I just watched Katie Couric's debut as the anchor of the CBS Evening News
and it was, much to my surprise, not very different than it was when
Bob Shieffer was helming. I expected at least a couple radical
stylistic changes that would set the CBS Evening News apart
from it's competitors on NBC and ABC and shake things up a little. But
there was nothing new. All in all, Couric's debut was, well, ordinary.
I've put together a 4:21 video summary of Couric's debut, available here, in case you missed it.
In terms of substance, Couric began the broadcast by wondering if it was
"back to the drawing board" on the war on terror because things seem to
be going poorly in Afghanistan. She spoke at length with Thomas
Friedman about the words versus the actions of the Bush administration.
On Tuesday night, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann used his Countdown show to attack President Bush's speech in which the President had compared modern day terrorists to Nazis and talked about Osama bin Laden's stated plan to launch a "media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government." Reminiscent of his recent "Special Comment" attacking Donald Rumsfeld and comparing the activities of the Bush administration to those of fascists, Olbermann again used a "Special Comment" segment to attack Bush for "linking" al-Qaeda to the media, "that familiar bogeyman of the far right," and branded Bush's words as "un-American."
The Countdown host accused President Bush and Vice President Cheney of "often attacking freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press." Olbermann also bizarrely took exception with Bush comparing terrorists to Nazis, arguing that terrorists would be "emboldened" by the comparison. Olbermann concluded by his own historical comparison, asking Bush: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?" an echo of remarks made by Joseph Welch made to 50s senator Joseph McCarthy. (Transcript follows)
In the coming hours and days, my colleagues at MRC and NewsBusters are sure to provide comprehensive, in-depth analysis of Katie Couric's debut this evening as the anchor of the CBS Evening News. From the opening segment, whose message was that things are worse in Afghanistan than you realize, to an interview with MSM foreign policy fave Thomas Friedman decrying tax cuts, to anti-McDonald's hypster Morgan Spurlock, ahem, spuriously trying to pass himself off as an opponent of hype, it was all pretty predictable liberal stuff.
But Katie did - unintentionally no doubt - permit a telling moment of candor to slip through the MSM filter. Introducing a segment on Pres. Bush' speech today on matters of national security, Couric said:
"The war on terror began of course with the September 11th attacks on the United States."
As you may or may not know, this coming weekend, ABC is presenting a movie about the events that led up to the attacks on the WTC in 2001, called "The Path to 9/11".
It has leaked out by various critics and folks who have been offered an advanced screening of this flick that the Clinton administration does not come out looking too strong on National defense in the years prior to the attacks on that fateful day. In fact, it shows them as responsible for one misstep and failure after another in the face of plenty of forewarning that the situation was quickly escalating.
In light of that depiction, for the last week or so, there have been some pretty persistent rumors that, after these screenings, various members of the Clinton administration, including the ex-president himself, began a campaign of calls, meetings and efforts to cajole ABC into altering and editing the film to make the Clintons look better.
A not especially eventful press briefing at the White House today turned rancorous with NBC's David Gregory telling Press Secretary Tony Snow, "Don't point your finger at me," and Snow accusing the newsman of being "rude" and delivering Democratic talking points....
Snow got into a tussle with Gregory after the NBC journalist told him, in a lengthy remark, that the public may wonder why the president's statement and report today on the war on terror did not admit more failings on the administration's part. Snow observed that he had nicely summarized "the Democratic point of view," and Gregory took exception to this.
I am beginning a new, perhaps very temporary, column as a much-needed stress-reliever from my usually ponderous research papers. Lately, I began noticing that the Associated Press is posting many articles with broken or incomplete sentences and poor grammar. After noticing Time Magazine’s April cover entitled “Drop-Out Nation,” regarding the 30% national high school dropout rate, I wondered what happened to all those undereducated victims of our socialist education system. Did they all get hired by AP? So I decided to begin posting their bloopers a la Eats Shoots & Leaves. (Please feel free to join in with your own explanation of what AP meant to say.)
Another "sockpuppet" scandal has caught up with a member of the media. A sockpuppet is a fake name used on blogs to misrepresent yourself. Lee Siegel, who runs the Culture blog at The New Republic's website, could no longer take blog comments trashing his work. In one post criticizing comedian John Stewart, his "sprezzatura" username responded to reader comments:
"Siegel is brave, brilliant and wittier than Stewart will ever be. Take that, you bunch of immature, abusive sheep."
Franklin Foer, the New Republic’s editor, said in an interview that he first became aware of the accusations against Mr. Siegel on Thursday afternoon, after a colleague noticed a comment in the Talkback section of Mr. Siegel’s blog that accused him of using the alias “sprezzatura” to defend his articles and assail his critics.
That comment, posted by a reader named “jhschwartz” on Aug. 27, said that “sprezzatura appears only to weigh in on TNR forums to admonish and taunt posters who dislike Lee Siegel” before concluding, “I would say with 99% confidence that ‘sprezzatura’ is a Siegel alias.”
In a serious indicator of approaching liberal bias on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Howard Kurtz noted yesterday:
The revamped program has just hired its own historian, author Douglas Brinkley, and has taped outside contributors delivering 20 possible commentaries for its new "Free Speech" segment (including a couple by Washington Post op-ed columnist Eugene Robinson).
“Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources' reliability,” the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) advises its members.
That’s not how USA Today reporter Stephanie Armour’s September 5 story on “living with the minimum wage” appeared in the paper. The full-page story and photo essay told how
hard it is to live on a paycheck close to Florida’s minimum wage of $6.40 an hour. It
left out that the star of the piece – depicted simply as a “low wage” worker
who makes $6.55 an hour – was an activist for a group that advocates a wage
The very first line of Patrick Buchanan's official MSNBC bio describes him as a conservative. Fair enough. But is MSNBC as forthcoming about the political leanings of its liberal analysts? I was watching 'The Most' this afternoon when the hitherto unknown-to-me Juliette Kayyem appeared to give her assessment of a national security speech that Pres. Bush gave today before an association of military officers.
Host Alison Stewart introduced Kayyem simply as an "MSNBC terrorism analyst" who had "taken time out" from her Harvard Kennedy School teaching duties to appear.
I was struck by the relentlessly negative tone of Kayyem's comments. For example, Stewart's first question was: "The president continued to talk about us being a nation at war. Is war the right term, and who would the war be against?"
Apparently Jack Cafferty's colleagues, ostensibly knowledgeful business reporters, like Jack's kooky conspiracy idea that Big Oil is driving down gas prices in time to engender good will for the GOP:
Maybe it could be called “The Conspiracy Hour with Jack Cafferty.” On the September 2 “In the Money,” the program’s host recycled his theory that gas prices are dropping because of scheming oil companies.
“You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away,” Cafferty suggested just a few days earlier on the August 30 “Situation Room.”
Last July a prankster in Maine rolled a severed, frozen pig's head through the doors of a storefront turned Muslim Mosque in the town of Lewiston. on Sept. 5th, The New York Times decided that this incident is an example of "simmering tensions in this overwhelmingly white, working-class city"-- they helpfully let us know that the census claims that "Maine is 96 percent white" -- over the changing ethnic flavor of the city.
Apparently, Lewiston is a hotbed of racism as far as the Times is concerned.
Naturally, there is not a single mention of just WHY people might be suspicious of Muslims in this day and age. The Times, though, feels it solely a racism without cause that forced Men to flee in fear and a child to feint. There was lots of fleeing and fainting. It was so bad that...
As noted by Mark Finkelstein, CBS’s "Early Show" on Tuesday dedicated two segments, one in the 7:30 half hour and the other in the 8:00 half hour, to promote tonight’s debut of Katie Couric as the new anchor of "The CBS Evening News." Given that Couric is employed by CBS and had been in competition with the "Early Show" from 1999 when CBS renamed it’s morning news broadcast until her departure from NBC’s "Today Show" earlier this year, shouldn’t Couric at least know the name of the program on which she was appearing? Apparently she does not.
According to TVnewser.com, in behind the scenes video released by AOL, Couric refers to the "Early Show" as "CBS This Morning," the former name of the show (video available here). During the interview, Couric told "Early Show" co-host Harry Smith that she hoped viewers would find her broadcast “instructive” and spun the low ratings of the “CBS Evening News” as something positive:
RadarOnline.com is reporting that Mary Mapes, the driving force behind what became CBS News's Memogate scandal, has reunited with her old pal Dan Rather. (Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg in the Corner.)
From the Radar item:
Good news, phony document fans! The team that gave you Memogate is back in action.
Former CBS News producer Mary Mapes has rejoined her old running partner Dan Rather at Mark Cuban's HDNet channel. Rather, 74, is starting all over at hi-def cable network with a weekly one-hour show that will translate the day's events into awkwardly-worded homespun similes. It debuts in October...
The many failures of the anti-gun movement has caused it to turn to other means of pushing its agenda, including the creation of sock puppet "moderate" gun groups. The strategy is nothing new among left-leaning groups who have historically tried to pass themselves off as "moderate." But a liberal pseudo-moderation ploy can never work without a media component; this case is no different as Cam Edwards (HT: Glenn Reynolds) notes:
When is an anti-gunner a pro-gun advocate? The obvious answer is never,
but that’s too simple a response. The actual answer is “any time a
member of the media wants to portray the anti-gunner in a pro-gun
light”. Take, for example, a new article in The New Republic entitled
“Gun Crazy: The Revolt Against the NRA” by Michael Blanding. Blanding,
a freelance writer from Boston, profiles the group calling itself
American Hunters and Shooters Association. AHSA bills itself as a
“moderate alternative to the NRA”, but in reality it’s an organization
founded by leaders in the anti-gun movement who have strong ties to the
Blanding’s article calls John Rosenthal, the
president of AHSA’s foundation, a “Boston real estate developer who
served a stint on the board of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
Violence.” But the article also quotes Rosenthal as saying he left the
Brady Campaign because of the organization’s “extreme anti-gun stance”.
Blanding leaves out any mention of the fact that Rosenthal created, and
still runs, the Massachusetts-based outfit known as Stop Handgun
Violence. Despite the fact that Blanding is from Boston, I was willing
to give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps Rosenthal didn’t
volunteer that information and Blanding simply didn’t do his research.
Then I found an article in Boston Magazine from February 2006 entitled
“Straight Shooter”. It’s a glowing profile of John Rosenthal, complete
with many mentions of his work with Stop Handgun Violence, and Michael
Blanding wrote it.
First it was "asian men" behind the plot to blow up British airlines headed for America, now it seems "men under the age of 30"
were plotting terrorist attacks in Denmark, at least according to the
BBC where informing readers of the religious identity of fanatical
Muslims seems to be taboo.
Danish police have arrested nine suspected terrorists, the country's security intelligence service says.
The suspects, believed to be all men under the age of 30, were picked up during overnight raids in Odense, Denmark's third largest city.
The country's Justice Minister, Lene Espersen, said it was likely they were planning an attack in Denmark.
According to less-timid news sources, the men arrested were Islamic fundamentalists.
The BBC knows this as that information is public domain. It could
easily have been included in the article linked above when it was
written or updated subsequently. I guess it's about the public's right
not to know. (Hat tip: LGF.)
Ever since the "controversy" was ignited by Bush enemies like Joseph Wilson three years ago, The New York Times has run almost 40 front-page stories on the leak of the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame (Wilson's wife) to Robert Novak. But now that the prime anti-Bush angle has fizzled out, the Times has been notably reluctant to return to the scene of the non-crime.
On this morning’s Today show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews set the table for a Republican defeat this November declaring the GOP will have to resort to "fear tactics." Also NBC’s medical correspondent took a quick slap at the administration during a piece on the health of Ground Zero workers.
First up, during a preview of the midterm elections Today host Matt Lauer and Matthews discussed what kind of strategy the Republicans would employ.
Lauer: "Let's talk strategy. You're a Republican member of Congress right now, you're running for reelection. You have two choices basically. Stand by the President and his policies or keep an arm's length. What do you do and what's gonna work?"
Columnist Mark Steyn writes that although two Fox News journalists were forced to "convert" to Islam, the rest of the media have already pledged a loyalty to Allah.
Did you see that video of the two Fox journalists announcing they had converted to Islam? The larger problem, it seems to me, is that much of the rest of the Western media have also converted to Islam and there seems to be no way to get them to convert back to journalism.
Consider, for example, the bizarre behavior of Reuters, the once globally respected news agency now reduced to putting out laughably inept terrorist propaganda. A few days ago, it made a big hoo-ha about the Israelis intentionally firing a missile at its press vehicle and wounding its cameraman Fadel Shana. Mr. Shana was posed in an artful sprawl in a blood-spattered shirt. But it had ridden up revealing his spotlessly white undershirt, like a summer-stock Julius Caesar revealing the boxers under his toga.