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Gallup: Obama, Clinton Tied Nationally
The latest Gallup tracking poll shows Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton in a statistical tie, 45% to 44%. In the GOP race, Sen. John McCain leads Mike Huckabee, 51% to 29%.

NAACP blasts bogus pro-Obama email (Hot on the Trail, McClatchy Washington Bureau)
Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP’s national board of directors, denounced a bogus email that was sent under his name that listed 10 reasons why people should vote for Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. The email, titled “Your 10 Reasons to Choose Barack Obama Over Hillary Clinton,” began showing up in the emails of journalists and other people last week. The email cities Obama’s electability, message of change and Clinton’s vote to authorize the war in Iraq as some of the reasons to vote for Obama.

MSNBC Spokesperson: Shuster Will Not Be Fired And Will Return To Network (by Greg Sargent at TPM Horse’s Mouth)
Hillary [has] agreed to a Feb. 26th debate on NBC after threatening to boycott the network’s debates in the wake of MSNBC reporter David Shuster’s “pimp” remark about Chelsea… [H]owever crude and dumb Shuster’s remark was, this was never primarily about him. It was about Chris Matthews… But the Hillary camp just wasn’t going to take on Matthews publicly. Shuster was an easier target. So it was Shuster’s remark that gave the Hillary camp the opening they need to finally pull the trigger and go after the network in hopes that Camp Hillary’s high-profile criticism — and the attendant media attention — would send a message to MSNBC that it was time for Matthews to cool it with the anti-Hillary broadsides.
So what will Matthews do, instead, to discredit Clinton?  See below.

MSNBC’s Primary Coverage… (by Nicole Belle at Crooks and Liars)
Chris Matthews takes the award for the strangest/creepiest addition to his man-crush gushes: “…MATTHEWS:  I have to tell you, you know, it’s part of reporting this case of this election, the feeling most people get when they hear Barack Obama speech…my…I felt this furrowing up my leg. And I don’t have that too often.

David Shuster, scapegoat? (by Joan Walsh, Salon)
I hope others, men and women, continue to speak out about the frat-house atmosphere that’s taken over MSNBC of late. I’d love to see Barack Obama weigh in on the “pimped out” comment, too; many people have noted correctly that Shuster might never work in television again had he used “pimped out” to refer to Michelle Obama or the couple’s cherished daughters. It would be nice if folks on both sides of this thrilling Democratic primary found a way to ask MSNBC to change the tone.

Unhinged: Six Of Last Seven Columns By Maureen Dowd And Frank Rich Bashed Hillary (by Greg Sargent at TPM Horse’s Mouth)
It’s kind of striking that Maureen Dowd’s last four columns in a row, and two of Frank Rich’s last three, all bashed Hillary. I mean, the duo has gotten so utterly predictable that even The Times’s editors must be dimly aware of it… Given the astronomical salary the paper’s two marquis political columnists must be pulling down, you’d think that they would feel a bit of an obligation to offer something a tad more original than the same old obsessive and borderline unhinged Clinton bashing week in and week out.

Patriarchy:1000, Hillary:0 (by Erica Jong, writing at The Huffington Post)
Ok folks, stick your heads in the sand like Maureen Dowd who thinks we’re not against women but just against Clinton “baggage.” Or Barbara Walters who seems to have forgotten how viciously she was attacked when she got her first million dollar contract — worth only half a million in Euros today. Or Oprah who forgets she wasn’t always Oprah — I knew her when she had two names. She was always really smart, but she used to identify with women. And now she’s joined the Obamarama. I get it. I understand. People want their own color in the White House (pun intended). And nobody said Barack wasn’t brilliant.  But the truth is, we have no idea what he stands for. At least I don’t. All we have are soundbites and attacks on “the” Clintons. But I guess the great American Amnesiate prefers it that way. And they always get what they deserve in the White House.

QUESTIONS RE KRUGMAN: (by Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler)
Like [Paul] Krugman, we’ve been stunned and saddened at the Dem-on-Dem hatred displayed in comments around the web… [L]ike Krugman, it’s our impression that more of this comes from Obama supporters. We can think of an obvious reason for that: There’s a sixteen-year catalogue of demonology to access about Candidate Clinton. For our money, it’s sad to see how many Democrats have purchased this RNC-inspired, MSM-driven package.

Obama’s Unhinged Fans Reveal a Dangerous Zealotry (Taylor Marsh)
[T]he real problem is that with all of Barack Obama’s hope propaganda, the preaching and the “yes we can” mania, what many of us on the other side have had to fight off is invective so vile it requires obscenity disclaimers to share. The more involved you are the more intense the hatred on all levels. May the gods protect you if you’re a woman. Nothing can if you’re also someone who supports Hillary Clinton. Dare you dissect Obama’s lack of policy specifics, or catch people in the act of lying or in the act of projecting Clinton unfairly and negatively, because then you’re credibility is questioned, or you are called a “liar,” “a witch,” a “racist”.

Obama basic training (Sacramento Bee, thanks to No Quarter)
[O]n March 17, [Kim Mack] met [Barack Obama] face to face. She describes how he lit up the room with his wide smile, shook her hand and thanked her for volunteering. “He looked at me, and the look in his eyes was worth 1,000 words,” said Mack, now a regional field organizer. Obama hugged her and whispered something in her ear – she was so thrilled she doesn’t remember what it was. Then Mack brought home the point of her story for the crowd of 100 or so eager volunteers, sipping coffee and watching a PowerPoint presentation in the Obama campaign office on a recent Saturday. “Did that make more impact on you than if I had talked about his health care plan or his stance on the environment?” she asked.

Holding Barack Obama Accountable (by Bruce Dixon, the Black Agenda Report)
The 2008 Obama presidential run may be the most slickly orchestrated marketing machine in memory. That’s not a good thing. Marketing is not even distantly related to democracy or civic empowerment. Marketing is about creating emotional, even irrational bonds between your product and your target audience… [C]orporate media have made him a rock star, Joshua, a prince on his way to a coronation. Those who raise questions about Obama’s commitment to a progressive agenda will have to struggle to be heard. That’s just the way it is… Rock stars, royalty and the uncritical adulation they require make little room for polite criticism or democratic discussion. 

IMAGINE. (by Ezra Klein, The American Prospect)
I think Matt is right to say that Obama’s great advantage is that “he’s the kind of person whose support for an idea makes the idea seem more compelling than it otherwise would have… But this is what’s been so disappointing about the Obama campaign: It has refused to press that advantage.  I can imagine him doing those things, but, as of now, I literally have to imagine it. He hasn’t done any of them. Whatever your opinion on mandates, Obama went in a timid direction on health care, avoiding mandates, single payer, automatic enrollment, and every other step that could be considered risky. On that issue, he’s ended up using his extraordinary eloquence to defend timidity and caution, not sell hard steps. On other issues, he’s been better, but not by all that much.

Black America’s Real Issue with Barack Obama (by Bruce Dixon, the Black Agenda Report)
[T]here are sane, solid and sensible reasons for black voters to question whether Barack Obama will represent them at all. Many remember that his first act as a US Senator was to refuse to stand with the Congressional Black Caucus and California Senator Barbara Boxer in opposition to Ohio’s nullification of hundreds of thousands of black votes. Obama’s second, third and fourth significant acts were when he declined to ask any difficult, pointed or revealing questions of Condoleezza Rice and two of the president’s disastrous Supreme Court nominees, and he actually voted for two out of three of these. Obama’s sixth and seventh important acts as a senator were to vote for a bill that made it nearly impossible for ordinary people to sue giant corporations who rob, defraud, maim or kill, and another vote to renew the hated Patriot Act which he vigorously campaigned against. And though Senator Obama now claims to oppose the war in Iraq, he remains advocate of bombing Iran to start yet another.

And Now, Obama? (by Bill Fletcher, Jr. at the Black Commentator)
On the major issues, there is no significant difference between Obama and Clinton… There has been a tendency, including among some progressives, to attempt to fashion Senator Obama as something other than what he is… Senator Obama is rarely challenged by credible progressives for the weakness of his platform and the lack of depth of his call for “change.” It’s as if we close our eyes, click our heels together, and repeat something to the effect of, the “change” will be progressive…the “change” will be progressive… Senator Obama, if elected President, will be unlikely to reveal himself to have been a closeted progressive. Yet, with pressure from the base, he may be compelled to do some of what is needed, despite himself and despite pressures to the contrary.

Claiming theft (Politico, thanks to No Quarter)
[T]his quote from Kevin Hassett of AEI — a McCain backer and friend to neither Democrat — to Bloomberg TV is pretty strong: “The fact is that Obama’s plan today [Wednesday] is the most shameless piece of potential plagiarism that I have ever seen. He basically took Clinton’s words and Clinton’s policies and called them his own. If I were a professor I’d give him an F and try to get him kicked out of school for something this terrible…If I were on the Clinton team, I’d be prepping memos.” (Bloomberg sent the quote around; it [aired Wednesday night] on a show called “Money & Politics.”)

Who’s Your Maverick? John McCain Votes In Favor Of Torture (by Logan Murphy at Crooks and Liars)
The Senate voted [Wednesday] to ban the CIA from using torture on suspected terrorists and the most famous POW in the Senate voted against the bill. The Maverick is now most assuredly dead and the betrayal is complete. The blogosphere was all over this issue, and thankfully the measure passed, but for McCain, it was a show of pure cowardice. In other words, the Senator who himself was tortured for years and has previously spoken out against it, voted to allow the use of torture on others to save his political hide and pander to a party base that despises him.

Bush and GOP kill extension of surveillance law (by John Aravosis (DC) at AMERICAblog)
The surveillance law is so important that they’re trying to kill it, in order to prove how important it really is. Now who doesn’t care about catching Osama? Then again, these are the same people who haven’t caught Osama in 7 years, and don’t really seem all that interested in doing so.

David Brooks is Wrong: America Can Afford What Needs to be Done (by Robert Reich, thanks to Economist’s View)
The rightward New York Times columnist David Brooks warned in his column [Tuesday] that a new Democratic president would be engulfed in the same “Reich versus Rubin” choice that faced Bill Clinton in 1993 — either fulfill your campaign promises and add to the federal budget deficit or forget your promises and satisfy Wall Street…  What Brooks neglects to mention is that the REASON a new Democratic president might face such a choice is that he or she will be burdened by much the same spend-thrift legacy that Bill Clinton discovered when he arrived in the Oval Office in 1993… This doesn’t mean that a new Democratic president would have to break the bank, however. Where to get the additional money needed for universal health care, better schools, and crumbling infrastructure? Three sources: (1) The peace dividend from ending the Iraq War, (2) a more progressive tax, and (3) modest deficit spending to cover public investments that generate economic growth.

Could the Wall Street Journal Find Anyone Opposed to Giving Welfare to the Richest People in the World? (by Dean Baker)
Apparently not. In an article discussing a proposal to have the Federal Housing Authority buy up tens of billions of dollars worth of bad subprime loans, the WSJ did not include the views of a single person who thought this was a bad idea. Isn’t there anyone in the WSJ’s Rolodex who thinks that raising taxes on nurses and firefighters to give money to millionaire and billionaire bankers is not a good idea?

Stagnating Sales Make the Media and Markets Happy (by Dean Baker)
The Wall Street Journal reported that “a comforting reading on consumer spending eased some worry about the possibility of a recession and inspired a shopping spree in tech shares.” USA Today’s headline told readers that “surprise gain in retail sales drives stocks higher.” What was the good news that sent the markets soaring? The Commerce Department reported that retail sales rose by 0.3 percent from December to January… [But over] the last two months, retail sales, excluding food and beverages and gasoline, are down by 0.6 percent. This is a 3.6 percent annual rate of decline. (Of course this is in nominal dollars, these numbers are not adjusted for inflation.) I wonder what is seen as bad news on Wall Street.

Media Matters for America headlines

Fox News Radio’s Tom Sullivan aired “side-by-side comparison” of speeches by Hitler and Obama

Fox allowed Ralph Reed to repeat Bush’s false claim that “Obama has said that he will embrace Ahmadinejad”

Fox News host Banderas called Obama a “Halfrican”

Laura Ingraham on Al Sharpton’s visit to the White House: “I hope they nailed down all the valuables”

Ignoring pattern of politically expedient reversals, NBC’s Gregory claimed McCain “is not going to pander to the right”

USA Today ignores inconsistency in McCain immigration positions

According to Fox News’ Cameron, the Senate “tweaked” FISA “a little bit”

Kudlow cited WSJ editorial board member to claim “McCain is no flip-flopper,” but WSJ already noted “McCain’s Tax Reversal”

Fox’s Kelly falsely asserted that bill “allow[ing] the president to … surveil” will expire on Feb. 15

IBD editorial falsely claimed Obama “permitted” Cuban flag in volunteer office, called Senate colleagues “hypocrites”

NY Times falsely reported McCain “began tapping into” Bush donor base on February 12

Echoing GOP talking points, CNN’s King falsely suggested Obama would “leave” Afghanistan “now”

Schlussel displayed candy hearts on her website for Obama and Clinton, including “obama & islam forever!” and “Pimp My Chelsea”

Journalist abducted on Sunday found dead
The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the murder of an Iraqi reporter whose body was discovered today in Baghdad after he disappeared on Sunday… Haidar Hasoun, founder and head of the [Young Journalists Association], told CPJ … that the journalist, who exhibited signs of torture, was shot in the head and chest.

Arab TV Broadcasters Face Curbs
Arab countries have agreed to allow punishment of satellite channels deemed to have offended Arab leaders, or national or religious symbols.

New business models for news (by Jeff Jarvis)
No doubt to the frustration of my fellow organizers, I’m still thinking through the format and agenda for the New Business Models for News conference we’re holding at CUNY in May and want your advice.

New ‘E&P’ Podcast: Why Smaller Newspapers Are Doing OK
NEW YORK At E&P, and at many other media outlets, we have often moaned about the state of the newspaper industry and issued dire warnings about the financial future. But an awful lot of mid-sized and smaller daily newspapers are not only surviving but thriving.

Los Angeles Times Launches Free Weekly
Metromix Los Angeles Born Out of Website

Chicago, Baltimore, and Hartford Papers Detail Cuts to Local Staffers
Soon after Tribune Company’s announcement today that it would slash up to 500 jobs companywide, employees at several of the chain’s newspapers received details of job-cutting plans through a series of memos detailing the bad news.

“We’ve Slightly Revised…” ( by Peter M. Zollman at Poynter Online)
Here’s a new one to me. NYTimes.com, in its Dealbook blog, includes the following: “Update: Thanks to suggestions from several insightful readers, we’ve slightly revised the language of this item.” Okay — that probably means political correctness run amok, since it’s an item about Goldman Sachs choosing to include free sex-change operations in its medical coverage. Or maybe it means the item was truly written with some insensitive wording, and was fixed. Either way, it’s fair by me. When corrections are made to an article they should be enumerated. (“An earlier version of this item incorrectly spelled the name of Mr. Smythe.”) But if you’re going to “revise the language” due to “suggestions from insightful readers,” you also ought to tell us what you said that was — shall we say? — less artfully phrased.

Magazine for the super-rich doesn’t have an ad-editorial wall
“The term ‘journalistic integrity’ floats around a lot of local magazines, like, ‘We won’t write about you just because you advertise with us,’ ” says Sacramento LuxLife magazine founder Anthony Glover. “But we see our advertisers as partners. If we’re planning to do an auto feature on Mercedes, then we’re going to call El Dorado Hills Mercedes to [publicize] it.”

DOJ Approves Clear Channel Sale If Station Divestitures Are Made; Still Waiting On Financing (Paid Content)
Another hurdle cleared, but not the big one: The DOJ announced today that it would approve Clear Channel’s sale to two private equity companies – provided the company divest of radio stations in four markets.

Yahoo Explores Alliance With News Corp.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Yahoo Inc. hopes media conglomerate News Corp. can rescue it from a Microsoft Corp. takeover – or at least prove the slumping Internet pioneer is worth more money than its unsolicited suitor wants to pay.

Three Reasons to Hate Facebook (by Annalee Newitz, AlterNet)
know it’s uncharitable of me to say I hate Facebook.com, because, after all, I have a Facebook profile and I log in to the infernal site several times a week. But I do hate it, and I’m not afraid to say why. 1. I don’t want you to know who my friends are… 2. Too many annoying, inexplicable, and useless software applications are circulating on Facebook… 3. Facebook enforces social conformity.

Oscar Night Starting to Seem Like Another Super Bowl
Marketers will spend an estimated $1.6 million for a 30-second spot during the program, and many are planning to run ads previously unseen by consumers.

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