Since it was Memorial Day, the day on which America honors its war dead, it was natural that The Washington Post saw this as the perfect day for...a big profile of a hard-left "anti-war" activist, Stacy Bannerman of Military Families Speak Out. Reporter David Montgomery chronicled her marriage to a National Guard soldier, "the warrior and the antiwarrior," and she won. The husband, back from Iraq, asked: "Soldiers are dying for what reason again?"
The annual Memorial Day concert event on the mall (nationally televised by PBS) topped the left corner of the Style section, but much of the front Style page was devoted to Bannerman’s story, with a huge Post photographer's shot of Bannerman marching for "peace" in jeans and a T-shirt, complete with the www.mfso.org web address. The headline was: "Choose Your Battle: She's a Pacifist. He's A Warrior. But Even In the Shadow of Iraq, Their Love Soldiers On."
Charlie Gibson will take over the anchor duties tonight (Monday) for ABC's World News Tonight. The MRC's Web site features a just-compiled "Profiles in Bias" collection of liberal comments and reporting from Gibson. The page lists about 50 quotes, going back to 1990, with ten accompanied by audio/video clips.
On Good Morning America, which he has co-hosted for most of the past two decades, and as a frequent fill-in for Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, Gibson displayed little willingness to stray from the media elite's liberal template. The quotes collected from the MRC's archive exemplify Gibson's conventional liberal approach to the issues of the day: favoring gun control and campaign finance reform, portraying tax cuts as costly, unwise and unfair, and once even boasting about a sign in his house proclaiming: "War is not good for children and other living things."
NewsBusters reader Mr. Snuggles has pointed out something conspicuously absent from Google’s various pages today – any reference to Memorial Day.
I’m sure most Googlers are extremely aware of how Google will dress up its logo at its web search or news pages in honor of holidays or special occasions. Google has been known to do this on Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. In fact, here is a display of all the Google holiday logos so far this year, and since 1999. You’ll even find that Google celebrated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday just a week ago. For those scratching their heads, he created Sherlock Holmes.
Yet, if you go to Google’s home page here, or its news page here, you will see nothing commemorating today’s national holiday. By contrast, Google did honor the Persian New Year on March 21, as well as Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4.
Furthermore, if you go back through the Google archives, you'll find that, although it has over the years commemorated Shichi-go-san being celebrated in Japan, Bastille Day in France, and Korean Liberation Day, it appears that Google has never dressed up its logo for Memorial Day.
Most of you have likely heard this classic version of “America The Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles. Many in the music industry perceive it to be the finest recorded version of this anthem, as well as one of the most memorable from Mr. Charles. It comes to us courtesy of John Condra at GOP Video News.
As you watch this marvelous video montage, I’m sure it will remind you of the true meaning of this holiday. I hope you all have a marvelous day with your families.
The National Organization for Women doesn't seem to be the powerhouse it used to be. Paul Farhi reports in Monday's Washington Post that the old group is sending a letter (along with other feminist groups) protest the demotion of Elizabeth Vargas as anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight." Question: does it take a week to get a letter together?
Feminists protesting the demotion as pregnancy discrimination -- and not the ABC newscast's drop in the ratings picture -- is entirely predictable. But why so slow? It's also entirely predictable that the Post reporter only called the feminists "women's groups" as he rolled out their complaints:
"It seems unlikely to me, having survived and thrived through her first pregnancy, that she would logically give up the top job in TV a few months out, anticipating she couldn't handle it," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "It just doesn't strike me as a logical explanation. I don't think there are too many men who would be happy to be removed from the anchor chair."
On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume, a veteran of ABC News, chided his former employer: “ABC News came out with this story, worded the way it was. 'Included in the investigation,' ‘in the mix of the investigation,' has an unmistakable implication, and that is the guy's under investigation. We have now had an absolutely unequivocal denial of that, not only from the Justice Department at one level, but when this business about what well, what about being 'in the mix' came along, Paul McNulty, the U.S. Attorney, came out and denied that as well. This looks like a bad story. They led their newscast with it. The implication was unmistakable. They ought to back off this story, and the sooner the better."
CNN's Howard Kurtz, on Sunday morning's Reliable Sources, raised the accuracy of the story with Linda Douglass who covered Capitol Hill for ABC News until the end of 2005: "Did ABC overplay that story?" Douglass was reluctant to lambast her ex-colleagues, but her disagreement with their news judgment was clear: "Well, I think leading with it was a controversial decision, is what I would say. And I think that saying he was part of the investigation, if in fact his name just came up, was, was a phrase you might want to revisit." (Transcripts, and a link to video of the Ross story, follow)
Box Office Mojo estimates that the box office receipts for "The DaVinci Code" for this weekend will drop to $33.5 million, a 56.5 percent drop from last weekend's opening, and the biggest percentage drop among the top ten movies. One reason is the fourth-largest opening on record for "X-Men 3: The Last Stand," estimated to land $107 million.
If the blog seems too slow for you on the holiday weekend, there's always the opportunity to read our report on "The Trashing of the Christ," or how the networks rained fire on "The Passion" and gleefully went on the road for the "Code."
Kelly Boggs of Baptist Press surveyed how film critics were disappointed that someone sanded down the jagged anti-Christian edges of Dan Brown's novel.
Could there be a new sheriff on the block at Fox News Watch? Brash lefty Neal Gabler often manages to get the last word, but on last evening's show he was soundly put in his place by National Review editor Rich Lowry, substituting for Cal Thomas.
The topic was the recent press leaks that have compromised a number of highly-classified anti-terrorism programs including the secret prisons for Al-Qaeda members, the monitoring of Al-Qaeda related phone calls and the gathering of phone calling patterns.
Predictably, Gabler was highly critical of the prospect of the government going against those who, by publishing the leaks, potentially cause significant damage to our national security interests:
Some readers may have forgotten about this. Some may not have been alive at the time. However, thirty years ago this past April, as America was in the process of celebrating its bicentennial, Chicago Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday, a former Marine Corps Reservist, made one of the greatest plays in baseball history…but it didn’t involve a ball, a bat, or a glove.
As protestors were trying to set fire to an American flag in the centerfield of Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, Monday darted by, grabbed Old Glory, and saved her from a disturbing fate in front of a huge Chavez Ravine crowd.
According to Inside Baseball: “This moment and the symbol it represented – freedom, history and those who have lost their lives in battle to save Old Glory – had countless Americans talking; from politicians in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country to military veterans to everyday people. It was ranked as one of the top 100 classic moments in baseball history by the National Baseball Hall of Fame committee and third on Sporting News’ list as the most ‘unusual’ moment to occur on a major league baseball field.”
The following marvelous video (hat tip to reader Airforce_5_0) is a four-minute tribute to the event, including video footage, and interviews with Monday as well as then Dodger third-base coach Tommy Lasorda. Enjoy.
Update: A full transcript of this video along with another picture of the event follow courtesy of MLB.
Here's more proof that John Kerry's thinking hard about running for president again. On the front page of the Sunday New York Times, reporter Kate Zernike insists Kerry is now getting ready to really attack Swift Boat Veterans for Truth as a pack of liars, and Kerry devotees are raising money and have hired a researcher to back up Kerry's version of events, even on problematic claims like his "Christmas in Cambodia" tale. Zernike buries the lede in paragraph nine:
Mr. Kerry, accused even by Democrats of failing to respond to the charges during the campaign, is now fighting back hard. "They lied and lied and lied about everything," Mr. Kerry says in an interview in his Senate office. "How many lies do you get to tell before someone calls you a liar? How many times can you be exposed in America today?"
NBC's David Gregory wasn't the only liberal reporter who just had to emphasize The Economist magazine's cover calling President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair the "Axis of Feeble." At CJR Daily, Paul McLeary noted it became a hot trend. So why would this bother liberal Columbia Journalism Review folks? Because it's lazy. "Great headline," said McLeary, but "The sad thing is, they all probably thought they were being funny and original, and in a sense they were -- but in lockstep. And that's what strikes us as feeble."
It seems what the media likes in this is how it turns Bush's phrase back on itself, and comments on how both Bush and Blair are lame-duck leaders. But if they are "feeble," er, what about the sub-par politicians who couldn't seem to defeat their attempts at re-election? Here's McLeary's roundup of mentions:
Confirming what's obvious to anyone watching or reading the gushing praise for Al Gore and his hysterical movie about global warming, on this weekend's McLaughlin Group, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift asserted: "There's some regret, even among the media, that Al Gore was mocked and ridiculed in 2000, and he didn't deserve it. And we're ready for a serious politician." Clift, who in her end of the show prediction, anticipated that “a year from now, there will be an Al Gore presidential exploratory committee," earlier in the program laid out how he can follow the “Nixonian play book” in “a very good way.” Clift pined: “He's campaigning to awaken the political leadership to the threat of global warming, but it's a campaign that can easily turn into a campaign for himself if he sees an opening. And he's following the Nixonian play book, the Nixonian in a very good way. Just as Richard Nixon was edged out of the presidency very narrowly in 1960 and then came back after eight years to win.”
C-SPAN on Saturday night (May 27) aired the Sunday, May 21 commencement remarks, by New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr., at the State University of New York at New Paltz where he was honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters. As reported Monday by Clay Waters, on NewsBusters and the MRC's TimesWatch site, in picking up local Hudson Valley newspaper accounts, Sulzberger delivered a left wing rant in which he presumed liberal policy goals are more noble than conservative ones as he offered an “apology” for the nation his generation has left to the next generation:
“You weren't supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it's the rights of immigrants to start a new life; or the rights of gays to marry; or the rights of women to choose. You weren't supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain.”
Friday on CNN Headline News' Showbiz Tonight, a segment was devoted to celebrities getting political. Host Sibala Vargas began with, "From coast to coast and TV movies and music, stars are speaking out loud and clear." The Dixie Chicks, Jon Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Merle Haggard and Paul Simon all oppose the war and the President, the program noted.
Rocker Neil Young, whose recent musical contributions include the toe-tapping ditty "Let's Impeach the President," was asked by Miss Vargas: "Are you concerned that some might think that you`re unpatriotic?" He replied, "Oh, no, I`m not concerned about that in the least. I feel like I`m exercising my right of free speech which is what our boys are fighting for the Iraqi people to have."
Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz demonstrated on Friday how isolated ABC is on their embarrassing assertion that Speaker Dennis Hastert is "in the mix" of a federal corruption probe, called "potentially seismic" by former Clinton toady George Stephanopoulos:
Reporters for NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and other news organizations checked out ABC's report but were waved off by law enforcement officials. "Within 15 minutes, we had three or four basic denials saying in effect this was a complete overreach, and we chose not to run it," said John Reiss, executive producer of "NBC Nightly News."
Friday night, Kurtz appeared on Washington Post Radio (WTWP) in D.C. at about 6:15 with host Bob Kur, the former NBC reporter. When ABC's Brian Ross stressed that any Hastert investigation was in its "very beginning" stages and could amount to nothing, Kurtz said it "made me question why" ABC would make it the lead story. Kur replied: "Exactly."
The Friday morning and evening broadcast networks shows pounced on how when asked, at the joint Thursday night Bush/Blair press conference, whether he had any regrets about the conduct of the war in Iraq, President Bush responded: “Saying, ‘bring it on.' Kind of tough talk you know that sent the wrong signal to people” and “some lessons about expressing myself maybe in a little more sophisticated manner. You know, ‘wanted dead or alive.'”
CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer suggested Bush isn’t always so honest as he described it as “an unusual burst of candor from President Bush.” Schieffer soon called it an “extraordinary statement” and reporter Jim Axelrod agreed it was “startling.” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams found Bush’s answer so important that he played a stand-alone clip of the “most interesting moment” and brought aboard Tim Russert who saw a “remarkable, remarkable admission." On her last night as anchor of World News Tonight, ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas asserted that “some of the bold talk we once heard from them is gone. Now they are voicing regrets and admitting mistakes.” Jake Tapper framed a story around how Bush and Blair “came together to project confidence in the new Iraqi government, but perhaps what came across strongest was regret." (Transcripts, and a brief look at the mornings shows, such as how NBC’s Today opened with “Admitting Mistakes” on screen, follow.)
MRC's Michelle Humphrey spotted an incredibly effusive endorsement for Al Gore's new movie "An Inconvenient Truth" in a surprising venue -- the "Daily 10" show on the E! entertainment channel. This is a show apparently geared toward people under 25, if not under 18, with a really young group of hosts (except for thirtysomething Debbie Matenopoulos). As part of the feature called "Lyons' Den," Ben Lyons (son of "Sneak Previews" movie critic Jeffrey Lyons and surprise, a Michael Moore fan) poured on the goo for Gore just after his thumbs-up for the third X-Men film:
Lyons: "I would rather talk about something a little bit more important that needs our support. And that’s the Al Gore film, 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"
Tonight (Friday) will be the last day as anchor of ABC's World News Tonight for Elizabeth Vargas, who after a maternity leave will reportedly return to the weekly 20/20. Before joining ABC in 1996, Vargas toiled at NBC. During her years at ABC, she was a regular fill-in co-host and news reader on Good Morning America and a frequent fill-in on World News Tonight, taking the lead role on that broadcast when Peter Jennings fell ill in early 2005. On the occasion of her stepping down from World News Tonight, from the MRC's archive, a look back at her most biased moments.
For the MRC's collection of 50 biased quotes from Charlie Gibson, who takes over Monday for Vargas, go to this page for the compilation which also features ten videos.