Feeling the heat from critics in Washington and across the country over airing video handed to it by an Iraqi terrorist group called the Islamic Army of God, CNN offered air time to Congressman Duncan Hunter on Monday’s 5pm edition of "The Situation Room." Wolf Blitzer interviewed Hunter, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and CNN military analyst Gen. David Grange, but if the general was brought in to debate Hunter, it backfired. Grange ended up agreeing with Hunter that the U.S. media helps the insurgents: "they are winning the information warfare front. You can argue that our -- our -- the media in the United States supports that somewhat." Blitzer framed CNN’s Sniper Theatre by asking Hunter "Do the American people have a right to know what war is like?" Hunter said "Wolf, the American people aren't made out of cotton candy. They understand, when you see 2,791 battlefield deaths, that people are killed, and they are killed in bad ways."
With rare exception, TV stories just don't happen - they're planned. So we can be quite sure that sometime in the last 24 hours or so, a producer at 'Today' sent out the word: "find me a Republican voter in a key state who has decided to vote Democrat this year."
NBC folks on the ground in Ohio obliged, dutifully disinterring Mr. John Gaylord to be trotted out on this morning's show. NBC's David Gregory offered this silk-purse-into-sow's-ear intro:
"For embattled Republicans, despite falling gas prices around the country, the economy might prove a tough sell. An important bellwether for this election is right here in Ohio, where a combination of an unpopular war in Iraq, a slow state economy, and scandal have set off alarm bells for Republicans. John Gaylord, a lifelong Republican, runs a bookstore in suburban Columbus. He may switch his vote this year."
On Monday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann delivered his latest anti-Bush, anti-GOP "Special Comment," (also posted on Countdown's Web site) this time accusing President Bush and Republicans of committing the "dictionary definition" of terrorism in trying to scare Americans into voting for them, even contending that "the leading terrorist group in this country right now is the Republican Party." Olbermann laid blame for the delayed discovery of the remains of 9/11 victims at the feet of President Bush and Republicans. Olbermann: "And yet you can actually claim that you and you alone can protect us from terrorism? You can't even recover our dead from the battlefield, the battlefield in an American city, when we've given you five years and unlimited funds to do so!" (Transcript follows)
Video clip, starting about four minutes into the nearly 11-minute long screed (6:30): Real (4.9 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (4.1 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2.3 MB)
A night after ABC led with the supposedly “remarkable reversal” by Senator Barack Obama to think about running for President, and a full story on the NBC Nightly News, both network evening newscasts were back again with full stories Monday night on Obama the “rock star.” Remarkably, given how he decides what is newsworthy, at the top of World News Charles Gibson asked: “Why does he get so much attention?” ABC's puff story for Obama -- reporter Kate Snow gushed about how “his base is growing. Even Oprah seemed to endorse him" -- followed the lead story about dour poll numbers for Republicans.
With “Overnight Sensation” on screen, NBC anchor Brian Williams hailed in his teaser: “Tonight, the overnight sensation surrounding a Senator with real star power, may have changed everything for the Democrats in the run for the White House.” Williams later cited how Obama has “rocked the political world” and cued up Tim Russert with how “they say here's a guy who could actually cause excitement over American politics to break out again.” Russert championed how “he's getting rock star treatment all across the country.” (CBS, and transcripts for ABC and NBC, follow)
At about 9:40pm EDT Monday night, MRC President Brent Bozell, publisher of NewsBusters, appeared on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes to discuss CNN's decision to air video, provided by terrorist insurgents in Iraq, which showed the perspective of snipers as they targeted U.S. troops. CNN faded to black on last Wednesday's Anderson Cooper 360 before the impact of the bullets. Bozell appeared with retired Major General Don Edwards, a Fox News analyst. Hannity & Colmes will re-run at 2am EDT Monday night/Tuesday morning. (Matthew Sheffield's NewsBusters posting, "CNN Defends Showing Terrorist Sniping Americans.")
The media's swooning over Barack Obama continued on Chris Matthews' syndicated weekend show. Obama drew such rave reviews from the panel as: "terrific!" "hero!" and "ridiculously good looking!" However Obama wasn't the only Democrat drawing praise as Harold Ford Jr's campaign was described as: "nearly flawless," but Republican George "not the brightest bulb on Broadway," Allen didn't fare as well with the critics, as his campaign was labeled: "one of the stupidest campaigns that [was] ever conducted in the history of American politics."
The following are some of the move over-the-top blurbs from the panel on the October 21st, Chris Matthews Show:
On the heels of last week’s glowing reports on NBC’s ‘Today’ and CNN’s ‘American Morning,’ ABC couldn’t resist jumping on the Obama-for-president bandwagon. During the 7am half hour of Monday’s ‘Good Morning America,’ correspondent Claire Shipman reported on comments from Democratic Senator Barack Obama in which he expressed interest in pursing his party’s nomination for president in 2008. In her introduction to Shipman’s piece, GMA co-anchor Robin Roberts referred to the "red hot buzz" (generated by the mainstream media) surrounding Obama as proof that the senator is "already a major political player." Shipman promoted Obama as the new "it" candidate among Democrats. She also highlighted flattering statements from talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who described Obama as her "favorite senator," and political analyst Larry Sabato, who predicted that Obama has the "charisma to skyrocket" to become the preferred Democratic candidate for president:
Claire Shipman: "Barack Obama has become, in a matter of weeks, the new 'it' candidate for the Democrats...A recent ‘Time’ magazine poll shows [Hillary] Clinton well ahead of Obama in a potential presidential race, 43 percent to 30. But the comparatively unknown Obama has shown this week, if he decides to run, he can generate a lot of buzz in a hurry."
Larry Sabato: "Obama has the charisma to skyrocket right to the head of the pack."
The full transcript of Shipman’s report is behind the cut:
CNN reporter Dan Lothian resorted, not for the first time, to a classic example of liberal bias on Monday’s "American Morning." Beginning a piece on Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s potential White House run, he described the politician’s positioning this way:
Miles O’Brien: "Now, on the Republican side of the race for the White House, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney thinking hard about that. ‘American Morning’s’ Dan Lothian looking at that potential run. Dan, good morning."
Dan Lothian: "Good morning, Miles. Well, polls seem to favor Senator John McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani for the nomination in 2008. But Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney seems to be carving out his base by appealing, political experts say, to the far right. It might feel like he's running for president in 2008, but Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney insists he's just doing his homework."
The BBC, a government agency, fought hard to keep an internal study of the organization's bias secret. Reporters from other British media outlets filed a complaint with the UK's own Freedom of Information Act, and the report has now been released.
The level of political correctness at the BBC seems almost like a caricature of what a politically correct group would look like, but caricature matches reality.
An internal memo, recently discovered by the British media, revealed what the BBC has been trying to hide. Senior figures admitted in a recent 'impartiality' summit that the BBC was guilty of promoting Left-wing views and anti-Christian sentiment.
Most executives admitted that the corporation’s representation of homosexuals and ethnic minorities was unbalanced and disproportionate, and that it leaned too strongly towards political correctness, the overt promotion of multiculturalism, anti-Americanism and discrimination against the countryside.
Ah, the refined sensibilities of the Associated Press. Far be it from that paragon of journalistic impartiality to insert itself in the controversy over whether George Bush & Co. intentionally murdered thousands of Americans on 9-11 via the controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.
And so it is that the Associated Press preciously entitled its article about the decision of 9-11 conspiracy nut Steven Jones to retire from his BYU professor's post:
"BYU Scholar, Sept. 11 Theorist, Resigns".
A "scholar" and a "theorist." Impressive! Might that be some kind of hybrid between a 'gentleman and a scholar' and a theoretical physicist, perhaps? Now, in fairness, I wouldn't expect the AP to adopt my "conspiracy whack job" nomenclature in its headline - although it would be entirely accurate. But the utter neutrality of "theorist" coupled with the honorary title of "scholar" seems excessive. Would the AP describe David Duke as a "racial theorist," for example?
Lyn Davis Lear is worried. As Mrs. Norman Lear writes in the Huffington Post, President Bush, Karl Rove and Vice President Cheney appear awfully confident of retaining a Congressional majority. This, despite the fact the mainstream media merrily reports every poll suggesting a huge Democratic victory, if not a landslide, is only two weeks away.
Mrs. Lear frets that Republicans are planning an election eve surprise, or may win by spending so much more than their opponents. Then again, maybe they're planning to just steal the election.
Gore Vidal suggested to her that "the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law." This has her "thinking", too.
So many nefarious schemes, so little time. Mrs. Lear's recommendation is, "we should all be on alert. If for whatever reason we don't win back Congress in November the only real answer will be to take to the streets."
So much for sisterhood. Broadcasting & Cable reported Monday that female correspondents aren’t getting as much work on the CBS Evening News since Katie Couric became the anchor six weeks ago (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout): “[S]ince Couric’s arrival, women have received 40% fewer assignments than they did under herpredecessor, Bob Schieffer. Men, meanwhile, have seen no cutback in their workload.”
Last Wednesday, CNN aired Lou Dobbs's special "War on the Middle Class." Three days later, CNN's "In the Money" continued the network's pitched battle for more government regulation of the economy with the program's uncritical treatment of guest Barbara Ehrenreich.
Here's a bit of what my colleague Julia Seymour noticed from her review of the October 21 program. Her full article can be found here.
The financial program devoted just under five minutes to what amounted to a free advertisement for United Professionals (UP), a new organization co-founded by “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich is also author of “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.” She said the organization’s current function is “providing a way for people to come together, share their experiences and talk about what they’ve been going through” at a cost of $36.50 in annual dues.
On the October 22 edition of "60 Minutes" on CBS, the media's pre-election celebration of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi continued. Pelosi was interviewed by Lesley Stahl, and while Stahl attempted to sound tough by noting that Pelosi’s rhetoric is part of the problem in terms of the tone in Washington, Pelosi was not challenged on issues important to voters. Stahl noted that Pelosi represents one of the most liberal districts in the nation, but did not seem to cope with the fact that perhaps Pelosi fits her district as a liberal, failing to mention Pelosi’s 99% Americans for Democratic Action rating over the past five years. Stahl called the Democratic agenda "centrist," while not demanding details of the agenda from Pelosi, and noted that Pelosi acknowledges she is obscure to the American people, insulating her from Republican attacks:
In today's Media Notes column, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz reported just how far Rolling Stone is willing to go on its ultraliberal-hippie crusade against social conservatism: it's hired Matt Taibbi, the writer infamously published by the New York Press for "The 52 Funniest Things About the Upcoming Death of the Pope." (As in, "Beetles eating dead Pope's brains." ) Oh, and he wasn't sorry, whatever he says today. He left the Press shortly after his editor, Jeff Koyen, was fired for lack of sense.
The most over-the-top writer by far is Taibbi, 36, the son of NBC correspondent Mike Taibbi. The younger Taibbi's style is such that he often seems to be channeling the late Hunter Thompson. "I used to do a lot of drugs, and I'm a humorist," Taibbi says in acknowledging the comparison.
The lead story for the June 23 New York Times exposed a U.S. terrorist surveillance program involving international bank transfers ("Bank Data Sifted In Secret By U.S. To Block Terror"):
"Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials."
On Friday's Countdown, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann previewed what could be one of his closest steps yet towards falling off the edge of the Earth in far-left Bush-bashing in the form of his latest "Special Comment" segment. Two days after suggesting that President Bush poses a greater threat to America than the terrorists for not granting habeas corpus to terror suspects, Olbermann previewed his next "Special Comment," planned for Monday, attacking a "Republican scare commercial" featuring clips of Osama bin Laden, which Olbermann characterized as "meeting the dictionary definition of terrorism" because of its "scare tactics." Olbermann further accused Republicans of "doing the terrorists' work for them by trying to terrify Americans." (Transcript follows)
Meredith Vieira let her anti-war roots show on this morning's Today show. During her interview with White House counselor Dan Bartlett, the Today co-host repeatedly stated about the Iraq policy: "It's not working." Now while constructive criticism on the war policy is welcome from those who want to win, it's somewhat transparent and dubious coming from a longtime war critic like Vieira. The following are Vieira's questions to Bartlett in the 7am half hour of the October 23rd Today show:
Meredith Vieira: "So will the White House change course in Iraq and put more pressure on the government there? Dan Bartlett serves as counselor to President Bush. Mr. Bartlett, good morning to you."
Reading their respective pay-per-view columns this morning, it's a gauge of just how far out Paul Krugman is on the port side of politics that his New York Times colleague Bob Herbert sounds positively moderate by comparison.
In The Obama Bandwagon Herbert expresses salutary - and surprising - caution when it comes to the current outbreak of Obama-mania:
"It’s a measure of how starved the country is for a sensible, appealing, intelligent, trustworthy leader that a man who until just a couple of years ago was an obscure state senator in Illinois is now suddenly, in the view of an awful lot of voters, the person we should install in the White House."