On this morning's Today show, viewers were coyly teased of an Ann Coulter versus Michael Eric Dyson debate on race in the 9:30am half-hour. NBC's Natalie Morales tantalized viewers of the upcoming fight with sure to be expected fireworks: "Michael Eric Dyson and conservative commentator Ann Coulter are gonna square off right here. Should be a very good debate." However viewers and perhaps even Today's producers, had to be disappointed as Dyson and Coulter were surprisingly chummy. Morales even remarked: "You're being very civil this morning."
Not surprisingly, Morales did engage in the old habit of one-sided labeling, as she called Coulter a "conservative commentator," but refused to note Dyson's liberal leanings, as he was referred to as merely a "civil rights activist." Morales also called the liberal Dyson's book, Debating Race, "fascinating" and "great," but didn't apply the same superlative adjectives to the conservative Coulter's book, Godless.
If you're a regular viewer of network morning news shows -- a practice I don't really recommend, we watch them so you don't have to -- you know that CNN's "American Morning" is particularly concerned about the "epidemic" of childhood obesity.
Indeed, just two weeks ago, CNN's top doc, Sanjay Gupta, lamented a lack of regulation on Internet "advergaming" to children You know, playing Spoons with Snap, Crackle, and Pop, that sort of thing.
But this week, well, the crew at "American Morning" actually found it ridiculous that the makers of M&Ms have agreed to stop advertising to children. Not that they do much of that anyway, they just won't anymore, now that European regulators are breathing down their necks. And today, anchor Soledad O'Brien preached the virtues of moderation as she mocked schools that ban cupcakes. [cont'd...]
On Wednesday, Ralph Nader continued his media adulation tour, this time stopping by "The Daily Show." Just as with his appearance on "Late Edition," the only tough questioning Nader received was on the issue of the 2000 election and whether he placed George Bush in the White House. Stewart once again made clear exactly why conservatives view him as a not a political humorist, but a partisan, liberal comic. At one point, he told the consumer advocate that he was always right. And when Nader attacked President Ronald Reagan, the Comedy Central host joined right in:
Jon Stewart: "Please welcome back to the program, Ralph Nader! Ralph! Come on! Nice to see you again. Thanks for joining us. So they say they’re going to make a film about you, ‘An Unreasonable Man,’ and they come to you, and you say, ‘I'm in.’"
Ralph Nader: "What are you going to do? ( Laughter ) Everything– You know, you want air bags in cars and seat belts in cars so you lose the freedom to go through a windshield. Reagan didn't like that. He liked the freedom to go through a windshield."
Stewart:: "Exactly. So he was considering you an anti-liberty–."
Nader: "Yeah. Right."
Stewart: "Exactly. Ralph Nader. Tear down that belt. That sort of thing?"
To listen to Harry Smith, you'd think Mickey was drowning.
ABC, NBC and CBS were so busy with their hysterics about global warming as the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) summary report was released that they missed downward revisions to predictions of rising sea levels.
“Do people here [South Beach, Fla.] know that very likely in the next – well several decades – all of this is going to be underwater?” CBS “Early Show” anchor Harry Smith asked in an interview about the appeal of Miami, Florida.
John Edwards is retaining his attack-dog leftist bloggers. His campaign has a statement on the Edwards blog, and the candidate claimed "they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone's faith, and I take them at their word. We're beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can't let it be hijacked."
As anyone who's read the Kathryn Lopez smackdown on their blazing blog guns at Catholics (and Pope Benedict, the alleged dictator) knows, it's quite clear they intended to malign a faith. The subject emerged on CNN's The Situation Room Wednesday night, but the most disturbing part of the story appeared on screen. The graphic emphasized unproven allegations:
What? Kathryn's beginning made the vicious anti-Catholic flavor of Amanda Marcotte's blogging very clear:
"Six years ago, Brian Lavelle moved out of the city of Cleveland to the nearby suburb of Lakewood for what he thought would be a better life. Back then, Lavelle, 38, was a forklift operator in a steel mill making $14 an hour. He had a house, a car and was saving for his retirement. Then, three years ago, the steel mill closed and Lavelle found that the life he dreamed of was just that, a dream. The suburbs, he quickly learned, are a tough place to live if you're poor. For starters, there isn't much of a safety net in his community. Food pantries, job-retraining centers and low-cost health clinics are hard to come by.
How can Nancy Pelosi tell she's lost the Plane-Gate argument? When even MSNBC brands it "Air Pelosi." Check the screencap.
But Pelosi has apparently decided to go down fighting. She's now playing the gender card, and for good measure has thrown in a soupçon of Rumsfeld-phobia. MSNBC just aired a clip of Speaker Pelosi making the following remarks on the issue of her request to the Pentagon for a large plane to transport her home:
"I don't even know the numbers of the planes. So this is something that is really very strange. That the Department of Defense, the Pentagon, which I have been a constant critic of the war in Iraq, and where I understand Mr. Rumsfeld still has a desk, even though he's no longer the Secretary, has decided that they would go public about a conversation on an issue that applied to the previous Speaker. Now, as a woman, as a woman Speaker of the House, I don't want any less opportunity than male speakers have had when they have served here."
New York Times reporter Jeff Zeleny again spun in a Democrat direction in his coverage of the fierce arguments over non-binding resolutions regarding Bush's troop increase in Iraq. On Thursday, Zeleny claimed: "Senator John W. Warner, a Virginia Republican who led the bipartisan resolution against the president’s troop buildup plan, went to the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the letter only two days after siding with Republican leaders on a vote that blocked the debate."
After more than a week of ignoring the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s request for access to an extravagant plane, the three network morning shows finally covered the subject on Thursday, albeit briefly. CBS and ABC both offered full reports during the 7AM hour of the February 8 shows, while only CBS included a quote from a Republican lawmaker who criticized the possible ethical issues raised by having the opportunity to fly friends home in a posh C-32 jet. NBC’s "Today" show mentioned the story only in a news brief and then co-host Matt Lauer briefly asked correspondent David Gregory about the plane controversy.
All three networks included snarky reports on this "hot controversy." Lauer wondered if the incident would make Pelosi "look bad from a PR standpoint," while Cuomo used the pithy term, "turbulence." One wonders why it took a week for the media to jump on such a "hot controversy." At 7:06am, "Good Morning America’s" Cuomo introduced Jake Tapper with a few quips about "plane envy:"
Chris Cuomo: "We begin with the turbulence over Speaker Nancy Pelosi request for a new plane. A request that has been quickly turned down. Senior national correspondent Jake Tapper has the latest on the controversy from Capitol Hill. Jake, is this about security or ego? Sounds like a case of jet envy."
As the Internet becomes the driving force of the print media, it’s not surprising to hear newspaper moguls talk about their online strategies. However, when the chairman of the New York Times Company says, “I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years,” one should sit up and take notice.
With that in mind, Haaretz’s Eytan Avriel had a chat with Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., while he was in Davos, Switzerland, during the recent World Economic Forum (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Given the constant erosion of the printed press, do you see the New York Times still being printed in five years?
"I really don't know whether we'll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don't care either," he says.
As eager as they are to promote liberal politicians over conservative ones, the MSM is even more eager to promote the careers of black political figures who happen to be liberal. Black conservatives like Michael Steele or Condoleezza Rice could instantly get 400% better press simply by putting a "D" next to their names.
The last time such media fatuousness was on display was during the presidential campaigns of Jesse Jackson who received press coverage good enough as if he had owned the papers who fawned over him. The emergence of Barack Obama as a Democratic presidential candidate has sent the same MSM into a tizzy as media outlets rush to shower him with praises. This latest journalistic pack-patronizing is especially odd since Obama has basically no political record and very little in the way of accomplishments.
One does not have to be of the conservative bent to notice that the press has gone off the deep end here. Timothy Noah, a liberal writer who works at the left-leaning Slate ezine, has started a series called "The Obama Messiah Watch" highlighting ridiculous media coverage of Illinois's junior senator. Read his latest edition here, as well as the firsttwo.
Following in John Kerry’s footsteps, former Vice President Al Gore was in Madrid, Spain, Wednesday basically blaming the world’s problems on the country that made him a very wealthy man.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout): “Emerging economies such as China are justified in holding back on fighting greenhouse gas emissions until richer polluters like the United States do more to solve the problem, former Vice President Al Gore said Wednesday.”
Of course, Gore didn’t mention that one of the fastest growing economies in the world is China’s, or that it is believed that nation has been buying twice its actual need for oil in the past five years to stockpile it for the future. Such facts are unimportant when you’re trying to sell junk science.
Getting back to the recent announcement by China blaming America for global warming:
Message to Nancy Pelosi: when NBC's Matt Lauer and David Gregory agree that your quest for a big plane is turning into a PR mess, and ABC's Chris Cuomo calls it a case of "jet envy," it's time to fold your wings.
Lauer raised the matter with David Gregory on this morning's "Today": "Let's talk about the size of the plane that Nancy Pelosi has requested from the Pentagon. Depending on the spin you want to believe here, either the Speaker says it's to travel efficiently back to her home district; Republicans are saying it's an abuse of power. Either way, does it just look bad from a PR standpoint?"
Gregory agreed: "I think that's the problem. This is a Democratic leader who's promising to clean up Washington. It's worth remembering, post-9/11, the House Speaker gets private air travel by the Air Force to get back to his or her home district. Dennis Hastert went back to Chicago [in the much smaller plane shown here], Nancy Pelosi is going back to San Francisco. She wants the ability to go direct and not have to refuel on the way and have some family members go with her, and none of that is untoward, but the Air Force is saying, the military is saying 'look, we can't guarantee you a 757' which is essentially what she wants, it depends on availability. Republicans are saying 'look, this is more than just efficiency, this is extravagance.'"
President Bush visited a Micron Technology factory in Manassas, Virginia on Wednesday, about 35 miles from the White House. The Washington Post wouldn't have found much use to cover the visit -- unless there was something embarrassing. The caption on the front of the Thursday Prince William Extra section had it: "Bush made a canned crack about potholes in Manassas, despite arriving by helicopter at the Micron campus."
Bush joked with the mayor of Manassas about fixing the potholes, a throw-away gibe. But reporter Christy Goodman spent a good chunk of her article on the Micron visit focused on Bush's rude "canned wisecrack." The mayor told the Post he wanted to tell Bush "we don't have potholes in Manassas." Baloney. I live about a mile west of the Micron plant, and a year or two ago, I lost a tire due to a pothole near that factory at the intersection of Wellington Road and Godwin Drive (pothole since fixed). Here's how Goodman chronicled Bush's insensitivity:
Those who bother analyzing the drivel regularly emanating from MSNBC’s “Countdown” never cease to be amazed by how low the star will go each night.
On Tuesday, Keith Olbermann moved ever closer to journalism’s abyss.
In his “Worst Person in the World” segment, Olbermann gave the gold medal to Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid for his coverage of Sen. Joe Biden’s potentially racist comments concerning Barack Obama (video available here)
On Wednesday evening, CBS became the first of the broadcast networks to cover the controversy over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's efforts to acquire access to a larger jet than what her predecessor used. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric relayed that Pelosi's request for a "big travel upgrade" was coming at a time when "they're cracking down on congressional perks." After pointing out that Pelosi "finds herself on the defensive" as military officials are "grumbling," correspondent Sharyl Attkisson gave attention to House Republican Whip Roy Blunt's concern that the extra seats on such a large aircraft might be used for fund-raising purposes. According to a Nexis search, the only mentions of the controversy on the cable news networks have come several times this week on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight and once on MSNBC's Tucker. (Transcript follows)
MRC/NB media watcher Tim Graham was interviewed on the Fox News Channel show "Hannity & Colmes" on Wednesday night on media coverage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's request to be flown to San Francisco on (some say extravagant) military aircraft with 42 seats and a crew of 16. The other guest was former ABC News veteran Bob Zelnick. Video: Windows (2.4MB) or Real (2.86MB) Plus: MP3 (1.1 MB)
Zelnick expressed satisfaction that the story was being aired. Tim disagreed, saying the Pelosi story has not aired on ABC, NBC, NPR, and so on. (CBS aired their first story on Wednesday's Evening News.) Print coverage is also lacking: no story in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or USA Today. The Washington Times was first on the story last week, and the Washington Post ran a small 273-word piece on A-15 on Tuesday.
Has Chris Matthews watched one too many episodes of "Oz," the hyper-graphic HBO original series about prison life?
Discussing the Scooter Libby trial on the 7 PM ET edition of this evening's Hardball, Chris spun a sanguine scenario in which Libby, facing the prospect of a long prison sentence in a vulnerable environment, might turn on Vice-President Cheney.
Matthews: "If Scooter's convicted, if you're looking at the number of counts facing him. If that jury really does go to town -- and I hope they're not watching -- and hits him with four or five counts, they add up to big time in some federal penitentiary, not necessarily Allenwood [known as the country club of federal prisons]. Someplace where a guy like Scooter Libby would not bevery protected from the fellow prisoners. If he faces 20 years somewhere in maximum security, he's going to think again about his situation, isn't he?"