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NewsBusters Archive

NB Staff | June 8, 2007 | 10:53
Your opportunity to discuss whatever is on your mind...
Tim Graham | June 8, 2007 | 10:50

When covering religion, the news media has a tendency to grant the Roman Catholic Church the lion’s share of religion coverage – in part due to its size, and in part due to its centralized authority in Rome. Protestant denominations, even the evangelical Protestant mega-pastors, are covered less each year. Unfortunately, that centralized authority also leads to media caricatures of tyranny (remember New York Times editor nastily Bill Keller comparing the Vatican to the Kremlin, the Polish Pope to the Soviet autocrats?)

Time’s David Van Biema and Katherine Mayer crack a little too wise in this week’s story on Anglicanism (their cover story in the Europe and the South Pacific editions), noting not only "Roman-style lockstep," but a "useful Catholic authoritarianism." This has a very obvious whiff of politics, comparing Pope Benedict to a tinhorn dictator like a Francisco Franco or a Juan Peron. The pontiff is not a dictator, and no one is forced to join a Catholic church or forced to obey its moral dogmas.

Mark Finkelstein | June 8, 2007 | 10:32

What are the odds Ben Affleck would refer to Muslims who believe literally in the Koran as "Neanderthals?" But when it comes to Christians . . .

As NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens has noted, Affleck appeared on yesterday evening's edition of Hardball. And while it's true that the actor/director/Dem activist offered a generally innocuous analysis, he did manage to engage in a bit of religious bigotry.

Affleck's foul foray arose in the course of his discussion of the way the various Republican candidates have dealt with the issue of evolution and creationism. Talk turned to the former governor of Arkansas.
BEN AFFLECK: I think Huckabee actually framed his position in a much less dramatic way than had been made out. Which was he said it could be six days, or it could be six epochs, which I thought was much more along the kind of intelligent design lines than his position had been cast. In other words, he had been made out to a little bit of a kind of like a real sort of Neanderthal about it, a literalist.

View video here

Ken Shepherd | June 8, 2007 | 10:24

You know, it seems pretty cut-and-dried to me. Stuffing secret documents down your pants and removing them from a secure room in a federal facility, that constitutes stealing.

USA Today's "On Deadline" blog isn't sure, though. (bold/italics are USA Today's):

Sandy Berger, the national security adviser under former President Clinton, was disbarred yesterday in the District of Columbia.

The Washington Post says Berger agreed last month to give up his law license in order to avoid a prolonged investigation that grew out of his conviction in 2005 of removing classified documents from the National Archives.

Tom Blumer | June 8, 2007 | 08:02

Give Food Stamp Challenge organizers in Michigan and New Haven, Connecticut some credit.

We'll probably never know whether they figured it out on their own, or perhaps read of other organizers' errors when they were pointed out by syndicated columnist Mona Charen and by yours truly (at NewsBusters here and here; at BizzyBlog here and here). But unlike their comrades in most other cities and states, they have at least framed their Challenge using a correct amount of $35 per person per week ($5 per person per day) based on this table, which was adapted from information available at the USDA's web site (near the bottom at link; the weekly amount is result of dividing by 4.345, the average number of weeks in a month):

Brad Wilmouth | June 8, 2007 | 07:57

On Thursday's The Situation Room, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer seemed to worry that the recently announced G-8 plan for cutting greenhouse gas emissions was "full of hot air" because it is not strict enough in requiring cuts. Blitzer introduced a story filed by correspondent Brian Todd: "President Bush joined other G-8 leaders today and forged an agreement to try to fight global warming, but is that agreement full of hot air?"

The CNN anchor then set up Todd's story: "Is there less to this deal, Brian, than meets the eye?" Todd thought there was some "substance" to the plan, but cited "experts" who accused G-8 leaders of "over the top rhetoric." After a clip of British Prime Minister Tony Blair contending that it was "a huge thing" that they were "considering" cutting emissions in half by 2050, Todd made his own clarification: "'Considering' cutting emissions in half by 2050, not actually agreeing to that hard target for cutting them, as the German chancellor and other European leaders had hoped." (Transcript follows)

Warner Todd Huston | June 8, 2007 | 04:50

In an interesting slam against the Left-Wing Blogosphere, one time Clinton man, now Time Magazine writer, Joe Klein, hits 'em hard. Left-Wing Bloggers are vile. Left-Wing Bloggers are mean. Left-Wing Bloggers are disloyal. Left-Wing Bloggers jump to wild, unsupported conclusions... So says Klein in a June 6th piece titled "Beware the Bloggers' Bile." But, don't get your hopes up because, while everything he says about the nut-roots is dead on, it all ends up being Bush's and Radio icon Rush Limbaugh's fault, instead of the left's fault -- it's not as if the left could ever imagine anything is ever their fault, I suppose.

Still, for most of the piece, Klein slams his nut-roots followers in just about every which way you can imagine but calling them ugly and having bad B.O. and it's fun to read.

Brent Baker | June 7, 2007 | 20:30
ABC's Charles Gibson fretted Thursday night over the likely impending demise of the “landmark” immigration deal as George Stephanopoulos blamed conservatives and on NBC Chip Reid faulted “extremes on the left and the right.” Gibson teased World News: “Tonight, the landmark compromise on immigration is in big trouble on Capitol Hill. Some Senators saying if we can't pass this, we can't pass anything.” Gibson proceeded to assert that the bill “was considered the best hope for doing something on immigration.” After a story from Jake Tapper on the debate in the Senate, Gibson expressed frustration to George Stephanopoulos: “What's so counterintuitive to me, George, is that a lot of the Senators who think and say most strongly that something has to be done to reform immigration are the ones who are voting for these killer amendments.” Stephanopoulos held conservatives responsible: “They are getting a lot of cross pressures, Charlie, particularly on the conservative side.”

Meanwhile, on the NBC Nightly News, Chip Reid described how Democrats are opposed to the temporary worker program because of how it may take jobs from Americans and Republicans are opposed to what they consider “amnesty” for illegals -- both mainstream views in the two parties. Yet Reid applied an “extreme” tag: “You've got the extremes on the left and the right trying to kill the entire bill, rather than except the provisions they detest.”

Tim Graham | June 7, 2007 | 19:34
A tipster reports that the New York Daily News has a style guide on its internal computer system with a very typical liberal-media template for its reporters on how to handle abortion labeling: Guidelines regarding stories and headlines on abortion: 1. Call those who oppose abortions abortion foes or abortion opponents or (in tight-count heads) abort foes. Avoid the phrases pro-life or pro-lifers, except in direct quotations. 2. Those who favor a woman's right to an abortion are abortion rights activists or pro-abortion rights or pro-choice. Avoid pro-abortion. 3. Also avoid the phrase "when the life of the mother is at stake." Make it "... life of the woman ..." Don't call the fetus an unborn child, and don't refer to the unborn in headlines. 4. You can use abortion clinic or abort clinic in tight-count headlines.
Geoffrey Dickens | June 7, 2007 | 18:04

On tonight's Hardball Chris Matthews invited on actor Ben Affleck to pontificate on the 2008 presidential race and while the liberal actor stuck to safe, conventional wisdom observations on the likes of Rudy, Hillary and Barack he couldn't resist a pointed jab at the current administration. When Matthews recited an emailer’s question about impeaching President Bush, Affleck reasoned it wasn’t necessary since Bush and Cheney are "going to go down in history as having presided over one of the worst administrations in American history."

The following is the full exchange as it occurred on the June 7th edition of MSNBC’s Hardball:

Chris Matthews: "Scott Trent of North Carolina: 'Mr. Affleck, what is your opinion on the possibility of impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney? Do you support impeachment for the crimes of the administration?' That's Trent, Scott Trent of North Carolina."

Ken Shepherd | June 7, 2007 | 17:57

(h/t NB's Rich Noyes)

The title and an excerpt from the first two paragraphs make the bias abundantly clear.

"Did the U.S. Incite Iran's Crackdown?"

The article, published June 5, 2007, suggests that American efforts at supporting dissidents within Iran make the U.S. morally culpable for their harsh treatment:

...sources tell TIME that several key Iranian reformers had repeatedly warned U.S. officials through back channels that the pro-democracy program was bound to expose them as vulnerable targets for a government crackdown whether they took Washington's funds or not.

Iranian civil rights activists contacted by TIME say that the cases against the Iranian
NB Staff | June 7, 2007 | 16:05

MRC intern Michael Lanza caught a passing reference on the June 6 "Paula Zahn Now" to a June 5 blog entry by NB editor Brent Baker. (See transcript below the fold)

Video (0:35): Real (1.57 MB) or Windows (1.10 MB), plus MP3 (156 kB).

In "NBC's Williams Showcases Obama Blaming Bush for Black Despair Going Back to 1991," Baker noted that NBC's June 5 "Nightly News" ran excerpts of an Obama speech before running a story on the Democratic candidates and religious faith.

Excerpted below is the relevant portion of the blog, with the portion Zahn quoted shown in bold.:

Scott Whitlock | June 7, 2007 | 16:02

On Thursday’s “Good Morning America,” reporter Claire Shipman portrayed the simmering tensions between Russia and the United States as a replay of the Cold War and also took President Bush, who is meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at this week’s G8 summit, to task for missing a “critical diplomatic opportunity” to cooperate with the Russians over the placing of a proposed missile defense system in Poland.

Additionally, Shipman, while noting Putin’s rollback of democracy, contended that Russia’s president is “wildly popular at home” and hyperbolically claimed that “everybody is very happy with Vladimir Putin there.” While it’s true that Putin’s autocratic nature appears to have done him no harm in the polls, it’s quite silly to say that “everybody” is happy in a country where journalists and spies continue to die mysteriously.

Noel Sheppard | June 7, 2007 | 14:56

For those that have been following the G-8 summit in Germany, a formal declaration from the group has just been released (h/t Benny Peiser; section dealing with climate change begins on page 14, emphasis added throughout):

Since we met in Gleneagles, science has more clearly demonstrated that climate change is a long term challenge that has the potential to seriously damage our natural environment and the global economy. We firmly agree that resolute and concerted international action is urgently needed in order to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security.

Given the media’s global warming alarmist tendencies, a rather obvious question is raised: How will the press cover this declaration this evening and in tomorrow’s papers? In the end, as this is a joint statement with backing by the United States, it seems rather predictable that the media's take will be something like this:

Ken Shepherd | June 7, 2007 | 12:58
Joshua Levy and Micah L. Sifry have a June 4 article at techPresident noting that among the major presidential candidates, only Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has taken advantage of new software on the Facebook social networking site to broaden his Web presence. (Portions in bold are my emphasis):

TechPresident’s Alan Rosenblatt took an early look at the new feature and the Obama application, which allows Facebook members to see new videos and messages from the campaign and share them with their Facebook friends, on the day it went public, and he was impressed. As Rick Klau of Feedburner pointed out in a contemporaneous post, the app adds a significant amount of value to the Obama campaign. “If you’re interested in exposing your network of friends to info about Barack, the campaign is making it a one-click affair that greatly simplifies the redistribution of campaign info,” he wrote.

But when Platform launched, Obama was the only candidate with an application. Why didn’t John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Ron Paul, or anyone else get in on the possibility of reaching 20 million or more Facebook users and potential voters? [...]

Matthew Balan | June 7, 2007 | 12:45

The mainstream media can't get enough of the sectarian violence between the Shiites, the Sunnis, and the Kurds in Iraq. But one kind of sectarian violence that has consistently been under-reported since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 is the persecution of Iraq's native Christian population. A Catholic News Agency story from June 6th reported:

According to the AINA news agency, two churches were attacked in the Baghdad district of Dora. At St. John the Baptist's in Hay Al-Athoriyeen, several security guards who protect the church were killed, and St. Jacob's in Hay al Asya was vandalized and forcibly turned into a mosque. St. Jacob's had previously been attacked in October of 2004.

The raids on the two churches coincided with a funeral Mass for a priest and three deacons that were assassinated in Mosul on June 3rd. A Google News search revealed that there were only 4 articles about the raids, none of them from mainstream media sources . Besides the assassinations and the raids, a Chaldean Catholic priest in Baghdad was abducted on June 6th and Shiite terrorists occupied a Chaldean Catholic convent in Baghdad on May 31st.

Ken Shepherd | June 7, 2007 | 12:01

Color me pleasantly surprised, given the media's past treatment of the issue. The June 7 Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, and USA Today all gave prominent play to news of a stem cell breakthrough that may make moot the embryonic stem cell ethical dilemma.

I don't have a hard copy of the LA Times, but I know the other papers featured the story on their front pages.

Of course, it appears that the New York Times couldn't let the good news go without a separate Debbie Downer article as counterbalance. Here's an excerpt, portion in bold is my emphasis:

NB Staff | June 7, 2007 | 11:34
For general discussion on topics of your choosing...
Noel Sheppard | June 7, 2007 | 11:24

On May 18, NewsBusters introduced you to Kristen Byrnes, the fabulous fifteen-year-old from Maine who had torn apart many of the myths purported by the Global Warmingist-in-Chief, soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore, in his schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Now, the Precocious Ponderer from Portland is taking on the scientist that Gore relied on for much of his misinformation, James Hansen of NASA.

In her recent report entitled “Houston, We Have a Problem,” Byrnes identified a serious concern with this so-called scientist that many anthropogenic global warming skeptics have been addressing for years (emphasis added throughout):

Warner Todd Huston | June 7, 2007 | 11:19

I know. The first thing you thought was, "well, DUH!" Of course Keith Olbermann "overstates". He is a raving lunatic, for Heaven's sake. But, it took long enough for the left leaning MSM to catch on and Public Eye is gently -- and I DO mean gently -- trying to get their truthiest of truthers back on track, apparently. After all, they don't want to hurt his widdle feelings, or nuthin'.

Public Eye's Matthew Felling starts by buttering up Olby's fragile ego with an estimate on how much "media capital" he's "earned" with his show, but soon wonders why he went to far into tin-foil hat territory with his rant that Bush was really responsible for the recent JFK Airport terror plot.