Sunday, October 02, 2005

Media people receive daily 'conference calls, talking points from the GOP and White House

Liberal media, indeed! I don't see anyone accepting a call from the DNC every morning before they decide what to say during their news shows, press conferences, etc.

From: Washington Whispers September 26, 2005

BTW, Note what types the article says is being hand fed political "inside information" by the White House and GOP (from portions in red):

When John G. Roberts is approved as chief justice of the United States, as expected, he can thank President Bush 's "Friends & Allies" program, which went to work on him immediately after he was nominated. The project, started by the Republican National Committee in the 2004 re-election campaign, is simple and effective: Give opinion makers, media friends, and even cocktail party hosts insider info on the topic of the day. How? Through E-mailed talking points, called D.C. Talkers, and conference calls. For Roberts, it worked this way:

A daily conference call to about 80 pundits, GOP-leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers was made around 9 a.m. On the other end were the main Roberts gunslingers like Steve Schmidt at the White House and Ken Mehlman and Brian Jones at the RNC. D.C. Talkers would then be distributed to an even larger list filled with positive info about Roberts and lines of attack on his critics.

"The idea," said one of those involved, "is to feed them information and have them invested in us." It has even created addicts, he added. "Now they come to us before going on TV."


Yes, your local right wing radio or TV person is not making his or her own opinions on the White House, he or she's getting it piped into the mainline by the GOP and White House.

Note, that the list also includes "newsmakers" --say like John McCain. You know how many times he sounds like a clone of Bush these days. Now we know why--that daily Conference Call.

Also note who else is included. "Pundits" is separate from "GOP leaning radio and TV hosts" meaning that people in the news media who maintain that they are not biased are receiving conference calls every morning from the GOP or White House political arm, some not able to make it through their spiel without receiving it.

I would venture to say though that Newsweek's Michael Ishikoff and Mark Hosenball do not partake in the phone call koolaid.

And what's this about cocktail party hosts? Do they mean if you schedule a party at your place you get a call from from Schimidt, Mehlman, or Jones? Or if you aren't elite enough, maybe you only get one of the hangers-on trying to make their name in right wing politics by obnoxiously pushing the party line.

The rest of the article indicates that such a concentrated working with media only started with the nomination by the president of John Roberts, but then they say that it was started during the 2004 election. The Bush administration people apparently tell too many lies to keep them straight anymore.

Karl Rove knows you can dump even slightly damaging insider information to media sources as long as you have control over the tone a pundit takes. With a daily conference call you certainly have a lot of control as you jerk the pundit's chain if he or she said something you didn't like the day before.

And the pundit is addicted, needing that "approved" insider information.

Interestingly, though when one of their insiders gives information outside of this channel and it blows up in the White House's face, the GOP political people and their addicted pundits etc. make the insider recant, and then humiliates the media personnel who got bogus information from someone in the White House itself.

Maybe the next week that once bold journalist will be taking that call every morning.

But we do know that 80 pundits, GOP leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers are taking conference calls from the White House and the RNC every morning.

This is not going to end with the nomination of Roberts. There is plenty of taxpayer and GOP money to spend on this program, and it is apparently too effective to curtail it now. (And who knows if, indeed, the 2004 election saw the start of the program.)

BTW, since coordination with a political party, or with the White House on political issues makes one vulnerable to FEC control, the question is why aren't the companies paying pundits, GOP leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers getting conference calls every morning from the White House and GOP being regulated for like-kind contributions to the Republican party?

Now for Rush Limbaugh that like-kind contribution that could be spread among his various sponsors would be the tens of millions of dollars he is paid each year minus the absolutely discernable extra amount of goods or services the advertising on his show actually actually helps them sell. Still that should be a considerable amount of donation to the GOP cause. I doubt that Geiko gets millions in new accounts by advertising during Limbaugh's spiel each day. There are some people who feel, advertising is a recognized way to contribute to the GOP without regulation, a while being noticed, by those in the White House and GOP leadership, who can do good things for you in return.

Talking points email receivers, if they haven't signed up to request the documents, might scrape by claiming they didn't want the emails, but you have to accept a phone call. The phone doesn't make it's way to your ear by itself.

But now we know how they control the news in a new way. Funny, but one form of Bush administration control of the news has just been found to be illegal. Will this other form even be noticed widely? Or are too many of the powerful news media people in on the deal?

Another aspect to consider. The conference calls also give out insider information. The are sources, which get a lot of insider information which, while maintaining moderation, often slide into right wing propaganda, as if they had channeled it from somewhere. Now when you run across such a pundit on TV, or radio or in print, you will know where it came from.

"Sir, it's Ken Mehlman on the line."

"I'll take it in my office. Bring me my syringe and rubber hose."

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