Daley as much in a telephone call on Monday."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) couldn't rip the Obama Middle East policy fast enough -- or more effectively. "'Our intelligence, and I see it all, is way behind the times. It is inadequate. And this is a very serious problem,' Senate Intelligence Committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) told The Cable in an interview on Tuesday. Feinstein criticized the U.S. government's intelligence products in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, and Libya, saying that the intelligence community has given her 'nothing that we didn't read in the newspapers' since January."

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) can't distance himself from President Obama fast enough. "'Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations -- our president -- has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?' The full-throated rejection of the president's spending proposals by a politically vulnerable Democrat is just the latest worrisome sign for Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who have yet to rally their party around a unified spending plan."

Newt Gingrich couldn't have revealed his biggest liability fast enough: He's kind of flaky. "Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged in a Des Moines Register interview Monday that his team bobbled the news last week before the announcement Thursday that he planned to begin raising money to explore seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nod."

The Republicans can't find a primary opponent fast enough. "Lugar Says U.S. Cannot Afford a War in Libya." Maybe he's running for Obama's secretary of defense instead.

By Jennifer Rubin  | March 9, 2011; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Morning Bits  
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How is it that we can afford a third war? We're borrowing 40% of the cost of the first two. Whether or not Lugar impresses more conservative types, it would seem that, like everything else we're asking the Chinese to finance, the issue here is arithmetic, not politics.

There are a lot of things we can't afford (50,000 troops in Japan, 30,000 in Korea, four brigades in Germany, Vivian Schiller's sinecure (whoops, she just resigned 10 minutes ago).

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | March 9, 2011 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I watched this NPR hidden camera video. I didn't really understand what all the noise was about, although I am more careful with my words than anyone I see on these kinds of videos.

What surprises me is that any person in any position of responsibility - especially ones known to be targets of the right - would ever meet with anyone in a public place, or with anyone in private who had not first been frisked and searched and had any electronic devices, bags, or anything he was carrying removed first. Anyone who would object to these basic security precautions has something to hide.

With so many hoaxes and pranks and stings, its kind of a post-9/11 world where everything has changed.

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Departing NPR Exec Laments Jewish Control of Newspapers." (linked by JR)

No, he nodded and agreed about there being Zionist influence in some newspapers. He did not 'lament' it. There are Zionists and there are Zionist influences in newspapers obviously. Why is that at all controversial?

This smacks a little bit of Ayatollah Khomeni saying 'this is God's government and to challenge this government is to challenge God'. Sorry, nobody gets to do that.

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I certainly didn't find it odd or exceptional, either, that Ron Schiller would freely depose himself with total strangers, whom he didn't even bother to Google first. What's odd about a taxpayer-funded institution calling a majority of the country racist, bigoted, ignorant, uneducated? Or that American civil rights initiatives (and personal privacy concerns) would benefit from the introduction of Sharia law? Or that there was a de facto Zionist conspiracy controlling news gathering at the country's leading newspapers? Or that an organization, whose president uses taxpayer money to lobby for taxpayer money as a matter of "survival", would actually believe that it would be better off with no federal funding? Or that a confirmed liberal like Juan Williams compromised himself by relating a personal anecdote, publicly, and proved himself unprofessional in so doing (whereas sitting next to him, expressing personal opinions, remains Mara Liason)? No, I didn't find any of that discussion (with phony investors hoping to succeed in steering taxpayer-funded news to better reflect the objectives of the Muslim Brotherhood) odd. Not in the slightest. The actions this morning of the NPR board mystify me.

Posted by: IowaHawkeye | March 9, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

If NPR goes private, they can stop being balanced and become a straight left organ. They will not even realize that by doing so with the existing staff, they will demonstrate that they have been left all along.

Posted by: IsraelP | March 9, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

IowaHawkeye, are you taking any prescription medication?

"Or that there was a de facto Zionist conspiracy controlling news gathering at the country's leading newspapers?"

He said nothing of the kind. He agreed there was Zionist influence in some newspapers. Is that not a fact?

There's all kinds of influence in all kinds of newspapers, and there's nothing wrong with that. In America, you have the right to have whatever influence you want in your newspaper and everyone is fine with that. By far the most powerful influence is corporate, and the worship of anyone with power generally.

If this isn't some sort of cheap slander or false accusation of racism (which conservatives professed to be against until 20 minutes ago), why is this a matter of controversy?

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

member8 has no problem with what Schiller said on the video sting because he/she agrees with his views. Apparently, the only objection is with the exposure itself.

His/her plan would be: Make sure you don't blurt out your true beliefs where someone can record them. You then risk having the general public actually know what you think and how you act around like-minded people.

I wonder why we don't see a bunch of progressive instigated youtube stings trying to get tea party people to say racist stuff? I'm sure they're trying. Could it be that they really aren't racists?

Posted by: dano7 | March 9, 2011 10:43 AM | Report abuse

dano7, let me see if I can be more clear.

These higher-ups at NPR agreed to have lunch with people they did not know in a public place. Red flag number 1. Doesn't matter who they might be or what they might say, any person in a position of responsibility needs to act as if he is on camera at all times. I've seen important people evacuate a building just because people he didn't know walked through the door. Even being in the same room with the wrong people can look bad, and bring disrepute on any organization.

By appearing in a 'sting' video, they give ammunition to the organizations enemies. They should have known better. It doesn't matter what they said, appearing in a black and white video with time codes scrolling on the screen makes one look guilty, whether you've done anything or not.

About the Zionist thing, I suggest you Google that word and then look up the word 'influences' in your dictionary, and then employ some critical thinking if you are able.

About the other things said, tea partiers are well meaning simpletons who have been hoodwinked by Dick Armey and his financial patrons. And yes, many Americans are the stupidest people on the face of the earth. I've traveled, I know.

All that said, I don't think America has the maturity to run public radio and television. BBC programming is not just a national treasure but a world treasure, and I think perhaps we ought to throw in the towel here, and just make sure we can get a lot more BBC here.

It's really good for people to watch, especially, the HD nature shows with David Attenborough. It's vastly better than anything ever done by PBS. Their news is a lot better.

I've been emailing my representatives for years asking them to cut funding to NPR, every time I saw Juan Williams or Nina Totenburg on Fox saying something idiotic.

America is not competent to do public broadcasting. Our political system is too disfunctional. Lets leave it to those who are competent.

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, I didn't mean Nina Totenburgh who is fine, but Mara Liasson, who brings disrepute on NPR by associating with those neanderthals at Fox.

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

member8- "It doesn't matter what they said, appearing in a black and white video with time codes scrolling on the screen makes one look guilty, whether you've done anything or not."

You may want to apply some critical thinking to that statement, if you are able. Unlike Marion Berry in his black and white sting video, Schiller didn't commit any crime. He just gave his honest opinions about stuff. The video allowed people to see what he thinks and feels strongly about. You agree with him, a lot of people don't.

"And yes, many Americans are the stupidest people on the face of the earth. I've traveled, I know."

Your response calls Americans stupid, idiotic and immature. Don't sugar coat it, tell us how you really feel.

Posted by: dano7 | March 9, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

dana7, the human brain has not - because it has not had the necessity for most of history - evolved much of a capacity to differentiate between a thing and a representation of a thing, between a symbol and the thing the symbol represents.

Why don't they bring criminal defendants before juries wearing prison issued jumpsuits? Why do they allow the defendant to dress in civilian clothes when being tried? Because the visual image of a person in a prison jumpsuit would prejudice the jury, who even though they might be instructed to ignore it, would not be capable of doing so.

If someone were to hide a camera in a room and have you come in to the room, oblivious, and sit in a chair and have a discussion, in black and white while time codes scrolled beneath you, the average person would assume you were guilty of something serious.

On the other question,
That there are 'influences' in every newspaper of virtually every variety is a fact, not a matter of opinion.

Every third blog post Jennifer Rubin posts here is (what she believes to be) strongly supportive of Israel. Being strongly supportive of Israel is the definition of Zionism.

Posted by: member8 | March 9, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, I certainly can't play Euler to member8's Diderot at the next Halloween costume party, but I can probably still derive the quadratic formula by completing the square. Does that count?

Posted by: aardunza | March 9, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

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