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NewsBusters Archive

Jeffrey Lord | August 16, 2014 | 09:23

Within the space of a week, the Public Editor of The New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, and Sarah Durand, a senior editor of publisher Simon & Schuster subsidiary Atria Books, have vividly illustrated how the game of liberal media bias works.

Let’s start with the Times.

Brent Bozell and Tim Graham | August 16, 2014 | 08:01

There was something thoroughly distasteful about that Robin Williams press conference the other day. It sounded wrong. It looked bad. It smelled.

Was it newsworthy, so much so that news networks would break into their regular afternoon programming to broadcast live the first official law enforcement press conference surrounding Williams' death? We think so. Williams was not just an iconic American comedian since he burst onto the scene with “Mork and Mindy” in the 1970s, he was perhaps the single funniest man in America. That he would die so suddenly understandably generated interest. When the word "suicide" appeared we became a nation of rubber neckers. We had to know what happened.

Tom Johnson | August 16, 2014 | 07:01

This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”

Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.

Matthew Balan | August 15, 2014 | 23:53

NBC Nightly News was the sole Big Three evening newscast on Friday to cover ISIS's ongoing rampage against non-Muslims in northern Iraq. Chris Jansing filed a full report on the heartbreak for a Yazidi community in Nebraska, who have lost family to the Islamist group's campaign of terror. By contrast, ABC's World News and CBS Evening News both found time to air news briefs on the historical gaffe in a photo promoting the new season of PBS's Downton Abbey.

Jansing interviewed several Yazidis for the segment, who detailed the atrocities that ISIS is inflicting on their minority community: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

Tom Blumer | August 15, 2014 | 23:35

Texas Governor Rick Perry, who, in the oddest of coincidences (that's sarcasm), just so happens to be considered one of the Republican Party's stronger potential contenders for the 2016 presidential nomination, was indicted in Austin today by a Travis County grand jury. The charges are "abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant" in connection with a veto "threat" he carried out — thus making "promise" a better word to describe his original stated intentions.

"Threatening" a veto and then carrying through on that "threat" is obviously a pretty routine occurrence in governmental jurisdictions through the country, from the President on down. As to initial press coverage, Paul J. Weber and Will Weissert at the Associated Press predictably misstated the results of another politically motivated prosecution of a major GOP elected official, namely former Congressman Tom "The Hammer" Delay, and focused on how expensive it might be to defend Perry by quoting an hourly legal representation rate which may or may not be accurate. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):

Jack Coleman | August 15, 2014 | 20:00

MSNBC host Ed Schultz has had it in for conservative radio talker and author Glenn Beck ever since Beck's Restoring Honor rally at the Lincoln Memorial in August 2010 vastly overdrew a union-sponsored rally held at the same site several weeks later where Schultz was among the speakers.

In his most recent criticism of Beck, Schultz actually slammed Beck for not going to college -- which is amusing considering Schultz's decided lack of interest in what Obama did while in higher ed. Anyone curious about that, though, is clearly a racist. (Audio after the jump)

Tom Johnson | August 15, 2014 | 17:34

When last seen in these parts about a month ago, writer CJ Werleman asserted that Jesus was a proto-Marxist. On Thursday, staunch atheist Werleman, author of books including God Hates You. Hate Him Back, charged in an AlterNet piece that Fox News has in recent years “waged a relentless war on atheism” because the channel’s viewership is “afraid of an America they no longer understand…afraid of the rapid deceleration of church attendance, the increasing secularization of millennials, [and] the acceptance of same-sex marriage.”

Werleman opined that Fox wildly exaggerates the “power and influence” of atheists and claimed that its coverage of non-believers dovetails with its modus operandi of fearmongering: “On Fox News, Obama is coming for your guns; Madonna is coming for your straight kids; immigrants are coming for your jobs; liberals are coming for your way of life; and atheists are coming for your Bibles.”

Mark Finkelstein | August 15, 2014 | 15:58

Was it a simple mistake, or more deeply revealing of how Luke Russert regards events in Ferguson, MO?  With Chuck Todd on his way to Meet The Press, Russert hosted MSNBC's Daily Rundown today.

Speaking with NBC reporter Ron Allen, on the scene in Ferguson, Russert said: "the big news this morning is we expect to hear for the first time the name of the officer who was involved in the murder of Michael Brown -- or the killing of Michael Brown."  H/t reader Charles B. View the video after the jump.

Connor Williams | August 15, 2014 | 15:00

Despite new details revealed by the police that provide additional context to the Michael Brown shooting, at least one MSNBC reporter seemed to dismiss the new information as largely irrelevant. On the August 15 edition of NewsNation, guest host Alex Witt invited msnbc.com reporter Trymaine Lee to the program. He has been reporting on the ground from Ferguson, Missouri this week.

Witt mentioned the facts surrounding what the police have dubbed a “strong-arm robbery” of a convenience store that supposedly took place about 30 minutes before the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, as confirmed by still shots of the scene. The shots – while not entirely clear – indicate that Michael Brown may have been a suspect. The NewsNation guest host asked Lee how much this complicated things and whether “this fact [might] be something that instills uncertainty within this community which has become calmer overnight?” Lee replied, unconvinced: [MP3 audio here; video below]

Ken Shepherd | August 15, 2014 | 12:50

The Washington Post is at it again in today's Metro section, boosting Gov. Martin O'Malley's protege Anthony Brown, this time by smearing conservative Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan.

Staff writer John Wagner essentially allowed his 32-paragraph article, "Hogan emphasizes pocketbook issues," to function as a platform for the state's Democratic Party to rehash their tired "war on women" meme. "Foes want to focus on hopeful's social views, saying they're extreme" noted the subhead to Wagner's piece. Sure enough, Wagner focused almost exclusively on the complaints of those foes rather than on economic issues of import to Marylanders:

Mike Ciandella | August 15, 2014 | 12:33

How’s this for timing? The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss, on the two-year-anniversary of the FRC shooting, launched its own attack on FRC – with the help of a study released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the same group that inspired that shooter. 

Here’s a quick recap: on August 15, 2012, a gunman entered the lobby of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C, planning to kill everyone inside the building and then smear Chick-Fil-A sandwiches in their faces (at the time, Chick-Fil-A was under fire for comments that its CEO, Dan Cathy, had made in support of traditional marriage). The gunman’s plot was only foiled by the quick thinking of the building manager, Leo Johnson, who ended up taking a bullet in the arm in the process. 

Scott Whitlock | August 15, 2014 | 12:15

Good Morning America has a history of ignoring the spasms of bloody violence that rock Rahm Emanuel's Chicago. The city's little league baseball team prompted ABC to mention the problem. Correspondent Lara Spencer on August 15th noted the appearance of the Jackie Robinson West squad in the Little League World Series and reminded, "The victory bringing a much needed moment of pride to a city riddled with violence with 82 shootings occurring over fourth of July weekend alone." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

Back on July 8th, the weekend after the mayhem occurred, GMA reporter Dan Harris allowed a scant 11 seconds to recapping the crimes. Mentioning Emanuel on Friday, Spencer enthused, "...Even Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel attending [baseball] watch parties across the land of Lincoln." ABC hasn't shown much interest in mentioning Barack Obama's former chief of staff in relation to his city's death toll.

Tim Graham | August 15, 2014 | 11:43

Former CBS anchor Katie Couric recently granted an “Inspirational People” interview to Good Housekeeping magazine on her movie Fed Up, a documentary against child obesity.

“As the anchor of CBS Evening News, I was constantly referencing new studies about childhood obesity. The problem seemed to be getting worse and worse even though it was getting more and more attention.” She “constantly” reported on it? No.

Kyle Drennen | August 15, 2014 | 10:38

In an interview with the director of a Boston drug rehabilitation center on Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer worried about the impact media coverage of legalized marijuana was having on America's youth: "You know, if you're a teenager, a young adult, and you're watching the news and you're hearing more and more stories about the legalization of marijuana...and now you're saying, 'Wait a minute, here.' Are we sending mixed messages on drugs to our kids?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

David Ray, co-founder of Number 16, replied: "We are. We are. We're sending mixed messages because what we're saying is, 'Well, this is okay, but this isn't.' And so, what's a kid to do?"

Tom Blumer | August 15, 2014 | 10:22

The federal government reported a $94.6 blllion deficit in July, only marginally better than the $97.6 figure posted in July 2013.

As has become its habit, the Associated Press's coverage of that result contained omissions, spin and half-truths about government tax collections, spending and the origins of the Obama administration's first four years of consecutive trillion-dollar deficits. Particularly annoying is the wire service's insistence on ignoring the large tax increase in two decades as a factor — in the interest, of course, of supporting the Obama administration's call for more of the same. Veteran Martin Crutsinger was responsible for this month's rendition. Excerpts follow the jump:

Laura Flint | August 15, 2014 | 10:05

Ronan Farrow is at it again. On the August 14 edition of Ronan Farrow Daily, MSNBC’s favorite Hillary Clinton prodigy tried to blame the outfitting of local police departments with military-style gear, as exemplified in the police reaction to the recent racially charged protests in Ferguson, Missouri, on evil “defense contractors.” He asked his guest Radley Balko, author Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces “how much of” the militarization of police “is due to defense contractors profiting off of this ability legislatively of the Defense Department to purchase to the point of surplus?”

Earlier Balko explained that President Reagan “off the cuff, instructed the Pentagon to start making surplus military equipment available to police departments across the country.” He added it was not until the 1990's, and the institution of section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act that the “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition” to local police forces to aid in fighting the War on Drugs became official policy. [See video below. Click here for MP3 audio]

Curtis Houck | August 15, 2014 | 09:47

It has been over three weeks since The New York Times published a front-page investigation unmasking the actions of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) shuttering an anti-corruption commission. In reaction, the U.S. Attorney has now begun investigating Cuomo’s administration for possible “witness tampering and obstruction of justice,” according to The New York Post.

Despite these serious allegations, CNN has all but ignored the story. The cable news outlet completely ignored the Cuomo scandal until it aired a single tease and report on August 7 during The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer

Tim Graham | August 15, 2014 | 09:36

Obama declared on Wednesday, “Here in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs.”

The Columbia Journalism Review website was among the many – including Rush Limbaugh on the radio – who saw the hypocrisy, since President Obama is our nation’s most prosecutorial president toward journalists:

Mark Finkelstein | August 15, 2014 | 08:35

The look on Al Sharpton's face was that of a mischievous cat who had just swallowed the canary. It came right after the Right Reverend concluded his remarks about Rand Paul and Hillary on today's Morning Joe.

Sharpton's gist was that, by speaking out on race [in a Time op-ed] in ways unaccustomed for Republicans, Paul presented a challenge to Hillary to clarify her own civil rights record.  Sharpton suggested that "many of us in the civil rights community" question the Clintons on race, citing triangulation, the Sistah Souljah moment, and Hillary's position on the Omnibus Crime Bill.  View the video after the jump.

Randy Hall | August 14, 2014 | 23:23

Soon after 18-year-old Michael Brown was gunned down by an unidentified policeman on Sunday afternoon in Ferguson, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis, Rev. Al Sharpton arrived on the scene to “speak up for the family of the victim” and spend a great deal of time in the spotlight.

However, the host of MSNBC's weekday afternoon PoliticsNation program quickly became the target of several critics, one of whom accused him of being a publicity-seeking “coon.” Sharpton shot back that “using a racial term tells you more about him than me.”