If you were surprised by the size of the recent pro-illegal immigration
demonstrations, don't be. Turns out, many demonstrators were there
after being instructed by Spanish-language media on where and how to protest:
The marching orders
were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash
and wear white for peace and for effect.
Many of the 500,000
people who crammed downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest
immigration legislation learned where, when and even how to demonstrate
from the Spanish-language media.
America, the mass protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities have
been surprising for their size and seeming spontaneity. But they were
organized, promoted or publicized for weeks by Spanish-language radio
On Tuesday, National Public Radio's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross" interviewed Fred Barnes of FNC and the Weekly Standard on his new book "Rebel In Chief." Gross began by asking Barnes if after the anti-Bush books by old Bush officials like Paul O'Neill and Bruce Bartlett, he set out to be a pro-Bush counterweight to those. (He said no.) NPR's website also posted an excerpt of the book, including Barnes reporting on an afternoon meeting with network anchors before the 2005 State of the Union address:
For now, though, the president has to attend an off-the-record lunch in the White House study adjacent to the State Dining Room. "Why do I have to go to this meeting?" Bush asks his communications director, Dan Bartlett. "It's traditional," Bartlett explains. Indeed, for years, the president has hosted the TV news anchors for lunch on the day of the State of the Union address. It's an invitation the anchors eagerly accept. Peter Jennings and George Stephanopoulos of ABC, Tom Brokaw and Brian Williams of NBC, Chris Wallace and Brit Hume of Fox, and Wolf Blitzer and Judy Woodruff of CNN will be there. So will Dan Rather of CBS, magnanimously invited in spite of having sought to derail the president's reelection campaign by spotlighting four documents (later proved to be fabrications) that indicated Bush had used political pull to get into the Texas Air National Guard and avoid Vietnam duty, and that he had been honorably discharged without fully completing his service. (At the lunch, Rather will suddenly appear solicitous of Bush. "Thank you, Mr. President," he will say as he leaves. "Thank you, Mr. President." Bush will betray no hint of satisfaction.)
Rachel Swarns is a bit harshly reductive in her take on anti-illegal immigrant House Republicans in her Wednesday reflection billed as a “news analysis,” “Split Over Immigration Reflects Nation’s Struggle.”
“It is almost as if they are looking at two different Americas.
“The Senate Republicans who voted on Monday to legalize the nation's illegal immigrants look at the waves of immigration reshaping this country and see a powerful work force, millions of potential voters and future Americans.
“The House Republicans who backed tough border security legislation in December look at the same group of people and see a flood of invaders and lawbreakers who threaten national security and American jobs and culture.”
CBS's The Early Show dealt with the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card this morning, and, in the process, demonstrated again their lack of interest in presenting anything that might be beneficial to the President in a positive, or even a neutral, fashion. This attitude showed itself more, however, in the way that things were said, rather than in what exactly was said. There were the typical offhand accusations of insincerity, but most of the reporting was fairly straightforward. And the questions that Harry Smith asked of Mary Matalin were, for the most part, appropriate. But the tone and attitude that Smith displayed were not. (Windows Media video available here.)
The first piece was the news report on the resignation, from CBS' White House Correspondent Bill Plante. Of course Plante's report started, as most CBS reports on the President do, with emphasis on negatives.
The New York Times reports that CNN's Lou Dobbs is gaining viewers with his unceasing crusade against illegal immigration.
The nation's most prominent opponent of current immigration policy began his day yesterday on the "Today" show on NBC, debating a Hispanic defender of illegal immigrants. He moved on to "American Morning" on CNN to denounce a bill passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday as "an amnesty program."
By nightfall he was on a plane headed to Mexico, where he intended to assess critically the planned discussions on the issue between President Bush and President Vicente Fox of Mexico.
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post took up a Dave Mastio post from Real Clear Politics yesterday on the media's pattern of hiring writers from liberal opinion journals, but not conservative ones. His argument: hey, since when did conservative magazine writers apply at the Post? Easy retort: does Kurtz believe they would be hired if they did? (Actually, there is one example: Malcolm Gladwell went from the American Spectator to the Post, and became more and more liberal until he vanished into their mainstream. Now, of course, he's a best-selling author.) Here's how the argument bubbled. First, Mastio:
"There is a literal conveyor belt from left-wing opinion journalism into straight news reporting and editing slots. The New Republic, The American Prospect and The Washington Monthly are the biggest suppliers. That opportunity simply isn't open to those on the right.
"Can anyone name for me a current New York Times or Washington Post reporter who was previously on the staff of National Review, The Weekly Standard or The American Spectator? No? Maybe that's because there are none."
Online Journalism Review reports that a syndication service called BlogBurst will make it easier for blogging material to find its way into the online versions of many mainstream newspapers.
Newspapers are only testing BlogBurst right now. But in theory, the service will work like this: Pluck signs bloggers to BlogBurst and examines each blog to see if the blog's content and quality are appropriate for syndication. A list of approved bloggers is then made available to newspapers through an online interface, and editors can pick and choose which blogs they want to syndicate, and for how long.
The blog content will appear on the paper's site, but will be embedded with the site's look and feel. Ostensibly, newspapers will benefit by supplementing their coverage, and bloggers will profit from increased exposure. Pluck plans to eventually share a percentage of ad revenue with the bloggers.
Washington Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank was in the room yesterday when I spoke on a panel on anti-Christian media bias at Rev. Rick Scarborough's Vision America conference yesterday. (Tom DeLay was the lunch speaker, so we were a mere appetizer for the sharks.) Milbank misquoted me in his Wednesday column as saying "we're making some great inroads" in the national media. I did not say that. American Family Radio's Bill Fancher said that, about the White House press corps. I might object less to the misquote if I agreed with that sentiment.
Before that, Milbank said our examples of anti-Christian bias were old and stale. In my case, I noted a survey in the spring 2001 issue of The Public Interest that showed 97 percent of the national reporters surveyed supported a "woman's right to choose" abortion, 84 percent saying they believed in it strongly, and 73 percent agreed that homosexuality and heterosexuality are equally acceptable. He did not cite these enlightening survey numbers, merely the age of the journal they appeared in. (The survey's even older, from 1995.) There's a reason for that: as I explained to the crowd, national reporters have found it counterproductive to participate in surveys and acknowledge their political views. If Pew or Gallup could poll the press corps today on their ideological views, that would help us not sound so "stale," but I doubt Milbank would endorse that research effort.
A quick take on a morning when I'm headed to Washington, DC.
Sometimes, you just can't win with the MSM. For weeks, the MSM has been calling for a White House shake-up. So when it came in spades yesterday with the resignation of chief of staff Andy . . . Card [spades, Card. Come on, tough room here!], naturally the media applauded the bold move.
Or not. Veteran NewsBusters readers know better. There is no appeasing the liberal media. They recalibrate their line of attack and move on. But who could have predicted the tack Matt Lauer would have taken in interviewing good-soldier Mary Matalin on this morning's Today show? Lauer suggested, of all things, that Card left . . . too soon!
There was more good news about the economy today. The Conference Board announced that consumer confidence is now at its highest level since May 2002. Yet, on Tuesday’s “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews just couldn’t admit on television – with people watching – that the economy is actually doing well. Instead, he stuttered, stammered, and referred to the current economic condition as “not terrible.” Yep. 4.8 percent unemployment and 17 straight quarters of positive economic growth in Matthews’ view is “not terrible.”
In a segment featuring Pat Buchanan and former Clinton transportation secretary Rodney Slater, the threesome were discussing potential changes in the administration now that Andy Card has stepped down as the president’s chief of staff. Buchanan said:
Keith Olbermann might be on vacation, but that doesn't mean MSNBC's mean-spiritedness took a day off. If guest host Alison Stewart was auditioning for the Olbermann seat, she might well have ingratiated herself with her MSNBC bosses with the disdain she dispensed on the day of Caspar Weinberger's death.
Weinberger passed away today at age 88. He had served as President Reagan's Secretary of Defense. As Bloomberg News put it:
"Weinberger . . . oversaw the U.S. military buildup under President Ronald Reagan that helped hasten the Soviet Union's collapse."
On March 24, the Today show featured a segment on the Vice President’s personal needs for hotel visits. The piece, which aired at 7:20AM EST, featured three references to Cheney’s requestthat all televisions be tuned to Fox News. A few days later, the Smoking Gun, the website that broke the Cheney story, did a follow up on John Kerry’s requirements. The NBC series has yet to cover this. And if they did, they would probably not report this demand:
"Newspapers: all local plus New York Times, Washington Post"
Caitlin Johnson on ABCNews.com thinks it's about time for a woman president and hopes that all the "presidential talk surrounding" Hillary Clinton means America is finally "ready to accept a woman president and ready to catch up with the rest of the world."
Washington, D.C., is buzzing about New York Sen. Hillary Clinton. Some have called her the future president, others, like Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, say she is too angry to be a viable candidate for the Democrats.
Perhaps the presidential talk surrounding Clinton indicates that the United States is ready to accept a woman president and ready to catch up with the rest of the world. Women are now heads of state in Germany, Liberia and Chile. Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, was just re-elected last week. But in the United States, shifting the balance of power between men and women has been a slow, and sometimes frustrating process.
As a Catholic, I'm long used to finding the media has a chronic case of schizophrenia on the Catholic bishops conference: they are an oppressive caucus of Nosy Nates if they get involved on social issues like abortion, an emerging threat to the separation of church and state. But if they get involved on the liberal side of the divide -- as the American bishops did on nuclear weapons and economics in 1980s, or when they oppose capital punishment -- they're great moral authorities demonstrating a surge in public opinion. Clay Waters finds that case of the gymnastic splits again today at TimesWatch:
Reporter Nina Bernstein evidently caught the spirit of the weekend protests by illegal immigrants and their supporters in Los Angeles, judging by the positive tone of her Monday article, "In the Streets, Suddenly, An Immigrant Groundswell"....Bernstein gushes in the next sentence: "But if events of recent days hold true, they will be facing much more than that. Rallies in support of immigrants around the country have attracted crowds that have astonished even their organizers. More than a half-million demonstrators marched in Los Angeles on Saturday, as many as 300,000 in Chicago on March 10, and -- in between -- tens of thousands in Denver, Phoenix, Milwaukee and elsewhere..."
There’s some odd wording in Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker’s short piece Tuesday on an unusual ceremony in a Pennsylvania meadow.
“Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld gazed across a rolling meadow on Monday, its grass yellow in late winter's grip, and toward the stand of hemlock trees marking the area where Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001. He then bent and wordlessly placed a medallion at the base of a temporary memorial here.
“Known as the defense secretary's ‘coin,’ the medallion is an elaborately pressed memento that Mr. Rumsfeld hands out to troops he meets in combat zones overseas.
“His visit was his first to the site where passengers of Flight 93 overpowered their hijackers and sent an airliner crashing into the countryside instead of its intended target, the Capitol in Washington. His gesture was intended to link that event, through the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, to the wars started by the Bush administration in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
The problem with advocacy journalism is that once one has switched from “mediator” to “advocate,” the other side becomes the “adversary” — and news stories have all the fairness of campaign commercials.
On the issue of global warming, the media are cursed with a surplus of advocates and a paucity of real journalists. This week’s Timecover story, for example, begins with the kind of fear-mongering that liberals find so offensive when it crops up in debates about the war on terror. Time’s cover screams: “BE WORRIED. BE VERY WORRIED,” with the word “VERY” in bright red letters, in case anyone missed the point.
Imagine if Vice President Cheney asked us to “be worried, be very worried” about al Qaeda or the spread of weapons of mass destruction. Time would be at the front of the liberal media mob, hissing for an end to politically-motivated scare tactics.
TV Newser spotted an item from NBC anchor Brian Williams' Daily Nightly blog about his ABC colleague Bob Woodruff, who was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq and is still in the hospital.
I would only remind everyone that our colleague at ABC News, Bob Woodruff, is engaged in a personal and titanic struggle to fully recover from the wounds he received while trying to cover the "good news" in Iraq. That was exactly the mission he was on when his world was put on hold. Many of the journalists killed while covering this war were doing the exact same thing. The brave men and women who have volunteered for duty in our own NBC News Bureau in Baghdad put their own lives on the line each day. They will tell you -- as we have experienced for ourselves in Iraq -- that we'd like very much to beam home more stories of positive developments (especially the achievements of U.S. soldiers there, who I find are so mightily impressive when seen on the job) were it not for the palpable risk to life and limb that comes with each and every moment and movement on the streets.
Joel Stein is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times – officially a "humor" columnist, but that’s a matter of debate. A few months ago, he drew attention for baldly stating he did not support the troops in the Iraq war, and that "an army of people ignoring their morality is horrifying."
Last week, he decided to mock the Federal Communications Commission for a $3.6 million fine of individual CBS stations for airing a teenager-orgy scene on the Thursday night drama "Without A Trace." But a funny thing happened on the way to the Janet Jackson jokes. He asked CBS for a DVD of the episode: "And, to my shock, I was honestly disgusted."
In all its cacophony and moments of absurdity, this morning's Today show segment on immigration was a supremely edifying example of the confusion, high emotion and complexity of the immigration debate. Matters reached their Alice-in-Wonderland apotheosis when Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California was shown arguing that illegal immigrants are good . . . 'citizens.' Said Feinstein:
"They pay taxes, their children are Americans, they go to schools, they're good citizens and they're needed."
This was in line with the fait accompli argument advanced by La Raza representative Janet Murguia. She referred to what she estimated as the 11-12 million illegal aliens in the country as "people are working in backbreaking work that nobody else wants to do in this country. We need to . . . understand that they are already part of this country."
President Bush spoke at a Naturalization Ceremony Monday and renewed his call for immigration reform. The transcript of the speech is 5 pages long. The Associated Press and Reuters published less than 8 lines from the entire speech. To add insult to injury, both news organizations used the exact same quotes from the speech. The statements used were included at the end of the speech during the wrap up. They neglected to cite any statements from the speech where the President restated his stance on immigration and laid out his ideas on immigration reform.
“I believe every new citizen has an obligation to learn the customs and values that define our nation, including liberty and civic responsibility, equality under God, tolerance for others and the English language.”
“Immigration is also an emotional topic. And we need to maintain our perspective as we conduct this debate.”