ABC anchor Charles Gibson concluded Thursday's World News by showing, as viewers heard Amazing Grace, photos of all 32 of those murdered Monday at Virginia Tech. When the photo array ended, Gibson simply and powerfully observed: “Those are the faces to remember.”
Gibson had teased his April 19 broadcast by asking, “Tonight, the words of the Virginia Tech killer trigger fierce new debate: Did the media go too far in airing the killer's hate?” He then opened: “There is new outrage tonight over the tragedy at Virginia Tech and it is directed at the media. The words of the Virginia Tech killer were plastered across newspapers and Web sites today after they started airing on television last night. Raising questions: Do we learn anything seeing the hate of Seung-Hui Cho? Or do we simply play into his sick fantasies? There has been intense reaction on the Virginia Tech campus, among victims' families, indeed reaction all across the country.”
Matching the spin delivered Wednesday night, CBS and NBC on Thursday night again framed the Supreme Court's decision upholding the Partial-Birth Abortion Act through the prism of those on the losing side -- painting it as a loss of “abortion rights,” the imposition of “restrictions,” instead of as an expansion of protections for the unborn, all while distancing themselves from the “partial-birth” term.
Wyatt Andrews framed his CBS Evening News story around the upset of those in favor of partial-birth abortions, starting his piece: “To abortion rights supporters, the Supreme Court ruling was a legal and medical disaster for women.” Andrews also warned: “Both sides in the abortion debate agree that yesterday's ruling will unleash new state restrictions on abortion.” NBC's Dawn Fratangelo cited state bills to regulate abortion, calling it action which “pro-abortion rights groups worry chips away at the right to choose.” Fratangelo zeroed in on how “abortion rights advocates are worried about” the language in the decision that “seems to put the debate back years. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy describes the surgical procedure in detail and suggests some women may not be aware of what happens to the fetus, writing: 'The knowledge it conveys will be to encourage some women to carry the infant to full term.' This led Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to write for the minority: 'This way of thinking reflects ancient notions about women's place in the family and under the Constitution.' Lesley Rotenberg, a clinic director, finds it paternalistic...”
John Markell, the owner of the gun shop that sold one of the guns that was used in the Virginia Tech massacre, appeared on CNN's "Larry King Live" on Wednesday evening, not only to recount the situation behind the sale, but also told host Larry King that he was receiving threatening messages through his business's website. In response, King first said, "That's kind of ironic that people opposed to guns are threatening you with bodily harm." When Markell said he had been called a murderer as well, King replied, "Now, that's totally unfair, John. We're with you, and I thank you for sharing these moments with us."
On March 13, just over a month before his shooting rampage, killer Cho Seung Hui bought a .9 millimeter Glock handgun, and a box of 50 bullets at Roanoke Firearms, the gun shop Markell owns. In an ABC News report on April 17, Markell described Cho as a "clean-cut college kid," but wasn't actually present during the purchase. During his interview with King, Markell repeated his description of Cho as a "clean-cut college kid," and stated that the clerk who sold Cho the Glock handgun "barely remembered him because the sale went so smoothly." He also stated that Cho had lied one on the required forms for the purchase, which asked whether he had been "adjucated mentally defective" (a General District Court in Virginia found that Cho was "mentally ill and presents an imminent danger to self or others" in December 2005).
A NewsBusters reader alerted me a few minutes ago to London Times film critic Leo Lewis and how he threw in a complaint about the American flag's brief cameo in "Spider-Man 3." The superhero sequel is set for wide release in the United States on May 4, Lewis filed his review from Tokyo.
Lewis liked the film overall (3 out of 5 stars) but was disappointed that the evil alter-ego that inhabits Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the film is "still hopelessly mild-mannered." Of course, unlike say "Grindhouse," "Spider-Man" is intended for a wide audience from fathers and sons to teenagers on a Saturday night date.
At any rate, Lewis then puts in his anti-American potshot with his complaint about a scene featuring an American flag. The scene is similar to one in the first movie with Spidey atop a skyscraper crowned with Old Glory:
"There's many simple, even money-saving ways that we can actually give our little bit of help in our own lives and in our own homes and make a little bit of a difference," said weatherman Sam Champion on April 19 "Good Morning America."
But when it came to cost, the April 19 USA Today contradicted Champion:
“Products that help people use less energy – or leave a smaller ‘environmental footprint,’ as green advocates say – often are more costly than their alternatives, causing some to argue that going green is only for those who can afford it,” said USA Today.
Champion's segment focused on a special energy-efficient home built by BASF The Chemical Company that is 80 percent more energy efficient than other houses.
Michael Welner, an ABC News consultant and a forensic psychiatrist, appeared on Thursday’s "Good Morning America" to slam the media for gratuitously airing videos sent by deceased mass killer Seung-Hui Cho. Welner even referenced the network frenzy over fired radio host Don Imus by saying, "Just listen, if you can take Imus off the air, you can certainly keep [Cho] from having his own morning show."
Earlier in the segment, Welner gave an impassioned plea for the networks to stop airing the killer’s footage:
Michael Welner: "If anybody cares about the victims in Blacksburg and if anybody cares about their children, stop showing this video now. Take it off the internet. Let it be relegated to YouTube. This is a social catastrophe. Showing the video is a social catastrophe. I promise you the disaffected will watch him the way they watched 'Natural Born Killers.' I know. I examine these people. I've examined mass shooters who have told me they've watched 'Natural Born Killers' 20 times. You cannot saturate the American public with this kind of message."
On April 19, the ladies of "The View" offered their analysis of the Gonzales v. Carhart decision upholding a federal partial birth abortion ban. Most of the segment was a back and forth between Rosie O’Donnell, who clearly opposed the decision and Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who supported it. Joy Behar and Barbara Walters chimed in occasionally with Behar clearly in the abortion rights camp and Barbara Walters mildly there. Video: Real (1.4 MB) or Windows (1.6 MB); plus MP3 (256 KB)
Rosie expressed horror that there are five Catholics on the Supreme Court and Catholics on the Court apparently violate the "separation of church and state"
I've not seen this in searches on Google News or on their respective Web sites yet, but I got this today in my Facebook inbox (click here to look at the NewsBusters Facebook group):
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 19, 2007 - The Politico and www.politico.com
today announced a new content-sharing partnership with
www.USATODAY.com, the web site of the nation’s largest national
Under the new partnership, Politico’s coverage of the
presidential campaign, Congress and special interests will be featured
prominently on USATODAY.com's redesigned political page. Some Politico
coverage will also appear in the print edition of the USA TODAY.
has always been our goal to grow The Politico audience by introducing
our coverage and website to readers around the world,” said Robert
Allbritton, CEO of Politico’s parent company, Allbritton
Communications. “This is the perfect marriage: our comprehensive
coverage of politics with USATODAY.com’s cutting edge, widely read web
The partnership will also feature USATODAY.com political coverage on POLITICO.com.
I noticed an excellent item by Patterico today on selective reporting from the Los Angeles Times's David Savage regarding the "safety" of partial-birth abortion as compared to other methods of abortion and thought I'd excerpt it for you below:
Savage highlights the fact that some doctors say that the ban creates “significant health risks.”
What he doesn’t mention is that many others disagree.
This disagreement is a major point of the opinion, and is stated again
and again (though not mentioned by Savage). Here are some
representative quotes from the opinion:
four papers included descriptions of the gruesome abortion procedure,
although none described the suctioning of the unborn child's brain from
the skull as the manner of ending the fetus's life, and the NY Times
failed to mention the brain suction at all. While all four papers also put "partial-birth abortion" in quotes or chalked the label up to pro-life rhetoric, the NY Times's
Linda* Greenhouse piled on, calling the label "provocative" and describing the ruling as a shift from a focus on the
"rights" of women to the "fate of fetuses."
How many Americans can name one American hero from the war on terror?
During WWII and for years thereafter, I daresay virtually every American from school-age up knew of Audie Murphy and other war heroes. But while the MSM has spent incalculable resources informing Americans and the world about Abu Ghraib and Haditha, how often has the MSM told us about the new generation of heroes among our people serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere?
I'd invite people to view Heroes in the War on Terror, assembled by the Defense Department, that tells the stories of a number of our heroes. Take that of SGT Micheaux M. Sanders [pictured here] of Goldsboro, NC:
Not a media bias item, but a reflection of how the media coverage of the VA Tech massacre is evolving . . .
Good Morning America's Chris Cuomo gave VA Tech a rough going-over today regarding its failure to have removed Cho from campus before he murdered 32 people. Cuomo introduced the segment, entitled "Were Warning Signs Missed on Campus," this way:
CHRIS CUOMO: Now students, their parents and friends are left with many questions of whether or not the university did everything it could to prevent all this.
Cuomo then played a video clip of Anne Atkinson, the parent of a VA Tech student, asking: "why did they allow him to stay? I think this could have been prevented."
The first half hour of this morning's "Today" offered an unusual window into NBC's decision to air some of the materials that the Virginia Tech killer, Cho Seung-Hui, had mailed to the network.
Matt Lauer introduced the topic.
MATT LAUER: It puts us in an unusual position, because obviously at NBC News we always want to cover the important stories of the day and the massacre at Virginia Tech is one of the most disturbing and tragic stories any of us will ever cover. But we're not used to becoming part of the story, and with this package that he sent us, Cho has made us in some way part of the story
MEREDITH VIEIRA: The decision to air some of the images he sent to us: the video clips and the photos and to discuss what was contained in that rambling and hate-filled manifesto was not taken lightly, it was not made quickly, and we understand that this is going to be seen as devastating to many people who lost loved ones in the shooting. In fact I will tell you that we had planned to speak to some family members of victims this morning but they cancelled their appearances because they were very upset with NBCfor airing the images.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is winding up for another series of left-wing propaganda broadcasts on our taxpayer-supported PBS stations. On April 25, we're subjected to the film "Buying the War," which quite typically argues that the liberal media weren't liberal enough, that they were weak-kneed pawns for the Bush war machine. Moyers gave an interview to Eric Bates of Rolling Stone magazine, which posted some audio on its "Rock and Roll Daily" blog explaining how Moyers "gets ill talking about how the Big Red Hype Machine, i.e. Fox News and its conservative bedfellows, makes headlines by criticizing unbiased news reporters."
Moyers declares that one special presence in the new film is disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather. He says the program begins with footage of Rather crying on the David Letterman show a week after 9/11 proclaiming he would go "wherever the president tells me to line up." But in this film, Rather and Moyers are denouncing a right-wing "slime machine." That's a rich characterization coming from someone who tried to use bogus National Guard documents to ruin President Bush's reputation. Here's how Moyers promised he would denounce conservatives from coast to coast:
If one were to contemplate all the horrible results of the actions of this murderous psychopath in Virginia, if one were to wonder how hard and emotional have become the lives of the survivors of those whom this sick individual killed, it would seem axiomatic that the Mainstream Media would be the last group such a reflection would see as a recipient of the "tough decisions" resulting from the murders . We would naturally feel pain at the loss of the families of the VT victims. Our hearts would go out to the turmoil that surviving students would face upon trying to resume their education schedules after this monumental outrage. We would even feel bad for residents of the surrounding Virginia communities as they attempt to cope with the crime. Yes, there are a lot of people to empathize with and to feel sorry for.
Think only politicians have political advisors? Not anymore. According to LAobserved.com, the latest edition of “W” revealed that increasingly, along with personal trainers and person assistants, Hollywood heavy hitters hire political advisors. The article’s author Gabriel Snyder states, “Hired by moguls and movie stars, they act as the conduits between show business and Washington power.”
There are several names listed in the online article, including; Rob Reiner, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand, TV mogul Haim Saban and Laurie David, producer of “An Inconvenient Truth” and wife of “Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Seinfeld" producer Larry David.
Rob Reiner explained the purpose of these advisors and the celebrity grab for influence and power:
“You have a lot of people who are very wealthy and very concerned about different aspects of society, and they want to use their money and influence in the best possible way,” Reiner says. “If they have a consultant who really does know the ins and outs of the political world, they can steer that influence to make the greatest impact.”
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday night all ran full stories on the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act, but while each included arguments from justices in the majority, featured a soundbite from pro-life lawyer Jay Sekulow and offered at least a brief description of the procedure, they all framed the stories in ways favorable to those on the losing side. All led into competing soundbites by putting abortion supporters on the side of “rights” -- describing “abortion rights supporters” versus “abortion opponents” -- characterized the ruling as imposing a further “restriction” on abortion instead of as expanding protection for the unborn, and creatively distanced themselves from the “partial-birth” abortion term.
ABC's Charles Gibson saw “a long-sought victory for abortion opponents” before Jan Crawford Greenburg fretted that “abortion rights activists were devastated.” CBS's Wyatt Andrews highlighted how “abortion rights supporters bitterly protested” since “the ban is now the first abortion restriction ever approved with no exception for the health of the mother.” NBC's Chip Reid related that “abortion rights activists worry this may be only the start of a campaign to limit abortion rights.”
CBS "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli explained in an April 18 post that when covering today's Supreme Court ruling upholding an abortion ban, "CBSNews.com has decided to go with this phrasing whenever possible: 'what the law calls a partial birth abortion.'"
And the reason?
"Both 'late term abortion' and 'partial birth abortion' are now phrases
that signify a position, so we will use this phrasing though it is
cumbersome," CBS editorial director Dick Meyer noted in an e-mail to CBS staffers.
Of course, it's cumbersome and ridiculous to imagine that language being used to describe a number of other things defined under federal law, but on a more basic level, "partial-birth abortion" is not political invective, it's descriptive layman's language to describe a medical procedure.