PBS talk-show host Charlie Rose returned to his set on Monday night after some weeks off for heart surgery. While he was out, PBS used a rotating set of liberal-media stars as hosts, including Barbara Walters, Brian Williams, and CNBC's Maria Bartiromo. Just last week, MRC intern Chadd Clark found some typical liberal thoughts coming from guest hosts.
On June 5, former CNN anchor Judy Woodruff interviewed Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and she echoed Charlie Gibson's lame idea that public opinion on so-called "gay marriage" is a 50-50 polling proposition:
The United States Senate today, spending the day debating an amendment to the US Constitution to ban gay marriage. President Bush lobbying hard for it. The polls show the American people almost split down the middle. You've written a letter urging members of the Senate to vote for the ban. Why?"
Has Katie Couric's departure had a salubrious effect on Matt Lauer? Freed his inner moderate? The jury's still out. And to be sure, in his interview of Bill O'Reilly this morning Lauer managed to take shots at Ann Coulter and the Iraq security situation. Still, when an MSM host suggests that releasing prisoners from Guantanamo could result, of all things, in an 'international Willie Horton,' it does make you sit up and take notice.
Meanwhile, BOR himself, fresh from his visit to Guantanamo, energetically made the case for the current system of detaining enemy combatants.
Lauer did start things out with a quick jab at the state of security, or lack thereof, in Iraq:
On Monday, movie star/director Robert Redford appeared on "Hardball" to discuss environmentalism. Hardballs weren't really expected. (Remember Chris Matthews fawning over Jane Fonda?) MRC's Geoff Dickens found that Redford sounded predictable notes about how Bush and Cheney were "living in the '50s" with their energy policies, driven by their oil riches and narrow minds. Al Gore's film showed that green groups had idealism comparable to JFK and Martin Luther King. So why can't the Democrats win? They're too "open to all points of view."
Matthews began, predictably, by praising Redford's activism and this great new moment to be green:
In the Clinton years, the Clintons fans loathed Chris Matthews, locating him firmly inside the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. In the Bush years, Matthews is whacked regularly by the left and by the right. On Monday, MRC's Geoff Dickens found him sounding just like another disgruntled member of MoveOn.org as he interviewed John Murtha: the Democrats are too conservative.
“Why are the Democrats so conservative on this war? I was looking at the, the, the fundraising money. Is the fact that the Democrats are getting a lot of fat cat money no, more conservative people contributing to the party, an explanation of, if you were getting your money from college professors, you wouldn’t have this problem. You’re getting it from rich people. You’re catching up, in fact, passing the Republicans in fundraising. Is this steering the Democratic party to a more conservative position on the war, the money?”
MSNBC Countdown fill-in host Brian Unger on Tuesday night asked David Shuster about how “your sources seemed to indicate that Karl Rove would be indicted. What happened?" In fact, back on May 8, as recounted in a Tuesday NewsBusters posting, Shuster had gone beyond just citing sources and declared: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.” Responding to Unger, Shuster first blamed his sources: “The defense lawyers who have witnesses in front of that grand jury, sometimes they get it wrong, and that seemed to be the case in this particular case.”
Then Shuster suggested Rove really is guilty, but prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was afraid he’d be embarrassed if he lost such a high-profile case and so pulled back. Shuster contended that with the exception of Rove’s lawyer, “all” of the lawyers involved in the case contend that in “the same circumstances all over again, somebody testifying five times before a grand jury, somebody who had the burden to stop the charges, somebody who had to testify for three and a half hours the last time, and oh, by the way, he had a classification in the Libby case that almost suggested he would certainly be indicted, the lawyers saying they would have reached the same conclusion” that he would be indicted. “The issue, they say, though, is not that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concluded that the case was unwinnable, rather that it was not a slam dunk.” Unger presumed Fitzgerald let Rove off easy as he cited “straight arrow” Fitzgerald’s “remarkable restraint.” (Full transcript follows)
The media is overflowing with stories about the incident in Haditha on November 19, 2005. There are so many stories and so many interviews but there is a problem. Many of the stories and recountings of events are inconsistent and seem ever changing.
Take the conflicting stories from Thaer al-Hadithi - the "young Iraqi journalist" and AP's "Iraqi human rights investigator". Al-Hadithi claimed that his "own house was barely 100 yards from the IED explosion." He recounted that the blast shattered his windows. Al-Hadithi claimed he "ran outside in time to see Marines from three other humvees springing from their vehicles and heading for four homes on either side of the road."
But in his interview with the AP, he claimed "he was visiting his family in Haditha". Al-Hadithi described an "eerie silence after the explosion". He told the AP that he watched from the window of his home and had a clear view of two of the houses.
Of the broadcast network evening shows on Tuesday night, ABC’s World News Tonight delivered the most rancorous take on President Bush’s surprise trip to Baghdad with Martha Raddatz citing “deception” and fretting about how while Bush was in the air to Iraq his staffers were still giving journalists a false schedule and she concluded by pointing out how there are more troops in Iraq now than when Bush last visited in 2003.
Raddatz asserted: "This trip was not only surrounded in secrecy, there was a bit of deception as well” since “at 7:45 last night Mr. Bush excused himself from a meeting, saying he was 'losing altitude' and wanted to read awhile before bed." Instead, he traveled to Andrews to get plane to Iraq. “While the President was flying,” Raddatz complained, “the White House Press Office was giving the Washington press corps a fake schedule." ABC News producer Jon Garcia then bemoaned: "They were still giving out details and information about a supposed White House Rose Garden event with the President." Raddatz sighed: "Not until he landed in Iraq did Washington know the truth.” She concluded by suggesting failure in how there are not fewer troops in Iraq: “When the President visited the troops in 2003, Charlie, there were 120,000 Americans there. Today, there are 128,000 Americans there, and no sign that those troops will be reduced dramatically in the future." (Transcript follows)
In his Tuesday World News Tonight story on how top White House adviser Karl Rove will not be indicted for perjury in the Valerie Plame case, ABC’s Jake Tapper, in a rare instance of one journalist criticizing another, actually highlighted an agenda-driven media miscue as he featured a quote showcased earlier today on NewsBusters: “The investigation has already resulted in one indictment, former White House adviser ‘Scooter' Libby. And some Democrats and some in the media wrongly predicted Rove would be next."
Viewers then a saw Web video quality clip of MSNBC’s David Shuster from the May 8 Countdown: “I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted." (Tapper, who earlier featured a soundbite from RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman, then moved on to how “Democrats said while Rove may not have violated the letter of the law, he may have violated a sacred trust.")
"Tonight" host Jay Leno might want to consider wearing referee stripes on Wednesday's show when Ann Coulter and George Carlin are his guests.
Coulter, the acid-tongued conservative with a new book out, and Carlin, the quick-witted, anti-establishment comedian who's in the voice cast for the new animated film "Cars," were booked at separate times for the NBC late-nighter, a spokeswoman said Monday.
But the duo's meeting could produce serious fireworks for "Tonight," which usually limits its political fodder to Leno's bipartisan monologue jokes.
Would you really want to hurt one of those? That's the implicit question in an Associated Press article run on ABCNews.com about polar bears forced to turn to cannibalism because of global warming.
According to the AP, polar bears may be "turning to cannibalism because longer seasons without ice keep them from getting to their natural food." The study that is featured in the story cites only three examples of polar bear cannibalism, all from 2004. The Three Bears must of had their fill the last two years.
The AP writer, Dan Joling, feels no shame in collaborating with environmental activists who give him two-year-old data. The right time to release the data, naturally, is during Al Gore's movie.
Here’s everything Reuters and the NY Times are telling readers at nytimes.com (3:30 p.m. eastern, Jun. 13) about today's press conference Israel's Defense Minister Amir Peretz held concerning the explosion last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians ("Israel Denies Role in Deadly Gaza Beach Blast")
Israel on Tuesday denied responsibility for an explosion on a Gaza beach last week that killed seven Palestinian civilians and led militant group Hamas to call off a 16-month truce.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz told reporters the explosion was not caused by the Israeli Defense Forces but did not provide an explanation for what might have caused the blast, which killed several members of the same family.
Major General Meir Califi, who headed the army's investigation into Friday's incident, said Israel's shelling of Gaza had stopped by the time the beach explosion occurred.
"The chances that artillery fire hit that area at that time are nil,'' Califi told a news conference.
Hamas, which heads the Palestinian Authority after winning elections earlier this year, has blamed Israel for the explosion, which came on a day of heavy shelling of Gaza.
Israel frequently fires artillery rounds into the coastal strip in response to Palestinian rockets fired at Israel.
There has been a surge in violence between Israel and the Palestinians since the beach explosion, the immediate aftermath of which was caught on film and showed an 8-year-old girl desperately searching for her dead father.
An investigator from international rights group Human Rights Watch told reporters in Gaza earlier that evidence pointed to Israel having fired the shell, but he had to leave the door open to the possibility that the explosion was caused by something else.
You can almost imagine Chris Matthews wracking his brain as the minutes counted down to Hardball hitting the air this evening. He couldn't permit Pres. Bush's surprise trip to Iraq to stand as an unalloyed triumph. Was Matthews bouncing possible lines off his producers and assistants?
In any case, Chris gave it his best Holy Cross try. Opening the show, he mused:
"The bravado of visiting Baghdad helps Bush, but does it hurt Iraq's new Prime Minister to have the American president look like a boss on an inspection tour?"
Matthews ran the same line up the flagpole when when NBC's Richard Engel came on. Reporting live from Baghdad, Engel at first weakly saluted but - to his credit - ultimately offered a different take.
Our media today seem absolutely allergic to good news, especially when it comes to Iraq.
In the early morning of June 8, the story broke that American forces had killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, our most infamous terrorist enemy in Iraq. This was terrific news, a time for rejoicing in America. A man who viciously caused the death of thousands, and killed Americans like Nicholas Berg by personally sawing off their heads, would kill no more.
This should have been a time for national euphoria, and for most, it was. But the media’s hearts clearly weren’t in it. Within just a few minutes of the “Today” show announcement, a viewer could draw the clear sense that the poor-mouthing had begun. Matt Lauer began by noting the “timing” was certainly right for a Pentagon dragged down by allegations of a Marine massacre at Haditha. NBC invited Sen. Joe Biden to describe how President Bush has been “basically crippled at home and abroad because of the incompetence of the way his administration has operated at home and abroad.” We’re going to discuss Bush incompetence – minutes after we learn Zarqawi was located and eliminated?
After the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s former Chief of Staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on perjury charges, rumors have circulated that President Bush’s top political adviser Karl Rove would soon be indicted as well. Today, we found out that would not be the case.
On April 27, when Karl Rove was set to testify before the grand jury for the fifth time, CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante, appearing on "The Early Show" noted:
"Sources close to the case say they think that it’s almost at an end. If it is cleared up in Rove’s favor, that will be a big lift to this White House."
A big lift for the White House? You wouldn’t have known that watching "The Early Show" this morning. All that was said on the subject amounted to about 25 seconds and came from 2 anchor reads from co-host Julie Chen. In fact, the story wasn't big enough news to earn a tease or a mention at the top of the show, but at about 7:06 Chen mentioned:
An October 17, 2005 NewsBusters item I wrote recounted: CNN's Jack Cafferty, on Monday afternoon's [October 17] The Situation Room, took a cheap shot at Karl Rove's weight and expressed delight in the possibility Rove will be indicted. Just past 3pm EDT, Cafferty announced his question of the hour: “What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?” Cafferty then answered his own question: “He might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, 'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one." Wolf Blitzer pointed out: “He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty conceded: "Oh, well then maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer then cautioned the indictment might not come: "Yeah, but you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." A giddy Cafferty replied: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me." (Transcript follows)
I'd like to revisit the comedic styling of one Jason Leopold. Now, maybe you haven't heard of Leopold, or maybe all that comes to mind is the Bugs Bunny cartoon ("Leopold, LEOPOLD, leopold") but Jason is a hero to journalists. He writes the stories that other journalists won't touch, for websites other journalists won't admit to reading, like CounterPunch, Common Dream, Truthout.org, you know, your typical moonbat hangouts. Sure he's had some anti-Bush stories retracted by Salon.com, he may have dabbled in plagiarism, and he has the average liberal reporter's issues with drug addition, mental illness, suicide, and lying to employers, but he's still a journalist's journalist.
Rove Informs White House He Will Be Indicted By Jason Leopold Within the last week, Karl Rove told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials, that he will be indicted in the CIA leak case and will immediately resign his White House job when the special counsel publicly announces the charges against him, according to sources. Speaking on condition of anonymity, sources confirmed Rove's indictment is imminent.
Great moments in political prognostication, from the May 8 edition of MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.”
David Shuster: "Well, Karl Rove's legal team has told me that they expect that a decision will come sometime in the next two weeks. And I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted. And there are a couple of reasons why.
"First of all, you don't put somebody in front of a grand jury at the end of an investigation, or for the fifth time, as Karl Rove testified a couple -- a week and a half ago, unless you feel that`s your only chance of avoiding indictment. So, in other words, the burden starts with Karl Rove to stop the charges."
Stephen Spruiell at NRO's Media Blog rightly whacks Slate's John Dickerson -- formerly a White House reporter for Time magazine and the son of pioneering network TV reporter Nancy Dickerson -- for his assertion Monday that liberal bloggers merely want the press to improve, but conservatives can't stand that the press exists, that they want them.....dead?
One of the healthiest things about the left-wing blogosphere is its confrontational dislike of the mainstream media. There's a distinction here with the media's critics on the right. At some level, the right doesn't much like that the press exists. They don't want to fix it, they want to drive a stake through its heart. The left, on the other hand, just wishes the establishment press would do a better job.
It's been reported that Karl Rove will not be indicted for the Valerie Plame case. But that doesn't mean Reuters doesn't wish the opposite would have occurred. The organization resurrected a picture from last month and ran it this month after news that Karl Rove was off the hook.