The women of The View are angry with the Dixie Chicks. Because of the group’s exploitative liberal politics? Because of their hollow claims of being censored? No. Apparently, it’s because the Dixie Chicks don’t think the ABC talk show is very hip. According to a Fox News report, band member Emily Robison said the following in the current issue of Time magazine:
"Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines' new motto is, 'What would Bruce Springsteen do?' says Robison. ‘Not that we're of that caliber, but would Bruce Springsteen do The View?’"
Unsurprisingly, this angered the stars of the show in question. On the May 23 edition, co-host and future anchor of the Today show, Meredith Vieira described the situation this way:
Vieira: "First, you know, they alienate their fan base by going after President Bush. Now they have gone too far in Time magazine. We are furious! Furious!"
Imagine that Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank were profiling a Democrat who was as steadfastly liberal as Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is conservative. The column virtually writes itself. We can imagine the liberal described as "putting principle above expediency", "courageous," perhaps even "speaking truth to power."
But when it comes to a conservative such as Sessions, that same adherence to principle is cast in the most negative light. Consider these excerpts from Milbank's column of today, Forget Politics. This Battle Is Personal. which focuses on Sessions' stand on immigration:
"Jeff Sessions sure knows how to nurse a grudge."
"Now he is turning his prodigious anger on legislation."
"A stream of epithets about the legislation flowed from his mouth."
"He argues his points not with the courtly Southern tones of the late senator Howell Heflin (D), his predecessor, but with the harsh twang of a country tough -- which, in a sense, he is."
On Tuesday, the New York Times published a delicate article attempting to calculate how much time Bill and Hillary Clinton spend together these days and whether their strange marriage will have negative impact on her ambitions to run for president, as some Democrats worry. (The Times headline called the subject a "delicate dance.") Only Democrats, aides, and friends were quoted. On Wednesday’s edition of Today on NBC, reporter Norah O'Donnell regurgitated the story with even more sensitivity.
Katie Couric and O'Donnell couldn't even locate the idea that Democrats get heartburn just thinking about rewinding the country back through the adultery politics of the 1990s. Couric spun it like they were just a political version of Brangelina: "When Bill Clinton burst on to the national political scene he promoted his wife Hillary as an equal political partner saying, 'two heads were better than one.' They enjoyed some of the highest highs and endured some of the lowest lows as well during their years in the White House. But now that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is eyeing her own bid for the presidency a lot of folks are asking where's Bill?"
A half hour after championing Al Gore's "comeback" on Tuesday's Good Morning America (see this earlier NewsBusters item), the show celebrated the Dixie Chicks and their new album, treating them as victims for the negative reaction to the lead singer's 2003 charge, from overseas, that she was "ashamed" to be from the same state as President Bush. Diane Sawyer fretted over how "suddenly country radio stations pulled their music, people destroyed the album, hounded their relatives and tracked them down with death threats." But, she touted, "they are roaring back. It is a new album called 'Taking the Long Way' and in it they dare to announce, at least when it comes to the haters, they're not ready to make nice. They are spirited, unbowed and they are back with a new single called 'Not Ready to Make Nice.'" Sawyer insisted that "among their biggest supporters were the soldiers fighting in Iraq who said they were fighting for the right to freedom of thought and speech." After highlighting how the group's video features a hit on Vice President Cheney -- "to talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming" -- Sawyer read a sympathetic e-mail to them: "Do you feel basically that you've been vindicated and that the American public moved to your position?" (Transcript follows)
Once again Harry Smith reported from Baghdad for this morning’s Early Show. This morning, his focus was talking with ordinary Iraqis about their life during the war, and Harry Smith may have once again been surprised when he heard one Iraqi thank America and all Americans who supported the war for what they did for Iraq. Rene Syler opened this segment:
Rene Syler: "We see opinion polls almost weekly telling us how Americans feel about the war in Iraq. But what do ordinary Iraqis think? Harry's live in Baghdad with that story. Harry, good morning."
Harry Smith: "Rene, an extraordinary opportunity. Seven Iraqi young men, all in their 20s, all college educated, they all speak English. We talked about everything from the danger of their everyday lives to Saddam Hussein and the role of America in this country. Now their answers will enlighten you, and they may surprise you."
On the same morning that Katie Couric was twinkling and giggling over Al Gore in some flowery garden, her co-host Matt Lauer took another senator from Tennessee to task: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Near the end of the interview, Lauer pressed Frist on how "critics" say his choice of legislative issues coming up shows he's "pandering to the conservative base" for a potential presidential campaign:
"Alright let me move on briefly for a second. The House has approved a constitutional amendment to make flag burning illegal and passed a bill to crack down on the practice of minors traveling across state borders to seek an abortion to avoid restrictions in their own state. You've said the Senate will look at those things this year as well as a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Now critics have said there's no chance that any of those things are going to pass and they go a step further and say you are pandering to the conservative base preparing for a run for the presidency in 2008. How do you respond?"
At National Review Online today, Stephen Spruiell of NRO's Media Blog reviews a new book charging the liberal media are a pound full of poodles for the White House. It's like a modern-day reworking of Mark Hertsgaard's Reagan-era tract On Bended Knee -- the last time an author wrote a laugh-out-loud expose of the supposedly wimpy/conservative national media sucking up to a president:
Eric Boehlert would freak out if you were to point out to him how much his book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush reads like a mirror image of the conservative press criticism he despises. According to Boehlert, the “fear of conservative press critics”—or “The Press Haters” as he calls them (us) in a chapter by that name—is one of the factors that brought about the mainstream media’s transformation from the snarling, merciless pit bulls of the Clinton years to the cowardly, right-leaning lapdogs of today. If Boehlert’s book itself could be considered an argument, it would be that the Left must emulate these critics so that the media will stop being “[a]fraid of the facts and the consequences of reporting them.”
As his environmental apocalypse "documentary" makes its debut in New York and Los Angeles today, there's nothing "inconvenient" standing in the way of Al Gore's crusade in the New York Times.
From the Cannes Film Festival, chief movie critic A.O. Scott reviews “An Inconvenient Truth” for Page 1 of Wednesday’s Arts page. Scott, the same critic who called left-wing “documentary”-maker Michael Moore “a credit to the republic,” predictably finds Al Gore’s view of environmental apocalypse to be “chilling” and “necessary.”
After successfully putting the kibosh on a "South Park" episode that made fun of scientology and himself, actor Tom Cruise has expanded his censorship efforts overseas where he's succeeded in getting the same episode pulled in the U.K.:
The South Park episode "Trapped In the Closet," which
mocks actor Tom Cruise's rumored homosexuality as well as his belief in
the controversial religion Scientology, has finally been seen by the
English. The episode had been banned from UK broadcaster Channel 4
after Cruise had complained.
According to the World Entertainment News Network, London's National Film Theater screened the episode on Monday, May 15. After the showing, South Park
creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker spoke about the necessity of free
speech. The event concluded with free copies of the episode being
handed out to attendees.
In regards to possible action by the litigious Cruise, a spokesman for
the Theater said, "If we were charging [for tickets] there may have
been legal problems, but it was a free event, so it should be fine."
Patriotic American users of Microsoft's Hotmail service may be surprised when trying to obtain an email address. The company does not allow new users to sign up for a user name containing the word "american."
At first glance, it seemed that Hotmail is taking precaution to limit phishing attempts which often rely on official-sounding addresses to trick recipients into paying money to people posing as governmental entities. However, my quick check showed that names with "canadian," "francais," "german," "australian," "english," and "deutsch," are all allowed.
Let's imagine that instead of Al Gore, Katie Couric's guest this morning was a Republican presidential hopeful whose message on the environment was that we should not let alarmism push us into measures that would undermine our economy and way of life. Could you ever - ever! - imagine Katie flashing at him the 10,000 megawatt smile she has on display here for Al?
There's one more dead giveaway that Katie & Co. are getting aboard the Al Gore Enviro Train. When Today really wants to play up an issue, they brand it. Last week, flacking for the Da Vinci Code, Today sent Matt Lauer for a week "On The Road with the Code."
In introducing Gore, there to promote his global warming book and movie 'An Inconvenient Truth', Couric announced:
In 2004, the networks showed hostility to a more orthodox vision of Jesus in the movie The Passion of the Christ. So MRC analysts compared coverage of the year before The Passion (March 2003 through February 2004) and the year before The DaVinci Code movie (May 19, 2005 through May 18, 2006) on the morning, evening, prime-time and late-night news programs of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Some key findings were:
The Dixie Chicks and their marketing gurus clearly know publicity. They asked themselves: How can we get ourselves featured on the cover of Time and hailed on CBS’s “60 Minutes” just before the new CD comes out? Easy. Trash George W. Bush again.
Time’s cover had the three women framed in black with the celebratory title “Radical Chicks.” They were famous not because of their music, but because “They criticized the war and were labeled unpatriotic.” That’s a bit off. They criticized George W. Bush, with lead singer Natalie Maines telling a London audience the band so despised him they were ashamed to be from the same home state. That isn’t exactly a brilliant anti-war policy statement that Madeleine Albright would crib. It was an insult.
With "The Comeback Kid? Al Gore Takes on the World,” as the on-screen moniker, ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday championed Al Gore’s comeback, through his hysterical global warming movie, An Inconvenient Truth, which ABC took quite seriously as Claire Shipman touted a potential Gore presidential run.
Shipman enthused: “The guy that George Bush Senior derisively dubbed 'Ozone Man' may have hit his stride after five years in hibernation by promoting his longtime passion.” Shipman trumpeted: "Al Gore and global warming. On the face of it, not two subjects you'd expect to add up to the buzziest film since the last Michael Moore flick. But check it out, here's Al being celebrated in Cannes, doing the celebrity thing at an LA opening, power-walking a green carpet in Washington as rumors of another presidential run swirl." Without scolding Gore for scaremongering or the usual media accusation against conservatives -- using fear -- Shipman calmly relayed how Gore’s “environmental message is blunt: humanity is sitting on a time bomb and has about ten years left to deal with it. It's the messenger, though, this almost President turned dynamic professor who's making most of the waves, dominating the blog-chatter.” Letting a hopeful Arianna Huffington answer, Shipman cued her up: “Is he going to go for the Oval again?" Shipman concluded by gushing: "What does Al Gore say about the possibility of another run? We asked him the other night....He gave a hearty laugh but didn't say no." (Transcript follows)
Harry Smith, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," has spent the last few days reporting from Baghdad. On Friday, he reported the security situation was such that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream. But today, he decided to look for a success story. He found one, but he proved that while he can report a bad news story without mentioning any good news, he can’t report a success story without finding negative items to talk about. Reporting from Baghdad, Harry Smith began his piece, which profiled the work of the U.S. Army 4th Infantry Division’s work in the town of Sababor, talking about the violence in Iraq: "Yeah, good morning. I'll tell you what, just an illustration of how much bad news there is here. A friend of mine here in Iraq told me the other day 'the busiest people in this town are the terrorists.'" Later, he talked of a bombing in Sababor which occurred a month ago: "It hasn't been easy. Just a month ago, a bomb here killed 15 people."
And at one point, "The Early Show" co-host appeared surprised to learn that people in Sababor view Americans positively. And Smith seemed even more shocked when one of the boys told him his name was "Bush" after Smith had an apparent James Bond like moment in introducing himself to the boy.
Video clip of exchange between Iraqi kid who called himself "Bush" and Smith (21 seconds): Real (700 KB) or Windows Media (825 KB), plus MP3 audio (125 KB)
What is he afraid of? Vicente Fox, the president of Mexico, announced that he would be taking "no questions" during his trip to the U.S. Is he afraid the media will ask him why Bush is being so cruel to illegals?
A news conference that was scheduled in Utah was canceled, as well as reporters' questions at five other events in the state. Events in Seattle and California will also bar reporters' questions. One organizer of the Utah events, Joe Reyna, says, "President Fox is not giving any exclusives (to anyone) in Utah, Seattle or California due to the heated ... debate over immigration."
The media will no doubt not make an issue of his ducking them, as they sympathize with his plight and understand the trying times he is in, with incessant attacks from his northern neighbors.
In 2003, country music stations around the country boycotted the music of the Dixie Chicks, a group of three women that originated as a country ensemble. One of the members, Natalie Maines, told a London group in 2003 that she was ashamed to be from the same state as President Bush because of his starting of the Iraq war.
The group is facing the same problem with its latest album.
Since NewsBusters first broke the story about Google News capriciously terminating its relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals, and followed (with the help of writer and software developer Marc Sheppard) with a detailed analysis of the ramifications of such unrestrained power, the blogosphere has been abuzz with this issue.
One of the key players in this sad tale, Frank Salvato of The New Media Journal, posted an interesting response to Google’s banishment at his website that included a list of competing search engines as well as his opinion on the issue: “Google News and Google Search Engine are on a campaign of political correctness that sees them denying access to their service to any website - be it news, opinion or a hybrid of both - that dares to address the subject of radical Islam.” Salvato continued:
Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Tom Hallman apparently has a hard time nailing down the truth. In a profile of math guru Mark Provo, Hallman took vast liberties with the truth without actually picking up a phone to verify any of it. The subject of the story has listed about 30 facts that are not actually factual.
Hallman paints wild pictures of non-existent hills, phantom hotel rooms, even the thoughts that run through people's heads. He writes about the subject "glancing at the clock" and how "in that moment the turmoil of his past would disappear" which were both complete fabrications. As Provo correctly points out, these are the things of screenplays and novels. These are not accurate representations of the truth.
You can still win a Pulitzer Prize for writing a fictional play, so why do these reporters even bother with journalism? And why do newspapers fail to mention that falsities and fabrications paint their pages?
The monthly magazine Vanity Fair is still a Hollywood-crazed chronicler of the rich and famous, but in the past few years it's also become an increasingly shrill anti-Bush voice -- sort of a more elegantly written, hard-copy version of the Huffington Post.
Writer Marie Brenner, a frequent contributor to VF, sounded a little shrill herself this past weekend, claiming that "the atmosphere against the press right now is as onerous as I can ever remember it," and that judicial demands for reporters to reveal confidential sources may result in a comeback for "the anti-press hysteria of the Nixon years."
Brenner, whose 1996 VF piece on Jeffrey Wigand was the basis for the 1999 movie The Insider, spoke at a journalism conference in San Antonio. Excerpts from a story by Sheila Hotchkin in the San Antonio Express-News: