The immigration bill crafted by U.S. senators and White House negotiators behind closed doors may have been Topic A on talk radio over the past few weeks, but after heavy positive coverage of the “landmark” deal on May 17 and 18, ABC, CBS and NBC provided surprisingly little airtime to the hot debate.
MRC’s Matt Balan and I examined the broadcast networks' morning and evening news coverage from May 17 through June 8. We found just 73 stories (36 full reports and 37 brief items) totaling 104 minutes, or one percent of available airtime.
Nearly half the coverage (45%) aired May 17-18 as the deal was introduced, after which the issue virtually disappeared. The CBS Evening News, for example, ran no stories from May 22 until June 7, when Katie Couric read a brief item on the bill's imminent failure.
Michael Moore has teamed up with former Al Gore lawyer David Boies to defend himself from a Treasury Department investigation into a trip he took to Cuba for a movie. The trip was not authorized by the U.S. government and Moore seems to think that despite this, he should be let off the hook since he's obviously being investigated for political reasons:
Michael Moore's attorney said
Monday that the filmmaker's criticism of the Bush administration may
have prompted a federal investigation into his trip to Cuba for the
upcoming health-care documentary, "Sicko."
Appearing on the Monday edition of MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," former CBS anchor Dan Rather slammed the war in Iraq as a "strategic catastrophe of historic proportions." Talking via phone with host Joe Scarborough, the veteran journalist freely advocated the Moveon.org position, calling for a "a strategic withdrawal from Iraq."
The Times' new Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, started work early and showed a bit more initiative than his predecessor Barney Calame in mildly criticizing the Times' decision to underplay the terror threat at Kennedy International Airport, though he agreed with Times editors that the plot wasn't a credible threat.
Mireya Navarro of The New York Times took 32 paragraphs in her June 10 Fashion & Style section article to tell you what I'm about to in one sentence. (h/t Clay Waters of NB sister publication TimesWatch)
Liberal Hollywood doesn't feature women having abortions in TV and movies very often because it's bad to alienate a sizable chunk, if not an outright majority, of your audience who are pro-life.
Of course, you can't fault Hollywood for being pro-choice where it counts to them most. Choosing plotlines and conventional stories that boost the bottom line. That is, unless you're an artiste who is forever battling the crass capitalistic forces of banality, like say, Christopher Keyser. You know, the cinematic Michelangelo that gave us the late-1990s Fox drama 'Party of Five.' Navarro thought it important that we hear from him and other liberals in the industry who lament this one area where Hollywood remains mostly conservative, if only because they feel the heat rather than see the light.
The May 14 issue of Newsweek proclaimed that some descendants of famous Republicans--Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Barry Goldwater--are thinking about changing parties and voting Blue. In an article titled, “Generational Tensions: Thesons and daughters of some iconic Republicans (Ike! T.R.!) are contemplating crossing the aisle,” reporter Michael Hirsch set up the improbable idea that the logical move by unhappy "fiscally conservative" Republicans is to the Democratic Party. According to Ike's granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, “moderate ‘Eisenhower Republicans’ “ are not content, but Newsweek did not fully explore the illogic of this proposed alternative (emphasis mine throughout):
Increasingly, however, she says that the partisanship and free spending of the Bush presidency—and the takeover of the party by single-issue voters, especially pro-lifers—is driving these pragmatic, fiscally conservative voters out of the GOP.
Debatably, the dissatisfaction of moderate Republicans with the Iraq war and with what the article categorized as religiously influenced issues surrounding topics like Terri Schiavo, abortion and homosexuality can be answered by the Democratic Party, but not the problems of bloated bureaucracies and out of control spending. The article did not state the obvious; a Big Government GOP is still smaller than the modern Democratic Party.
There's nothing like a Republican turning on his President to get liberal reporters tongues wagging. On this morning's Today, co-host Meredith Vieira along with Tim Russert and Andrea Mitchell repeatedly whacked President Bush over the head with Colin Powell's criticism from his Meet the Press appearance.
In the 7am half-hour of the program, the Vieira first teased the segment this way:
Vieira: "President Bush's former Secretary of State Colin Powell is speaking out for the first time in a long time and his former boss cannot be happy about what he is saying."
Then Mitchell opened her report with Powell's laundry-list of complaints:
Matthew Balan showed me that The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that a woman "who considers herself an advocate for issues affecting women and families" is all about declaring that Philadelphia is officially a city where women can safely "terminate" pregnancies and insure they don't create a family. Couldn't they just call her a liberal, or an abortion advocate? Patrick Kerkstra reported the vote was nine to eight:
Already this year, more than 50 resolutions have sailed through City Council, including those that honored Miss Philadelphia, chastised Don Imus, and designated "Safe Kids Week." With rare exception, these purely symbolic gestures are approved by unanimous voice vote.
Earlier today, Mark Finkelstein found that NBC thought the reaction to President Bush in eastern Europe was "over the top," which suggests their own dismissive judgment of his worth. "Over the top" was not a designation NBC used when President Clinton was hailed by large, adulatory crowds in eastern Europe. On June 22, 1999, as Brent Baker noted at the time, the NBC Nightly News featured the late reporter David Bloom touting how Clinton was greeted as a "liberator" – unlike President Bush?
BLOOM: In a refugee camp filled with mud and misery, but also today, hope, President Clinton, with his wife and daughter, walked hand-in-hand with children who escaped Kosovo's hell, but who cannot escape their own nightmares. 'The children,' Mr. Clinton says, 'have a glazed-over look in their eyes, full of hurt and terror and loss.' This woman tells the president, "My little boy has seen people killed. He's still afraid." But with the war over, these refugees, many still afraid to go home, fearing the unknown, greet the president like a liberator.
Can you remember the last time you heard "Today" or other MSM outlets describe, in terms such as "over the top," rabid anti-Bush protests by the likes of the Cindy Sheehan crowd, the Code Pink girls, or the folks pictured below ? Neither can I. Conversely, when Bill Clinton receives enthusiastic receptions overseas, the MSM breaks out the "rock-star" analogies, with no sarcasm in sight.
But let President Bush receive a warm welcome from Eastern European crowds who appreciate his leadership on behalf of their freedom, and "Today" just can't take it.
On this morning's "Today" at 7:04 am EDT, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reported from Bulgaria on the president's European trip, in which crowds in Bulgaria and notably in Albania greeted him very enthusiastically.
NBC CORRESPONDENT KELLY O'DONNELL: We've seen the president get a warm, sometimes over-the-top reaction here in Eastern Europewhere countries send troops to Iraq and also generally back the president. So he may not be all that anxious to get back to Washington."
In his latest culture column, Brent Bozell decried the Second Circuit's ruling in favor of the networks that celebrity-dropped F-bombs on Fox awards shows (if you can still call Cher and Nicole Richie celebrities) should not be fined for indecency:
The federal judges who ruled against the FCC suggested the agency’s rulings were “arbitrary and capricious.” But is there anything more arbitrary and capricious than an egotistical celebrity dropping the F-bomb on national TV? Or the network refusing to administer a tiny delay?
Pardon me if I can’t imagine Thomas Jefferson & Co. pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor for the valiant cause of transmitting the potty mouths of washed-up pop singers and spoiled-rotten mall princesses into millions of American households. Why the hurrahs? It’s a bit like cheering dog owners who never clean up their pet’s droppings on other people’s lawns.
I was wondering when the New Republic Magazine began to delve into comedy? I guess it's all the rage with the comedic stylings of Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and John Kerry, but I had always thought the New Republic fashioned itself a magazine of "serious" political commentary. After reading a fawning, nay slobberingly sycophantic, assessment of the career of David Gregory, NBC News' White House correspondent, I have my doubts about TNR’s claims to serious analysis. The title even seems a stab at humor, or at least wild hyperbole, as they absurdly seem to think that Gregory "Saved the Press Corps". (Registration required for the New Republic)
I mean, this thing might have been written by the best The Simpsons writers or the inventive crew from the joke-shop operated by that red-headed rake, Conan O'Brien.
Sadly, I believe the magazine published this in all seriousness. I mean, imagine? They truly are positing that this ill tempered, easily provoked, admittedly "showboating", loudmouth of a reporter is something to admire and emulate!
Alexander Cockburn is certainly on a mission, albeit one that is shocking the folks at The Nation are tolerating.
After all, in his current article posted at both The Nation and Counterpunch, Cockburn indirectly castigated his own readers as he accused the left of having “been swept along, entranced by the allure of weather as revolutionary agent, naïvely conceiving of global warming as a crisis that will force radical social changes on capitalism by the weight of the global emergency.”
Powerful stuff to publish in one of the most liberal magazines in the country, wouldn’t you agree?
Strap your seatbelts tightly, for Cockburn was hunting alarmists, and came loaded for bear (emphasis added throughout):
NewsBusters readers, meet our second fabulous fifteen-year-old, Miss Lizzie Palmer.
For those that missed it, Chris Wallace aired an absolutely astounding military tribute video (available here) at the end of today’s “Fox News Sunday” that should be required viewing for all Americans.
At its conclusion, Wallace stated the following:
Lizzie Palmer said she put the video on YouTube as her way of honoring the troops. And after graduating from high school, she plans to join the army herself.
Forget the banter about Paris Hilton among the panelists on last evening's Fox News Watch. A deadly-serious matter later arose. Conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton flatly alleged that to promote multiculturalism and allay Americans' concerns about immigration, the MSM and the Department of Homeland Security spiked a story about a terrorist dry run by 12 Syrians.
Are you sick and tired of Paris Hilton and all the attention given to this wealthy debutant when there are so many more important issues facing the nation?
Well, if so, you’re in good company, for in a commencement address at Williams College last Sunday, CBS “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric accurately stated that this “fluff…can rot your mind and distort your values.”
Yet, just four days later, Couric actually gave more airtime to Paris Hilton’s brief departure from jail than every other story that evening with the exception of the opening piece about growing tensions between Russian President Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush and the final segment dealing with a retirement home for champion racehorses.
To set this up, here is the relevant text from Couric’s commencement speech: