As reported by NewsBusters, MSNBC’s David Shuster declared on Monday’s “Hardball” that the “outing” of Valerie Plame Wilson negatively impacted America’s ability to track the development of nuclear weapons by Iran. Stephen Spruiell of National Review’s “Media Blog” reported Saturday that the Washington Post’s Dana Priest doubts the accuracy of Shuster’s claim.
Apparently, during a WaPo live chat on Thursday, Priest stated: “It was reported before that she worked on proliferation issues for the CIA. The leap in this new round of information is that her outing significantly impacted our current intel on Iran.” Priest continued: “I don't buy it. First, no one person who quit clandestine work four years ago is going to make that big of a dent in current knowledge.” And, to Shuster’s detriment, continued: “But also, nothing like this came up at the time of her outing and I believe it would have. Think we need some actual details.” And concluded: “At present it just doesn't smell right.”
Spruiell also referenced some points made by Tom Maguire of Just One Minute. Apparently, Priest made some similar statements during an online chat in November shortly after her secret terrorist prisons story was released:
It can't be argued that the Patrick Kennedy adventure on wheels is being ignored by the media. But part of the coverage has been suffused in a bit of overweening Kennedy-dynasty sympathy. Washington Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank, who danced a jig of mockery in orange hunter clothes over Dick Cheney's shooting accident, wrote in Saturday's Washington Post about the "miserable character" who suffered after the crash:
Kennedy tried to ignore the din of shouted questions as he walked to the door, but he couldn't avoid the woman in the front row who asked if he would resign. He shook his head. "I need to stay in the fight," he said. Then the latest victim of the Kennedy Curse disappeared. On the decorative bookshelf behind the lectern where he spoke, there was still a copy of the Warren Commission's report on his uncle's assassination.
The New York Times reported on Saturday that Valerie Plame Wilson has been given over $2.5 million for her memoirs: “The book, whose working title is ‘Fair Game,’ is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2007 by Crown Publishing, an imprint of Random House. Steve Ross, senior vice president and publisher of Crown, said the book would be Ms. Wilson's ‘first airing of her actual role in the American intelligence community, as well as the prominence of her role in the lead-up to the war.’"
This makes one wonder if the drive-by media are going to praise the Bush administration for giving Wilson a new, significantly more profitable writing career. After all, she will likely make more money from this book than she made her entire life working for the CIA.
Now, of course this is being said with a tad bit of tongue in cheek. However, the media have made it one of their goals to regularly drive home the point that this affair ruined Wilson’s career. In fact, as reported by NewsBusters, MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and David Shuster both made such assertions during Monday’s version of “Hardball.” For instance, Shuster began Monday’s report:
Let's imagine it was, oh, Karl Rove who had been involved in a car accident under circumstances identical to those surrounding Patrick Kennedy. Think the Today show would be focusing on his 'courage' and largely taking at face value his claim that prescription medicines caused the crash? Or would they, rather, be demanding to know whether he was telling the truth in claiming no alcohol was involved?
That 'Today' was in a decidedly forgiving mood was clear from the show's very opening. Note the graphic Today attached to Kennedy's image. Not "Telling the Truth?" or "Drinking & Driving?", but "Seeking Treatment".
In his subsequent report, NBC reporter Chip Reid placed his MSM imprimatur upon Kennedy's version of events. We first were treated to a clip of Kennedy's statement about his addiction to painkillers, concluding with his observation that "I struggle every day with this disease as do millions of Americans."
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter has a new book out on the glories of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, so it's natural that he would be offered an interview on NBC's "Today" to promote it. On Tuesday morning, in the 9 am hour, news anchor Ann Curry helped guide Alter through the promoting:
Curry: "Roosevelt's optimism created what Newsweek columnist and NBC News contributor Jonathan Alter calls the defining moment, "FDR's Hundred Days And The Triumph Of Hope." It also happens to be the title of his new book. Jonathan, pleasure, good morning...."You know Roosevelt calls March '33 his 'rendezvous with destiny.' What made him so good at sparking optimism at a time when there was great depression, really?"
Alter: "You have to, you have to remember this was the bottom. And this was worse than 9/11 for people who remembered it and talked to me about it. If you had put your money in the wrong bank and 10,000 banks went out of business you were done. People now when they say they're broke, they, they say, 'well I've got $5000.' This is like $5 left buried under the mattress. And so when Roosevelt said the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, it wasn't true. People actually had a lot to fear about how they were gonna put food on the table. But he was able to create this sense of hope that there was a future and it saved, this is hard for us to believe, but it saved both democracy and capitalism within just a few weeks because at that time dictatorship had a positive connotation and a lot of people wanted it."
A Hollywood star from Wisconsin is apparently less embarrassed by Canada than by the United States. On Friday night's Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, actor Bradley Whitford, who plays “Josh Lyman” on NBC's The West Wing, related how he “just had a friend who went to Europe and I gave her a Canadian flag to put on her bag.” Whitford declared that the U.S. policy in Iraq “has desecrated” the American flag since we are “treating the rest of the world with contempt, dropping bombs on people who don't need bombs dropped on them” and “killing civilians...based on an assumption that an Iraqi life is worth less than ours. It's obscene." Earlier, Whitford contended: "There's no military, conventional military solution to terrorism. If there were, Israel would be the safest country in the world.” (But if Israel didn't use their military, would Israel still exist?) Turning his anger on the Bush administration, the actor who on The West Wing plays the Chief-of-Staff to “Democratic President-elect Matt Santos,” charged: “I think the whole approach by these bungling, violent, violence-addicted people in this administration, it's like the Polish joke: You lose your ring in the dark and so you look for it where there's light, where you know how to do it."
Video clip of Whitford on how Bush's “obscene” war has “desecrated” the U.S. flag (40 seconds): Real (1.2 MB) or Windows Media (1.4 MB), plus MP3 audio (200 KB).
It’s not unfair that CNN reported on difficult times for the Republican-led Congress. However, in Bill Schneider’s report for CNN’s The Situation Room this afternoon, there was virtually no mention of how the Democrats in the House and Senate may have contributed to the low approval ratings for the legislative branch.
Schneider’s report, which aired at 4:30pm EDT, blamed the low poll numbers on several factors, while barely implicating Democrats in Congress’ inaction. Instead, Schneider wondered "how low" can GOP lawmakers go?
"Approval of Congress has dropped from 35 to 25 percent. Why? Oh let’s see. Congress can’t pass immigration reform. They can’t pass a budget. They can’t even control their own spending. Ethics? Don’t get us started. Jack Abramoff, Tom DeLay, Duke Cunningham and now a Democrat, William Jefferson, under investigation."
Is it possible that Tim Russert hasn’t been paying attention? The host of Meet the Press appeared on the May 5 edition of NBC’s Today show to discuss President Bush and the midterm elections. Anchor Matt Lauer also asked him about the political fallout from Representative Patrick Kennedy’s car crash:
Russert: "Republicans obviously are watching this very carefully because they want to suggest to the country it's not just Republicans who misbehave or the culture of corruption or whatever. It also could be Democrats.And they're going to really dig into this case, I think, pretty actively."
Continuing her “Eye on the Road” series, CBS’s Sharyn Alfonsi showcased a Washington, D.C.-area teacher who she says can’t afford her commute due to rising gas prices.
But Alfonsi didn’t do her homework. Her featured teacher is a retired Navy lawyer who said in 2003 that she could only afford working as a Catholic school teacher because of her military pension. What Alfonsi didn’t say was that teacher Bonnie McGann made a conscious choice to earn less so she could give back to her church.
“This was the area where I could afford a home,” McGann informed Alfonsi’s viewers on the May 4 “Evening News.” The CBS correspondent added that McGann’s problem was the cost of the commute. “It’s a burden for me now. It’s something that I am unable to absorb,” McGann added. The picture Alfonsi painted was incomplete. McGann is a retired Navy Judge Advocate who says she went into teaching in Catholic schools for the emotional and spiritual reward of the experience....
Today we're starting a new tradition here at NewsBusters, the weekend captionfest. Basically, we post a picture from the news and NB readers post alternative captions to it.
Our first picture is of now former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's last day on the job. The original AP caption for this photo reads as follows: "White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan waves as he leaves the podium, Friday, May 5, 2006, after finishing his last briefing at the White House."
While President Bush battles the international Islamic jihad, and the networks warn almost daily that his approval ratings are terrible, President Clinton draws coos and congrats for solving the really big issues -- like making sure your kids can't destroy their lives by purchasing a Cherry Coke at school.
On Wednesday, CNN was hyping live coverage of the Miniature-Issues President taking on school soft-drink policies. By Thursday, MRC's Geoff Dickens informed me that NBC was so impressed by his life-saving prowess as ex-president that they were wondering if it outclassed his presidency. Perish the thought:
Ann Curry: "And former President Clinton is speaking out about his mission to end childhood obesity and the plan to eliminate sugary soft drinks from schools. He spoke to NBC's science correspondent Robert Bazell."
Anyone with a working TV set knows that the broadcast networks have hyped the high gas price story (“Pain at the Pump”) to ridiculous levels. A new MRC study of the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows found a whopping 183 stories in just three weeks, an avalanche of TV coverage that (helpfully to Democrats planning their midterm election strategy) has buried far more important good economic news, like robust economic growth, low unemployment and a booming stock market.
One device the networks have used to maintain an outraged tone in all of their coverage has been to plant themselves next to gas pumps and find motorists who aren’t embarrassed about whining on camera. The MRC analysts who went through all of the coverage — Geoff Dickens, Brian Boyd, Mike Rule and Scott Whitlock — counted 151 sound bites from gas buyers during the period we studied, April 12 to May 2.
"Killer of Teen, Fetus Sentenced" read a May 5 Washington Post headline on a man sentenced in Virginia for the brutal beating and subsequent death of his girlfriend and her unborn child. "Although there was evidence that Williams wanted to terminate" girlfriend Cheri Washington's pregnancy, "there was no proof that he intended to kill Washington," staff writer Theresa Vargas noted.
Nowhere in her story is the term "unborn baby" or "unborn child" used.
The Washington Post is hardly alone in using clinical language to describe the murder of unborn children. NewsBusters.org has documented other instances where the media have preferred the term "fetus" for an unborn child.
As if you needed more proof that the New York Times is a newspaper for liberal Democrats, by liberal Democrats, their "TimesTalks" series continues on Sunday, June 4 with a "Sunday With The Magazine" event. In a colorful full-page ad on the back of the B section Friday, the Times promises "today's most authoritative leaders in important discussions about the way live now." It's one thing to guess the Times staffers are going to be liberal. There's one chat with Magazine "ethicist" Randy Cohen ("How We Think And Act"), and there's a panel of Times writers and contributors on "How We See The War In Iraq" (which could be subtitled: "As A Vietnam Sequel.") But the Democrats are officially on the docket in the "How We Govern" segment (with Howard Dean) and the "How We Save the World" segment (with Madeleine Albright). The ad boasts the two interviews:
Michael Kinsley writes in Slate that "journalists sincerely believe" they deserve "constitutional special treatment" when it comes to deciding when to publish classified material. They believe that for Bush to decide when to publish classified material is to give him dictatorial powers. But for them to decide means a victory for the First Amendment.
Many in the media believe that the Constitution contains a "reporter's privilege" to protect the identity of sources in circumstances, like a criminal trial, in which citizens ordinarily can be compelled to produce information or go to jail. The Supreme Court and lower courts have ruled and ruled again that there is no such privilege. And it certainly is not obvious that the First Amendment, which seems to be about the right to speak, actually protects a right not to speak. Yet many in the media not only believe that it does. They believe passionately that it is not merely OK but profoundly noble to follow their own interpretation and ignore the Supreme Court's.
Why must the president obey constitutional interpretations he disagrees with if journalists don't have to? Upholding the Constitution is actually part of his job description. It is not part of theirs....
Certainly, Nina Burleigh is not a household name – definitely not in Sen. Hillary Clinton’s house. A former TIME magazine correspondent, Burleigh rose in infamy to national prominence in 1998 when, in an interview with the Washington Post, she said that she would be happy to perform a certain sexual act on then President Clinton for keeping abortion legal. For the less prurient and more curious, you can read further about this incident here and here.
On Thursday, the never tight-lipped Burleigh, in a post at HuffnPuff, asked Hillary to not run for president in 2008, while offering a top ten list as to why Al Gore should be the Democrats' candidate: “I’m all for having a female president and the Senator might even make a good one, somewhere and someday. The trouble is she can’t be elected in 2008.”
In reality, the headline says it all, doesn’t it? I mean, there’s not much more to say…but I’ll try.
Remember when Aaron Brown was fired from his anchor position at CNN last November? As reported by NewsBusters, CNN/USA’s president Jon Klein announced in a memo: “We have made some programming decisions which will impact our prime time schedule as well as our colleague Aaron Brown. Aaron will be leaving CNN and is very much looking forward to some well-deserved time off with his family.”
At the time, the New York Daily News had said that the shakeup – giving Anderson Cooper two hours from 10PM to midnight – was designed to improve CNN’s ratings versus Fox News. Well, according to a New York Post article Thursday, the gamble failed:
Matching cable news networks interest during the day, two of the three broadcast networks (CBS and NBC, as well as MSNBC's Countdown) led Thursday night with how, at an event in Atlanta, a handful of protesters confronted Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and accused him of “war crimes” and “lying” about Iraq. ABC also aired a story, but put the Moussaoui sentencing first. All three featured former CIA analyst Ray McGovern who demanded: "Why did you lie to get us into a war that was not necessary?”But all failed to note McGovern's long record of hostility to the Bush administration. As McGovern boasted when he first got to the mike (video not shown by ABC, CBS or NBC), he's a co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity and if you Google “Ray McGovern of CIA” you get a plethora of returns from far-left sites (DemocracyNow.org, antiwar.com, truthout.org, alternet.org, TomPaine.com and CommonDreams.org).
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer trumpeted: “Not since the Vietnam War has a Secretary of Defense been under the kind of criticism that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been getting lately. A group of retired generals has called on him to resign, and today he caught it from another front when he went to what has been Bush country -- Georgia -- and ran head on into hecklers that included a former CIA analyst.” Of course, Atlanta is hardly “Bush country” and CBS offered no proof the protesters were locals. David Martin concluded by admiring the guts of the protesters: "This is not the first time a former CIA officer has accused the Bush administration of misusing intelligence. But, Bob, it's never been done in such an in-your-face way." NBC's Brian Williams saw a greater meaning: “Today the Secretary of Defense received a blunt and personal reminder of the split in this country over the war in Iraq.” He then showcased a woman shouting in the audience: “You lied to the American people!...You lied! You lied that Iraq's oil would pay for the war! You lied about everything the CIA told you was lies!..You're a liar!" Jim Miklaszewski next touted how “today's protests join a growing chorus of criticism against the Secretary and follow the calls from at least six retired Generals for Rumsfeld's resignation.” (Transcripts follow)