NPR’s Nina Totenberg claimed that the United States was becoming East Germany on the program "Inside Washington" which airs on some PBS affiliates, and in the Washington D.C. market on News Channel 8 as well as the local ABC affiliate.
Host Gordon Peterson, opened a discussion segment regarding a report by ABC News Investigative reporter Brian Ross, who asserted that a federal law enforcement officer advised him and his producer to get new cell phones because the government was tracking the phone numbers dialed in an effort to root out confidential sources. Peterson wondered what effect this would have on reporters:
"He says the official told him ‘it's time for you to get some new cell phones quick.’ Reporters are going to start functioning like al Qaeda operatives? Go to a pay phone if the can find one?"
LegalTimes.com has a problem with Alberto Gonzales saying: "It has been estimated that, at any given time, 50,000 predators are on the Internet prowling for children."
Where did it come from? NBC's "Dateline" used it in their reporting of online predators. What's the problem? The source of that number is about as tangible as the black smoke on the TV show "Lost."
Hansen’s source, according to the “Dateline” report: unnamed “law enforcement officials.” Asked who those law enforcement officials were, Hansen told Legal Times that “this is a number that was widely used in law enforcement circles,” though he couldn’t specify by whom or where... “Was it just a WAG — a wild-assed-guess?” he says. “It could have been.”
Right up there with "dog bites man," the news that Mel Gibson doesn't like "The Da Vinci Code" should come as no surprise. The creator of the film "The Passion of the Christ" thinks it could mislead some.
Mel Gibson has slammed The Da Vinci Code for attacking his religious beliefs.
The Aussie actor is concerned that people may take both the book and the recently released film as fact.
"I'm not angry, per se, that it refutes everything I hold sacred, the foundations of my beliefs," Gibson said. "The Da Vinci Code is an admitted work of fiction but it cleverly weaves fact into maverick theories in a way that will appear plausible to some."
As keynote commencement speaker, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr."apologized" to graduates at the State University of New York at New Paltz on Sunday for the failure of his generation to stop the Iraq War and to sufficiently promote "fundamental human rights" like abortion, immigration, and gay marriage.
Paul Kirby of Kingston's Daily Freemanquoted from Sulzberger's address, which he began with a facetious "apology" to the class for being part of the generation that let them down due to insufficient liberal activism.
"'I will start with an apology,' Sulzberger told the graduates, who wore black gowns and hats with yellow tassels. 'When I graduated in 1974, my fellow students and I ended the Vietnam War and ousted President Nixon. OK. OK. That's not quite true. Maybe there were larger forces at play.'"
AR15.com notices that ABC News used a former Salon.com writer and former employee of Handgun Control Inc. to cover the National Rifle Association
You may have noticed the byline on ABC News recent story covering the NRAs pledge to ask mayors and police chiefs to sign a petition stating they will uphold their legal duties not to confiscate weapons from law-abiding citizens during time of crisis a la Katrina.
New NRA Campaign Asks Lawmakers to Pledge Not to Confiscate Guns in Times of Crisis
Ad Campaign Begins Tomorrow, NRA Reacts to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita
By JAKE TAPPER and AVERY MILLER
Hmmmm, you mean the Jake Tapper who used to write for Salon.com? I wonder what happens if we google his name and the words "NRA"...
Democratic political consultant and longtime Fox News contributor Susan Estrich responds to charges by Bob Cesca on the Huffington Post that Fox News encourages the "white power" movement.
Cesca had said:
Last week, Fox News Channel's John Gibson urged white people to make more babies in order to counter the growing Latino population in America. Watch Stephen Colbert present Gibson's ridiculousness here.
Next up... Tony Snow, former Fox pundit and current White House press secretary, blurted out "squeezing the tar baby" in his first official press conference.
Times music critic Jon Pareles thinks the anti-Bush country group The Dixie Chicks were right all along in Sunday’s front page Arts & Leisure feature, "The Dixie Chicks: America Catches Up With Them"
"The Dixie Chicks call it 'the Incident': the anti-Bush remark that Natalie Maines, their lead singer, made onstage in London in 2003. 'Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas,' said Ms. Maines, a Texan herself.
"It led to a partisan firestorm, a radio boycott, death threats and, now, to an album that's anything but repentant."
What Pareles doesn’t mention: It also got them cover stories on several news magazines and newspapers back then, and they’re still milking their profile in courage -- Time Magazine this week has them on the cover in a typically favorable article (they apparently have "The Biggest Balls In American Music," apparently because it's just so courageous to stand up in front of an anti-war audience and bash Bush).
Imagine you're a newswire editor writing the headline for a story in which former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has accused Pres. Bush of 'religious absolutism.' What would be a fair headline? Something like:
Albright Accuses Bush of 'Religious Absolutism'
Now consider Reuters' actual headline:
Albright Critical of Bush's Religious Absolutism
Note the not-so-subtle difference. We've moved from Albright accusing Bush of religious absolutism, to Reuters effectively reporting Bush's absolutism as a fact, of which Albright is simply critical. Not even a set of quotation remarks around 'religious absolutism' to clarify that the words are Albright's, and not unquestioned fact.
Something frighteningly ominous has been happening on the Internet lately: Google, without any prior explanation or notice, has been terminating its News relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals.
At first blush, one can easily ignore such business decisions by the most powerful company on the Internet as being routine. However, on closer examination, such behavior could give one relatively small technological corporation (when measured by the size of its workforce) a degree of political might that frankly dwarfs its current financial prowess.
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) appeared on CBS' The Early Show this morning, along with several others, to discuss winning the JFK "Profiles in Courage" award.
During the interview, Murtha went on an anti-War rant, to which The Early Show's co-anchor Julie Chen said nodded in agreement and said "absolutely":
MURTHA: And I said there's not only no progress, it's worse than it was pre-war. This thing has been mishandled so badly. The american people need to hear. We're spending $450 billion on this war by the end of the year, $9 billion a month, and so we need to change course.
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty." JFK Inaugural Address, 1961
"We can do just as much by withdrawing our troops." John Murtha, Winner, Profile in Courage Award, 'Today' show, 5/22/06
The Kennedys have come a long way since JFK gave his inaugural speech. Pres. Kennedy was a cold warrior, not only in the words of that speech, but in action. He stared down the Kremlin over the Soviets' installation of nuclear missiles in Cuba, and with his Cuban embargo took the world the closest it has ever been to the brink of nuclear war.
It's a spicy set of covers on the news magazines this week. U.S. News asks how low Bush can go in the polls. Newsweek is having another agnostic's crush on Mary Magdalene. But Time magazine wins the liberal-bias award for promoting the Dixie Chicks on its cover with the words "Radical Chicks." (Cover copy: "They criticized the war and were labeled unpatriotic.") Josh Tyrangiel's cover story begins predictably by hailing the lead singer:
Natalie Maines is one of those people born middle finger first.
As a high school senior in Lubbock, Texas, she'd skip a class a day in an attempt to prove that because she never got caught and some Mexican students did, the system was racist.
In the aftermath of Memogate, Rather's relationship with his fellow CBSers completely disintegrated. Years of pent-up frustration at Rather's autocratic management style and personnel control of CBS News came to an abrupt end as remnants of the old Cronkite guard and new-school suits coalesced to throw Rather from the anchor's chair and cast him as an occasional reporter on "60 Minutes."
It seems now that Dan may have had enough of the demotion, and that CBS is just fine with cutting the cord. Rumors are starting to spread that Rather, whose contract with CBS expires in November, is not coming back to the network. And that it's a mutual decision. CBS head Les Moonves, having succeeded in revamping his entertainment division long wanted to turn his attentions to news, only to be stymied by the prickly pear Rather, who loudly and publicly declaimed any attempts to rein him in as "destroying hard news."
Maybe fiction is dead after all. Several hundred literary worthies were gathered up by the New York Times and asked to name the best work of fiction over the past 25 years, and the winner was – Toni Morrison, that is, her book “Beloved.” Books by John Updike, Philip Roth and Don DeLillo got most of the votes after that for literature’s version of MVP.
I’m only half kidding about Morrison being the death of fiction because I only read half her book. This happened over at the local library when I found myself browsing “Beloved” and found it quite okay, but not sensational. So I read about half. I couldn’t finish because I can’t seem to go for sentences that refuse to stop. It’s called style, I guess, or maybe it’s called Faulkner.
The New York Times seems to be quite confused by all this DaVinci Code stuff. All this focus on religion must be too much for them. The latest is a May 21st article by Laurie Goodstein titled “It's Not Just a Movie, It's a Revelation (About the Audience)” that claims, among other misleading things, that Gnosticism is said to be somehow new on the Christian religious scene.
Goodstein seems to imagine we live in “an era in which many Christian believers have assimilated a whole lot of new and unorthodox ideas, as well as half-truths and conspiracy thinking, into their faith, while still seeing it as Christianity.” She has decided to call it “Da Vinci Christianity.”
But, like too many in the media, Goodstein thinks she has discovered something “new” when she is merely seeing something that has been around for time immemorial.
If you would like to see the range of opinion among film critics on "The DaVinci Code," one very nice inventory of major-media reviews can be found at metacritic.com. It earned a 48 out of 100, well below this weekend's new cartoon, "Over the Hedge," which averaged out to 67.
On the Sunday shows, three top journalists mocked and ridiculed the Thursday Senate vote to make English the official national language, and thus prevent demands for government agencies to provide official forms and processes in other languages. On ABC's This Week, Cokie Roberts dismissed it as “a very silly debate” and Fareed Zakaria, Editor of Newsweek International, castigated the bill as “nonsense” and “nativist populism that is distasteful." In his end of show commentary on Face the Nation, Bob Schieffer also derided the vote as “silly.”
Criticizing Americas for speaking too few languages, Zakaria demanded: “What is the great problem in the United States?...That we speak too many foreign language languages, there are too many signs -- Americans are too multi-lingual? Have we forgotten what language we speak?" Zakaria soon charged: “It's a political football that has nothing to do with the real problem. It is simply one more way to try to assert a certain kind of nativist populism that is distasteful." Schieffer mockingly asked: “Were you like me and thought English was our national language? Sort of like we know the Washington Monument honors George Washington even though it doesn't have a sign on it that says 'Official Monument to George Washington.'...Of course new citizens should speak English, but why would the Senate spend hours debating whether to make English our national language? Let me break it to you gently: because it gives Senators something to do while they avoid addressing the real problems...” (Transcripts follow.)
Over at GetReligion, Mollie Ziegler is giggling (a giggling Ziegler?) over how difficult liberals find it to include the voices of people who believe homosexuality is sinful and wrong into the news. Or at least giggling at the way that it can be explained. Billie Stanton wrote in the Tucson Citizen that the University of Arizona no longer taught the vital importance of balance and objectivity in reporting, which she applied:
When some talented Denver Post reporters covered an anti-gay referendum later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, their bias showed. Repeatedly I demanded rewrites to give the homophobes’ side equal credence.
Stanton made the point in a column in the Tucson Citizen about why she is glad to be on the editorial page. But it just cracked me up. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, certainly, but the question is at least worth asking: how fair of a shake can you give people when you believe their legislative opinion is based on an irrational fear of homosexuality? Of course, I was in college and living in Denver at the time of the vote and remember that things were weird. Our own governor — himself part of an interesting polyamorous family situation — marched in the streets condemning the people of his own state for how they voted.
In April I wrote about the opening of the Democrats' Election 2008 Talking Points Tour. It kicked off with Barack Obama preaching the certainty of fossil fuels heating up our planet while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter.
The media has turned the tour up a notch with a twisted fascination over Al Gore, coverage excuse provided by his new movie on global warming that is certain man is heating the planet with SUV usage while conveniently neglecting to mention what is heating up Mars and Jupiter. Al ensures full media coverage by bringing the war into it.
"I also believe that after 9/11 if, in addition to rallying the country and wisely invading Afghanistan to pursue Osama bin Laden, that if the president of the United States had said 'Let's become independent of oil and coal', that people would have responded to that."
Yeah, we responded to that in the 70's. It would have been nice if he had done something about it when he was sipping iced tea with the Red Chinese. But Bill Clinton can't run for President again so he comes right out and says what other Democrats won't:
"Climate change is more remote than terror but a more profound threat to the future of the children and the grandchildren and the great-grandchildren I hope all of you have...