Wednesday's CBS Evening News, anchored by Russ Mitchell, provided a sympathetic look at efforts to win an early release for John Walker Lindh, the American citizen who was convicted of giving aid to the Taliban during the war in Afghanistan. Mitchell and correspondent John Blackstone, who only displayed soundbites sympathetic to Lindh, relayed the argument of Lindh's parents that his 20-year sentence was "not fair considering Australian David Hicks was sentenced to just nine months for his terror conviction," without considering whether Hicks' sentence was too light. CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen further contended that because Lindh was tried relatively soon after the 9/11 attacks, that he was a "victim of timing" in a "harsh atmosphere." Andrew Cohen: "He was the first person to go through the legal system after 9/11 in federal court, and the atmosphere at that time was so intense and harsh that he is essentially a victim of timing." (Transcript follows)
Multichannel News reports that Robert Redford's putting his politics where his money is, producing an environmental propaganda offensive on his Sundance Channel on cable. It's called "The Green." Viewers can download an "eco-tips" guide that offers suggestions on "pro-environment" lifestyle changes consumers can make.
Redford also filmed customized public-service announcements for affiliates that have agreed to host The Green material on their broadband portals. Participants include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and DirecTV.
The effort is supported on air with a weekly programming block that will debut April 17. The lead-off program is Big Ideas for a Small Planet, a 13-episode series on lifestyle areas in which individuals can make a difference. For instance, an episode titled "Drive" will discuss hybrid and electric cars.
One of the most ridiculous suggestions among Time magazine’s “51 Things You Can Do to Make a Difference" to save the planet from global warming was the idea of making only right turns. No, that doesn’t presage some political shift for the publication. Right turns, in this case, referred to traffic.
ABC seized on this concept on April 3, detailing United Parcel Service's company policy of avoiding left turns.
But neither Time nor ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" explained that this practice might not be as good for ordinary drivers as it is for the UPS fleet with computer-programmed delivery, mapping software and GPS.
That's pretty much the spin from the Politico this afternoon as the online political journal spun Barack Obama's campaign fundraising performance into bad news for Republican presidential aspiratios in 2008.
Here's the text of the "breaking news" e-mail from Politico.com. That's right, it's so important it deserved a breaking news alert to Politico readers' inboxes:
The Politico.com Breaking News: --------------------------------------------------------- GOP Gets Swamped in Money Hunt
The $25 million raised by Barack Obama this year is the latest bad news for Republicans.
The April 4 edition of CBS’s "The Early Show" covered Republican Senator and presidential candidate John McCain’s visit to Iraq implying he has a skewed sense of reality. Anchor Russ Mitchell introduced the segment that the Arizona Senator "seems to be stumbling a bit of late" because he "went to Iraq" and "said he saw some progress."
Before playing McCain’s optimistic sound bite, correspondent Martin Seemungal reported that McCain had been in Baghdad for "just a few hours." After playing another positive word from Congressman Mike Pence (R-Ind), Seemungal responded that "the reality on the ground is anything but peaceful" and some residents claimed "it took a massive military operation to give the congressmen that sense of security."
In an April 4 blog post to "Couric & Co.," the University of Virginia alumna (Class of 1979) worries that kids these days don't know their way around the library, and hence will be up a creek when they drift into the college library cramming for term papers:
Many kids skip the library altogether and head for the store. Sales of
juvenile books rose 60 percent from 2002 to 2005. It's an encouraging
sign that kids value reading, but many tech-savvy kids never experience
the joy of using the library's shelves as a place to discover new
worlds. And students are arriving in college unable to navigate
libraries with a Dewey decimal system many have never used.
Of course, kids love books, they just need authors that know how to capture their attention. Katie knows this well, having plugged the heck out of Harry Potter novels repeatedly over the years. But it's the last line in the above excerpt that caught my eye about students being unfamiliar with "a Dewey decimal system many have never used."
Our good friends at Get Religion noticed that the New York Times's Dining & Wine section had a bit of trouble today digesting the real meanings of Easter and Passover.
Now, to be fair, no one expects a newspaper's foodies to be experts on the finer points of theology, but it's pretty safe to say that knowing Easter celebrates the physical resurrection of Christ is not asking that much of someone writng a column about foods traditionally associated with the holiday.
He's "America's best-known forecaster" according to CBS's Mark Strassman and a "veteran forecaster" to ABC's Ned Potter.
Bill Gray the well-known and well-respected hurricane forecaster is revered by journalists when he's predicting hurricanes, but as soon as Gray starts talking about global warming, the media for the most part stop listening.
"At today's national hurricane conference in New Orleans, 700 weather watchers talked about one man ... Bill Gray, America's best-known forecaster. And his prediction for this hurricane season, watch out," said Strassman on CBS "Evening News" April 3.
According to Charles Gibson of ABC, Gray is "something of a renegade." Yes, when it comes to the media's collective opinion on global warming, he is.
In the post-Walter Reed world, the MSM is on the prowl for stories that fit the template -- troops suffering at the hands of an indifferent military health bureaucracy. Yesterday's episode of the Montel Williams show demonstrates what happens when a soldier doesn't stick to the victimization script.
Have a look at this article from the Grand Junction [Colo.] Sentinel, which reports on the appearance on the Williams show of Kelli Frasier, a resident of Clifton, CO in the Grand Junction area. Frasier, who served 11 months in Iraq, was invited onto the show to discuss her experiences in Iraq and once she returned home. According to the article, "Frasier suffers anxiety attacks and bouts of unexplainable anger and has been diagnosed as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder." But while Williams was eager to emphasize the problems Frasier has encountered, according to the article:
When she told Williams she was treated well by the Department of Veterans Affairs, he seemed to lose interest and moved quickly to another segment, she said.
Tom Tancredo has become well-known as the country’s most energetic Congressman against illegal immigration. He’s now running for president on that issue. National Public Radio also has a deeply ingrained reputation – as a taxpayer-subsidized network of gooey liberals. They speak in tones so sleep-inducing that their programs should be regarded as a potential traffic hazard.
On April 1, these two legends met, and sparks flew. The program was Sunday’s "All Things Considered" broadcast, hosted by Debbie Elliott. The trouble began at hello: Elliott introduced Tancredo as a man who "gained national prominence with his fierce opposition to allowing illegal immigrants to become citizens."
Here's another glaring example of the sin of omission.
The Paper of Record couldn't bring itself to identify the party affiliations of several New Jersey Democrats who were indicted for
diddling and corrupting the pension funds of thousands of public employees. The New York Times appears to be attempting to limit political damage for its chosen party by scrubbing its dispatches of a key word/descriptor: Democrat. The NYT reports:
In 2005, New Jersey put either $551 million, $56 million or nothing into its pension fund for teachers. All three figures appeared in various state documents — though the state now says that the actual amount was zero. [...] New Jersey has
been diverting billions of dollars from its pension fund for state and local workers into other government purposes over the last 15 years, using a variety of unorthodox transactions authorized by the Legislature and by governors from both political parties.
Just when you thought the New York Times couldn't sink any lower than its chairman Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger ranting how he was sorry America wasn't a socialist and pacifist nation, the money-losing paper manages to surprise you.
That's really the only thing you can say after reading Times Arts tv critic Alessandra Stanley's attempt to cast the popular-but-fading Fox show "American Idol" into the 2000 election controversy.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to the Times, the reason that teenage girls looove tuning in is because Al Gore didn't beat George W. Bush.
Two days ago NewsBusters documented how ABC's "Good Morning America"
is hyping the "latest trend" for couples tying the knot this year,
so-called green weddings. Of course, weatherman/reporter Sam Champion
left out for his audience how the bride featured in his story, Anna
Swinson, is a Sierra Club official in Atlanta, but what's a covert
liberal agenda among friends?
ABC is not the only network pushing the phenomenon as a tactic to combating global warming. "Days of Our Lives"
addicts will be treated to the earth-friendly nuptials of characters
Sami and Lucas. Of course the NBC.com Web site doesn't just plug the
liberal-friendly story arc, it also insults the intelligence
of its readership by insisting that having a "green wedding" isn't just a matter of taste, it's a matter of life and death (yes, even if green is just not the bride's color):
In an exclusive, TMZ.com broke the story that CNN axed Soledad O’Brien and Miles O’Brien as hosts of the low-rated “American Morning.” Replacing them will be the network's in-house talent, John Roberts and Kiran Cherty, who was recently fired from FNC's morning show "Fox & Friends.”
TMZ says that “the move will be effective in two to three weeks” and that the O’Briens , who are not related, “will remain at CNN.”
Vanity Fair has just released its second annual “Green Issue.” This year, actor Leonardo DiCaprio was prominently placed on the cover -- captured by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz no less -- standing at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in southeast Iceland perfectly looking the part as Hollywood's foremost concerned environmentalist.
In the featured piece, DiCaprio was labeled “The Man of the Hour,” and the following excerpt of his soon to be released documentary “The 11th Hour” was offered to the unsuspecting public (emphasis added throughout):
So, we find ourselves on the brink. It's clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet's ecological web of life.
Wow. We’ve had a devastating impact on this planet? Devastating? Really? DiCaprio continued his sermon:
The DC Examiner has a great editorial this morning reminding everyone of the dramatic failure that McCain-Feingold has been. Not only has it failed to remove the "corrupting" influence of money in elections, it's needlessly promoted censorship:
Well, so much for “getting rid of the corrupting influence of
money on politics” — the basic aim of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance
Reform Act of 2002, aka as McCain-Feingold. That’s Sen. Russ Feingold,
D-Wis., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive front-runner for
the 2008 GOP presidential nomination who raised “only” $12.5 million
during the first three months of 2007. The Arizona senator trailed far
behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $21 million
and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who raised $15 million, $10
million of which came in March alone. Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary
Clinton, D-N.Y., raised $26 million, former North Carolina Sen. John
Edwards raised $14 million and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised
$6 million. Sen.Barack Obama, D-Ill., has not released his figures but
is estimated to have raised about $22 million. Collectively, more than
$125 million has been raised by the 2008 presidential candidates in
just three months, with more than nine months to go before the first
Think back to the days before McCain-Feingold
became law. The biggest target of the law’s backers was the estimated
$500 million in soft money contributed to political parties by
corporations, individuals, labor unions and others. Just last year,
Fred Wertheimer and Trevor Potter, two of the most ardent
McCain-Feingold supporters, charged that soft money “ultimately turned
into a $500 million national scandal and disgrace.” Now it looks like
the presidential primary contenders will equal or even surpass that
once-scandalous threshold long before the start of the general election
campaign. We know little or nothing about what was promised by the
candidates in return for this unprecedented flood of cash.
In TV personnel moves, Howard Kurtz reports CNN has dumped its American Morning anchors Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien (not related or married) for former Dan Rather heir apparent John Roberts and former Fox & Friends regular Kiran Chetry. (The Post also reported CNN anchor Paula Zahn is calling it quits on her 20-year marriage.)
Jim Benson in Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Rosie O'Donnell is saying she will decide in May whether to stay with ABC's crew on "The View" or cash in: "word comes that she is in negotiations about a potentially rich overall studio deal," and her asking price is "believed to be $40 million annually." He adds: "With O'Donnell's View contract ending in June, and recent boycott threats against Disney and ABC over her Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, rumors about her future plans are flying."
Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Boston Globe reports on the "push" to draft Al Gore to run for president in 2008 in the April 4th edition of the paper. The story's starry-eyed subjects launching Gore for president websites and sponsoring web petitions are in for the best fluff treatment lending their claims of a "surge" in support for a Gore candidacy far more legitimacy than it deserves.
The sunny representation of these Gore for president campaigns the Globe gives is almost pathetic in it's obvious wishful thinking. The only qualifying language to downplay the efforts used in the piece is an understated "How big is the effort? Hard to say."
No, it's not really that hard to say even when assessing the fluff the Globe reported. In fact, it's pretty easy to say that there is little interest -- at least far from enough interest to show a "surge" in support for a second Gore run for the White House. Far from "heating up" it seems more likely that there is a flaming out in the offing.
In her blog, Rosie tried to soften and obscure her radical positions on 9/11, and in the process mangled the Constitution and pretended the issue is that her critics are stifling her Constitutional “freedom to speak.” She started out sympathetic and seemingly respectful, mouthed patriotic platitudes and then repackaged her tin foil hat rantings as mere “inquiry” and an extension of her First Amendment right to “entertain ideas”:
9/11 affected me deeply, as I know it did many Americans. The falling of the twin towers served to remind me that many of the assumptions Americans have about their lives are rooted in false feelings of security. In light of this reminder, I have begun doing exactly what this country, at its best, allows for me to do: inquire. Investigate. America is great in so many ways, one of which is the freedom to speak, and indeed think, freely. I have, of late, begun exercising the rights bestowed upon me by the democratic system I value, and the exercising of these rights has taken the form of an inquiry into what happened five years ago, an inquiry that resists the dominant explanations andthat dares to entertain ideas that push me to the edge of what is bearable.