We expect our political pundits to be masters of campaign history, but that isn't always the case. On The Early Show on CBS this morning, newly arrived political correspondent/analyst Jeff Greenfield ended his story on the Democratic debate by telling co-host Harry Smith, "this was, by far, the earliest presidential debate in the history of our political system. You want to know how early? A child conceived last night would be a month old before the people of South Carolina got to vote in their primary."
You don't have to know ancient history to know Greenfield's wrong. In the last election cycle, Democrats held a very early debate in South Carolina just like this one -- on Saturday, May 3, about a week after this one on the calendar. Greenfield analyzed it for CNN on the May 5, 2003 American Morning:
Rosie O'Donnell is photographed through a closed window as she is driven from the ABC television studios after the taping of 'The View,' Wednesday, April 25, 2007, in New York. O'Donnell announced at the show's start that she would be leaving.
Matt Sheffield is in Philly today at Heritage's Resource Bank. As such the usual Friday Open Thread joke is taking a holiday. Maybe in the future, should I have the pleasure of meeting some of our loyal NB readers in person at a happy hour, I can give you my killer standup routine. It always leaves the crickets chirping in delirious glee.
Anyway, use this thread to pontificate and bloviate, or to audition to become a future NB blogger (by writing a pithy, relevant take on an instance of media bias). If it's the latter, follow our style guide and shoot me a private message with the link to remind me to check it out.
One more thing. Heritage Foundation sponsors one-day "boot camps" in "Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting." They have five more scheduled in 2007 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It's a great resource for current and aspiring bloggers and online journalists, and best of all, it's free of charge.
Since the VT shootings in Blacksburg, Virginia, we have seen all manner of wild-eyed, anti-gunners come out of the woodwork to cynically use this crime as a chance to beat their gun grabbing drums. But, proposing that we send government Stormtroopers to smash down the doors of every home with a gun in it to confiscate their Constitutionally legal firearms is a step I haven't seen in a purportedly responsible newspaper. That is, until the Toledo Blade published a proposal for taking away our right to self-protection that included "Special squads of police" with unlimited powers to confiscate all guns. A hit squad that would traipse about the country invading homes at will and accosting peaceful citizens everywhere.
The author of this tyrannical proposal is Dan Simpson, who is described as "a retired Ambassador" and a "member of the editorial boards of The Blade and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. " He is a former US Ambassador to various African states... which can easily be read to mean one who thinks government knows best, darn the citizen's rights, apparently.
The mini-scandal got buried by the Imus flap, but a few weeks ago CBS fired a Couric producer for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The offending item was the vlog script she wrote for Couric's April 4 "Notebook," wherein Couric waxed nostalgic for childhood and worried that today's kids aren't as enamored with the public library as she was.
I was reminded of Katie's ghostwritten blog when I saw the April 26 edition of "Dilbert." In it, Dilbert's buffoonish pointy-haired boss announced to his long-suffering secretary that he was starting his own blog. Of course, he expected her to write it up herself by noon, cooing that he "can't wait to see what I'm thinking."
Assume for a moment that you were the frontrunner for the Democrat presidential nomination in 2008, and that one of your competitors had recently created a bit of a brouhaha for having hired a couple of liberal bloggers with "tainted" records.
Would you want to post an article at a website that got itself in some trouble of its own last year when it featured an offensive, Photoshopped picture of Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Connecticut) in blackface?
Well, on Tuesday, Hillary Clinton (D-NY) posted an article at Firedoglake, the very website guilty of publishing the offensive picture of Lieberman as reported by NewsBusters.
The Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers reported that some Democrats are quite concerned this decision could come back to haunt the junior senator from New York (h/t Glenn Reynolds and Beltway Blogroll):
Do you remember that Washington Post guy who somehow managed to wiggle himself into the Scooter Libby trial? Well it looks as though someone from NBC has managed to sneak himself into another high-profile trial:
The murder trial of famed record
producer Phil Spector is set to open this Wednesday in a downtown Los
Angeles courtroom. The legendary rock and roll music producer is
charged with killing actress Lana Clarkston at his Alhambra mansion
February 3rd 2003.
presiding Judge, Larry Paul Fidler, has agreed that cameras will be
allowed in the courtroom and the trial will be televised. Judge Fidler
said that he believed it was time to be able move on from the OJ
Simpson murder trial. "We have to get by that case," he said. "There's
going to come a timethat it will be commonplace to televise trials. If
it had not been for Simpson, we'd be there now," Fidler concluded.
I would never suggest that the presidential campaign isn't Page One material, but it's not exactly a compelling news story when the summary of a Democratic debate (in today's WashPost) is "Candidates Unite In Criticizing Bush." How is that notably different than any other day of the Bush presidency? Readers ought to see in this an undercurrent of It's-Our-Party politeness, as in "we wouldn't want any of our plausible contenders to be nicked up this early."
But the real puffery came in David Broder's "analysis" on page A6, headlined "Democratic Hopefuls Show Political Heft." These were no eight "dwarves," but a bevy of better-than-Bush giants: "the overall impression from the first formal debate from this early-starting campaign is that the Democrats have a field of contenders that, by any historical measure, matches in quality any the party has offered in decades."
Putting aside the obvious question ("Why are you an LA Times reader?") for the moment -- Apparently you'll get closer to the truth of what's happening in Iraq by reading a Times columnist than you will by reading reports from Times reporters actually assigned to deliver that information.
An Iraq success story Once-violent Ramadi, which now enjoys relative calm, shows that Iraqis can achieve peace -- with our help. April 24, 2007
'A FEW WEEKS ago you couldn't drive down this street without being attacked. When I went down this street in February, I was hit three times with small-arms fire and IEDs." Col. John Charlton was describing Ramadi as we drove down its heavily damaged main street, dubbed Route Michigan by U.S. forces. Even though this was an unlucky day — Friday the 13th (of April) — we did not experience a single attack on our convoy of Humvees.
Over at The Hillary Spot on NRO, a great spot for keeping up with the presidential campaign, Jim Geraghty found that Chris Matthews wasn't exactly playing "Hardball" before the Democratic debate. But he did imply that Bush was a little racist because he was faster to arrive on the scene at Virginia Tech than in New Orleans after Katrina. (Question to Chris: Do you think no blacks were gunned down at Virginia Tech?) Geraghty thought Matthews sounded like a DNC press aide:
Chris Matthews' first question to Elizabeth Edwards on Hardball: "What's the difference between having a Democratic President and a Republican President?"
Somali-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali immigrated to the US from Holland in 2006 after her controversial views of Islam (she called it “backwards”) resulted in serious death threats and the eventual murder of a friend. An April 24 Reuters article by Alexandra Hudson (picked up by the Washington Post website) stressed the theme that the Muslim women of Holland were relieved that she left for America. It also engaged in a slick game of “blame-the-victim” and minimized the agonizing childhood violence she experienced by describing her flight from “an arranged marriage and abusive family who had her circumcised as a child.”
“Circumcised.” It may sound similar to male circumcision, but it is not. A more appropriate term is “female genital mutilation” or FGM. “Female circumcision” is what the practitioners call it. Reuters didn’t go into the details of this “circumcision,” but Hirsi Ali did in her most recent book, “Infidel.” Aussie newspaper, the Australian, excerpts the portion that describes what the local “expert,” who was likely a blacksmith, did to her with no anesthetic or disinfectant at the request of her own grandmother (emphasis mine throughout)[editor's note: graphic descriptions ahead]:
While scientists in Great Britain try to get the documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle” edited to fit their agenda as reported by NewsBusters, Swedish television will air the unedited program Friday.
With American media falling all over themselves in unbridled adoration for soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore while they generate totally unwarranted hysteria over climate change, it seems impossible to imagine a televised documentary debunking the junk science surrounding this issue.
Web use has become such a widespread phenomenon that for next year's presidential election, Yahoo is set to host the first-ever online presidential debate.
Unfortunately, all of the web media sources it's chosen to partner up with are liberal leaning. David All explains:
When mega-giant Yahoo! decides to play in the political sandbox, I’m going to pay attention. Yahoo! is currently ranked number one in Alexa.org’s Top 500.
So when it was reported this week that Yahoo! had partnered with Slate, Huffington Post, and PBS's Charlie Rose to host the first-ever online Presidential debate, as a conservative Republican, I immediately felt a curling in my stomach [...]
For a crowd that was very insistent
that America "move on" from the issues surrounding the
impeachment of Bill Clinton, you'd think the far left would give it a
rest when it comes to the subject of the lead-up to the Iraq war. It
doesn't take much digging to conclude that whatever false
intelligence the Bushies believed, the Clintonites did as well--as
did the rest of the western world.
But the left, especially the loony
left, is like a bulldog once it gets an idea into its head. The
latest variant of this intellectual virus is that not only did
President Bush "lie us into Iraq," the American press
enabled, both willingly and unwillingly, his "lies." The
argument is nonsensical, especially the part about how hard-core
liberals like Pinch Sulzberger (and his newspaper which hasn't
endorsed a Republican since Eisenhower) would actually advocate for a
war launched by a Republican.
Aside from its factual erroneousness,
however, there is another big problem with this argument being made
by the media left: it flatly contradicts what they say about the
press when it comes to the media's gross lack of ideological
ABC's Jake Tapper concluded his Thursday World News story, on the House and Senate Iraq funding bills which include timetables for the withdrawal of troops, by adding a gratuitous zinger about President Bush's much-derided “Mission Accomplished” speech. Noting how Democrats intend to send their final conference bill to the President on Tuesday, for an expected veto, Tapper helpfully pointed out how that “just so happens to be the fourth anniversary of the President's 'Mission Accomplished' photo-op aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.” Tapper then bore in, asserting, “of course” that “would be an uncomfortable reminder of everything in Iraq that remains unaccomplished.” War supporters would see it as a reminder of how the Democratic effort to show they support the troops remains unaccomplished.
Tapper's spin matched the second paragraph of a story, by Jonathan Weisman, on the front page of Thursday's Washington Post: “Democrats hope to send the measure to the White House on Monday, almost exactly four years after President Bush declared an end to major combat in a speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. That would be a particularly pungent political anniversary for Bush to deliver only the second veto of his presidency.”
“Exclusive” hype. Three weeks and three days after ABC's World News led with an "exclusive" about how Iran could have a nuclear weapon in two years, the CBS Evening News on Thursday led with an “exclusive” about how Iran could have a nuclear weapon in three years. Will NBC soon tout an “exclusive” about Iran getting a nuclear weapon in four years?
Katie Couric announced at the top of Thursday's newscast, “Tonight, a CBS News exclusive: U.S. intelligence now believes the Iranians may be within just three years of building their first nuclear weapon.” David Martin reported the subsequent story. Back on April 2, ABC anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted “an alarming acceleration of Iran's nuclear program. Iran could have material for a bomb in two years. A Brian Ross exclusive.” Ross soon explained how “in the last three months Iran has more than tripled its ability to produce enriched uranium -- meaning, according to weapons experts, that it could have enough material for a nuclear bomb within two years...” (April 3 NewsBusters item)
Sports fans checking the box scores this morning got a lesson in "transsexualism" when they opened the LA Times. Mike Penner, one of the paper's sports writers, announced in his column he is taking a few weeks off. When he returns he’ll be known as Christine Daniels.
The column detailed Penner's 40-year struggle with “transsexualism.” He said that “extensive therapy and testing” show that his brain was “wired female.” He defended the “medical condition” as “widely misunderstood” and a “natural occurrence.”
As part of his tour of public-broadcasting publicity spots, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers appeared Wednesday morning on radical-left Pacifica Radio’s "Democracy Now" program with Amy Goodman, a show Moyers celebrated at a radical "media reform" conference in January by suggesting he had a private "fantasy" about Goodman, that every PBS station would put her on their air. They referred to him as "legendary." Goodman played large chunks of the Moyers PBS special "Buying the War" in advance, and Moyers uncorked a series of left-wing howlers for her.
The mainstream media were cheerleaders for Bush. "Pro-war pundits" need to be banned from TV, put in a "penalty box." Implausibly, he claimed his documentary "talks to people on all sides of the story." Jon Stewart is the "Mark Twain of our day." Dan Rather is an "honest man" but at CBS, he was a "good man caught in a rigged system," contained by corporate owners at Viacom who voted Republican. And, weirdest of all, Moyers claims he and PBS "serve a sort of centrist role," and PBS needs to break free of control from Congress. Let’s take the Moyers claims one at a time.
A troubled newspaper industry is beset with a raging journalistic debate around using the Internet to bolster the bottom line for the nation's broadsheets.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Faced with declining circulation, many U.S.
newspapers are trying to engage readers by allowing them to respond to
news stories online. But the anonymity of the Internet lets readers
post obscenities and racist hate speech that would never be allowed in
the printed paper.
LaShawn Barber lays out her thoughts in an April 26 post to her eponymous blog, suggesting that newspapers are misguided to attempt to co-opt the blog format. Rather than allowing anonymous comments that can encourage trolls that cheapen honest debate and discussion, Barber suggests another strength of the blogosphere that is easily adaptable to newspapers' online versions.: