As reported by Editor and Publisher (with a hat tip to Free Republic), the daily circulation rate of America’s newspapers continued to fall the past six months:
“The Newspaper Association of America said on Monday that overall daily circulation for the six-month period ending September 2005 for 789 newspapers fell 2.6% to 45,153,192 copies. For the 627 papers analyzed, Sunday dropped 3.1% to 49,394,406.”
The Washington Post published two articles today about the war in Iraq. One made the front-page, the other was relegated to page A16. Curiously, the one dealing with a major offensive along the Syrian border was buried. By contrast, the one dealing with American casualties was on the front-page.
In an article entitled “For Many in Iraq, Death is Quick and Capricious,” Steve Fainaru shared recent casualty totals, while specifically detailing the actions of some of America’s heroes that lead to their unfortunate death:
“The growing number of U.S. military deaths, which reached 2,000 last month and has since risen to 2,035, underscores a grim reality: There are countless ways to die in Iraq.”
This article was not only on the front-page, but was also 1,800 words.
Interviewed by his son, Chris, in a pre-taped session for Fox News Sunday, Mike Wallace of CBS’s 60 Minutes rejected as “damn foolishness” the notion of any liberal media bias. Mike Wallace contended, as if it were in doubt, that reporters are “patriots just as much as any conservative. Even a liberal reporter is a patriot, wants the best for this country.” Mike Wallace then condescendingly charged: “Your fair and balanced friends at Fox don't fully understand that.” He also confirmed that he had told Dan Rather that Rather should have resigned when his producers were fired over the Bush National Guard memos story, but when Chris Wallace suggested that story agenda reflected a bias -- “I think that they were quicker to believe it and, therefore, sloppier about checking it out than they would have been about John Kerry" -- Mike Wallace scorned the idea: "I don't believe that for a moment."
Chris Wallace moved on to his father’s new book, Between You and Me. Full transcript, of discussion about liberal bias and Memogate, follows.
A CBS producer who led the network's coverage of the recent
Michael Jackson trial has been marketing a brand of wine under the label "Jesus
Juice," complete with a logo of a Christ figure sporting a Jacksonesque
red glove, fedora hat, white socks, and penny loafers
NewsBusters.org has learned that Bruce Rheins, a high-level producer for
such shows as the "CBS Evening News", and his wife, Dawn Westlake,
began preparations for their marketing campaign while the Jackson case was
still in court, registering a U.S. trademark for the words "Jesus Juice"
in January of 2004, days after word got out that Jackson referred to
wine by that term in allegedly attempting to seduce young boys.
A year later, the couple registered (under Westlake's name) the web domain JesusJuice.biz,
apparently with the intent of partnering with a wine maker to create a product
line bearing the Jesus Juice name, in a partnership or by purchasing the
For those of you who were confused, that was an article in today’s New York Times complaining about the lack of tax cuts in the two reform proposals offered by the president’s advisory panel last week.
For those that missed it, Edmund L. Andrews wrote a piece this morning about the recommendations of this panel for future reforms to America’s tax code. In it, he appeared disappointed that there were no significant tax cuts being proposed:
“However sensible those ideas may be, they fall far short of a radical overhaul. Neither of the proposals would have replaced today's system with a flat tax or a pure consumption tax, the goal of many Republican conservatives. More important, neither of the proposals would significantly lower existing tax rates - a crucial attraction of the 1986 overhaul.”
The New York Times’ public editor, Byron Calame, wrote an op-ed this morning concerning the practice of marketing representatives creating ads that either intentionally look like articles to mislead the reader, or watermark images that advertise companies and their messages right behind newsprint:
“The search for revenue, not surprisingly, means the advertising staff of The Times is scrambling ever harder to come up with attractive new options for advertisers. Sometimes that can lead to pressures to let advertisers tie their pitches more closely to the credibility of the news columns. And that can blur the distinction between advertising and articles - risking erosion of the readers' right to assume that the news columns are pure journalism, both in print and online.”
Hollywood's fantasy that Republicans could sweep the nation if they only put up a "pro-choice" candidate animated last Sunday's episode -- and Janeane Garofalo got in a blast at conservatives. NBC is promising an "unprecedented West Wing event" in tonight’s sweeps stunt of a live debate between liberal presidential candidate "Matt Santos," played by Jimmy Smits, and the anti-religious right Republican "Arnie Vinick," played by Alan Alda. Last Sunday, Vinick was angered by an independent ad which attacked Santos for opposing parental notification and a ban on partial-birth abortions, policies the otherwise pro-choice Vinick backs: "Who told them to drag abortion into my campaign?" Demanding the ad be pulled, Vinick asserted: "Do you realize how many states my pro-choice position puts on the table?" Later, Santos remarked: "Vinick's appeal is that he's a different kind of Republican, moderate, reasonable, pro-choice."
In one scene on the October 30 episode, Santos' media chief, "Louise Thornton," played by Janeane Garofalo, sounded just like the real-life Garofalo when she argued that the campaign must go negative against Vinick, and she cited the good being done by a Senator she got elected by going negative against his opponent: "I'm proud that he votes against every reckless Republican tax cut. We're the blue team and there's a real war going on. Josh, do you want the right wing to get their judges?"
Friday night on MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, West Wing star Bradley Whitford trashed Bush as “a radical right-wing President who now seems to be incompetent.” A Zogby International poll of West Wing viewers found they tilt to the left, with 59 percent saying they’d vote for Democrat Smits/Santos compared to just 29 percent for Alda/Vinick, Lisa de Moraes reported in Saturday’s Washington Post. But the viewers recognize the show’s bias: “A full 77 percent of respondents said The West Wing has a liberal bias.”
On NBC’s “Meet The Press” this morning, host Tim Russert stocked his panel with three left-of-center journalists – Nina Totenberg of NPR, Ron Brownstein of the Los Angeles Times, and David Gregory of NBC News – to discuss the events of the week. When they got to the nomination of Samuel Alito to replace retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Russert mentioned that when Bill Clinton was president, both Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, despite obvious Liberal leanings, were approved by a strong majority of both Democrats and Republicans. “And they say, ‘Why can't we have the same courtesy to conservative jurists under President Bush?’"
In response, Totenberg said: “If you look at the Ginsburg nomination, for example, she'd been a judge, I think, for 12 years. She'd been, actually, a pretty conservative liberal judge, if you can be such a thing.” This could be the first time that anyone has referred to the former general counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union as being “pretty conservative.”
As the discussion ensued, Totenberg expressed frustration with the president’s second choice to replace Sandra Day O’Connor:
On this morning’s “The Chris Matthews Show” on NBC, ABC News correspondent Sam Donaldson said that Vice President Cheney certainly knew what his chief of staff I. Lewis Libby was doing when he told reporters about Valerie Plame working for the CIA. In addition, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman first compared President Bush to Tony Soprano of the HBO series “The Sopranos,” then called him “The Godfather,” referring to a part played by Marlon Brando wherein he was the mafia chief of America’s largest crime family named Vito Corleone.
On this weekend’s McLaughlin Group, veteran Newsweek Washington bureau reporter Eleanor Clift hailed the secret session of the Senate stunt as “a welcome show of spine that Democrats needed.” She proceeded to predict that “the Democrats are going to push” the contention that President Bush “abused his authority” in going to war and so “frankly, if the country, according to the polls, believes by a margin of 55 percent that President Bush misled us into war, the next logical step is impeachment and I think you're going to hear that word come up and if the Democrats ever capture either house of Congress there are going to be serious proceedings against this administration." Sounds like a motivation for journalists covering next year’s campaigns. (Clift had concluded her weekly Friday column on MSNBC.com: “On the day the Scooter Libby indictments were handed down, Conyers invoked the language of Watergate: 'What did the President and the Vice President know, and when did they know it?’ If the political tables turn, impeachment may not be so far-fetched after all.”)
Picking up on how fellow McLaughlin Group panelist Pat Buchanan described the administration’s use of pre-war intelligence, Clift charged: “'Hyped,’ 'cherry-picked,’ 'misled,’ whatever the words you use to me are criminal offenses when you see the suffering that has gone into this war and the cost of this war. It was a war of choice that was sold to American people on fear." Asked to predict if Karl Rove will resign, Clift said no before she condescendingly asserted that President Bush “can't tie his shoelaces without Karl Rove."
Video of Clift raising impeachment, in Real or Windows Media. (Fuller quotations of Clift follow as well as an excerpt from her posted column.)
In yesterday’s (Saturday) Washington Post is a brief article in its Metro section, responding to well-attended press conference the previous day in front of the newspaper’s offices.
The press conference accused the Post of violating the privacy rights of certain individuals on the website FreeRepublic.com This exchange, printed by the Post, explains the charge, and thenewspaper’s response to it, so far:
"How in good faith could The Washington Post access a private Internet account without the express permission of the account holder?" Kristinn Taylor, a spokesman for the conservative FreeRepublic.com, asked in a morning news conference in front of The Post's offices in Northwest Washington.
"In response, R.B. Brenner, The Post's Maryland editor, said: ‘As part of our reporting, we needed to verify that the chat room postings were authentic. We were authorized to view them, and it was appropriate to do so under the circumstances.’ [Sic: This was not a "chat room." This was a private e-mail exchange between two individuals.]
Yesterday (Friday November 4, 2005), the Labor Department announced that the national unemployment rate dropped from 5.1% to 5.0%.
Good news, right? Well, some media outlets did not seem to think so.
In the 3pm PST news updates on ABC News radio and CBS News radio on Friday, anchors made the employment picture sound dim. They highlighted that the net job gain in October of 56,000 jobs was "not as many as expected." Although CBS News tagged their story with the fact that the unemployment rate had dropped, ABC News radio made no mention of this at all!
The Los Angeles Times followed suit today (Saturday November 5, 2005). The (very) bold headline on the front page of their Business section blares the negative, "Job Report Falls Short of Forecasts." You have to go well below the fold to learn of the drop in the unemployment rate.
Picking up on a Wednesday Washington Post story about how “the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al Qaeda captives at a Soviet-era compound in Eastern Europe,” on Inside Washington this weekend NPR’s Nina Totenberg declared her shame of her country: “We have now violated everything that we stand for. It is the first time in my life I have been ashamed of my country." Totenberg’s first thought about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito: "We know he's very conservative." She also managed to squeeze in her near-weekly blast at tax cuts as she chided the Senate for how it “cut $35 billion from the poorest people in the country and food stamps and things like that and at the same time they're going to try to cut, boost tax, tax cuts for the wealthiest people in this country by $70 billion." In fact, the Senate proposal is only an effort to slow the rate of spending growth.
Appearing on the same show, Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas asserted that Bush’s decision to dump Harriet Miers “takes him from stand-up guy to tool of the right.” Thomas urged Bush to move left and drop Rove who “is the problem because Rove's entire engine is to polarize the country.” Thomas recommended: “If he's ever going to moderate, and if he's ever going to create any kind of national unity, Rove is going to have to go."
Video of Totenberg’s “ashamed” comment, in Real or Windows Media. [UPDATE, 9:25pm EST Saturday: Version of show with ads ends seconds before Totenberg's "ashamed" remark. Details below.]
The AP proves once again that it can take a poll and create any conclusion about the findings that it wants.
So naturally, it was all doom and gloom for recent Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito in the latest AP-Ipsos poll. The headline: "Poll: Early Public Support for Alito Weak." (Via Times Argus.) Adding that "The survey put public sentiment for Alito closer to the level of early backing for the failed nomination of Harriet Miers." Interestingly enough, the AP Could have also run the headline "Early Public Opposition to Alito Weak - Fewer People Opposed to Alito than were opposed to Roberts, Miers." Obviously, the AP did not go that route.
Hoisted on their own petard? Washington journalists have formulated outrage over how “Scooter” Libby fed information to New York Times reporter Judy Miller which ended up on the paper's front page one Sunday, and then Vice President Cheney appeared on a Sunday talk TV interview show where he insidiously cited the story as proof of the potential nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. On Friday night, the broadcast networks pulled the same maneuver as they treated as of great import how President Bush was “dogged,” at the Summit of the Americas in Argentina, with questions about Karl Rove and the CIA leak matter -- a self-fulfilling agenda since those questions were posed by reporters from the Washington press corps. In short, the media made its agenda the news and then marveled over it.
"The President also found himself shadowed by the controversy that has helped drive his popularity to record lows, the investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA officer," ABC anchor Bob Woodruff announced on World News Tonight, which led, as did CBS and NBC, with stories which covered the violent protests as well Rove. ABC's Jake Tapper noted how “Bush came to this summit to talk about his free trade policy that he says would help ease poverty and create jobs in the region,” but pointed out how “questions about the CIA leak scandal, and the role of top aide Karl Rove, continue to dog him." CBS's Bob Schieffer echoed Tapper's terminology: "President Bush is in Argentina tonight, dogged by questions from back home.” John Roberts began his story, as if the media were observers and not participants: "President Bush was thankful for the chance to get out of Washington. But it didn't take long for Washington to catch up with him." NBC's Brian Williams stressed how Bush's “political troubles following him to Argentina from faraway Washington.” Kelly O'Donnell zeroed in on how Bush's “domestic woes came along, too” with “four of five” press conference “questions related to the political fallout from the CIA leak case.”
Fred Barnes, during the panel segment on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume, scolded the reporters for posing questions “Senator Durbin or maybe Senator Schumer drafted them for them” since “they were Democratic 'talking points.'” He suggested: “Somebody should explain to members of the mainstream media, that they are not a part of the political opposition. They're supposed to be reporters. They don't have to echo Democrats." (Barnes in full, a bit more from ABC, CBS and NBC, plus the questions posed to Bush, follow.)
Rachel Sklar, an occasional New York Times writer who posts at Mediabistro's blog Fishbowl NY, goes over the deep end in rejoicing at the end of Kenneth Tomlinson's tenure opposing liberal bias (or more accurately, trying to bring on some conservative balance) on the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting:
"The board does not believe that Mr. Tomlinson acted maliciously or with any intent to harm CPB or public broadcasting." I swear to God, this reminds me of a line at the end of "Cujo" by Stephen King, which I read as an eleven year old and made me cry; paraphrased it went something like this: "It must be remembered that Cujo never meant to kill all those people, biting and slashing at their jugulars. He always wanted to be a good dog." Stephen King said it better than me, but it amounts to the same thing: we can't all agree on what it means to be a good dog.
Outcry continues over the Times' omission of quotes from the last letter of Marine Cpl. Jeffrey Starr. As recounted yesterday on TimesWatch, a Times story by James Dao last week marking the death of 2,000 U.S troops in Iraq printed one part of a letter from Cpl. Starr, to be delivered to his girlfriend in case of Starr's death. That portion of the letter showed the Marine foreseeing his own death.
But as Michelle Malkin first revealed, after receiving a letter from Cpl. Starr's uncle, the Times left out the very next part, which explained what Starr considered the greater meaning of his sacrifice in Iraq. In doing so, the Times left readers with a diminished, one-dimensional portrait of a doomed Marine, instead of one who saw his sacrifice in the context of something greater and worthwhile.
Wild guess: Be a conservative partisan. Campaign against the war? Not a problem; welcome to Nonpartisanville.
In today's front-page story Youths in Rural U.S. Are Drawn To Military by Ann Scott Tyson, we learn, as the subhed tells us, Recruits' Job Worries Outweigh War Fears. The story appears to be inspired by a Nov. 1 press release
from the National Priorities Project. What's that? Let's find out and
give the Post's sense of neutrality its proper place. Tyson writes:
Nearly two-thirds of Army recruits in 2004 came from counties in which median household income is below the U.S. median.
On Friday morning’s Imus in the Morning program on MSNBC, Andy Rooney, from CBS, interrupted the I-Man’s positive description of Democratic Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., to state that he doesn’t like the term "African-American" and considered "Negro" to be "a perfectly good word."
Imus described Ford as an "African-American" prompting Rooney to interject, "I object every time I hear the word, words ‘African-American.’ You know? I don’t know why we have gotten caught with that." After saying he doesn’t want to be called an ‘Irish-American,’ Rooney went on to state his preference for another term, "The word ‘Negro’ is a perfectly good word, it’s a strong word and a good word. I don’t see anything wrong with that." Video Available: Windows Media or Real Player