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
Illustrating the far-left composition of the faculty at one of the most prestigious journalism schools, Columbia Graduate School of Journalism professor Sandy Padwe called the dismissal by Time magazine, for budget reasons, of investigative reporters Donald Bartlett and James Steele, “a disgrace. Two of the best investigative reporters ever, and they're on the street? It's a f---ing travesty." In fact, at both the Philadelphia Inquirer and Time, Bartlett and Steele delivered shoddy, ideologically-driven left-wing “journalism” which should have embarrassed any journalist with pride in their profession. Nonetheless, in the Thursday CJR Daily posting which quoted Padwe, veteran journalist Steve Lovelady gushed: “Barlett and Steele came to be regarded by many as the premier investigative team in the business, and one that consistently met benchmarks to which others could only aspire.”
Also from the Washington Times—the kinda thing that makes you grateful for newspapers like the Washington Times:
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Massachusetts Democrat who was the only person to argue against the proposal on the floor yesterday, worried that it would cost too much. The San Diego fence, he noted, wound up being 200 percent over budget. "The real cost ended up being $3.8 million per mile," said Mr. Kennedy, who has been the principal backer of Boston's "Big Dig," a highway tunnel funded largely by the federal government that has run about $1 billion per mile.
Yesterday I noted that Richard Stengel, the recently crowned managing editor of Time magazine, had a documented history of media bias. The Washington Post confirmed that fact today with a brief profile (registration required) on Stengel. He told the Post’s Howard Kurtz that he’d like the magazine to "have a stronger point of view about things." Regarding his own politics, the new managing editor described himself as "a flaming moderate." Stengel also discussed his work as a speechwriter and advisor for 1996 presidential candidate Bill Bradley. The former Senator from New Jersey was Stengel’s idol "from the time I was 9 years old." It’s interesting that a "flaming moderate" would idolize someone who had a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 11. Bill Bradley may be many things, a great basketball player, sure, but he was no moderate.
Stengel, who has written and edited Time magazine for several years, already knows something about giving the magazine a "stronger point of view." On January 12, 2001, he wrote an editorial in the magazine about the inauguration of George W. Bush. In it, he compared the various galas to a "party worthy of British royalty," called it a "coronation" and a "Princess Diana-ish royal spectacle."
The Drudge Report is reporting that a high school in one of California’s most prestigious neighborhoods is going to be sending 1,500 of its students to go see Al Gore’s new movie concerning global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.” According to the report: “On May 24, 2006, 1,500 Beverly Hills High School students will be boarding 30 gas-guzzling buses across town to see Al Gore's new global warming film 'AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH' at the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.”
ABC has still not pulled the plug on the canceled TV series "Commander in Chief," which featured a woman president. Although the show is no longer a weekly offering because of low ratings, ABC still wants to make a two hour made-for-TV special.
The one-hour drama about the nation's first female president (Geena Davis) didn't catch on in the ratings, having been pulled off Tuesdays earlier in the season and failing to get traction Thursdays at 10 p.m. It was yanked off the schedule weeks ago and wasn't on the ABC 2006-07 primetime schedule announced early Tuesday.
But ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson said at a meeting with reporters that "Commander in Chief" wasn't completely retired yet. McPherson said he had been pitched an idea for a two-hour movie by creator and former executive producer Rod Lurie, and was considering it.
Networks fixate on tax cuts ‘for the rich’ while ignoring exploding tax revenues.
While Congress hammered out a $70 billion tax-relief bill last week, the media wasted no time spinning it. After the House approved its version on May 10, the “NBC Nightly News” cited “Democratic critics [who said] the overall bill is heavily tilted in favor of the very wealthy.” At roughly the same time, the “CBS Evening News” presented a graphic to its viewers showing “for incomes of $50,000 or less, you’ll average no more than $46 in savings.”
The following day, ABC’s “Good Morning America” team offered a $20 bill to shoppers at a New Jersey mall as a cynical demonstration of how little this tax cut would help some Americans.
All totaled, the broadcast networks did 16 reports on this issue in their three-day blitzkrieg, largely with the same predictable mantra: tax cuts favor the rich. Conspicuously absent was an honest assessment of just how much lower wage earners in America have benefited from the most recent income tax changes, as well as how much the government has benefited from higher tax revenues.
The Truth Hurts Without question, the best thing government can do for low-income families is not burden them with income taxes. Toward that goal, according to a March 30 report by the Tax Foundation’s Scott Hodge, the percentage of Americans not paying any federal income taxes has exploded in the past few years as a result of recent tax changes:
Speaking in the Headlines and Biographies lecture series at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Dan Rather says today's journalists have an "urge to be so polite, this mandate not to offend anyone - anywhere."
Journalists afraid to bash President Bush? That's unlikely. Of course, the president's low approval ratings have more to do with conservatives hating Bush than liberals, and Rather could not possibly understand criticisms of Bush that did not originate from left-wing MSM initiatives.
The veteran U.S. television journalist lamented a trend in today's news that sees reporters rely on euphemisms and tact as though they were conducting international diplomacy instead of telling people exactly what is happening in places like Washington or Ottawa.
"I don't know where this urge to be so polite, this mandate not to offend anyone - anywhere, anytime - came from, but in a journalistic sense, I wish it would go away," he said.
It's no secret that the media has a bias when it comes to "climate change" that's friendly to environmentalists who blame human activity, essentially modern economic growth, for global warming. But what may surprise you is just how long the media's fixation with global warming/cooling goes back.
The MRC's Business & Media Institute (formerly the Free Market Project) just released a study that found that The New York Times has led the way in predicting global catastrophe from climate change as early as 1895.
The BMI study "found that many publications now claiming the world is on
the brink of a global warming disaster said the same about an impending ice age
– just 30 years ago. Several major ones, including The New York Times, Time
magazine and Newsweek, have reported on three or even four different climate
shifts since 1895."
Like most of his fellow critics, the Times A.O. Scott gives a ho-hum thumbs down to "The DaVinci Code" (in which a mortal Jesus is at the center of an elaborate fraud, with the Catholic Church as a murderous conspiracy) but doesn’t see anything to get offended by:
"In any case Mr. Howard and Mr. Goldsman handle the supposedly provocative material in Mr. Brown's book with kid gloves, settling on an utterly safe set of conclusions about faith and its history, presented with the usual dull sententiousness. So I certainly can't support any calls for boycotting or protesting this busy, trivial, inoffensive film. Which is not to say I'm recommending you go see it."
Talk about handing the media a gift. Yesterday's altercation between employees of the two Republican candidates for governor - at a forum that included the Democrat - gave the Rocky Mountain News's Stuart Strears a chance to focus on the Republicans' arguments and the Democrat's message:
An intern for the Holtzman campaign, Laura Mendenhall, tried to block a Beauprez staffer, Jory Taylor, from videotaping the event. That outraged the Beauprez campaign, which says it routinely tapes such forums.
"They were shoving him out of the way," said John Marshall, a spokesman for Beauprez. "They totally accosted him. This is just junior high school stuff. It's disappointing and juvenile and not befitting a campaign for the highest office in Colorado."
After a couple days in which the only people offered the opportunity to comment on the controversy surrounding the Da Vinci Code were the movie's director and cast members, this morning's Today show finally gave an outside expert and Catholic officials their shot. The result was an oddly ambivalent reaction in which the movie was simultaneously praised as offering an opportunity to teach about the Church - and condemned as filled with lies.
A quick recap on the state of play at Today. Matt Lauer has been "On the Road with the Code" this week. On Tuesday, as reported here, NBC reporter Melissa Stark timidly raised the matter of the controversy with Code director Ron Howard. Stark didn't bother informing viewers just what all the fuss is about - which is none other than the movie's premise that Christ wasn't really divine, that he was married to Mary Magdalene and had children with her, that the true religion is the "feminine divine" and that the Roman Catholic Church has perpetrated a murderous patriarchal plot to suppress the truth. That's all!
Last week, the Minutemen came to town to protest illegal immigration, but The Washington Post shunned them to the inside of the Metro section, to page B-3. Their crowd was estimated at just 150. On Wednesday, the pro-illegal immigration advocates came to Capitol Hill again, and the Post estimated the gathering at about 400. That's also what you might call an inside-the-Metro-section crowd.
Think again. The rally itself made page A-13 today, complete with yet another color photo of American flags in the sun. The story by Karin Brulliard and Krissah Williams was headlined "Immigrant Advocates Take Their Case to Capitol Hill: Activists Lobby Members of Congress, Aides on Legislation." But its most prominent placement was the dominant story on the top of the front page of the Style section by the very protester-friendly David Montgomery. It was titled "An Up-the-Hill Battle: Even Without Citizenship, Immigrants Embrace a Chance to Become Activists," but should have said "Illegal Immigrants" were the lobbyists celebrated.
On the six month anniversary of Democratic Congressman John Murtha's successful publicity stunt call for the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq, Wednesday's NBC Nightly News jumped on the chance to highlight Murtha's charge that last November some Marines deliberately killed more than a dozen innocent Iraqi civilians. But in treating Murtha as some kind of authoritative figure making “new allegations,” NBC ignored how the fairly well established as accurate charge (pictures exist of the immediate aftermath and three Marine officers were relieved of their commands) is old and has already been widely-reported -- including on the March 20 NBC Nightly News.
Brian Williams touted: "There are disturbing new allegations tonight from the Congressman and decorated Marine veteran who stunned the Bush administration about six months ago with his call for U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.” Following a rundown from Jim Miklaszewski of the allegations, Williams trumpeted Murtha's credibility and relevance: “Jim, we should go over again, why is it significant that John Murtha is the one saying this?" Miklaszewski responded with Murtha's argument that the event bolsters his political point as to why the U.S. should leave Iraq, preceded by the misnomer that Murtha had “recently” turned against the war: “It's important because as somebody who recently turned against the war, Murtha held this up today as one of the reasons the U.S. military should get out of Iraq as soon as possible." (Transcript follows, as well as examples of earlier reporting on the November incident)
When Mel Gibson introduced "The Passion of the Christ" into the public conversation, Hollywood had a lot to say about it. Now Hollywood is offering its response with the upcoming release of "The DaVinci Code," inviting commentary not on that movie, but on Hollywood itself.
Three years ago, Mel Gibson gambled his own personal fortune on a great creative risk, going completely outside the established Tinseltown system to produce a horrifyingly realistic reenactment of Our Lord’s crucifixion, and resurrection. It took not just sacrifice but also real courage to make this. The studios all scoffed at the idea. The reviews were horrible – before anyone had seen a frame of it.
Part-Time Pundit says "another drive-by media attempt to discredit" Bush and claim the Republicans "are trying to usher in a new era of fascism has fallen flat on its face."
Claims by USA Today using sources with “direct knowledge of the program” that the NSA has been collecting massive databases of phone calls don’t appear to match with the records of two of the three apparent participants, Verizon and Bell South....
Once again, we are faced with an “objective” journalistic medium that didn’t do enough footwork to verify the claims that were made before it splashed them on the front page and riled the population. The irony is that it appears the population would support such a database if it existed.
It's not enough for "DaVinci Code" star Ian McKellen to make cracks about Bible disclaimers. MRC's Michael Chapman passed along that in an interview with Reuters, he took his wisecracks directly to the Catholic Church:
“When I put the book down I thought, ’what a load of potential codswallop .That’s still going on in my mind. But I’m very happy to believe that Jesus was married.”
Sir Ian, who came out as gay in 1988 during a Radio 4 discussion programme, continued: “I know that the Catholic church has problems with gay people and I thought that this was absolute truth that Jesus was not gay.”
Richard Stengel, a former adviser and speechwriter for presidential candidate Bill Bradley, has been named the Managing Editor of Time magazine. Stengel has written and edited for the magazine in the past and has a long history of attacking Republicans and conservatives. The Media Research Center has been documenting his bias through the years. One of his more famous comments, recounted in the June 14, 1999, edition of Notable Quotables, was the assertion that the Communist-exposing Whittaker Chambers may have been right, but he sure was mean:
"Whittaker Chambers was mostly right about communism and Alger Hiss, but he was a nasty piece of work and nobody likes a snitch. Even Joe McCarthy may have been on to something, but he was a crude and cruel man who ruined people's lives for 48-point type. You might call this the When Bad People Spoil Good Things school of history."- Time's Richard Stengel on "Dubious Influences," June 14 issue.
On Tuesday's "Special Report with Brit Hume," the "all-star" panel of Mort Kondracke, Mara Liason, and Fred Barnes discussed how the new White House press secretary, Tony Snow, did on his first day. There was also a clip of Helen Thomas badgering the new press secretary on a phantom issue.
BRIT HUME: All right. When we come back with our panel, how did Tony Snow do in his first outing in front of the full press corps under the lights? More with the all-stars after a break.
(Clip of Tony Snow with Helen Thomas)
HELEN THOMAS: Are all of these stories untrue that we've been reading for the last several days, that millions of Americans have been wiretapped?
TONY SNOW: Well, there is -- OK. Well, let's -- yes.