Did Zuckerman write one of Obama’s campaign speeches?

posted at 12:15 pm on July 13, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Which Obama speech would Mort Zuckerman have written? Perhaps the one that committed Obama to corn ethanol subsidies? Maybe the one where Obama insisted that his multi-trillion-dollar agenda wouldn’t result in tax increases on the middle class? It’s hard to see why the Editor in Chief of US News & World Report and the owner/publisher of the New York Daily News would want to add this to his resumé, especially given Obama’s declining  polls.  Still, here he is with Neil Cavuto, insisting that he ghost-wrote one of the One’s addresses from Mount Barackopolis (via Ed Driscoll):

This creates a very interesting ethical question about the role of the media in politics.  Should the publisher of a newspaper and the editor of a magazine pinch-hit as speechwriters for political candidates?  If Zuckerman actually did this, did it influence his coverage of the campaign, or at the very least, of the speech?  As David Thompson notes in Ed Driscoll’s comments section, no one would blink if The New Republic’s owner Marty Peretz had done something like this, as TNR is an explicitly pro-liberal magazine with a point of view.  Zuckerman owns and/or runs two publications with more pretense of objectivity, which makes this much more troublesome.

On the other hand, Zuckerman may be, er, exaggerating, if the White House response is to be believed:

Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman” and the two have “been closely involved in every speech the President has given since 2005,” said the official.

Zuckerman has met President Obama a few times and no doubt encountered other Administration officials, and he could well have suggested a theme to the president or another aide. But the question of what he “helped write”  remains a bit of a mystery.

It seems a little fantastic that the mogul of two significant media enterprises transformed himself into an ink-stained wretch on behalf of Barack Obama.  If he did, though, he would occupy first place in the gallery of fools from the captains of industry who bought into Obama’s populism and didn’t realize until now (as Zuckerman argued on Cavuto) that Obama would not be anti-business.  Worse, he’d be one of the worst of the useful idiots who sold it to us, which not only makes his ethics suspect but also his judgment.


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Another frakking idiot who helped push this disaster on us. Bite me Mort.

ginaswo on July 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.

Bishop on July 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

“Why can’t I just eat my waffle?” – MZ

joejm65 on July 13, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Which speech did he praise as the best one ever given by Obama?

Daggett on July 13, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Mort = TOTUS?

cmsinaz on July 13, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Yeah and the WH concluded that they didn’t try to influence Blago on the senate seat either. We all know the WH lies.

milwife88 on July 13, 2010 at 12:20 PM

On the other hand, Zuckerman may be, er, exaggerating, if the White House response is to be believed:

-
And why would one believe the White House?

diogenes on July 13, 2010 at 12:21 PM

If he did just make this up, what could he possibly hope to gain from it now? I see absolutely no benefit for him in fabricating a story about writing a speech for Obama at this point in the game. Something does not pass the smell test here.

Johnnyreb on July 13, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Thufferin’ thuccotash, Mort!

thirteen28 on July 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

So either Zuckerman is lying (Why? Who knows?) or the White House is lying.

If the WH is lying they are making themselves a huge mess by saying that the publisher and editor of a newspaper and magazine is a liar to the public.

Or, if they are not lying;

They make themselves out to be outing a lie by the publisher/editor of a newspaper and magazine, which also makes them a huge mess.

Are they stupid or what?

Wait!

Don’t answer that.

skatz51 on July 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

Who?
Why do we care?

joe_doufu on July 13, 2010 at 12:23 PM

So really, America didn’t put Obama in power in 08. We put the Zuckermans in power.

keep the change on July 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Really, does it matter, if he did then it was wrong, if he didn’t he is lying…either way he is a supporter and defender (until now) of Obama. This is the type of people who surrounds Obama, these are the men that help him make decisions.
Fools or liars…does it really matter?

right2bright on July 13, 2010 at 12:25 PM

skatz51 on July 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

ooops, didn’t read your post, basically the same as mine…

right2bright on July 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM

Was not Mort Zuckerman considering a run for Senate?
Has he not been on the McLaughlin group numerous times?
He is hardly apolitical and I hope the WH picks a fight with him.

mjbrooks3 on July 13, 2010 at 12:26 PM

And the left calls Fox propaganda…

Inanemergencydial on July 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

ANYBODY watching the Dbag in chief in his press conf?

“the previous administration”

“the previous administration”

ass

blatantblue on July 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Look it didn’t sound like this guy was lying by the way he casually says he helped write one of Obamas speeches. I think the lying is coming from the WH.

sandee on July 13, 2010 at 12:28 PM

Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman” and the two have “been closely involved in every speech the President has given since 2005,” said the official.

If you notice, this is one of those non-denial denials. They don’t specifically deny the claim in question. They only describe circumstances that, on face value, would make the claim unlikely. This, of course, is a tactic that people use to deflect from the substance of an allegation.

Whether or not this is currently the case is something yet to be determined.

Dennis_Second_Thots on July 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM

This guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Favreau_(speechwriter)

This guy is gainsaying Zuckerman and we’re supposed to believe it? I’m rolling at his wiki entry, which was written as if he was the second second coming (after Obama, of course).
Wow. He “brought visitors to cancer patients”. Great. He was a candystriper. Congratulations. And he’s a loudmouth punk and that was the best Obama had and now he’s one of his primary speechwriters? No wonder The One sounds so childish and petulant all the time!! Fits him like a glove.

winoceros on July 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

I saw this yesterday on Cavuto. Mort sure acted and sounded like he did indeed write a speech.
L

letget on July 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

By the way if I was one of those two Bozos who claim to have written Obamas speeches since 2005, i wouldn’t be bragging about it.

sandee on July 13, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Oo. And he did such a good job getting John Kerry over the hump that he’s for sure a good choice as speechwriter.

Reporting for duty!!

winoceros on July 13, 2010 at 12:32 PM

Someone should be finding every comment Zuckerman ever made about every one of Obama’s speeches. Depending on how and what he reported and which speech is helped write, this could be a fairly big can of worms.

WashingtonsWake on July 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

With a name like Zuckerman, it has to be good. Oh wait…

KeepOhioRed on July 13, 2010 at 12:33 PM

PRAVDA.

portlandon on July 13, 2010 at 12:34 PM

The White House says no? Oh, well then it’s settled.

Daggett on July 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM

If the WH comes out and says something, you have a 98% chance that they are wrong or lying.

jukin on July 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM

blatantblue on July 13, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I find it easier to watch him when the tv is muted. There really is no need to listen to him speak. He says the same thing over and over. Blame Bush, blame Bush, inherrited problems, blah blah blah. SSDD!

milwife88 on July 13, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Still, here he is with Neil Cavuto, insisting that he ghost-wrote one of the One’s addresses from Mount Barackopolis (via Ed Driscoll):

heh! Mt. Barackopolis—sweet.

ted c on July 13, 2010 at 12:36 PM

There is no reason for Zuckerman to lie about helping a mess of a man, there is every reason for Obama to cling to the erudite label…it’s all he has left. The little lecturer needs more exposure not less.

clnurnberg on July 13, 2010 at 12:37 PM

It’s hard to see why the Editor in Chief of US News & World Report…

Seriously, does anyone still read US News & World Report or Newsweek or Time anymore?

I had a subscription to US News a couple years ago and I canceled it when I realized that something big would happen, I’d read all about it from every possible angle for 4-5 days online and then my issue of US News would arrive and they’d have articles on it that were already outdated by the time it arrived in my mailbox. Who still gets their news and analysis from these sources?

JohnInCA on July 13, 2010 at 12:39 PM

The White House says no? Oh, well then it’s settled.

Daggett on July 13, 2010 at 12:35 PM

Zuckerman, if he has any courage, will compose a list of Obama’s lies. I can help him out, jog his memory, if he hesitates.

“I will not rest until…”

“Our borders are secure…”

“I am working hard to…”

“They might say ‘thank you’…”

…the list is a long one of Obama Lies…

Obama just “says things” that he can perform well with flourish and his attempted grandiosity because he knows that there are enough vulnerable, impressionable people in our midst who will be enraptured by elaborate sounding words performed with grave sincerity, but lacking grave sincerity (the performance is the key).

Lourdes on July 13, 2010 at 12:40 PM

This guy? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Favreau_(speechwriter)

This guy is gainsaying Zuckerman and we’re supposed to believe it? I’m rolling at his wiki entry, which was written as if he was the second second coming (after Obama, of course).
Wow. He “brought visitors to cancer patients”. Great. He was a candystriper. Congratulations. And he’s a loudmouth punk and that was the best Obama had and now he’s one of his primary speechwriters? No wonder The One sounds so childish and petulant all the time!! Fits him like a glove.

winoceros on July 13, 2010 at 12:31 PM

Also from the same wiki entry: On December 5, 2008, a picture of Favreau grabbing the breast of a cardboard cut-out of Hillary Clinton was posted on Facebook.[12] Favreau called Senator Clinton’s staff to offer an apology. They told him to not worry about it, saying, “Senator Clinton is pleased to learn of Jon’s obvious interest in the State Department, and is currently reviewing his application.”

glennbo on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.

Bishop on July 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

At least one of them.

rihar on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM

“Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman” and the two have “been closely involved in every speech the President has given since 2005,” said the official.

And we know this because Favreau and Rhodes have written all the speeches — ALONE — at Starbucks and Zuckerman told us he doesn’t like Starbucks.”

FIFTWH.

Dusty on July 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Still, here he is with Neil Cavuto, insisting that he ghost-wrote one of the One’s addresses from Mount Barackopolis (via Ed Driscoll):
heh! Mt. Barackopolis—sweet.
ted c on July 13, 2010 at 12:36 PM

I prefer:

Obama is the false prophet in the age of the Baracalypse.

Mojave Mark on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM

The guy, Favreau, makes 172k a year for that pack of lies.

clnurnberg on July 13, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Baracalypse.

Mojave Mark on July 13, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I like it!

clnurnberg on July 13, 2010 at 12:46 PM

I fail to see why this should register more than a slightly raised eyebrow on anyone’s part. If there’s anything newsworthy about this story, it’s not that Zuckerman wrote a speech for Obama – it’s the change in his stance from one of support to one of derision, and even that is just more of a curiosity, not a bombshell.

greggriffith on July 13, 2010 at 12:47 PM

No, not a bombshell, just another piece of evidence that the unbiased MSM is more that biased, it’s collaborative

clnurnberg on July 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.

Bishop on July 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

How come Jesus gets industrial disease?

halfastro on July 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

Zuckerman owns and/or runs two publications with more pretense of objectivity

And that’s all it is. PRETENSE. They lost their credibility long ago.

GarandFan on July 13, 2010 at 12:52 PM

The WH is not lying. Sadly, HotAir continues to have reading comprehension problems. The WH never said Zuckerman didn’t write a speech they only said they have “never met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman”. You dont need to meet or speak with someone to write a speech. I doubt someone like Zuckerman is going to work with those 2 yahoos anyway – likely Obama’s inner circle.

faraway on July 13, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Whether or not this is currently the case is something yet to be determined.

Dennis_Second_Thots on July 13, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Yes, I caught that also…they never “met or talked”, which could be construed as personally met and talked.
But could have emailed, could have had someone else interview and ask…a very well crafted response.

right2bright on July 13, 2010 at 12:54 PM

I wonder if Zuckerman helped write Obama’s speech to the AIPAC or his speech in Israel

kevmack on July 13, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Two men say they’re Jesus, one of them must be wrong.

Bishop on July 13, 2010 at 12:18 PM

What if one was Obama…kinda of throws your statement for a loop, which one is the savior?

“Obama is, of course, greater than Jesus.”

“No one saw him coming, and Christians believe God comes at us from strange angles and places we don’t expect, like Jesus being born in a manger.”

“Many even see in Obama a messiah-like figure, a great soul, and some affectionately call him Mahatma Obama.”

“We just like to say his name. We are considering taking it as a mantra.”

“This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”

“He communicates God-like energy…”

“I’ll do whatever he says to do. I’ll collect paper cups off the ground to make his pathway clear.”

“This is bigger than Kennedy. . . . This is the New Testament.” | “I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don’t have that too often. No, seriously. It’s a dramatic event.”

“We’re here to evolve to a higher plane . . . he is an evolved leader . . . [he] has an ear for eloquence and a Tongue dipped in the Unvarnished Truth.”

Jesus has big shoes to fill…

right2bright on July 13, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Among those with reason to be puzzled, a White House source tells me, were Obama’s speechwriters, Jon Favreau and Ben Rhodes. Neither “has ever met or spoken to Mort Zuckerman”


Translation:

They sent Bill Clinton to talk to him.

Are these the same guys who didn’t tell the head of NASA to spend his time talking about the accomplishments of Muslims?

fogw on July 13, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Would this be a Journolist thing? Would they have put a request out there- topics for speeches/how to sell x to the populace maybe- and Zuckerman writes a speech and puts it out there and they snag it from Journolist?

journeyintothewhirlwind on July 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM

‘Jesus is my homeboy.’ Yes, I just said it. Obama is my Jesus.”

right2bright on July 13, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I’m sure the White House conducted and exhaustive investigation since yesterday and thus the abject denial of collusion with a major newspaper.

Tomorrow we’ll hear how Barry plugged the damn hole.

BKeyser on July 13, 2010 at 1:07 PM

Word from the WH to Mort, get under the dang bus, you are no longer useful to the One.

Kissmygrits on July 13, 2010 at 1:08 PM

This is just weird…what the hell is Zuckerman trying to do here?

AUINSC on July 13, 2010 at 1:09 PM

There was a Daily Caller article linked here the other day in Headlines; whoo boy. I have a bit of trouble keeping track of the various rags and their leanings, but it was clear after 3 sentences that this one was taking it in the nether love canal for Teh Won.

So don’t color me surprised if the Editor-in-Chief there has a bit of 0 love crush.

GnuBreed on July 13, 2010 at 1:13 PM

if the White House response is to be believed

Gonna go visit Claude Rains’ grave site today, methinks.

Del Dolemonte on July 13, 2010 at 1:14 PM

I think Mort is responsible for this eloquent speech delivered by Obama. And they said GW is a bad speaker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omHUsRTYFAU

:)

poxoma on July 13, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Mort is a lying white racist jOOO. He is lying just like that Bolden guy, United States Naval Academy Graduate, Marine Aviator, Major General, Astronaut who is so stupid he just makes things up .

borntoraisehogs on July 13, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Zero’s White House is always lying so maybe Morty isn’t. Yet Morty has heretofore pimped himself as a legitimate publisher of NY Daily News and US Snooze and World Report whilst now admittedly being Zero’s lackey.

I think Zuck-Up wrote Zero’s dreadfully eternal SOTU speech. The one where I’d channel surf back to it occasionally… aghast to see Zero still yammering a full hour and fifteen minutes later with clapping seals Nazi Pelosi and Slow Joe still jumping up to applaud as though tasers were in their chairs.

Face it, Zuck-Up you’ve sold out like a Spitzer girlfriend. Whether it is a basic defect of character or an attempt to get one of those political patronage jobs at PBS only time will tell.

viking01 on July 13, 2010 at 1:31 PM

MAJOR CATFIGHT BETWEEN MEGYN AND KP!!!! ALLAH/ED GET ON IT NOW!!!

ProudPalinFan on July 13, 2010 at 1:43 PM

Do it.

Then lie about it.

Then lie about lying about it.

Then say there was nothing wrong with what they did.

Wait until news cycle dies out.

Move on to next brush fire.

Come on. Surely this pattern is clear to everyone else on the planet as well by now!

UnderstandingisPower on July 13, 2010 at 1:54 PM

This house of cards just continues to collapse.

Between ruining the economy, the health care debacle, “resetting” the reset button, ignoring Iran’s nukes, backing Zelaya, dumping on Poland & the Czech Republic, Cap and Trade, suing Arizona, Guantanamo prison, KSM, ACORN, The New Black Panthers, and mishandling the Gulf Spill (to name a few), this administration now seems to be “walking back” some statement every other day.

Sestak , General McChrystal, Bolden, Zuckerman?

It’s like a garbage truck: a million flies can’t be wrong.

If I were Obama, I’d want to go golfing too.

pain train on July 13, 2010 at 1:54 PM

It ought to be a concern that two widely read publications owned and managed by this partisan don’t explicitly state, anywhere, “Exclusionary Advocate for Democrat Party policies and politicians.” Talk about stealth influence! Even the choice of vocabulary and phrasing is political pandering for these boneheads.

ExpressoBold on July 13, 2010 at 2:04 PM

Love the front page caption, “White House says No.”

“White House Denies Assigning NASA Administrator to Perform Muslim Outreach”
“White house denies Obama Bow”
“White House Denies Giving Some Donors Special Access”
“White House Denies US-Israel Nuclear Deal”
“White House Rejects Claim It Skewed Expert Opinion …”
“White House Denies Author’s Accusations of Document Forgery …”
“White House Denies Obama Was In “Whoomp There It Is” Video”
“White House Denies Denying”
(OK, I made that last one up, but can’t you just see it?)

.
The “Opposite Day” White House.
About 10,700,000 results (0.22 seconds)

mrt721 on July 13, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Mort’s paper did endorse Bush in 2004, but he’s always been one of those squishy moderate types. So my guess is Mort got caught up in the Obama ‘Hope and Change’ thingy, but as a really-rich person with a major newspaper and news magazine, was flattered far more by the Obama folks than your average swing voter, even to the point of making Zuckerman believe whatever ‘suggestions’ he was contributing were actually being incorporated into the candidate/president’s speeches.

jon1979 on July 13, 2010 at 4:09 PM

The “Opposite Day” White House.
About 10,700,000 results (0.22 seconds)

mrt721 on July 13, 2010 at 2:18 PM

They need a Denial Czar.

leilani on July 13, 2010 at 4:15 PM

[The Obama campaign was probably just] making Zuckerman believe whatever ’suggestions’ he was contributing were actually being incorporated into the candidate/president’s speeches.

jon1979 on July 13, 2010 at 4:09 PM

I’ll bet you are right on that.

leilani on July 13, 2010 at 4:16 PM

give this knucklehead an F instead of a Z!

chickasaw42 on July 13, 2010 at 5:54 PM

MZ- See that sinking boat…? I helped build it!

profitsbeard on July 13, 2010 at 7:21 PM