In Miami, Cuban-Americans were literally dancing in the street at the prospect that the repressive regime of Fidel Castro might finally be drawing to an end. But back in Cuba, people greeted the news of the great liberator's illness with dismay. At least, they did according to CBS News' woman-on-the-spot.
On this morning's Early Show, CBS ran a brief clip of a phone interview with Portia Siegelbaum, a CBS News producer based in Cuba. Here is the entirety of her report:
"The news of Castro's illness was most unexpected. I spoke to half-a-dozen people last night and they seemed most shook up by his handing over power, even if provisionally, to his younger brother Raul."
Tim Russert used his Today show appearance this morning to paint a bleak tour d'horizon of Bush foreign policy, expressing the fond wish - in guise of a question - that the American people might come to their senses and throw the bums out at the mid-term elections.
Interviewed by co-host Campbell Brown, Russert first asked: "What's the end game? The concern among Republicans I've talked to is how are the American people viewing this? Is this blind allegiance to Israel or is this standing by the only ally we have in the region? They don't know how much longer there will be patience with the American people."
Russert later made the electoral connection, after casting matters in their darkest light. Rather than speaking of nascent democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the current opportunity to defang Hezbollah, Russert portrayed things this way:
When the Allies faced fascist foes in WWII, they called for unconditional surrender. Confronted today by the new face of facism, the Boston Globe calls for 'unconditional, immediate cease-fire.'
By its editorial of this morning, the Globe would reward Hezbollah for its barbarous use of human shields. On the one hand, it acknowledges that the terror group 'has placed its rocket-launchers . . . unconscionably close to settled areas.' But since the result are the very civilian casualties that Hezbollah was looking to provoke, the Globe criticizes the Bush administration for its 'failure to restrain Israel.'
Liberal media critics dismiss FNC as biased to the right, pointing to how Republicans prefer to watch it, but a new poll completed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that by the same margin that Republicans choose to get their news from FNC, Democrats prefer to learn their news from the broadcast networks and, to a somewhat lesser extent, CNN and NPR. In the survey released Sunday, 34 percent of Republicans reported they watch FNC regularly, compared to 20 percent of Democrats -- a 14 point spread. As for the broadcast networks, Pew reported: “The gap between Republicans and Democrats in regular viewership of the nightly network news on ABC, CBS, or NBC is now 14 points, nearly three times as large as it was in 2004; currently, 38 percent of Democrats regularly watch compared with 24 percent of Republicans. There is a slightly smaller gap in the regular audience for NPR -- 22 percent of Democrats listen regularly, compared with 13 percent of Republicans.” A higher percentage of Democrats than Republicans watch CNN, MSNBC, network morning shows, Sunday morning interview programs and TV news magazine shows. Other than FNC, Rush Limbaugh is the only measured news source to which more Republicans than Democrats turn.
Appearing on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on MSNBC, Village Voice columnist Michael Musto, who regularly appears on the show to poke fun at celebrities in the news, used actor/filmmaker Mel Gibson's recent anti-Semitic outburst as an opportunity to smear Gibson's general audience as also being racist. Responding to a question from Olbermann about whether Gibson's career would suffer, Musto labeled Gibson's audience, presumably referring to Passion of the Christ fans, as "deeply anti-Semitic," and as "deeply proud" of Gibson's expression of anti-Semitism. Musto: "He doesn't work with anybody else, and his audience is already deeply anti-Semitic, so they're deeply proud of him after this." (Transcript follows)
One week after ABC anchor Charles Gibson made a special point about how bad the situation in Iraq remained while media attention focused on the Israel-Hezbollah war, specifically noting how “more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict,” Gibson on Monday night -- uniquely on the broadcast network evening newscasts -- highlighted some good news: How U.S. military deaths are falling in Iraq. Gibson read this short item on the July 31 World News: “One item to mention from Iraq tonight. The U.S. military death toll in Iraq fell in July, for the third-straight month, despite the rising sectarian violence. As of yesterday, 44 U.S. forces had been killed in July. And that's the third-lowest monthly death toll in two years.” An accompanying on-screen chart showed the number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq declining from 76 in April to 69 in May to 61 in June and 44 in July.
Which party controls the U.S. House? Who is the current Secretary of State? Who is the president of Russia?
If you know all three questions, you could be a Rush Limbaugh listener. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, Rush Limbaugh listeners place second in the category of "high knowledge." This is above the pretentious New Yorker, the almost as pretentious NPR, news magazines like Time, the "News Hour with Jim Lehrer," and cable news outlets.
Doesn't "acting" smart count for something? It only does in New York socials and in "An Inconvenient Truth."
You’d hardly know that all of Israel is under siege. The networks would rather you stay tuned to their pictures from Lebanon. According to ABC-TV, CNN and other “Friends of Hezbollah”, never mind who started this, and forget the million and a half Israelis who’ve been made homeless.
As usual, NPR Radio is serving as propaganda minister for terror and, also as usual, Israel is at war with the press.
Or rather, the press is at war with Israel.
Any mention of the 200 bombs falling on Israel from day to night? Hardly. What about the thousands of Israelis wounded in flesh and in spirit – meaning shell-shocked today and perhaps for the rest of their lives? No, there’s no time for this. Forget Haifa’s Rambam Hospital. The pictures from Lebanon are better, much better than pictures from Meron, Israel, where seven-year-old Omer Pesachov was murdered along with his grandmother as the result of Hezbollah missiles.
Fresh from his most recent trip to the Middle East, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman returned to offer his latest rationale for Bush hatred. Appearing on yesterday's Meet the Press Friedman theorized: "What this administration has done, is actually stolen something from people. Whether it's an African or a European or an Arab or Israeli, it's that idea of an optimistic America out there. People really need that idea, and the, the sort of dark nature of the Cheneys and the Bushes and the Rices, this, this sort of relentless pessimism about the world, this exporting of fear, not hope, has really left people feeling that the idea of America has been stolen from them."
Just a week ago Friedman, right before his departure to the Mideast, sat down with NBC's Russert to espouse the miraculous benefits of a gas tax. Friedman returned just in time, to the still warm seat across from Russert, to the following welcome from the Meet the Press host:
NBC reporter Richard Engel sure has some severely selective sources. On the one hand, he's overflowing with information reinforcing the image of Hezbollah as a kindly humanitarian organization that was providing "supplies and relief" to the residents of Qana. On the other hand, he has "no evidence" that Hezbollah was using Qana residents as human shields for purposes of launching rockets.
Engel reported live from Tyre in southern Lebanon during this afternoon's 'The Most' on MSNBC, with host Alison Stewart. Speaking of events in Qana, Engel claimed:
"I got no indication [the people of Qana] were being held against their will. Just the opposite, it seemed Hezbollah was helping these people, providing them with food and water. These were some of the [poorest] people in the town, those with money had already left. They were staying in this section of town because there was food and water. Hezbollah were giving them supplies and relief."
Since the inception of NewsBusters, there have been many posts dealing with photographers that appear to be “posing” the individuals that are their subjects. On Monday, a British blog named EU Referendum posted a series of pictures and captions taken by various photographers at the devastation in Qana, Lebanon (hat tip to Rush Limbaugh).
What becomes apparent is that the same “rescue worker” is in all of these pictures, and that it appears he is involved in “posing” victims of this unfortunate incident. Furthermore, it is possible that this same individual has been doing this for some years, as a picture is shown of the same man involved in similar activities back in 1996.
As this is all too complicated to chronicle accurately without just copying this blogger’s entire post, I recommend interested readers go here and here. However, please be advised that these pictures are graphic in nature. Furthermore, this post is in no way designed to diminish the horror of this unfortunate event, but, instead, bring attention to the possibility that someone – maybe even an operative of Hezbollah – might be assisting photographers in this region to more graphically depict what is occurring.
Yesterday, on CBS’s "Sunday Morning" reporter Martha Teichner narrated a piece sympathetic to Hispanic immigrants, and in particular, illegal immigrants. She profiled three Hispanic people, two of whom initially came to the country illegally. One illegal immigrant she profiled was defiant of his status, and sounded almost threatening when he said:
Alex Vega, Illegal Immigrant. (Pictured): "In 20 years, we are going to run the country. Right now we're running the cities. So little by little, we're running the show. Little by little. So this sleeping giant is already awakened."
And, as noted by Ms. Teichner, the strategy for illegal immigrants is:
Al Franken's thinly disguised campaign for the U.S. Senate came through in a Greg Gordon piece I saw in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on vacation: his Midwest Values PAC is already plunking some impressive bucks for Democratic House challengers in the Gopher State, starting with the opponent of conservative Congressman Gil Gutknecht in the state's southeast corner:
Democrat Tim Walz's biggest donor has been Franken, a likely 2008 Minnesota Senate candidate who is distributing money to Midwestern Democrats through his own PAC. Besides a $10,000 PAC check, Franken and his wife each gave Walz the maximum $4,200.
Franken's PAC also gave 10 grand to former Time magazine Person of the Year /retired FBI agent Colleen Rowley, who's running against GOP Rep. John Kline. But the PAC isn't all Franken's money. AP noted a number of celebs gave money to FrankenPAC. Franken's not even alone among famous Minnesota liberals.
U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont got a boost ahead of next week's Democratic primary in Connecticut against Sen. Joseph Lieberman with an endorsement in Sunday’s New York Times.
Some reasons the Times (and left-wing bloggers) dislike Sen. Lieberman:
“He has shown no interest in prodding his Republican friends into investigating how the administration misled the nation about Iraq’s weapons….If Mr. Lieberman had once stood up and taken the lead in saying that there were some places a president had no right to take his country even during a time of war, neither he nor this page would be where we are today. But by suggesting that there is no principled space for that kind of opposition, he has forfeited his role as a conscience of his party, and has forfeited our support.”
On Yesterday's CNN "Late Edition," host Wolf Blitzer interviewed Syrian Cabinet Minister Bouthaina Shaaban. Greg Tinti at Outside the Beltway reports that Wolf allowed Shaaban "to get away with rhetorical murder without ever bothering to challenge her B.S."
After warning Wolf that the world needs to stop Israel now before it takes this conflict beyond the Middle East, Shaaban tells Wolf to "remember" that, "Nazi Germany was claiming that it was fighting terrorism and then the whole world had to stop that. We are fighting something very similar to what happened as a result of the actions of Nazi Germany against civilians."
Notice that there’s absolutely no follow-up from Blitzer. Nothing. He just moves on to the next question as if Shaaban had said that the sky is blue. Unbelievable. When anyone–especially someone of Shaaban’s status–equates the actions of Israel today to those of the Nazi Germany, he should be challenged and made to look like the fool that he is.
When the Washington Post tries to condemn other newspapers as tabloid journalists, there’s always today’s paper for rebuttal. Reporter Anthony Shadid’s front-page story on the deaths of women and children at Qana carried this emotionally manipulative headline, quoting Khalil Burji, a man watching recovery efforts, after the jump on page A8, all across the page:
‘The Child Who Choked to Death, What Was His Sin?’
Normally, people expect that a media outlet with an unadmitted agenda will keep its political views to its news and opinion pages. This usually isn't the case, though, as today's New York Times demonstrates.
Inside the arts section is a 1400-word article about how the cultural scene of Beirut has been damaged by Israel in the course of the war between Lebanon and the Jewish state.
There's no denying that such destruction is unfortunate, but the fact that the Times doesn't even bother to mention similar problems created by the war for Israelis doesn't even rise to the low standard of moral equivalence.
For nearly all of his presidency, George W. Bush has been on the receiving end of mainly negative — sometimes highly negative — coverage from the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts, according to a new report from the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA), a nonpartisan research group. The only time the TV networks gave Bush mostly (63%) positive coverage was during the three months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and even then nearly four-in-ten on-air evaluations (37%) of the President were critical.
The findings are included in the latest issue of CMPA’s Media Monitor newsletter, which reached my (snail) mailbox on Friday. So far, it has yet to be posted on CMPA’s Web site, which appears to make this NewsBusters posting a World Wide Web exclusive.
Washington Post reporter Paul Farhi noticed with the new Woody Allen flick "Scoop" the obvious trend in movies featuring journalists: the print specialists get all the plum roles, and the TV journalists get the pits:
As a general rule, when a story calls for a journalist to do something serious or important -- solve a murder, expose wrongdoing, spring an innocent man, etc. -- you can count on seeing a print reporter at the center of the story, not a TV journalist, says Joe Saltzman, a professor at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication.
Saltzman, himself a former TV journalist, has done enough reporting to say this with authority. He's director of the Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture project at USC, which maintains a database of some 46,000 items (films, TV shows, books, etc.) about fictional journalists.