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But Enough About Cairo . . .

Washington Times: "Although Mr. Obama said the U.S. bond with Israel is 'unbreakable,' analysts pointed to subtle but significant shifts in language that indicated that Mr. Obama was not in lock step with the Israeli government on issues including Iran and Palestinian grievances . . .

"He also worried some Israel supporters by seeming to equate the Palestinian narrative of suffering after the founding of Israel in 1948 with the Jewish narrative of centuries of persecution that culminated in the Nazi massacre of 6 million Jews."

Boosting Newt and Rush

I was surprised to see the usually astute E.J. Dionne make this argument:

"A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

"Yes, you read that correctly: If you doubt that there is a conservative inclination in the media, consider which arguments you hear regularly and which you don't. When Rush Limbaugh sneezes or Newt Gingrich tweets, their views ricochet from the Internet to cable television and into the traditional media. It is remarkable how successful they are in setting what passes for the news agenda.

"The power of the Limbaugh-Gingrich axis means that Obama is regularly cast as somewhere on the far left end of a truncated political spectrum. He's the guy who nominates a 'racist' to the Supreme Court (though Gingrich retreated from the word), wants to weaken America's defenses against terrorism and is proposing a massive government takeover of the private economy."

In my view, the reason the media trumpet what Newt and Rush say is that they're colorful characters who provide endless fodder for cable debates. It's true that this has a distorting effect, especially in minimizing what cautious Republican lawmakers say, as has been clear in the Sotomayor saga. But it's liberal pundits who love playing up the latest Gingrich or Limbaugh zinger as a way of demonizing them and, by extension, the GOP -- the same reason why they jump on every broadside from Dick Cheney.

Washington Monthly's Steve Benen sides with E.J. on the Newt/Rush impact:

"Single-payer healthcare is considered beyond the realm of reasonable discourse. So is the notion of reducing military spending. The idea of raising taxes to improve the budget outlook is characterized as ridiculous.

"At the same time, there is ample media discussion over whether the administration's fairly centrist economic policies and the president's moderate instincts can reasonably be described as 'socialism.' "

Meanwhile, reporters pounce on her Senate questionnaire. As soon as David Souter announced his retirement, the NYT reports, "Judge Sotomayor wrote that she had 'near daily phone calls' with White House officials and was interviewed twice before being invited to the White House on May 21, when she met with Mr. Craig, the White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and other aides. Then she met with Mr. Obama. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. interviewed her three days later by telephone.

"The judge's answers to the committee's questionnaire fills 172 pages, not counting copies of speeches, rulings and other supplementary material sent. Among other things, she disclosed few assets other than her home in New York. After 17 years on the federal bench, Judge Sotomayor reported having just $31,985 in cash and no stocks, bonds or securities. She has a $381,775 mortgage on her home, valued at $1 million, and owes $15,000 in dentist bills and another $15,000 in credit card bills."


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