Hey, I'm a multi-culturalist. I'm happy to see people observing their various religious holidays, from Christmas to Chanukah to Ramadan. But somehow, my multicultural enthusiasms run out of steam when it comes to . . . condoning the sacking of foreign embassies.
Not Julian Phillips. The co-host of Fox & Friends Weekend blithely condoned the current rioting and burning of foreign embassies around the world by Muslims angered by depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. His explanation-by-way-of-excuse: "different religion, different culture."
In the course of the show's opening segment, Fox's Yasmina Ykelenstam reported live from Beirut, where rioters had set fire to the Danish embassy. She reported that there has been violence across the city, including at the Norwegian embassy, and cars smashed and burned. Back in the studio, Kiran Chetry reported that in Damascus, Syria, rioters had also set fire to the Danish embassy.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift leveled a parting shot at retiring Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, condemning him for putting his imprimatur on President Bush's tax cuts. On this weekend's edition of the McLaughlin Group, Clift warned: “I don't think the legacy of Alan Greenspan is finished because the bill hasn't yet come due for those tax cuts at the high end that he gave the green light to and testified on Capitol Hill that we had such a big surplus, that the surplus was worrisome. That was not based on fact. That was based on fiction." She later fretted that the “tax cuts would not have gone through if Alan Greenspan had not blessed them.” As for Greenspan's successor, Ben Bernanke, Clift damned him with feint praise: “He's not an outright ideologue, he's not a supply-sider. This appointment could have been a lot worse.”
American soldiers in Iraq crash a wedding and pump a little boy full of lead in front of his mother.
They kill dozens of innocent people with random machine gun fire, shoot the groom in the head, and drag those left alive to Abu Ghraib prison where a Jewish doctor cuts out their organs, which he sells to rich people in New York, London and Tel Aviv.
Introducing a Friday CBS Evening News story on the state of the media, part of a week-long “The State of...” series prompted by the annual State of the Union address, anchor Bob Schieffer pointed to how a CBS News/New York Times poll found that “most Americans have at least some confidence in the media, and more than two out of three [69 percent] believe the stories the media report are accurate.” As Schieffer spoke, viewers saw a graphic titled “Confidence in the media?” with “at least some” listed at 63 percent. Left unnoted: Only 15 percent said they had a “great deal” of confidence compared to 48 percent who expressed only a “fair amount” of confidence. Schieffer and CBS skipped, however, how the survey determined that twice as many believe that “compared to other Presidents, the news media have been harder on President Bush,” at 35 percent, than the 18 percent who see the media going “easier on President Bush.” The plurality, 45 percent, responded that the media are “treating President Bush the same.”
The poll conducted in late January didn't ask about ideological bias in the media, but a PDF posting of the results relayed how those on the left have more faith in the media than do those on the right: “Large majorities of Democrats and liberals (about seven in 10 of each) think the news media tells the truth all or most of the time. About half of Republicans and conservatives agree.” Specifically, asked “how much trust and confidence do you have in the news media?”, 75 percent of Democrats answered “a great deal” or a “fair amount,” compared to 52 percent for Republican respondents. And 48 percent of Republicans, but just 25 percent of Democrats, have "not very much" or "no" confidence in the news media. (Brief transcript, and another poll finding, follow.)
On Saturday's NBC Nightly News, anchor John Seigenthaler retracted and apologized for a story, which ran on December 17, 2005, accusing former President Richard Nixon of ordering his aides to target journalist Jack Anderson for murder. On the Saturday February 4 show, Seigenthaler declared: "While there were reports that Nixon aides discussed a plan to kill Anderson, there is no evidence to suggest President Nixon authorized a plan or was even aware of one. We apologize for the error."
The original story from the December 17 NBC Nightly News, filed by Seigenthaler, was inspired by the death of investigative journalist Jack Anderson, a frequent Nixon administration critic. At one point, Seigenthaler ran a clip of George Washington University Professor Mark Feldstein saying that, according to some of the Nixon tapes, Nixon was "personally obsessed" with Anderson and repeatedly told his aides to "go after him." (Complete transcripts follow.)
The mention of Sam Alito voting "Catholic ticket" on the Supreme Court reminds me that Greg Pierce summarized a new magazine article in his "Inside Politics" column in the Washington Times this week. When President Clinton appointed Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer to the Supreme Court, there obviously wasn't any concern of them voting on a "Jewish ticket." Their religion was rarely discussed -- in fact, most might be surprised at how little their nominations were discussed at the time. But Ginsburg ostentatiously displays her objection to the "outrageous" anti-abortion sermon she could hear at the Catholic "Red Mass" held ceremonially before each term of the Supreme Court:
National Public Radio's show "On The Media" continues to amaze. Last weekend (and transcripts go up in mid-week), the hosts mustered more outrage against Pope Benedict XVI and the Vatican charging copyright fees than they could against Hamas attempts to put a public-relations veneer over their terrorist war on Israel. You could see the difference in the segment titles. The Vatican segment was titled "Pricing the Word." Hamas drew a cheeky headline: "Extreme Makeover: Hamas Edition."
Co-host Garfield began the papal fuss: "[A]s of this week, if you'd like to use a portion of the encyclical or any other papal text in a book you're working on, get ready to pay up, because quoting the Pope just got pricey. The Vatican Publishing House will henceforth impose copyright fees." He interviewed Vatican reporter John Allen: "This one took me by surprise. Charging to reprint the Pope's words – where did that come from?" Allen explained this is not a big change, but Garfield persisted.
When it comes to malign intent, Ellen Ratner will be hard-pressed ever to outdo the hope she expressed in 2003 that the Iraq war go badly in order to promote Democratic political interests.
But Ratner might well have plumbed a new personal low in religious stereotyping and sheer ignorance this morning when she explained Justice Sam Alito's recent vote to stay an execution by claiming that he votes the "Catholic ticket."
Her ill-informed allegation came in the course of "The Long & the Short of It," a regular Fox & Friends Weekend feature in which she debates conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday that the unemployment rate for January fell by 0.2 percent from December, down to 4.7 percent, the lowest level since July of 2001. But viewers of ABC’s World News Tonight and CBS Evening News on Friday night heard nothing about it, though ABC had time for another full story on the “cartoon outrage” by Muslims and a full piece on an Institute for Highway Safety study on how design changes in SUVs have reduced deaths in smaller vehicles they hit. CBS managed to find time for how, as relayed by anchor Bob Schieffer, when asked about President Bush’s contention that “the Constitution gives him the authority to eavesdrop without a court order on U.S. citizens suspected of having ties to the terrorists”and that “his predecessors have used that same authority,” Bill Clinton “told CBS Radio that as far as he knows, all wiretapping done by his administration was done with the authority of court orders." Before getting to some downbeat stock numbers, NBC anchor Brian William at least devoted twenty seconds to how “job creation was solid last month” as the “unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent to 4.7, the lowest it's been since July 2001.” (Brief transcripts follow.)
Washington Post political reporter Jim VandeHei did the Post website's daily politics chat, and the most interesting thing to draw from it is that a) the Democrats want to build their strategy around the Abramoff scandal, and b) coincidentally or not, the Post reporter thinks Abramoff-gate is a "huge deal."
A questioner from New Madrid, Missouri asked:
My question, why are the Democrats not raising more of an outcry about the spying and the Abramoff scandal?
Jim VandeHei: ...I think democrats are making a big deal out of both issues. There is some hesitation about taking Bush on politically over the spying program, but not on the policy. Democrats are basically building their election strategy on the Abramoff scandal.
As Brent Bozell has written, it seems bizarre to conservatives to think Democrats are going to run against a "culture of corruption" when they have been engaged in so much of it in recent history. It may be quite a challenge for Republicans to run against the Democrats on this when the reporters want to pretend to have massive attacks of amnesia on the Clintons, and so on back through the 1990s and 1980s. But the questions got weirder. Apparently, they're hoping a mob-style murder could really make for a big national GOP scandal:
Consider two different public figures, with different backgrounds, and different organizations, and associated in the public mind with different political parties. Neither speaks for the party that the public associates them with, and both are relatively marginal public figures.
Pat Robertson is an evangelical preacher best known as the host of "The 700 Club." In 1988, he was one of the large group running for the Republican presidential nomination. He's a political conservative, associated in the public mind with the Republican party, and generally a marginal figure. The vast majority of Republicans do not consider Pat Robertson to speak for them.
Julian Bond is a former Democratic representative in Georgia and a long-time civil rights activist. He has been, for the past seven years, the chairman of the NAACP, the largest civil rights organization in the country, an organization that is overwhelmingly supportive of Democrats, an organization which virtually all Democratic public officials treat with great respect at all times.
TheNew York Times ran a story on 28 January, 2006, entitled, “Public-School Students Score Well in Math in Large-Scale Government Study.” Well, it wasn’t a “government” study. It was only paid for by a government grant. When one looks into the methodology of the study and the histories of its two researchers, the results are highly suspect.
The Times wrote:
A large-scale government-financed study has concluded that when it comes to math, students in regular public schools do as well as or significantly better than comparable students in private schools.
The study, by Christopher Lubienski and Sarah Theule Lubienski, of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, compared fourth- and eighth-grade math scores of more than 340,000 students in 13,000 regular public, charter and private schools on the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress. The 2003 test was given to 10 times more students than any previous test, giving researchers a trove of new data.
There is seemingly no business-news lemonade that The Associated Press won't try to spin into lemons.
Today's un-bylined story on new jobs and unemployment was heavily biased, even by the "standards" of The AP, which seems to have totally lost its ability to report a business news story straight. Three of the last five paragraphs excerpted read like a Democratic National Committee (DNC) press release (the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] announcement is here; bolds are mine):
WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers stepped up hiring in January, boosting payrolls by 193,000 and lowering the nation's unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, the lowest since July 2001.
..... Although the 193,000 gain in payroll jobs in January fell short of the 250,000 new jobs that economists said to anticipate before the release of the report, it still marked a sturdy showing and was the biggest increase in jobs since November.
The Tom Toles political cartoon depicting a soldier as a quadruple amputee appeared in the Washington Post on January 29. Since that day, less than a week ago, there has been a continuing drumbeat by the media defending their right to place such hurtful and denigrating political commentary in print.
Strong objections have also been registered from readers, advertisers and the general public, but it has not altered the Washington Post position. There was even a strongly worded letter from General Peter Pace, Chairman Of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the members of that body.
A day after passing off reductions in the rate of growth for entitlement spending as "cuts" which will "pinch the elderly," The Washington Post's Jonathan Weisman bemoans tax cuts which will "cost" the government $70 billion:
One day after Congress gave final approval to a contentious measure to reduce the deficit by nearly $40 billion through 2010, the Senate last night easily approved a $70 billion tax-cutting measure that would more than wipe out all those savings.
In the wake of the departure from CBS News of John Roberts to CNN, CBS News President Sean McManus on Thursday promoted Jim Axelrod to assume Roberts' Chief White House Correspondent slot, named Lara Logan Chief Foreign Correspondent and shifted Byron Pitts to “National Correspondent, covering the biggest domestic stories and reporting on a new beat focusing on faith, family and the culture.”
Pitts won the “John Kerry Suck-Up Award” at the MRC's 2005 “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2004,” for his sycophantic post-Kerry convention speech wonderment over how Kerry had supposedly reminded his sister that on her deathbed their mother told him, "integrity, that's what matters," and "tonight," Pitts truckled, "John Kerry tried to show that integrity." In a runner-up, on that morning's Early Show, Pitts had narrated a Kerry profile that could easily have passed for a Democratic campaign commercial. The more than three-minute story included quotes only from Kerry, his wife, laudatory soundbites from liberal Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant, and Pitts' fawning narration: "Tonight's acceptance of the Democratic nomination is more than merely a day, it's his destiny." Pitts also earned a runner-up spot for the “Blue State Brigade Award,” in the MRC's “Best Notable Quotables of 2004: The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting,” for, on the day Kerry announced John Edwards as his running mate, gushing: "It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party's new dream team." (Transcripts -- and video clips -- follow.)
Campbell Brown substituted for anchor Brian Williams last night, and she also subbed on the NBC Nightly News blog, the Daily Nightly. Here's how she summarized the decision to censor out anti-Islam cartoons:
An interesting story in our broadcast tonight... and some debate internally over how to cover it. Dawna Friesen is going to update us on a controversy that started in Denmark. It involves published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons, which first appeared back in September, have been reprinted this week in other European newspapers, prompting new outrage from the Muslim world. One of the images shows a depiction of the prophet wearing a hat in the shape of a bomb. The newspapers cite their right to freedom of expression, but the protests are growing and becoming violent....After some discussion in our editorial meeting, we have decided not to show the cartoons explicitly. We are trying to treat this issue with care and sensitivity while still bringing you the story. I am sure we will get some feedback on this. Looking forward to it.
Hand me a tardy pass, but Cam Edwards, radio host for NRANews.com (also on Sirius satellite radio), relayed earlier this week on his new three-amigos blog that an ABC Radio executive (please note: not an "objective" news guy) was an anti-Alito activist on the side:
The email was started by a KaufNYC@aol.com, with the message “forward away, my liberal friends”. One of those who received the message was a guy named David Kaufman, a Vice President of Affiliate Relations for ABC Radio. He forwarded on the email with his own message: “Help stop the craziness!”
The wounding in Iraq of ABC anchorman Bob Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt spurred New York Times Metro columnist Clyde Haberman to talk Friday (TimesSelect required) about the 61 journalists killed in Iraq.
“On the list are only two American journalists: Michael Kelly, who wrote for The Atlantic Monthly and The Washington Post, and Steven Vincent, a freelancer from New York. Mr. Kelly was in a Humvee that turned over after coming under fire in the war's early days. Mr. Vincent was kidnapped last summer, probably by Islamic extremists, then beaten and shot, his body dumped in the street.”
Haberman uses the death toll to mock bloggers for not doing similar dangerous work:
Let's give Today its due. It devoted extended coverage this morning to the growing nuclear threat from Iran. In Katie Couric's interview of Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, it was quickly established that Iran does indeed represent a serious danger. Much of the conversation involved a discussion of the various options - none of them ideal - to address the threat. One might argue that Haass' estimate that Iran remains five years away from acquiring a nuclear weapon is dangerously optimistic, but he did not attempt to downplay the seriousness of the situation.
But, inevitably, Katie turned the talk to what she deemed domestic spying, alternatively dubbing it, with a wry smile, "the terrorist surveillance program."