Perhaps the first famous name that comes to mind when it comes to policeman arrests in a restroom is George Michael, the former Wham! singer, who was busted in April of 1998 for lewd conduct in a restroom at Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills. (The act was reportedly masturbation and some public nudity.) This story, with Michael's fame on the wane, drew almost no attention from the same national media outlets who are now pounding on the office door of Sen. Larry Craig and insisting he resign.
A quick Nexis search shows no George Michael arrest stories on ABC, or NBC. CBS offered this anchor brief from Russ Mitchell on the morning of April 11: "In other entertainment news, pop singer George Michael apologized to his fans in a CNN interview in LA last night. Michael was arrested Tuesday and charged with what police called a lewd act in a restroom in a public park in Beverly Hills. He is due in court next month."
On Friday’s "Good Morning America," ABC’s anchors and reporters reacted to Fred Thompson’s entry in the 2008 race with negativity and sarcasm. Co-host George Stephanopoulos asserted that the former senator’s campaign is "never going to catch up on organization." Rattling off Thompson’s problems, the former Clinton aide critiqued, "But he didn't raise as much money as he’d hoped to over the summer. His speeches were a little bit flat. He had a lot of staff shake-ups."
Earlier in the segment, reporter Dan Harris pointedly mentioned the "consternation over the very active role of his wife, Jeri Thompson, a former political consultant 24 years his junior." Both Harris and Stephanopoulos speculated over whether Thompson’s entry into the race is "coming too late."
Additionally, the journalists on GMA treated the former actor’s announcement as a relatively boring, expected event. Harris jokingly asked, "Big surprise, right?" He then went on to deride Thompson’s entry into the 2008 race as "blazingly obvious."
MRC old timers like Geoff Dickens and Tim Graham will remember how in the late 1990s, MSNBC was largely a re-run channel. MSNBC's programming was largely "Time & Again" and "Headliners & Legends," two programs that relied heavily on canned news content and usually consisted of puffy profile pieces.
Well, now with the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana's death, MSNBC's gone back to the bad old days of stale newscasting, running highlights, as it were, from Diana's September 6, 1997 funeral, including Scripture readings and eulogies by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Diana's brother Lord Earl Spencer.
MSNBC is justifying the gauche gimmick as a "Living History Event."
As the networks dwell on the tenth anniversary of the death of a troubled British princess this week, it might be worth remembering that at the time, we noticed the tabloid tendencies toward celebrity deaths at the time were a much bigger media trend than investigations into the scandalous fundraising tactics the Clinton-Gore team used in 1996. Our MediaWatch study at the time noted:
MediaWatch analysts examined fundraising scandal stories in August and September on the Big Three morning shows and evening shows, plus CNN's The World Today. The networks broadcast 686 stories on Diana between August 31 and the end of September compared to just 113 stories about the fundraising scandal. That's a ratio of more than 6 to 1. Isolating the morning shows, collectively they aired 407 stories on Princess Diana's death, while devoting just 36 to the scandal. That's an astonishing ratio of 10 to 1.
It'll be interesting to see how many people spend an hour and a half in the theater this Labor Day weekend watching Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary about how we are teetering on the edge of global warming catastrophe. It sounds like a bummer way to end the summer. But if moviegoers turn to the Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips' review of the film for guidance, then the movie may well be tossed into the rubbish heap along with the year's other flops.
Essentially, according to Phillips, "The 11th Hour" tries to cover everything under the sun...and then some. It's a "panicky blur" that goes "broad, but not deep," and begins with a "frenzied montage of global calamity." Gee, for a guy who's been in the movie business since he was knee high to a grasshopper, you'd think Leo might have come up with a more winning formula.
Two years after a Danish newspaper provoked manufactured outrage in the Islamic world by printing a series of cartoons lampooning Islam's founder, a Swedish newspaper may have done the same with a series of sketches:
Marking the beginning of yet another dispute over free speech and religious sensitivity, the government of Pakistan has joined Iran in protesting the publication in a Swedish newspaper of a sketch featuring the head of Mohammed on the body of a dog.
"Pakistan condemns, in the strongest terms, the publication of an offensive and blasphemous sketch of the Holy Prophet in the Swedish newspaper," the foreign ministry in Islamabad said in a statement Thursday.
Which would you find more desirable in your community: a group that advocates to abide by U.S. law, or one that advocates to break U.S. law? Well, leave it to an American newspaper to present a story as if a member of a group that advocates for America is a less desirable person in the community than a member of a group that promotes ideas against America. In a story on the La Raza Council's threat to move their annual convention out of Kansas City, Missouri, the Kansas City Star has labeled the patriot group The Minutemen a "militant group" yet nowhere is there harsh labels in their story for La Raza, the Hispanic illegal immigrant advocates. In fact, La Raza is treated like a completely respectable organization throughout the story with the Minutemen treated as if they should be something to be ashamed of.
When the Larry Craig case broke, I noted the New York Times's unusual diffidence in reporting it. Senator, Arrested at Airport, Pleads Guilty was all the Times's cryptic headline told us, failing to indicate Craig's name, party affiliation, or the crime for which he had been not merely "arrested" but to which he had pleaded guilty.
At the time I surmised that the Times's bashfulness could have been "the triumph of political correctness on matters gay over the paper's partisan impulse." That theory is borne out by the paper's editorial of today, Disowning Senator Craig.
The Times's bottom line on the matter:
Being stupid as a member of Congress is hardly a reason to be ridden on a rail from Washington . . . The rush to cast him out betrays the party’s intolerance, which is on display for the public in all of its ugliness.
Curious aside: whoever wrote the editorial had gone metaphor mad. Check these out:
A majority of Americans - 54% - believe the United States has not lost the war in Iraq, but there is dramatic disagreement on the question between Democrats and Republicans, a new UPI/Zogby Interactive poll shows. While two in three Democrats (66%) said the war effort has already failed, just 9% of Republicans say the same.
Many Democrats, seeing the fact that the surge appears to be working, have realized that their defeatist attitudes and willingness to surrender may cost them dearly in the next election, have changed their tune somewhat, or, like the New York Times, have merely moved the goalposts of what constitutes victory. However, the major media, who have been overwhelmingly in favor of a precipitous defeat seem to be a little slow in reporting that their years of negative reporting and defeatism have not yet managed to dissuade a majority of their countrymen from wanting to win.
Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center which runs NewsBusters, appeared Thursday night (August 30) on FNC's Hannity & Colmes to discuss the MRC's study, “Rise and Shine on Democrats: How the ABC, CBS and NBC Morning Shows Are Promoting Democrats on the Road to the White House” (Executive Summary). It found that, from January through July, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows devoted nearly twice the time to stories about, and interviews with, Democratic over Republican presidential candidates, avoided placing liberal labels on Democrats and also pushed candidates of both parties from the left: “Of the substantive questions that could be categorized as reflecting a political agenda, more than two-thirds (69%) of the questions to Democrats reflected a liberal premise, and more than four-fifths (82%) of the questions to Republicans came from the same perspective.”
Alan Colmes naturally nitpicked the study, but Sean Hannity praised it as “exhaustive.”
NBC on Thursday night became the first broadcast network to air a story on the Clinton presidential campaign scandal over donations from Norman Hsu, a fugitive from a grand theft charge who is also suspected of illegally funneling excess donations through another family. While ABC's World News and the CBS Evening News, as well as the NBC Nightly News, found time for a third straight night of coverage of Larry Craig's travails, only NBC caught up with FNC and CNN and highlighted the fundraising irregularities involving Democrats. Lisa Myers noted how Hsu has “given a quarter of a million dollars to a who's who of Democratic candidates in the last three years. But Hsu is also a fugitive, wanted in California in connection with a 1991 fraud case. The Clinton campaign initially defended Hsu, listed on her campaign honor roll as a man of integrity. Today the Senator said she's giving his $23,000 in donations to charity.”
Over video of a small, lime-colored house in Dale City, California, Myers also relayed how “questions also have been raised about big donations Hsu raised for Senator Clinton from others, some seemingly of modest means. This house in California is one of Clinton's biggest sources of campaign cash. Campaign records indicate that six members of a family listed at this address have given Clinton $45,000 since 2005 and a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates.” Myers concluded by recalling an earlier scandal much of the media were reluctant at the time to pursue: “It resurrects images of campaign finance scandals during her husband's presidency, of Johnny Chung handing over a $50,000 check in the First Lady's office and donors sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.”
This could be something of a first: a major MSM player admits there's a case to be made that the media is incredibly biased against Republicans.
As I noted here, when Tom DeLay accused the media of bias on this morning's "Today," Matt Lauer stonewalled: "I'm not going to let it, you know, end with that assumption, congressman, because I clearly don't agree with it."
But appearing on this afternoon's Harball, DeLay successfully wangled an admission from host Chris Matthews.
TOM DELAY: If [Craig] has been found guilty of what he's been accused of, then yeah. But I do know that the Republicans will do something about it. I do know that if he were a Democrat they would rally around him and they would not do something about it. I do know that the national media is incredibly biased against Republicans that find themselves [in trouble] --
CHRIS MATTHEWS: That's a charge which I've heard before and I can understand why you make it. You make it a lot. Sometimes you have a case to make. Sometimes.
Associated Press reporter David Bauder wrote a story on the new MRC study on the wide and deep disparity of morning TV news coverage of the presidential candidates in 2007. It's fair and balanced. But for us, obviously, the most entertaining part was hearing the network producers respond to the charges. They said it's all the Republicans' fault for being so shy with interview requests, and declared the Democratic race was so stuffed with historic firsts, it just demands blockbuster coverage:
You've got a former first lady and a black senator fighting for the nomination," said Jim Bell, executive producer of NBC's "Today" show. "That's historic. We're not going to make apologies for covering that."
Stories about the cancer relapse of Democrat John Edwards' wife Elizabeth were also counted in the total. It's unfair to count a personal story like that in a tally that suggests bias, said Jim Murphy, executive producer of ABC's "Good Morning America."
As an MRC study has proven, liberal broadcast media has a strong record of skewed coverage of illegal immigration. Print coverage in major metropolitan broadsheets in no different. In her August 30 article, Washington Post staff writer Pamela Constable featured English-speaking illegal immigrants lamenting "hateful talk against immigrants."
"Many have no legal documents," Constable conceded of the day laborers waiting at 5:30 a.m. outside a Gaithersburg, Md., work center operated by "the nonprofit CASA de Maryland." Constable failed to note anywhere in her article the pro-illegal immigration, pro-amnesty stance CASA consistently promotes.
Indeed, Constable's mission was not to report both sides of the immigration debate, but rather to paint a stark, emotional account full of loaded language, including comparing the plight of illegal immigrants to Jews hiding from Nazi persecution:
You know, if you saw this at some small time newspaper, or a blog without multiple levels of editors, you'd be quite forgiving.
But when the supposedly most respected newspaper on the face of the planet, with a large office building filled with writers, editors, and staffers, mistakes a key phrase from the Declaration of Independence as a "constitutional right," one has to wonder what's going on with the Old Gray Lady.
Pretend to urinate on produce in a stock room, smack your brother in the crotch with a beet, open and lick the contents of a container on the shelf or stand with a banana sticking out of your boxer shorts and that’ll land you a segment on “American Morning.”
“All right, so now you guys – by the way it was pretty good editing,” said Chetry in an interview with Mark and Matt D’Avella, creators of the “Produce Paradise” video.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," guest host George Stephanopoulos’s close ties to the Clinton administration were again on display. The ABC anchor interviewed the ex-boyfriend of Chelsea Clinton about his new book on the subject of teaching American history in Iraq. Just last month, Stephanopoulos, a former top aide to Bill Clinton, gave a softball interview to Kristin Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore.
In that segment, the GMA substitute host misleadingly characterized the drug arrest of Albert Gore III as getting "in trouble speeding." The Vice President’s daughter also joked that she modeled a character in her new novel about Washington politics after Stephanopoulos. During the August 30 piece, the network anchor introduced author Ian Klaus by glowingly announcing, "...Some people might be watching today and saying, 'You know, I've seen him somewhere before. I've heard his name before.' And that's because you were actually dating Chelsea Clinton when you went to Iraq."
MRC president and NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell appeared on the August 29 "Glenn Beck Live" on CNN Headline News. He discussed the Washington Post's decision to censor the August 26 edition of Berkeley Breathed's "Opus" cartoon mocking radical Islamists.
Earlier that day, Bozell appeared on FNC's "Fox & Friends" to discuss the Post's double standards on religious sensitivity. You can find video of that at this NB post.