"The new chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday sharply criticized the Bush administration’s increasingly combative stance toward Iran, saying that White House efforts to portray it as a growing threat are uncomfortably reminiscent of rhetoric about Iraq before the American invasion of 2003.
Last Friday, I was shocked to see a series of photographs on the news wires, sent across by Reuters photographer Kevin Frayer, one of the photographers of Qana fame. The pictures illustrated a picture of a large crowd, grieving the death of a ten-year-old Palestinian girl, Abir Aramin, who was reported to have been injured by a stray rubber bullet fired by none other than the Israeli Defence Forces, and whose subsequent death has "enraged" the local Palestinian population.
There were some immediate problems with Mr. Frayer's depiction of these events, though. First and foremost, as someone who is constantly monitoring the news wires, I can comfortably say that there are no pictures on the wire of any anti-barrier protest at Anata during this time, and certainly no pictures of what would be a very injured girl. Furthermore, there are no photos of her in the hospital, a scenario that would obviously be very sympathetic, something which would attract every photographer in the area!
In other words, there is no photographic evidence that the Palestinian version of this story happened at all!
There’s so much to find offensive about Fareed Zakaria’s article in this week’s Newsweek that it’s tough to know where to begin. Put simply, the piece stated rather strongly that President Bush is responsible for a declining rate of democracy around the world.
Of course, one study that Zakaria cited to prove this premise “points out that 2006 was a bad year for liberty, under attack from creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, a coup in Thailand, massive corruption in Africa and a host of more subtle reversals.”
Zakaria never addressed what President Bush did to advance creeping authoritarianism in Venezuela and Russia, the coup in Thailand, and the massive corruption in Africa. Instead, he reported the following (emphasis mine throughout):
The Washington Post published no preview story for the March for Life on Monday, despite its massive annual size. But it did have room on the front page of the Metro section to review "Macaca" and how Virginia Republicans "might" (the Post hopes) be ruined in state elections this fall for their insensitivity.
On Page B-4, the Post did have a traffic diagram with the headline "Streets to Close for Antiabortion March." The March is rebutted right underneath the diagram, listing ''ABORTION RIGHTS EVENTS." They reported Planned Parenthood will "toast the Roe vs. Wade anniversary with a benefit tonight featuring actress Kathleen Turner," and NARAL Pro-Choice America "plans a benefit Thursday at the Omni Shoreham Hotel."
On the front page of the Metro section was a story by Macaca specialist Tim Craig headlined "Offensive GOP Words Might Speak Louder Than Va. Transit Deal." It had the typical Post thesis that social conservatives (the "far right") are destroying the Virginia GOP:
If opposing abortion makes you a "social conservative," what does supporting abortion make you? Why, nothing at all, or certainly nothing worth mentioning in NBC's eyes.
NBC's Kelly O'Donnell narrated a segment on this morning's "Today" about the three candidates who threw their hats into the presidential ring over the weekend: Hillary, Bill Richardson and Sam Brownback.
O'Donnell described Hillary simply as "Senator Hillary Clinton." Nothing about her views on abortion.
O'Donnell identified Bill Richardson as the first potential Hispanic president, "adding to the Democratic field of potential firsts if elected: Clinton, the first woman and Barack Obama, the first African-American." How nice.
Nothing about Richardson's views on abortion either.
But when it came to the Republican newly in the race, virtually the first words out of O'Donnell's mouth were: "Two-term Kansas senator Sam Brownback isa social conservative who opposes legalized abortion."
With Democrats returning to power in the House and Senate, political reporters touched on how they felt abused and ignored during their time in the minority. But National Public Radio isn’t treating the Republicans now as a minority. They’re treating them as nonexistent in some stories. On Friday’s Morning Edition broadcast, reporter Elizabeth Shogren assembled an entire story on new Democratic proposals to halt global warming, but there were no Republicans, no energy industry representatives, and no warming skeptics. They only heard new socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders saying "one has got to be a moron" not to be concerned.
No one in the Shogren story was a "liberal" (not to mention a socialist – Sanders was merely described as "independent.") The proposed bills weren’t liberal either, just "aggressive." It was the Bernie Sanders-Barbara Boxer bill versus the Dianne Feinstein bill, which seemed conservative by comparison.
The Washington Post, today, seems to be lamenting that this year's White House Correspondent's dinner will somehow be too nice to President Bush. In a piece titled "With Rich Little, Press Corps Is Assured a Nice Impression", the Post sees a "controversy" brewing over the fact that an act has been hired that doesn't treat president Bush as a despised figure.
Being nice (to a Republican) simply isn't an option to the Washington Post, it appears.
Stung by criticism that comedian Stephen Colbert went too far last year in his remarks at the White House Correspondents' Association annual dinner, the group announced last week that it had lined up a different kind of entertainer for its next dinner on April 21: impersonator Rich Little.
Will the rise of blogging and "citizen journalism"* have a positive effect on news coverage of politics? I'd have to say yes. Kate Werk at Small Dead Animals posted the other day on a different reason this will be so:
The distinction between national and local is an important one. [...] I find
the local reporting by mainstream affiliates in my part of the country
to be, by and large, reasonably thorough and not nearly as tainted by
the political "default setting" that infects much of national and
international coverage. [...]
Indeed, one wonders how different our perceptions of the national
mainstream media might be if the chattering quasi -experts, political
mouthpieces and overpaid anchors were sent into early retirement, and
replaced with editing teams that simply compiled reports submitted by
local affiliates and journalists in the field.
Removing the conclusion-drawing, forecasting and speculation that
currently infects hard news could go a long way towards restoring the
credibility of a troubled industry and the confidence of that "former
audience" - those news consumers who have turned to the internet, not
for its speed, but for the sources - to fact check, cross-check and provide context.
The emergence of blogging as a source of national news can bring out information that the elitist, liberal press can't or won't report.
Today (Sunday, January 21, 2007), the Los Angeles Times toasted Sen. Hillary Clinton's entrance into the 2008 race. Her announcement of a presidential exploratory committee was met with a whopping 2,050-word, front-page article ("Clinton joins 2008 race for president") (see image).
As we reported on Wednesday (here), the Times celebrated Sen. Obama's announcement of an exploratory committee with front-page treatment, accompanying photos, and a generous 1,469 words.
But how has the Times been treating similar announcements by Republicans?
With the love-fest that is currently going on over Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois), it is certainly no surprise when a group of mainstream media members gets together to discuss Hillary Clinton’s shortcomings. Yet, it is quite odd to hear someone like Chris Matthews state that the current frontrunner for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination – and a former first lady – is a female incarnation of one of the biggest left-wing failures in decades (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated). (Please also see update with a humorous photoshopped picture of the one to the right!)
To set this up, the panel in the first segment of Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show” was discussing presidential candidates. As they moved in Al Gore’s direction, Norah O’Donnell stated that Democrat party leaders are concerned about Hillary’s chances in the general election, and that a more senior and experienced candidate like Gore might be the ticket so to speak.
That precipitated this rather shocking exchange between O’Donnell and Matthews:
This one was pretty deplorable. On Sunday’s “The Chris Matthews Show,” the liberal host said something truly disrespectful about a former House Speaker, and a highly-regarded member of the political establishment (video available here courtesy of our friend at Ms Underestimated).
In the predictions segment, the New York Times’ David Brooks said:
Newt Gingrich is going to come in a close second in one of the first three Republican primaries, be on the cover of Time and Newsweek. He will have his moment, and he will be the alternative for whoever the real nominee is.
NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” did a wonderful sketch last evening that in one fell swoop made fun of “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the media’s sycophantic enthrallment with the former first couple from Arkansas (video available here).
The skit began with the mock Matthews gushing over finally getting the chance to interview Madame Clinton. After he finally composed himself, the first question he asked admittedly was “actually written by a member of [her] staff.”
Sounds about right, correct?
Then, the mock Matthews said that he’s got some questions of his own, and demurely asked, “Is it all right if they’re about Iraq?”
Another Democratic presidential candidate, another chance for ABC's George Stephanopoulos to push for higher taxes on energy. On Sunday's This Week, when just-announced candidate Bill Richardson outlined how his energy policy would be based on conservation and improved technology, listing how “it's going to take more efficient air conditioning, it's going to take green buildings, it's going to take fuel-efficient vehicles,” Stephanopoulos jumped in: “Higher gas taxes?” The Governor of New Mexico rejected the plea from Stephanopoulos: “No, you don't have to do it with taxes. You need a conservation effort that every American participates in, inspired by the President.” Stephanopoulos remained unpersuaded, proposing: “But aren't higher energy taxes the best way to get people to conserve?”
On the December 3 This Week, as recounted in my NewsBusters item, Stephanopoulos told Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a then just-announced Democratic candidate for President, that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"
As Riehl posted Saturday evening, Stark was rather cocky leading up to this debate stating at his own website that “CNN will want to hire me as a sanitation engineer because I will have mopped the floor with Mr. Riehl.”
Well, the reality is that CNN might indeed want to hire Stark as a janitor, for he certainly didn’t come across as qualified to do much else as this video of the segment (provided courtesy of Ms Underestimated) clearly demonstrates.
Don't look for ABC's Cokie Roberts to turn up anytime soon on that comfy couch featured in Hillary's announcement video, enjoying one of those cozy "conversations" Clinton claims to want.
Appearing on This Week today, Roberts left little doubt that she views Hillary as a seriously flawed candidate - if not person. Roberts began by damning Hillary with faint praise:
"I think she's got a lot of great attributes: she's a very disciplined candidate, she's very smart, she can raise more money than God, she has a terrific staff, she's been through a presidential campaign or two and knows how rough it is, which is really important as everyone at this table knows. And I think that all works for her."
Roberts than inserted the shiv: "What works against her is that issue of anger. And not just anger, sort of coldness."
On ABC's World News Saturday, correspondent Laura Marquez filed a story on the upcoming trial of Lewis Libby regarding his role in leaking CIA analyst Valerie Plame's identity. Marquez relayed the theory that Bush administration members deliberately leaked her identity "to get back at" her husband, Iraq War critic Joe Wilson, without mentioning the revelation that Richard Armitage, formerly an assistant to Colin Powell and a dove in the run-up to the Iraq War, admitted to having inadvertently been the original leaker. Instead of mentioning this aspect of the story which undermines the theory of a deliberate conspiracy, Marquez suggested "dirty politics" was behind the leak as she pointed out the trial's bad timing with the President's upcoming State of the Union speech. Marquez: "It will remind the American public just how dirty politics can get." (Transcript follows)
Fans of Fox News's the "O'Reilly Factor" are familiar with a war started by the host over liberal bias in the media. It appears that Bill O'Reilly's employer is also interested in this fight, and that the battle over media bias is on:
For its opening salvo, Fox News aired a new promo Saturday which pointed a huge and unmistakably accusatory finger at its liberal competitors (hat tip to Hot Air with video available here). In it, the script deliciously read:
I'd say Bill Kristol nailed it on this morning's Fox News Sunday. And while his comments were directed at Democrats, they're equally applicable to the MSM IMHO, making them NB-worthy.
Kristol: "People are being too complacent or forgiving to the Democrats: 'Oh, it's politics; one of them has a non-binding resolution and another one has a cap.' It's all totally irresponsible. It's just unbelievable. The president is sending over a new commander, he's sending over troops, and the Democratic congress, either in a pseudo-binding way or a non-binding way is saying: 'it won't work -- forget it! You troops, you're going over there on a pointless missions. You Iraqis who might side with us, forget it, we're going to pull the plug." It's so irresponsible . . . You really wonder: do they want it to work or not? I really wonder that. . . Do they want this to succeed or not?"