In what will surely be one of the largest ever, if not the largest, in-kind contributions to a presidential campaign if Al Gore decides to run, NBC Universal announced late last week that its networks will devote an incredible 75 hours of time on Saturday, July 7 to showing Gore's “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis.”
In addition to the entirety of NBC's prime time that night hosted by Ann Curry of NBC News, CNBC will carry seven hours of coverage from 7pm to 2am EDT; Bravo will show the concerts around the world for 18 hours starting at 8am EDT; and both the Sundance channel and the Universal HD channel will showcase the concerts for 22 hours each beginning at 4am EDT.
Rounding out the 75 hours, mun2 will run a two-hour show at 5pm EDT and Telemundo will air a one-hour special at 7pm EDT. And that's not counting how NBC's press release touted that “MSNBC will broadcast special coverage of this global concert event throughout the day with live reports from the concerts in New York and London.”
No journalists in the last thirty years have built more of a legend than the old Washington Post pairing of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. As the Watergate wrecking crew that put Richard Nixon in the scrap yard, they are America’s most venerated “icons” of investigative reporting.
But since that event, the paths of Woodward and Bernstein have separated dramatically. Woodward is still considered the top-dog journalist in Washington, a titan no president can ignore if he cares about his historical legacy, or his short-term political standing. By contrast, Bernstein has bounced around to cushy media jobs, at ABC, and at Time magazine, rarely distinguishing himself, with a mere fraction of Woodward’s celebrity aura.
Publicly, American media elites often deny that they attempt to influence the national agenda. They're professionals, so the story goes, and completely capable of not letting their personal viewpoints intrude accidentally into their stories. It's laughable given the mountain of evidence to the contrary and the fact that journalists support affirmative action on the grounds that white reporters can't cover minority issues as fairly.
Every so often, however, you hear journalists privately say the complete opposite--that not only do they have the ability to influence news, they also choose to influence it. Such statements are usually more common among the non-American press where the sham of "objectivity" is not perpetrated on the public.
With that in mind, I was still quite surprised to see the following statements said at a panel discussion in Israel on the influence that country's media has had on its foreign policy:
Former CBS host Bryant Gumbel, who was once infamously caught on camera calling a conservative activist a "f***ing idiot," defended and reaffirmed his comment while guest hosting on Tuesday’s "Live With Regis and Kelly." Discussing the possibility of inadvertently swearing on live television, Gumbel told co-host Kelly Ripa that he "was correct" when he used the F-word in reference to Robert Knight, then with the Family Research Council.
While explaining the 2000 event, Gumbel did announce that it was "wrong" to use profanity on the air, but added that he found Knight’s assertion, that gays should not be allowed in the Boy Scouts, "infuriating." He also derided Mr. Knight, now the director of MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) saying, "I'm going to kindly describe him as a gentleman."
Video of the Gumbel’s original on-air vulgarity can be found here. Video of the June 5 "Regis and Kelly" can be found here: Video: Real (942 KB) or Windows (1 MB) plus MP3 (164 KB) [Warning: Discussion of the profanity follows]
For the second time in four days – oddly occurring coincident with a G-8 summit being held in Germany to address climate change – a major news organization has published an article extolling the benefits of global warming.
In fact, Reuters not only followed the Associated Press’ lead as reported by NewsBusters Monday, but did them one better.
In a piece entitled “Global Warming May Be Good For Greenland,” writer Wojciech Moskwa made this stunning revelation early and often (emphasis added throughout, h/t NBer Sick-n-Tired):
Earlier this year, Democrats caved in to their left wing by canceling a debate hosted by FNC on the grounds that Fox wouldn't provide a fair forum for their presidential aspirants. Never mind that in 2003, the Dems eagerly and without complaint participated in a FNC-sponsored debate, the last CNN-sponsored debate had the network pulling far more strings than it should have, skewing the process in a way that it wanted.
As noted by Howard Mortman, the liberal dominated network deliberately placed the three highest-polling candidates right next to each other, thereby minimizing the exposure the "lesser" candidates received. Moderator Wolf Blitzer also took more time for himself than every candidate except Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
As Drudge noted last night, a book review in today's New York Times by author-professor Robert Dallek trashed "Her Way," the new autobiography of Hillary Clinton by two of the paper's long-time reporters, investigative reporter Don Van Natta Jr., and Jeff Gerth, who worked at the Times for over 25 years.
Dallek's is a common name in the Rolodex of Times political reporters looking for a critic of Republican presidents past and present, and as shown by his negative review of "Her Way," he can also be relied on to defend Democrats. That's something Times' book editors surely suspected when they approached Dallek with the assignment in the first place, suggesting that in this case ideological loyalty to the liberal Hillary trumped the paper's corporate loyalty to its long-time reporters.
Earlier this morning on the Fox News Channel, MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell talked to the gang at "Fox & Friends" about the poor ratings at the "CBS Evening News" since Katie Couric took the helm. VideoReal (2.5 MB) or Windows (2 MB) plus MP3 (1 mb)
STEVE DOOCY, co-host: Katie Couric, who makes a lot of money, is just about 15 blocks from here. Her ratings have never been lower. What's going on?
BRENT BOZELL: Well, I mean, I wasn't Nostradamus when I said, as said others when she got the job, that she was going to fail. It's the wrong match. She's the queen, the master of morning talk shows with, because of her perky personality and the pop culture format. You put her on the "Evening News" where there's gravitas that is necessary. It's got to be far more serious. There wasn't a match there. And we knew there wasn't a match. It was going to be one of two things. Either they were going to change the whole format of the news to fit her, or it would fail because she doesn't fit in.
Update: Links to other blogger reactions at bottom of post.
Bernard Shaw, the former CNN reporter and Washington, D.C. anchor, told WTTW Channel 11 in Chicago that he's "very, very disappointed with the way news management" at CNN "has gone," reports TVSpy.com. He further complained that Fox News Channel is "the ratings leader ... and what Fox puts on the air is not news." Fox, in Shaw's view, is "commentary, personal analysis."
"I don't want to hear an anchor's personal opinion about anything. Just report the news," said Shaw. "But CNN continues to ape many of the on-air mannerisms of the Fox News Network, and I don't like that." This doesn't match his record. More on that in a moment.
Ford's protracted sales slump continued in May, while every other major automaker showed gains:
DETROIT — Toyota Motor Corp.'s U.S. vehicle sales jumped 14.1 percent in May to its best monthly level ever and General Motors Corp.'s sales rose 9.7 percent, helping boost industry sales 5 percent, as both automakers credited in part the appeal of their more fuel-efficient offerings amid high gas prices.
For the second month this year, Toyota outsold Ford Motor Co., which saw sales fall 6.9 percent as it continued to cut low-profit sales to rental companies. Nissan Motor Co.'s sales gained 7.4 percent, DaimlerChrysler AG's sales rose 3.9 percent and American Honda Motor Co. rose 2.5 percent.
Even factoring in the change in sales to rental companies, the article goes on to say that Ford's retail sales were still down 3%.
As he did last month, George Pipas of Ford tried an advance PR stunt that fizzled, but left less-than-close observers thinking that the company might be doing better than it really is:
What's the matter with Cuba? Why is its economy a disaster, its people mired in poverty? Could it be . . . communism? Of course not. Cuba's dire straits are the fault of that hegemonistic entity just to the north of the Florida Straits. Oh, and Cuban youth could care less about being enslaved. Don't believe it? Ask Andrea Mitchell.
The NBC correspondent appeared this morning at 7:10 am EDT on a special live-from-Havana edition of "Today," anchored by Matt Lauer.
NBC CORRESPONDENT ANDREA MITCHELL: The island's infrastructure is crumbling, crippled by a U.S. trade embargo that has lasted nearly half a century.
That was the sum total of Mitchell's explanation of Cuba's economic woes. Although Cuba is free to trade with all the 180-or-so other countries in the world, she offered not a word suggesting the brutal communist dictatorship could be to blame for what Matt Lauer had earlier acknowledged is the 50-cents per day average wage. True, Mitchell was seen boldly inveighing for change to a government official . A U.S. official, that is. Interviewing Cuban-born U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Mitchell made her case for lifting the embargo.
In this June 4 article, the AP worked hard to leave out something very important but very basic in an article about Democratic US Representative William Jefferson’s 16-count bribery indictment. What the AP left out was any identification of Jefferson’s party affiliation. In almost 30 paragraphs, no where is there any hint of what party Jefferson belongs to, not even a “(D-LA).”
When a politician is in trouble and the party is not identified, it a safe bet to assume that the missing letter is a Big “D,” as in this AP piece.
How were other politicians identified? Nancy Pelosi is identified as “Pelosi, D-Calif.” John Boehner is identified as “House Republican Leader John Boehner of Ohio.” But Jefferson is not a Democrat, just “Louisiana congressman William Jefferson.” Strange how that works, huh?
Since party is usually identified in the first paragraphs, the AP had many opportunities to note that Jefferson is a Democrat and simply did not (emphasis mine):
On NPR’s new talk show "Tell Me More," Michel Martin brought her sympathies to the cause of Cindy Sheehan and her "devastating conclusion" to withdraw from the public arena (Martin made no mention on the air of her disgust with the Democratic Party). She interviewed three other "anti-war" mothers of soldiers who died in Iraq, and asked if they were disappointed by Sheehan’s decision and how conservatives have made their lives difficult: "Cindy Sheehan reports that she's paid a very high price for her activism. She said her life has been threatened. She's been called, you know, many, many derogatory names, you know, some of which I can't really repeat here. I'd like to know have you felt that you've paid a price for your activism?" Martin made no mention of the many derogatory names Sheehan used for President Bush (an "evil maniac," the "biggest terrorist") or his cause ("the cancer of Pax Americana.")
The conversation even turned to American racism, with Martin asserting "we know that minorities are disproportionately represented in the military, particularly in the Army. And yet, many of the people we've seen be most publicly active in opposing the war have not generally included minorities, and you are among the few." Mother Elaine Johnson complained that the media might be racist for focusing on Sheehan and not on her.
On Monday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann pushed the theory that the recent announcement of a terror plot involving JFK Airport was politically timed to benefit the Bush administration, as the Countdown host revisited and added to a recurring segment titled "The Nexus of Politics and Terror." Olbermann also suggested a connection to Fox News via the participation in a news conference of NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, the father of FNC correspondent Greg Kelly, and further theorized that President Bush was trying to provoke a "new Cold War" with Russia to distract attention from the current war in Iraq.
Olbermann teased the show by mocking a soundbite of U.S. attorney Roslynn Mauskopf, who referred to the danger of "unthinkable devastation" at JFK Airport if the plot were successful. The Countdown host quipped: "Yeah, well, so would me blowing up the moon with Mentos and a liter of Coca Cola." As he opened the show, Olbermann suggested that Bush was pushing missile defense to provoke "a new Cold War" with Russia. Olbermann: "Mr. Bush, meanwhile, arriving in Europe tonight for this weekend's G-8 Summit, and possibly fomenting yet another war in the process, a new Cold War with Russia, possibly to obscure the unending nightmare in Iraq, where, if the present rate continues, 140 American service personnel will have died by the first of July." (Transcript follows)
Surely you've heard the phrase "out of left field" when something is part of a discussion yet it makes no sense to be included? In this case, I have an example of leftist sentiment slamming Richard Nixon at the end of a story that has nothing to do with modern political "sides." It strikes one as quite odd to be where it is. When you see it, you'll cock your head and say, "What the heck is THAT all about"?
You know what I mean, I am sure. It's jarring when someone in the media is talking sports and then suddenly takes a jab at Bush, or when they're talking about fashion and they abruptly throw in a crack at those "evil conservatives", always when it is quite off topic. It makes you go "huh?" It makes you wonder if their hatred of the right is so ginned up in their tiny little minds that they cannot even talk about movies and sports without taking shots their political enemies -- and those enemies are us, folks.
This particular head spinning "Huh?" is in a story in the UK's Telegraph titled, "One filing cabinet held 500 years of history." This is a story that has nothing to do with politics per se, yet this UK paper can't resist a shot at an American Republican. The slam is completely gratuitous and makes no sense in context to the story.
An update to my earlier post that I figured would do just as well as a fresh item.
USA Today's "On Politics" blog, "TV Newser," and The New Republic's "The Plank" contain explanations from Joe Scarborough's people of how they believe the Friday "Morning Joe" banter between the MSNBC host and guest Craig Crawford about potential GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson's wife was taken out of context.
Noted USA Today's Mark Memmott:
A spokesman for the news network said this afternoon, though, that the
comment has been taken out of context and that it is "irresponsible" to
suggest Scarborough was employing sexual innuendo. "Works the pole"
could have been a reference to poles that some strippers use in their
acts. MSNBC says it was a reference to an exercise routine that a
growing number of women are performing.
It's been eight weeks since Time magazine redesigned itself, and part of that refurbishment is handing over the "Ten Questions" interview inquiries to the readers instead of Time's reporters. In the June 11 edition, Time's interviewee was Rep. Tom Tancredo, a presidential contender and one of the nation's leading opponents of illegal immigration. Among the questions Time selected for Tancredo was a whopper from Ubaldo Padilla of Oroville, California: "Why do you hate Mexicans?" It wasn't the only snotty question Time picked. There was also James Smith of Phoenix, who asked: "I recently found out my family came from Holland without permission in the 1600s. Should we be sent back?"
Since Time Managing Editor Richard Stengel introduced the new format in the March 26 edition, there haven't been any Democrats interviewed. But in the March 12 edition, Time's Massimo Calabresi had ten (mostly softball) questions for Ted Kennedy, one of the nation's leading advocates of an amnesty for illegal immigrants. No one at Time asked him about immigration and why he supposedly hated Americans. Instead, Calabresi's list of questions included these soft touches:
Someone at the AP must really like Stephen Colbert. A bait-and-switch June 3 article was supposedly about a new book by Afghanistan-born author Khaled Hosseini, but gave readers stealth fanboy journalism that wrote a play by play of Colbert’s shtick without discussing the book. From the reporting, the BookExpo America breakfast was more like a segment of the “Colbert Report” than a national book fair discussion. Instead of any information about the book, it was line after line of Colbert coverage, "That Stephen Colbert sure is funny, and he sure has some funny ideas about books. Just ask "The Kite Runner" author Khaled Hosseini."
Barbara Miner of the Milwaukee Journal, Sentinel has written one of the funniest anti-gun screeds I've seen in a long, long time. Oh, she didn't MEAN to be funny, of course. But, her article gave the effect of seeing a 40-year-old white guy trying to chant the lyrics to a popular rap music tune to look cool to his eye rolling kids. Her rambling little column was so filled with unintentionally funny moments, was so clueless in its lack of introspection and so completely absurd that one would have thought the link at the Milwaukee Journal, Sentinel website had accidentally taken you to the satirical website, "The Onion".
Now, I have always been somewhat confused when leftists are being unintentionally funny. Do we laugh and be mean at their utter cluelessness, or do we feel sorrow and pity instead of mirth? How should we feel, for instance, when Keith Olbermann pretends that he is giving pertinent commentary, or when Babs Streisand acts as if she is to be taken seriously... or anytime we even see Cindy Sheehan doing, well, anything. So, when I read this anti-gun piece so chock full of absurdity, I was torn as to how to feel about it.
Ah, who am I kidding? I laughed like a hyena at how foolish this liberal chick is. I mean, what planet is this woman from?