When's the last time you recall a prominent elected official being called a morning malt liquor drinker on live national TV? It just happened on the Today show.
Today was no doubt looking for a light touch when co-host Campbell Brown interviewed New Orleans magician, comic and eccentric extraordinaire Harry Anderson in a pre-Mardi Gras piece on "Life after Katrina." But the NBC show surely got more than it was bargaining for.
When Anderson took some shots at FEMA and the federal response to Katrina, Brown, in an apparent bid for balance, responded:
"Let me ask you about Mayor Nagin, because your mayor has come under a lot of crticism too for how he's handled the rebuilding effort. What do you think of the mayor?"
Over at Townhall, columnist Larry Elder wrote about an interview on National Public Radio's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross." Most of the interviews and reviews on that show are about arts and culture, but politics are also a topic. It airs on at least 350 NPR affiliates across the country. Elder writes about her interview with former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin about the inappropriateness of the Bush tax cuts. (Audio can be found here.) He centers in on the liberal questioning:
Gross: "This is the first time, as far as I understand it, that we've cut taxes during wartime. What does the math look like, paying for Iraq while cutting taxes?"
For two consecutive nights, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has ignored the recent report from AP detailing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's dealings with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. But on Friday, the MSNBC host devoted a segment on his Countdown show to discussing an email written by Abramoff that disputes President Bush's claim that he does not know Abramoff.
Olbermann compared Bush's memory to the excellent memory of Richard Nixon, recounting the story of Nixon's 1959 meeting with the Chicago White Sox in which the then-Vice President knew all of their names. After reading an email Abramoff wrote to Kim Eisler of Washingtonian magazine in which Abramoff claimed Bush "has one of the best memories of any politician I have ever met," Olbermann brought aboard correspondent David Shuster to discuss whether Bush has been honest in his denial of knowing Abramoff.
In an interview conducted in her office, Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told FNC’s Jim Angle that the “very valuable” terrorist surveillance program “fits within” the FISA law. In the session excerpted on Friday’s Special Report with Brit Hume, she deplored how leaks are hurting intelligence efforts and scolded the news media for “not extremely accurate” characterizations of the program. Zeroing in on the New York Times, which first revealed the program, Harman asserted their story was “inaccurate” because they reported it included a “domestic-to-domestic” surveillance effort. She also charged that “these leaks are compromising some core capability of the United States,” regretting how “it's tragic that this whole thing is being aired in the newspapers.” As to who is the blame, however, she bore in on the Bush administration for how “this can't be handled in normal channels because this administration refuses to share the information with Congress." (Transcript follows.)
Appearing by phone on Friday’s Imus in the Morning radio simulcast on MSNBC, to plug his upcoming Sunday night 60 Minutes report on the struggles and achievements of some military members severely wounded in Iraq, Mike Wallace admitted he was “astonished” at how “almost all of them support the war despite the fact that it's taken such a toll on them.” He elaborated, “We asked them flat out: What about should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at the President...” Wallace has previously made clear his disgust with the war. In late November on FNC, he contended that "Iraq is becoming a kind of Vietnam" and asserted that "we should never have gone into Iraq. We were sold a bill of goods." Back in 2004 at a Smithsonian forum, Wallace argued that “this is not, in my estimation, a good war” and declared that “it sure is not a noble enterprise." (Transcripts follow.)
According to Lipton's story, the White House knew of flooding in New Orleans by midnight August 30.
But the alert did not seem to register. Even the next morning, President Bush, on vacation in Texas, was feeling relieved that New Orleans had "dodged the bullet," he later recalled. (bold added)
the Times knows the next morning the President was at the North Island
Naval Air Station in San Diego taking part in an anniversary observance
of V-J Day. Here's The White Press release of the event, including photos.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Senate minority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has much stronger ties to former lobbyist Jack Abramoff than had been previously believed. Yet, most of the mainstream media have ignored this stunning revelation suggesting that, contrary to press assertions, this isn’t just a Republican scandal.
According to AP: “Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid portrays convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff's activities as involving only Republicans. But Abramoff's billing records and congressional correspondence tell a different story."
The article continued: “The activities -- detailed in billing records and correspondence obtained by The Associated Press -- are far more extensive than previously disclosed. They occurred over three years as Reid collected nearly $68,000 in donations from Abramoff's firm, lobbying partners and clients.”
On last night's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on Rep. Barney Frank to defend the wild claim Frank made during the Hurricane Katrina hearings: "We have to do more, because here’s what I have to say and I hate to have to have to say this about my own government. But I believe what we are seeing with regard to New Orleans and the surrounding area is a policy frankly of ethnic cleansing by inaction."
Tim Graham blogged about it here but a quick survey of MRC analysts reveals MSNBC's Hardball has been the only network show to touch on the remark. This is a far cry from the reaction Pat Robertson received for his controversial remarks especially when you consider the arguable relevance he still has at least compared to Frank's status as a current sitting member of Congress.
President Bush gave some details Thursday concerning foiled plots by al Qaeda to attack America, including one plan to fly a plane into the tallest building on the West Coast that was successfully averted. Unfortunately, those that rely on either The New York Times or The Washington Post for their news might have missed these revelations, for this story was curiously not placed on the front page of either of these papers.
The New York Times strategically placed its article on this subject on page A22. Times’ editors must have felt that more information about what the administration knew concerning the levees in New Orleans before Katrina hit, warnings on ADHD drugs, how Haiti elections are shaping up, a resignation at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, security issues at America’s borders, and how magazines use numbers on their covers to tantalize consumers were more important than America foiling al Qaeda attacks.
Vice-President Cheney spoke, last night, to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington. The AP has a snippet of his speech in their video stories this morning. The passage that they've got up includes the following from the Vice President, speaking on the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program:
Some of our critics call this a "domestic surveillance program." Wrong. That is inaccurate. It is not domestic surveillance. We are talking about communications, one end of which is outside the United States and therefore interational and one end of which we have reason to believe is somehow tied to or related to Al-quaeda. It's hard to think of any category of information that could be more important to the safety of the United States.
MediaBistro's FishBowl DC bloggers, Garrett Graff and Patrick Gavin, posted an internal Washington Post report on racial diversity at the newspaper. The January 26 cover letter to newsroom staff from top editors -- Executive Editor Len Downie, Managing Editor Phil Bennett, and Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman -- boasted of increased diversity in hiring: "Through determined recruiting, we have increased the number of minority journalists working in our newsroom to an all-time high of 152, which is 23.5 percent of our professional staff. The two percent increase from 21.4 percent at the end of 2004 is the largest ever."
But the real dirt in the 30-plus page report is the testimony of anonymous Post reporters. This one sticks out for me, on page 5: "One person noted an anti-religion bias in the newsroom. When referring to the faithful, 'the word of choice around here is "kooks".'This same person felt offended during the recent coverage of the Pope’s death, when some of her colleagues, she said, were mocking the Pope. 'I was [too] intimidated to complain, even since my editor was part of it, so I got up and left. Faith is derided.'" Other reporters complained:
She interviewed NBC reporter Richard Engel on this morning's Today show in the wake of the release of a new videotape of Jill Carroll, the US journalist kidnapped in Iraq last month. The tape showed a composed Carroll speaking before a floral backdrop.
Couric, ever the fashion maven, declared "it's actually kind of a pretty setting." Perhaps Katie can pick up some matching shoes while in 'Torino'. Engel explained that the captors appear to be sending the message that they are looking to negotiate.
Over at the NBC Nightly News "Daily Nightly" blog, NBC "investigative producer" Robert Windrem relates how at the 2:30 pm editorial meeting on Wednesday, "we had a lively discussion of what the context should be" about the Muslim cartoon jihad. For his part, Windrem agreed with local liberal academics, who somehow can link cartoonists to police brutality:
The bottom line for me was that this can't be dealt with as a story about cartoons or even about Islamic prohibitions about the depiction of Muhammad. It has to be about the simmering pot that went to boil, as Shibley Telhami, the University of Maryland scholar, said this morning on Washington radio. He noted that this is the Islamic version of the Rodney King verdict. In that case, it wasn't just about the verdict against four Los Angeles policemen. It was about African-Americans' belief, whether based on reality or perception, that they had been the victims of decades of racism and thuggery by the LAPD.
The first words issued by NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams tonight were as follows:
"The plot thickens. Tonight, the President reveals new details about an alleged terrorist plot involving hijackers, shoe bombers, and a sky scraper in Los Angeles.
But there are questions."
And with that, Brian Williams launched into what appared to be quite a skeptical analysis of the details released by President Bush today regarding the foiled plot to hijack a passenger jet and crash it into an L.A. sky scraper.
On tonight's Countdown, host Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's "moonbat in chief", spent 10 minutes of his show pondering if President Bush used the news of a thwarted terror plot for political gain. Olbermann, who often refers to President Bush as "Mr. Bush", had "investigative reporter" Gerald Posner on as a guest tonight. Posner is just as liberal, if not more, as Olbermann and agreed with the host word for word as Keith played puppet master and controlled his strings. At one point during the interview, Posner charged that President Bush is "using terror as a political weapon" and constantly does this in a time when he needs to justify certain policies, such as, according to him, the Patriot Act.
The ironic thing in all of this is Keith agrees with him and thinks that no one should play politics with terror. Olbermann should have taken his own advice when he ran a piece called "The Nexus of Politics & Terror" late last year that was an attack on Bush's timing of "calling" terror alerts as if they weren't serious. If you are into liberal conspiracies, that segment was for you.
Reporting on President Bush’s Thursday speech in which he detailed a foiled al-Qaeda attack on a Los Angeles office tower, the three broadcast network evening newscasts fretted about the timing in relation to controversy over “domestic eavesdropping.” ABC co-anchor Charles Gibson cued up George Stephanopoulos, “Democrats in Washington immediately began asking: Why is the President talking about this now?” Stephanopoulos contended “there is a lot of politics at play here,” but portrayed Democrats as the victims as he relayed how “Republicans hope that this war on terror issue is going to be the key to have them keeping control of the House and the Senate in these 2006 mid-term elections” while Democrats “know” they “can’t let Republicans play the fear card.”
CBS’s Jim Axelrod maintained that “the eavesdropping issue is starting to cut just a little bit differently, as even some Republicans now are starting to call for more oversight" and “the President's speech came at a time when his tactics in the war on terror are under attack from some quarters with the eavesdropping controversy consuming Washington.” It certainly is “consuming” the press corps. Axelrod zeroed in how “the White House won't go anywhere near this question of whether the eavesdropping program had anything to do with the foiling of this West coast bomb plot, won't go anywhere near it. But checking across the government today, we couldn't find one single U.S. official to say that it had.” Jim Stewart reported that “they got this information not from any wiretap, but from what they called the rigorous questioning of some al Qaeda detainees.” To which Bob Schieffer translated: “Torture." NBC’s Brian Williams opened: “The White House says it was just a coincidence that during this time while the President is under fire for a program of domestic eavesdropping, and while he's been trying to renew provisions of the Patriot Act, he just happened to choose today as the day to talk about a planned terrorist incident in the U.S. that was thwarted.” (Transcripts follow.)
Viewers of today's American Morning on CNN were treated to co-host Miles O'Brien's view of scientists who dare question the validity of global warming. In a debate between Reverend Jim Ball, director of the Evangelical Environmental Network, and Reverend Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's ethics commission, shortly after 8:15am, O'Brien revealed his beliefs.
Miles O'Brien: "You know, I know that science and religion are often at odds, but the scientific evidence is overwhelming at this point. Are you denying that?"
Reverend Richard Land: "There are scientists who deny it. There are scientists who've said -- "
O'Brien: "Scientists who are bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, usually."
Land: "Well, not, not necessarily. I'm not going-"
Via Romenesko, we learn New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove reported that retired CBS "60 Minutes" boss Don Hewitt finally decided that Dan Rather did in fact deserve the ax for that Memogate fiasco:
CBS legendDon Hewitt hasn't been shy about criticizing Dan Rather, but the grand old man of "60 Minutes" had stopped short of publicly recommending termination for the central figure in CBS News' painful 2004 Memogate flap.
"Should Dan Rather have been fired?" Time magazine managing editor Jim Kelly asked the 83-year-old Hewitt during a Court TV journalism panel at Michael's.
Ken Shepherd forwarded to me another piece of evidence that the NAACP has thrown its old attempted bipartisan stance, last seen in the Benjamin Hooks era, out the window. Reporter Hazel Trice Edney, a Washington correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association ("The Black Press of America"), has this report in the Baltimore Times and other papers:
Although the head of the Republican National Committee and President George W. Bush have pledged to make a more concentrated effort to win over Black voters, 98 percent of Republicans in the House and Senate earned an F on the latest NAACP Civil Rights Report Card, compared to only 2 percent of Democrats receiving failing grades...
Lizette Alvarez reports from Denver Thursday on the Army’s drive to recruit more Hispanics in “With Charm and Enticements, Army Is Drawing Hispanic Recruits, and Criticism.”
She paints the drive in a negative light:
“In Denver and other cities where the Hispanic population is growing, recruiting Latinos has become one of the Army's top priorities. From 2001 to 2005, the number of Latino enlistments in the Army rose 26 percent, and in the military as a whole, the increase was 18 percent. The increase comes at a time when the Army is struggling to recruit new soldiers and when the enlistment of African-Americans, a group particularly disillusioned with the war in Iraq, has dropped off sharply, to 14.5 percent from 22.3 percent over the past four years.