Why is it so hard for the New York Times to obtain the basic facts of Sen. John Kerry's "botched joke"?
Political reporter Adam Nagourney, like Kate Zernike before him, spins Kerry's November gaffe about U.S. troops "stuck in Iraq" at a political rally in California to make them seem less harmful, in Thursday's "Kerry Will Not Enter Presidential Race."
"But Mr. Kerry’s hopes were probably most damaged by what he said was a botched joke he told while campaigning on behalf of Congressional candidates in the final week of the 2006 election campaigns.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," ABC’s Jake Tapper continued the media’s campaign to defend Senator Barack Obama against charges that, as a young child living in Indonesia, he attended a madrassah, an Islamic school that teaches virulent anti-Americanism. Co-host Robin Roberts and Mr. Tapper alternatively referred to the charges as "smears," "dirty tricks" and "lies." According to a 1999 MRC Reality Check, ABC gave no such courtesy to then-Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush. On August 24 of that year, "Nightline" host Ted Koppel devoted an entire half hour episode to the unsubstantiated rumors that Bush used cocaine as a younger person. Obama, who has admitted trying cocaine as a teenager, was not asked about it in a January 24 GMA appearance. Here is Koppel’s explanation for the media’s interest in Bush’s youth:
Ted Koppel: "So here we are in this curious twilight in which [Bush] plainly acknowledges excessive use of alcohol until he turned 40, makes no claim of privacy in the area of marital infidelity, unlike some people we know he did not cheat on his wife, but leaves the question of youthful cocaine use ambiguously addressed with this assertion: I did make mistakes years ago."
-Nightline August 24, 1999
And here is the combined defense of Robert's introduction and Tapper's report on the January 25 "Good Morning America."
Robin Roberts: "Now, to the field of contenders, the presidential hopefuls who want President Bush's job. And the dirty tricks seem to have already begun. The target? Senator Barack Obama."
In discussing the resolution passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressing disagreement with President Bush, CBS’s "Early Show" only featured sound clips from senators who voted for the measure, including from Senator Chuck Hagel, the lone Republican on the panel to vote for it. There was no video of any of the nine Republicans who voted against the proposal. Though many of these nine oppose President Bush’s troop surge, they view a non-binding resolution to be the wrong tool to express this.
CNN’s "American Morning," however, recognized the differences of opinion on the panel. They aired footage of Indiana Senator and ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee Richard Lugar, who opined:
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta found another explanation for why Junior is rolling round the family room with a spare tire: food advertising on the Internet.
It gets better. The study he's citing is 6 months old and hails from the liberal Kaiser Family Foundation. What's more, Gupta didn't give any tips for parents about how to regulate their kids Internet use and only gave 6 seconds to an advertising industry spokesman for comment.
Sounds like Dr. Sanjay has a fever, and the only prescription is bigger government.
UPDATE: I put together clips from Gupta's story, as clips from ABC's "World News" and CBS's "The Early Show" that display similar biases. You can find that video here (Windows Media) and here (Real Player).
Based on what Times Watch has read, “Friends of God: A Road Trip With Alexandra Pelosi,” the documentary on Christian evangelicals airing on HBO tonight (Pelosi being the daughter of you-know-who) seems more respectful than the contemptuous anti-Christian commentary it's generated, including a paragraph Thursday from television critic Alessandra Stanley.
It's probably one of the most awkward things to do for any broadcaster, making that transition from a hard news story about war or a tragic plane crash into a lighter feature story about, say, the latest Hollywood gossip about Bradgelina. It's commonplace on the morning shows for a Meredith Vieira or Diane Sawyer to make that hard turn from a story on Iraq to a piece on the hottest fashion trends, the commonly heard phrase is: "On a lighter note." Well it seems David Gregory, substitute hosting for Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show, hasn't quite mastered that segue. After a Robert Bazell piece about military combat hospitals in Iraq that featured images of wounded soldiers in surgery it was up to Gregory to make that transition, except the story he was throwing to wasn't exactly an upbeat one.
The National Center for Public Policy Research's health policy analyst, David Hogberg, is impressed by Paul Krugman -- by Krugman's mastery of spin, that is.
Here's David's look at the way Krugman is covering some of President Bush's recent statements on health care reform:
I have to admire Paul Krugman's ability to deceive with spin. He is a master at it. This passage from his last column is a quintessential example:
Mr. Bush is also proposing a tax increase ... on workers who, he thinks, have too much health insurance. The tax code, he said, "unwisely encourages workers to choose overly expensive, gold-plated plans. The result is that insurance premiums rise, and many Americans cannot afford the coverage they need."
As reported by NewsBusters here and here, there is a battle going on between liberal bloggers and a conservative radio station in San Francisco, California.
Though arriving at the party somewhat late, USA Today covered this story on Wednesday: “In a dispute between the ‘new media’ of the Internet and the ‘old media’ of broadcasting, liberal bloggers and conservative talk-radio hosts are accusing each other of trampling the First Amendment's guarantees of free speech.”
As this issue has surfaced coincident with liberal members of Congress proposing a media reform bill that would require, amongst other things, conservative talk radio stations to give equal time to opposing viewpoints during their broadcasts, doesn’t this raise quite a compelling hypocrisy inherent in what the left sees as free speech?
In a sign of just how much the Internet is changing the way people get their news, the Los Angeles Times rolled out a new strategy Wednesday designed to focus more attention on web-based delivery.
As reported by the Associated Press (h/t Drudge): “The Los Angeles Times Media Group said Wednesday it is reorganizing the newspaper's newsroom into an around-the-clock operation with an emphasis on breaking news on its Web site and offering expanded coverage in its print edition.”
Certainly, one could ask: What took you so long? After all, though most dailies have a web presence that updates news that is reported throughout the day by the nation’s various wire services, most original content is reserved for publication at the start of the new day.
Unfortunately, in an Internet world, this makes such content stale and “old news.” It therefore seems that the LA Times has finally realized what many have known for years:
Has there been any phrase that has been so used and abused by the Democrats as they seek to give themselves cover? But in one fell 'slip', Chuck Schumer gave away the game this morning: the claim to support the troops is a sham. Supporting the troops is merely something to be figured out later. It's an afterthought, to be addressed after Democrats, with some Republican support, rush through a resolution telling our troops that the mission for which they are putting their lives on the line is not just meaningless but absolutely antithetical to our nation's interests.
David Gregory interviewed Sen. Schumer on this morning's "Today."
Gregory: "The Vice-President is dismissive of this [resolution] effort yesterday saying it's not going to stop the president, and in fact he goes further, saying this will be detrimental to the troops on the ground."
Schumer: "Absolutely not, and I think it's going to be shown, when this resolution comes up, and it is non-binding, my guess is that not only are we going to get a vast majority of Democrats to vote for it in one form or another, but close to a majority of the Republicans. And that is going to shock even Vice-President Cheney."
Gregory: "But how can the public really buy the Democrats support the troops but don't support the mission? How can you do both?"
Schumer: "Well, that's the difficulty. A resolution that says we're against this escalation, that's easy. The next step will be how do you put further pressure on the administration against the escalation but still supporting the troops who are there? Andthat's what we're figuring out right now."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its monthly report on "mass layoffs" yesterday. It also included annual totals and an eleven-year chart of mass layoff history.
A "mass layoff action" involves "at least 50 persons from a single establishment." Since 1988, employers have been required to give 60 days notice of "covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs." The BLS Mass Layoffs report compiles those notices.
Now that 2006 is in the record books, here is that eleven-year chart:
As you can see, the total number of "layoff events" in 2006 came in at the lowest on record (BLS began compiling these statistics during the second quarter of 1995), while the number of people who filed unemployment claims as a result of those layoffs was the lowest in 10 years. On a percentage-of-workforce basis, the number of unemployment claims filers in 2006 was also, along with the layoff events, the lowest in the 11 full years BLS has reported on this information.
Philip Taubman, Washington bureau chief of the New York Times, is responding to reader questions in the paper's editions this week.
Among those he addressed this morning is the one below:
Q. Please tell us your voting record for the past ten years. I want to confirm your liberal bias.
A. I'm always amazed at the certitude with which people make assumptions about journalists and their political views. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I have voted for Republicans and Democrats over the years. And I published a book in 2003, Secret Empire: Eisenhower, The CIA, and The Hidden Story of America's Space Espionage (Simon & Schuster), that recounts President Eisenhower's critical leadership role in the development of spy satellites and other breakthroughs in military and intelligence technology during his presidency.
Let's analyze Taubman's response. "I'm sorry to disappoint you" implies a denial, but Taubman never does quite deny being a liberal. Instead, he first offers up the claim that "over the years" he has voted for Republicans and Democrats.
On Wednesday's The View, the morning after the State of the Union address, Barbara Walters oozed about how it was a “treat to see the first female Speaker of the House” as she hailed Nancy Pelosi with a hearty fist-raised “hooray” while Rosie O'Donnell sang “I am woman, hear me roar,” O'Donnell denounced Bush for praising the subway hero when he sends Americans “to die in Iraq,” Joy Behar charged that Bush's insistence on the surge in the face of public opposition means the U.S. is “not a democracy anymore” and that led O'Donnell to urge Bush's impeachment.
O'Donnell's chastisement of Bush for daring to pay tribute to Wesley Autrey: “I think it's interesting, too, that he wants to hail this hero in New York, who is obviously a great man, who saved a stranger's life. One man's life, worth it. But he sends 20,000 new Americans over to die in Iraq.” O'Donnell soon asserted that “someone, I believe, should call for the impeachment of George Bush” so “the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this President's choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who is leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country, he does not lead as a monarch.” Behar chipped in: “Amen.” (Noel Sheppard's earlier NewsBusters item highlighted O'Donnell's call for Bush's impeachment.)
Video clip #1, of Walters and O'Donnell gushing over Pelosi (38 seconds): Real (1.1 MB) or Windows Media (1.3 MB), plus MP3 audio (200 KB)
A night after CNN anchors fretted about how Katrina and the recovering Gulf region were “thunderously missing” from President Bush's State of the Union address, CBS and NBC picked up the cause. CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric regretted on Wednesday night how “there was not one mention of Katrina, though the suffering and hardship continue.” Noting that “there are still 13,000 people living in FEMA trailers,” Couric asserted: “Some who lost everything are asking, 'What about us?'” Reporter Armen Keteyian, a veteran of HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, featured one New Orleans man who, “like many here, watched the President's speech, his rage rising with every word." Keteyian listed how “there were 5,596 words in the President's speech last night,” and insisted that “reaction to the fact that not a single one was either Katrina or Louisiana was felt...all across the Gulf." Kateyian concluded with how “words like 'relief' and 'recovery' now seem as empty to them as last night's presidential address.”
Leading into an image of a headline in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, “New Orleans left out of president's script,” as if a local newspaper story should have national import, David Gregory highlighted on Wednesday's NBC Nightly News: “That focus on Iraq, and the political toll it's taken, has led the White House to divert its attention from other priorities -- like rebuilding New Orleans after Katrina. Last night, not a word. The omission was headline news.”
Since her successful senatorial campaign in 2000, Hillary Clinton has enjoyed huge financial support from wealthy liberal Hollywoodans. However, a report posted at ABCNews.com suggests that some movie industry heavyweights are jumping off her bandwagon and onto Barack Obama’s (h/t Drudge):
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hollywood's movers and shakers received an invitation that they may find hard to refuse.
They've been invited to come meet Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's new superstar. He already has the buzz, but can he bring home the prize?
On Wednesday, during an interview with Dick Cheney, "Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer continued to badger the Vice President and quizzed Cheney about the month-old story of the pregnancy of his lesbian daughter, Mary. (Hat tip to Drudge) Cheney bluntly responded to the CNN anchor, " I think you're out of line with that question." That comment came after Blitzer, who appeared to be attempting to drive a wedge between conservatives and the Vice President, quoted a Focus on the Family statement, from December 6, 2006:
A transcript of the segment, which aired at 5:35pm on January 24, follows:
Wolf Blitzer: "Your daughter Mary, she's pregnant. All of us are happy. She's going to have a baby. You're going to have another grandchild. Some of the -- some critics, though, are suggesting, for example, a statement from someone representing Focus on the Family: ‘Mary Cheney's pregnancy raises the question of what's best for children. Just because it's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a married mother and father, doesn't mean it's best for the child.’ Do you want to respond to that?"
Dick Cheney: "No, I don't."
Blitzer: "She's obviously a good daughter."
Cheney: "I'm delighted -- I'm delighted I'm about to have a sixth grandchild, Wolf, and obviously think the world of both of my daughters and all of my grandchildren. And I think, frankly, you're out of line with that question."
Vice President Dick Cheney squared off with CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday in a contentious, multi-part "Situation Room" interview. Blitzer seemed to openly adopt the mantra and talking points of the Democratic Party. In fact, in a tease for the interview, Blitzer promised, "The Vice President takes on his critics, including me." Cheney, whose wife Lynne aggressively sparred the cable anchor back in November, told Blitzer that a question about administration blunders was "hogwash." Elaborating on a clip of Democratic Senator Jim Webb, the "Situation Room" host asked Cheney about Bush failures:
Wolf Blitzer: "And it’s not just Jim Webb. It’s some of your good Republican friends in the Senate and in the House are now seriously questioning your credibility because of the blunders, of the failures. Gordon Smith– Gordon Smith--"
Dick Cheney: "Wolf. Wolf. I simply don’t accept the premise of your question. I just think it’s hogwash."
Blitzer: "That what? That there were no blunders? The President himself says there were blunders."
ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell called for the impeachment of President George W. Bush on Wednesday’s coffee klatch, “The View” (video available here):
Someone I believe should call for the impeachment of George Bush to let the world know…I’ll tell you why. Listen…I think we should do it so the world knows that the nation is not standing behind this president’s choices, that the nation, a democracy, feels differently than the man who was leading as if it were a dictatorship, and that we represent this country. He does not lead as a monarch.
Isn’t that special? Yet, as Allah over at Hot Air wrote of this segment, this wasn’t even the most idiotic thing Rosie said on Wednesday:
Kate Zernike's front-page profile of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (featuring a large picture of Pelosi shaking Bush's hand at last night's State of the Union address) opened with a celebration of Pelosi's femaleness and ends with "poignant commentary" by the left's new favorite Bush fighter, Democrat Sen. James Webb of Virginia.
"The first two words of the evening on Tuesday were evidence of how much has changed here: 'Madam Speaker,” boomed Congressional escorts, 'the president of the United States.'"