In its segment on illegal immigration and the proposed amendment to make English the country's official language, this morning's Today show pitted the following against a sole Republican senator: another senator who just happens to be the Minority Leader, the director of a school that teaches English to immigrants, the head of the association of immigration lawyers, and the NBC reporter himself, Mike Taibbi, who described the current atmosphere as 'nasty' and implied that the English language amendment was unnecessary. Along the way, Today even managed to coin a new euphemism for 'illegals.'
Taibbi began the segment reporting from what appeared to be a private-sector school in Queens, NY called the New York Language Center. Taibbi pointedly observed that at the school: "they learn one language. English. America's official national language, if a Senate amendment to a new immigration law passes." Not-so-subtle sub-text: "See, immigrants are already learning English. No amendment necessary."
In recent months, ABC reporter Bill Blakemore has been a passionate proponent for getting all that harmful objectivity and balance out of reporting on the impending disaster of global warming. (See here, or here, or here.) So it shouldn't be surprising -- it should flow naturally, like a melting glacier -- that Blakemore is using ABC's World Newser blog to plug Al Gore's new documentary "An Inconvenient Truth." The filmmakers could use Blakemore's review here as a promotional blurb. He calls it "96 minutes well spent," says "Regardless of your politics, it's riveting and informative," not to mention "remarkably clear, concise, and informative."
On NBC's "Daily Nightly" blog, Senior Producer Gena Fitzgerald noted the Senate's passage of an official-English bill as a sad occasion, and she puzzled about "what this means to a nation that’s always seen itself as a cultural melting pot." But Gena, how does the country "melt" together without immigrants learning a little English? She made it sound like one of those annoying Republican initiatives like renaming "freedom fries," and decided to mock it:
But it does give us pause to wonder: If the Congress succeeds in making this an English-only nation, perhaps they should start on Capitol Hill and see how it goes first. They’ll have to begin with the nation’s motto: "E Pluribus Unum." That would be Latin, and means "One from Many." Senators, if you all pitch in on weekends, it should not take long to redo all those government office buildings, and then the country's currency.
Bob Schieffer on Friday decided to use the uprising at Guantanamo as an opportunity to express his disdain for the detention facility. Schieffer opened the CBS Evening News by asking: “Has the U.S. prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo become more trouble than it's worth?” He then presumed: “Even those who created it have to be asking that question tonight.” Schieffer listed a litany of reasons it should be closed, “It has generated reams of bad publicity for the United States, today a UN committee said it ought to be shut down because it violates the Geneva Convention, and now the latest: Prisoners wielding improvised weapons lured ten guards into an ambush and a riot broke out.” (Uninterrupted transcript follows)
On Friday's Countdown show on MSNBC, substitute host Brian Unger lived up to Keith Olbermann's habitually liberal standards as he portrayed recent efforts by Senate Republicans to declare English America's official language and to ban gay marriage as a "hard turn to the right." He hearkened back to the "exclusionary rhetoric" of the 1992 Republican convention that spelled a "political disaster" for Republicans, and wondered if it could be "1992 all over again." Regarding the proposed gay marriage ban, Unger referred to it as part of the "far right's greatest hit list," and characterized the Senate Judiciary Committee vote for a constitutional amendment as "tossing social conservatives a straight-as-an-arrow bone."
In spite of a recent Zogby poll showing 84 percent of Americans, including 77 percent of Hispanics, support making English the nation's official language, Unger teased the show wondering if Republicans would "alienate the American middle": "Could these two right turns alienate the American middle? What playing to the Republican base could mean for the President and voters come midterm election." He introduced the show by recounting the 1992 Republican convention which renominated former President George H.W. Bush: "The 1992 Republican convention was widely regarded as a political disaster in which the party's social conservatives managed to alienate swing voters with their exclusionary rhetoric. A new cultural war was launched, and not coincidentally, it was the Democratic ticket that managed to win the '92 election. Our fifth story on the Countdown, could it be '92 all over again?" (Transcript follows)
Lisa Myers delivered an enterprising report, on Friday's NBC Nightly News, on how a Senate committee is investigating possible UN “oil-for-food” program misdeeds by former Senator Robert Torricelli. But no where in her story did she identify Torricelli's party. He's a Democrat. The only party label in the story came in an on-screen "(R) Minnesota" for Senator Norm Coleman. Anchor Brian Williams summarized the oil-for-food program and then noted how “there are allegations that a former member of Congress may have been involved in part of the scandal.” Myers began by reminding viewers of how “former Senator Robert Torricelli, forced to abandon a Senate race four years ago because of ethical lapses today is back under investigation again.” She explained: “In 1996, then-Congressman Torricelli repeatedly lobbied Iraqi officials to give lucrative contracts to a company owned by Korean-American businessman David Chang, who later went to prison for making illegal campaign contributions to Torricelli.” (Hat tip to NewsBusters contributor Tom Johnson.)
NewsBusters' Rich Noyes has reported on the Democratic affiliations of the USA Today reporter who "broke" the NSA phone records story.
Other journalists are worried about the loss of credibility to the profession in general if the story turns out to be false. Reports Editor and Publisher:
The USA Today phone records scoop, which is drawing increased scrutiny as phone companies dispute elements of the report, has also sparked interest among those in the news business, as well as longtime journalism observers.
Editors and veteran journalists who spoke with E&P are mixed on how the situation has been handled by all involved, with some claiming that the outcome could impact how news outlets report sensitive intelligence information in the future.
On CBS’s "The Early Show" this morning, co-host Harry Smith reported from Baghdad. However, unlike Dave Price, the "Early Show weatherman who reported on high morale and security progress in Iraq -- his reporting can be seen here and here -- Smith focused on the negative, and even complained that the security situation is so bad that he couldn’t go out and get ice cream.
Harry Smith: "Now the one other example I can give you of what the security situation is like here, just around our hotel, it's very, very secure. But when I asked our folks if I could go down to the corner and out of the secure zone to get an ice cream last night they said it's a risk just simply not worth taking. Hannah."
This weekend's captionfest features a picture of Joe Wilson, media dahling, with his supersecret paperpusher wife Valerie Plame, heading to the DC premier of Al Gore's environmentalist movie "An Inconvenient Truth."
Original Reuters caption, complete with false information on Plame's "agent" status: "Former diplomat Joe Wilson and his wife, former CIA agent Valerie
Plame, attend the East Coast premiere of the movie 'An Inconvenient
Truth' in Washington May 17, 2006. 'An Inconvenient Truth' tells the
story of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's commitment to expose the
myths and misconceptions that surround global warming and inspire
actions to prevent it. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts."
New press secretary Tony Snow is going to have to learn to deal with answering the same question repeatedly from Helen Thomas. Thomas would always ask the same question to the previous press secretary, Scott McClellan: Why did we enter Iraq? The liberal talking points she uses to bolster her case constantly morph, but the central question is always the same.
Tony Snow told her she was trying to "re-argue the case." He better get used to it.
From today's gaggle:
HELEN THOMAS: The new Italian Prime Minister says that the President's invasion of Iraq was a grave error. As the new kid on the block, can you give me the latest rationale the U.S. has for invading Iraq?
TONY SNOW: There has only been one rationale, as you know, Helen, and this that Saddam Hussein had resisted -- what is the proper number, 17 United Nations resolutions -- and had refused repeatedly to permit weapons inspectors to do their work, and consistent with that. And also we had cited other concerns in terms of democracy and human rights. That case has never changed.
Also the case laid out and voted by the United States Senate --
THOMAS: He finds that as a justification to invade a country where we had choke-hold sanctions, satellite surveillance --
The New Media Journal, formerly The Rant.us, has been removed from Google News and Google Search for what has been deemed “hate speech.” Many readers here might be familiar with this conservative e-zine, and, as a disclaimer, I have been a contributing writer there since September 2004.
(Update: I was just informed by the proprietor of MichNews.com, another conservative e-zine, that he was terminated by Google about a month ago for the same reason. And, the Jawa Report was so terminated on March 29, 2005. In all cases, the offending articles appear to have dealt with radical Islam and terrorism.)
This morning, proprietor Frank Salvato realized that none of today’s content had appeared at Google News or was available through Google Search. As such, he sent an e-mail message to the help desk, and received the following response (permission granted to post):
The Sweetness and Light blog says the AP has been biased in its pictures of the confirmation hearing of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to head the CIA.
Not content to subliminally associate General Hayden with eavesdropping via a plethora of photographs of him with microphones, the DNC's Associated Press ratchets up its agit-prop by making him look like a doofus:
It should come as no surprise that CNN.com briefly used this picture for its frontpage.
News story, or Gore 2008 press release? At first glance it was hard to tell, but . . . wait! Yup, there it is: (Reuters). So yes, this is cold, hard reporting of just-the-facts, ma'am. Then again, consider the opening paragraphs:
Al Gore brushes aside talk of another run for the U.S. presidency and wages a new campaign to protect the Earth that he says must be won.
The former Democratic vice president sounds the alarm as a citizen activist armed with his old slide show turned into a Hollywood movie about the threat of global warming.
Most Americans don't care one whit about news from Canada,
justifiably so. I think at least some Americans, namely the press folk
in the Bush White House, are keeping an eye on how Stephen Harper, the
new Conservative prime minister (whose party is in power after decades
of Liberal dominance) is taking no prisoners when it comes to dealing
with a press that is actually further left-biased than the one in this
There are two effective ways of dealing with the press,
neither of which has been pursued by the Bush White House up
until new press secretary Tony Snow started practicing the
One gets the impression that Harper and his staff are pursuing the "bad cop" route, based on
the conclusion that making nice with journalists who despise you, your
party, and your policies, doesn't do much good.
A number of Canadian news websites are reporting that the Iranian parliament passed a law this week requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such (hat tip to Drudge). As reported by Canada’s National Post: “Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.”
The article continued: “‘This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,’ said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. ‘Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.’"
Apparently, this has been confirmed by Iranians now living in Canada: “Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical ‘standard Islamic garments.’"
Leslie Cauley, the USA Today reporter who last week “broke” the news that three major U.S. telecommunications companies were assisting the National Security Agency in building a database to more easily track any communications by potential terrorists, is listed as a donor to former House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, according to a search of The Center for Responsive Politics Web site, www.opensecrets.org
A search found a listing for "writer and journalist" Leslie Cauley, indicating she gave $2,000 to Gephardt on June 30, 2003, when Gephardt was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. And that seems not to be her only tie to Democratic politics (see Update below)
On Thursday night, NBC aired the final episode of "Will & Grace" after eight seasons, but on Thursday’s "Today," MRC’s Geoff Dickens noticed Katie Couric interviewed the cast and just lathered on the praise that her 14-year-old daughter learned so much about tolerance for homosexuality from the show, and "I think that’s a great contribution to society," because "I think you have to teach tolerance at a very early age and the more comfortable people feel with people who are different, starting when they're young, the more tolerant and accepting they're gonna be as they go into adulthood." So much for CBS hiring an even-handed new anchor on the hot social issues of the day.
You would expect an NBC show to praise an NBC show, but Couric went way beyond that to a serious political lecture. She began the segment by touting the victory over what critics call homophobia:
On The Situation Room on Thursday, CNN's Jack Cafferty used his Cafferty Report segment to rant against a proposal by Republican Senators for a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage as "shameless" and "an effort to appeal to right-wing nuts" in the Republican Party. He further accused Republicans of "groveling at the feet of the lunatic fringe," and sarcastically concluded, "That's leadership."
Cafferty began his segment by labeling it a "lesson in hypocrisy" as he went on to recount a private meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee that was held by Republican Chairman Arlen Specter, and Democratic Senator Russ Feingold's decision to storm out after an argument with Specter. Cafferty commented, "These guys are shameless," and then continued: "Senator Specter, in a real show of courage, says that he's, quote, 'totally opposed to the amendment,' but he voted for it anyway, saying it deserves a debate in the Senate." (Transcript follows)
All the networks got a few minutes Thursday afternoon with President Bush at an outdoor setting along the Arizona-Mexico border, and while ABC's Martha Raddatz, CBS's Bill Plante, CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and FNC's Carl Cameron all stuck, as least as aired, to immigration questions, NBC's David Gregory compared Bush's approval to Nixon's, suggested the public has reached a “final judgment of disapproval” and pressed Bush to name more “centrist” policies he'll adopt. And when Bush named tax cuts, Gregory made clear he didn't consider that centrist.
MSNBC's Hardball carried the entire interview while viewers of the NBC Nightly News and MSNBC's Countdown only saw a few excerpts. In the NBC Nightly News/Countdown piece, David Gregory reported: "The President brushed off the fact that his poll ratings are now similar to Richard Nixon's when he resigned the presidency." Gregory featured this question he had posed: "Do you think it's possible that, like Nixon and Watergate, that the American people have rendered a final judgment of disapproval on you and your war in Iraq?" Those watching the 5 and 7pm EDT Hardball heard all that, as well as how Gregory proposed: “You've said and have said in this immigration debate that you want to find 'rational middle ground' on this issue. What other areas can the American people expect you to urge a more centrist approach to policy?" Bush replied that “cutting people's taxes is rational.” To which Gregory retorted: "But is that middle ground?" (Transcripts follow)
BellSouth Corp. has sent a letter to USA Today and the newspaper's parent company, Gannett, demanding the retraction of a story which said the phone company shared its customers calling records with a federal spy agency, according to a Thursday report in the online edition of the Wall Street Journal. The letter demanded that the newspaper retract the "faults and unsubstantiated statements" in the May 11 article, which said BellSouth and some of its rivals shared bulk calling data with the National Security Agency, the Journal said. The story ignited a firestorm about government intrusion into consumer privacy and led to lawsuits against BellSouth, Verizon Communications Inc., and AT&T Inc. A phone call to BellSouth wasn't immediately returned. End of Story