As NewsBusters reported earlier (here and here), the New York Times is likely to soon abandon its TimesSelect pay-subscription online service. That's hardly a surprise when you look at the numbers writes Brett Arends:
The New York Times Web site is extremely popular. According to figures tracked by Nielsen/NetRatings, nytimes.com attracted about 12.5 million readers worldwide in June, the month with the most recent data. That's a huge global audience for news, and a large multiple of the Times' print circulation.
The number willing to pay extra for access to TimesSelect?
Just 29% -- a mere 221,000. That figure has risen a miserable 8,000 since the start of the year.
For those that watched Monday's announcement by President Bush concerning the departure of White House advisor Karl Rove, as the two were walking away from the microphones, someone yelled out a rather disgraceful question (h/t NB reader Damian G).
According to FishbowlDC, that someone was CBS's Bill Plante, and the question was:
Yet another Democratic candidate played nurse for a day, as part of a stunt to garner labor union support, and once again "Today" show's cameras were there to cover the photo-op. On this morning's "Today" show, NBC's Andrea Mitchell followed Hillary Clinton as she made the rounds with a nurse to, both soften her image, and suck up to the Service Employees International Union.
Interestingly, "Today" didn't give Hillary quite the same glowing profile it gave Barack Obama last week, as Meredith Vieira expressed some skepticism as she asked: "Do you think the public buys any of this?" However, viewers were still treated to shots of Hillary talking to patients and sitting down with the nurse's family to say grace at the kitchen table as Mitchell dutifully declared: "She got her hands wet."
On August 1, I wrote about how Time.com's "Swampland" blog was soliciting suggestions for guest bloggers on its 39-member Facebook group home page. I gave NewsBusters readers the address and sure enough some of you left suggestions in the topic thread.
As of publication of this blog post, there were but a few liberal suggestions (such as strategist James Carville) from members of the "Swampland" Facebook group, but the vast majority of suggestions leaned rightward and included such names as Ace, Mary Katharine Ham of TownHall, independent Iraq-based journalist Michael Yon, Patterico, and libertarian writer P.J. O'Rourke.
So given two weeks to digest input from Facebook, who have the editors at Time.com chosen as a guest blogger? None other than liberal activist Ralph Neas of the People for the American Way (PFAW), who is guesting on the site from August 13-17.
However, I would like to nominate the following opening paragraph from Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle article entitled "Pundits, Bloggers Go Wild Over Rove's Resignation" as the winner of the best example of RDS yet penned or uttered (emphasis added):
With the announcement of Karl Rove resigning his position from the White House, it is time to revisit that infamous report by MSNBC's David Shuster who on Keith Olbermann's Countdown show on May 8, 2006 flatly stated:
I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.
When a month later it was announced that Rove would not be indicted, a sheepish Shuster came up with several lame excuses for his monumental misreporting as chronicled by NewsBusters editor Brent Baker in his June 13, 2006 post. Under questioning by Countdown substitute host, Brian Unger, Shuster began by blaming the defense lawyers for his embarrassing error:
In a report that is supposed to be about General David Petraeus and his efforts to pacify Iraq by commanding the forces in president Bush's Iraq surge, The New York Times speculates instead about his state of mind and generally tries to tear him down. Times writer John Burns seems to be putting in a bid for his own late night psychic TV show by being able to read the General's mind and divining that he has "flagging spirits" and that he is "rueful." Instead of a serious news report, Burns gives us speculation and a mystic's interpretation.
The most egregious paragraph in the story is the second.
Pressing the talk button on his headset, the slightly built, 54-year-old general, the top American commander in Iraq, said glimpses of the normal life that have survived the war’s horrors have helped to boost his own flagging spirits, especially on days when signs of battlefront progress are offset by new bombings with mass casualties, the starkest measure of continuing insurgent power across Iraq.
Did you notice the lack of quote marks in that paragraph? It is a sure bet that Petraeus never said he had "flagging spirits." More likely, Petraeus pointed to those signs of "normal life" to reveal to Burns that such signs are good signs of an Iraqi people just yearning to live life without all the strife. It is more likely that Petraeus was merely trying to impress upon writer Burns the resilience and strength of the Iraqi people. Yet, Burns interprets this to be a revelation of Petraeus' "flagging spirits" instead because it fits in better with the New York Times' pessimistic opposition to the surge.
Reporting on the resignation of presidential political adviser Karl Rove, ABC's World News on Monday night absurdly blamed Karl Rove for the ads from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and featured John Kerry's condemnation of Rove as all three broadcast network evening shows castigated Rove for his criticism of how Democrats want to coddle terrorists and highlighted his “leaking” of Valerie Plame's name. ABC's David Wright cited Rove's “political ju-jitzu” in “turning opponents' strengths against them.” With a Swift Boat ad clip on screen, Wright described a “sustained attack on John Kerry's war record, an audacious move considering Bush's Vietnam War record was weak.” Wright contended that Rove sometimes went “too far,” such as when “he accused the Democrats of offering therapy and understanding to our attackers. 9/11 families asked him to stop.” Rounding out Rove's offenses, Wright asserted that “he's been on the defensive over the leaking of a CIA agent's name as political payback against her husband, and for his part in the fired U.S. attorneys scandal.” Following Wright's report, anchor Charles Gibson showcased how Kerry “said he orchestrated a political strategy 'that promised to unite Americans but instead left us more divided than [ever] before.'”
On the CBS Evening News, which found the oldest video of Rove -- from 1972 -- Jim Axelrod stressed how “Rove survived five grand jury appearances during the Valerie Plame CIA leak case without being indicted. He's currently defying congressional subpoenas to testify about the fired U.S. attorneys.” Axelrod maintained Rove “lost some of his luster last year when painting the Democrats weak on terror and the Iraq war backfired, and the GOP lost the House and Senate.” NBC's Kelly O'Donnell recalled how “he enraged Democrats” by “accusing them of weakness after 9/11.”
When a CBS News poll in July found 73 percent believed the surge of troops in Iraq was making the situation “worse” or having “no impact,” the CBS Evening News led with that number. But on Monday, when a new CBS poll discovered that percent had fallen 12 points to 61 percent, as the percent who think the surge is making the situation “better” jumped ten points from 19 to 29 percent, CBS gave it 12 seconds 20 minutes into the newscast. “Major attacks decline in Iraq: Military credits troop increase, civilian tipsters,” declared the headline at the top of Monday's USA Today front page. Katie Couric, however, ignored that report and, after briefly relaying the new poll number, couldn't resist highlighting “one thing that hasn't changed, two-thirds say that, overall, things are still going badly in Iraq.”
Couric had led the July 18 CBS Evening News: “In a CBS News/New York Times poll out tonight, nearly three out of four Americans say the troop surge is not working, that it's having no impact, or actually making matters worse.” On Monday, she acknowledged: “Americans are starting to come around on that troop surge in Iraq. In our CBS News poll out tonight, 29 percent say the surge is making things better. That's a ten point increase since July.” It's doubtful the ten percent who have come around are consumers of CBS or other mainstream media outlets which concentrate on the negative.
Chris Matthews' "Hardball" producers let the host down, as neither Sen. Pat Leahy or Rep. Henry Waxman accepted Matthews' invitation to grill Karl Rove on tonight's 5pm edition of Hardball. However that didn't stop Matthews from taking a few shots of his own at the President's adviser, as he called Rove a "bum," and sarcastically commented on Rove's genius as he greeted viewers of the August 13th edition of "Hardball" this way:
Matthews: "Can President Bush think without the man they call his brain? What about all those great ideas like dividing the country over Iraq and leaving New Orleans to drop into the sea? A country without Karl Rove calling the shots? Let's fear for the Republic. Let's play Hardball."
The New York Times' reliably pro-illegal immigrant reporter Julia Preston, fresh from using a survey compiled by a (unlabeled) Hillary presidential pollster to make a pro-illegal immigrant argument, returned to the beat Saturday with "Farmers Call Crackdown On Illegal Workers Unfair," which located another odd angle to defend amnesty for illegals -- it will hurt agribusiness.
"Facing the prospect of major layoffs of farmworkers during harvest season, growers and lawmakers from agricultural states spoke in dire terms yesterday about new measures by the Bush administration to crack down on employers of illegal immigrants.
"'This is not just painful, this is death to the American farmer,' Maureen Torrey, who runs a family dairy and vegetable farm in Elba, N. Y., said in a telephone interview.
As Congress debates ways to combat climate change, a leaked internal briefing to officials in Great Britain (PDF available here) showed members of that government backtracking on renewable energy targets set forth by the European Union and agreed upon by former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
As reported by England's Guardian Monday (emphasis added throughout, h/t Benny Peiser):
In contrast to the government's claims to be leading the world on climate change, officials within the former Department of Trade and Industry have admitted that under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way. And their suggestion that "statistical interpretations of the target" be used rather than new ways to reach it has infuriated environmentalists.
"Statistical interpretations" is a clever way of saying "cooking the books":
Julie Chen followed Barbara Walters’ lead in endorsing a global warming alarmist film, this time on Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming documentary, "The 11th Hour." The August 13 edition of "The Early Show" ran an unchallenged piece on DiCaprio’s film, then this exchange between co-hosts Harry Smith and Julie Chen.
CHEN: He has also turned his official website into an eco-site. News about his latest movies is posted side by side, with updates from the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. And to see how you can help protect the environment, log on to our website at CBSNews.com.
HARRY SMITH: And what was your impression?
CHEN: Oh he was very sweet, and--oh of him or the movie? Gotta go green.
Don’t the airlines have plenty of money for extra food and passenger perks? Oh wait, they’ve been in bankruptcy.
Reporter Randall Pinkston’s “CBS Evening News” story August 12 charged that airlines should be providing better service to passengers, citing “torturous delays” and “forcing passengers to board when they know the plane will be sitting on the tarmac,” both problems rooted in an out-of-date air traffic control system.
Aviation reporter and analyst Jim Tilmon suggested that airlines should provide passengers with a “designated parking area” with water and food served until the airline knows that the plane will be ready to take off.
Promoting a new study that claims the longevity of Americans has fallen way behind other countries like France and Australia, "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira offered an explanation that would've made Hillary Clinton and Michael Moore smile - lack of health insurance. After subsitute-host David Gregory noted that the tiny country of Andorra fared better in the survey, with their citizens living an average of 83.5 years compared to America's 77.9 years, Vieira piped up: "They say part of the reason is because so many Americans don't have health insurance."
The following exchange occurred in the 8:30am half-hour of the August 13th, "Today" show:
“Crashing” stock market? “Legalized gambling”? ABC’s “Good Morning America” berated the stock market for trampling on a supposed individual right to a mortgage.
Chris Cuomo’s August 13 story on a couple who had their mortgage pulled due the recent “drama on Wall Street” started like this:
“To a certain extent the stock market has always been a form of legalized gambling, where Wall Street tries to cash in on bets made on the right companies. But for many financial institutions, the chips were the mortgages of hard-working American families, in danger of losing their homes, or now never getting a chance to live the American dream.”
I saw this yesterday but didn't work up anything on it. Basically it's a lame Style section front-pager from Sunday that fixates on how dull/boring/lame/stupid-sounding the name "Fred" is, and what that means for presumptive GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson.
Fortunately Myra Langerhas of "Snarking Dawg" worked up a snarky blog post and so I thought I'd share that with you. Below is the relevant excerpt from Myra's August 12 entry "What's in a name?"
Myra began by quoting the first seven grafs of staff writer Monica Hesse's August 12 article and then laid out swipe at the author's biases and decidedly liberal cosmopolitan tastes, like joining a bunch of lesbians in "crashing" a "straight bar.":