NewsBuster Tom Johnson has condensed his time reviewing NPR broadcasts for MRC (poor man) into an article for The American Enterprise magazine. His general theory is that NPR has traveled from a fairly radical past to a present in which it's fairly indistinguishable in its biases from the rest of the "mainstream" media establishment. Here's an excerpt:
Most old-school or throwback leftist bias on NPR falls into one of three categories, listed below in ascending order of importance.
The first contains examples of a frequently amusing sociopolitical exoticism. In October 2004, for example, All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block referred to Ralph Nader as a "major" Presidential candidate. A few days after the election, reporter Pam Fessler gave "international monitors" plenty of time to gripe about how voting rules in the U.S. vary from state to state.
Much is being made about the Zogby poll released today that allegedly shows a mutiny of the military in Iraq. Nicholas Kristof has a hard time containing his excitement in The New York Times:
A poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq — and soon.
Editor & Publisher then jumps on the bandwagon and trumpets Kristof's declaration with the headline:
Kristof: Poll Finds U.S. Troops in Iraq Urge Pullout
Overwhelminglywant out soon? Urge pullout? Sounds like a pretty strong indictment on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq. But things may not actually be as they appear... or as Kristof and the Democrats want them to appear.
Objectivity shows up in the funniest places on TV news. Take, for example, the latest taped message from Osama bin Laden, where the architect of 9/11 spits in America’s face by comparing the "criminality" of the American military to that of Saddam Hussein. The TV networks repeated this robotically, without comment. Far be it from them to pass judgment.
On the morning shows, they merely passed along Osama’s message of moral equivalence, reading it with no attempt to rebut it, rethink it, or reject it. On the evening news, Osama’s Uncle-Sam-same-as-Saddam message wasn’t treated as a stinging lie about our forces. It was, instead, forced through the same well-worn storyline: It’s more proof that the plotters of the Iraq war were wrong to connect Saddam to al-Qaeda.
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell insisted that "On its face, that would seem to contradict the administration's pre-war claims of a link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaeda." CBS anchor Bob Schieffer asserted: "It sounds like Osama didn't like Saddam any more than we do." Apparently, there’s no lower way to insult Saddam Hussein than to compare him to the U.S. military.
The media has demonstrated that it is one sided in its reporting. This has been obvious since President Bush took office in 2001. There have been reports and more reports that prove the biased reporting of television and print media. The public has had enough and a new campaign against bias in the media has started.
But… it is not conservatives that are up in arms about the bias in reporting. Shockingly it is one of the most liberal organizations planning protests about the media. United for Peace and Justice, led by avowed Socialist Leslie Cagan has teamed up with Media Channel.org to focus on “media complicity in the Iraq war.” According to press releases and articles spanning the left side of the Internet, UFPJ “is broadening its anti-war protest to include targeting a US media system that has largely substituted jingoism for journalism and backed the war – often in the name of supporting the troops.” Imagine that – the liberals believe that the reporting of the Iraq war has been too positive.
MRC's Mike Rule passed along to me that NPR legal reporter Nina Totenberg explained on the weekend chat show "Inside Washington" how she doesn't root for American wins at the Olympics: "I sort of like other countries to win a fair number of medals, it’s supposed to be an international competition, and it’s nice when other countries win. I don’t root for us particularly."
This is more proof that the liberal media are out of step with most Americans, who love to wave their flags and root for Apolo and Sasha and Shani and Chad and so on to win the gold. But Totenberg is not alone. In 2002, CBS and NBC anchors were extremely agitated at the thought of American "nationalism" ruining the games in Salt Lake City:
Catching up with a story from Sunday night, ABC devoted a piece to lamenting the apathy at Kent State, a hotbed of anti-Vietnam war protests, toward the war in Iraq. Reporter Geoff Morrell passed along an all too common smear of war supporters as he contended that "many are reluctant to speak out against it for fear of being called unpatriotic." In his World News Tonight piece, Morrell fretted that the "indifference" toward the war "is surprising at this school, a hotbed of anti-war protests during Vietnam, and still popular with liberals." Comments from left-wing students dominated Morrell's piece, such as one who charged: "It's an act of modern day imperialism, where America is going to other countries and moving, trying to expand its borders to take over other countries and use them for economic resources." Morrell even found a vet, who "fought in Iraq and Afghanistan," who became "totally disillusioned." The vet-turned-student declared: "I think it's an unjust war." Morrell touted how "the 25 year-old enrolled at Kent State, hoping he could reinvigorate its anti-war movement," but he disappointingly found only apathy. (Transcript follows.)
Harry Belafonte spoke at the State of the Black Union on February 25. The event, which took place in Houston, saw Mr. Belafonte provide this definition of terror. He opined:
"Sending young men and young women, sons and daughters from America, to murder people in other nations is an act of terror."
The aging pop singer also wondered aloud whether Osama bin Laden was, in fact, guilty of masterminding the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (Click here to see the entire speech. Belafonte’s more incendiary comments begin at the one hour and 17 minute mark.)
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, used his February 27 appearance on Larry King Live to take some political jabs at the Bush administration. Stewart launched several attacks against the Bush White House, including his charge that the administration has "shown no real credibility."
Jon Stewart: "...My mind has been blown just so consistently by this administration’s insistence on their own competence without ever, sort of, delivering, kind of, any sort of evidence to that...They say trust us, everything’s fine. Yet,they’ve shown no real credibility."
In response to a question on the public’s reaction over the controversial deal between the U.S. and a United Arab Emirates-owned company to manage six American ports, Stewart went on the attack again:
Stewart: "I keep wondering what it takes to get fired from this administration. It seems like, literally, the worse you do, the bigger the medal you get."
The rest of Stewart’s liberal talking points are behind the cut.
According to the article by Louis Uchitelle and Megan Thee, even most of this biased sample of Americans is against raising the gas tax, but the Times helpfully tested different ways that money-hungry politicians might be able to talk them into it:
Or, to be accurate, the “right-wing bias” that the Los Angeles Times apparently held before the “provincial” paper moved to the left and garnered “respect.”
NY Times Obituary writer Jonathan Kandell remembers Los Angeles Times Publisher Otis Chandler in Tuesday's edition.
“Otis Chandler, who inherited The Los Angeles Times from his parents and then, as its publisher, transformed it into one of the most respected, widely read and profitable newspapers in the United States, died yesterday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 78 years old.”
Kandell discovers political bias in the media, as Chandler guided the paper from "right-wing bias" to respectability.
After being bashed for years by an elite press corps full of ideological opponents, the Bush White House is fighting back in an upcoming book by former Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon, condemning the media and especially CBS.
"It's the beginning of the twenty-first century; it also happens to be the beginning of—or near the beginning—of a revolution in newsgathering and dissemination," President Bush said in an interview for Strategery, which is being released by publisher Alfred Regnery.
"I think what's healthy is that there's no monopoly on the news," Bush said. "There's competition. There's competition for the attention of, you know, 290 million people, or whatever it is.
Admin officials have especially strong words for CBS and its disgraced former anchorman, Dan Rather, whom strategist Karl Rove dismisses as "no serious reporter."
Now it's getting nasty. Katie Couric has pointedly suggested that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's past chairmanship of the Republican National Committee permitted him to snare a disproportionately large share of Katrina rebuilding funds.
The accusation came in the course of Couric's interview of Jim Amoss, editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. An aside: whereas Katie seemed frustrated in an earlier interview this morning of Mayor Ray Nagin when he was unwilling to point the finger at the Bush administration for allegedly slow progress, Amoss was much more compliant. He laid most of the fault at FEMA's feet, and also blamed the federal government for doing nothing to improve levees it allegedly knew were insufficient.
In its classic "fair and balanced" tradition, CBS slanted in favor of Democrats its poll that found Bush has a 34 percent approval rating and a 59 percent disapproval rating, an all-time high for a CBS poll.
On the bottom of the PDF version of the poll (page 18) it says how many Democrats versus Republicans were contacted.
"Total Republicans" contacted: 272 unweighted and 289 weighted.
"Total Democrats" contacted: 409 unweighted and 381 weighted.
"Total Independents" contacted: 337 unweighted and 348 weighted.
Brent Baker also noted how CBS failed to highlight a key portion of its poll on the Feb. 27 "CBS Evening News." 66 percent of respondents thought the media devoted "too much time" to Cheney's hunting accident.
It is not routine for our liberal media to see American troops as "avenging angels" against terror in Iraq. But it's interesting when they ignore Iraqis using those terms. Over at The Corner, Jim Robbins reports:
Mudville Gazette has a great rundown on a good news story from Iraq that the MSM has chosen to spike. Seems that Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri, the Mayor of the city of Tall Afar, wrote a lengthy thank you letter to the troops of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for saving his town from the scourge of the terrorists. He writes that the soldiers "are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism." Tall Afar used to be a ghost town run by bad guys; now it is peaceful and prosperous. This letter has been getting wide circulation on military email lists. The Washington Post had the letter but refused to print it. Imagine that!
Didn't someone get the word to Ray Nagin? Didn't His Honor know he was supposed to use his Mardi Gras appearance on the Today show to bemoan slow progress in the rebuilding of New Orleans and take some helpful shots at the Bush administration for its stinginess in allocating only $91 billion?
If Nagin wasn't playing by the Bush-bashing script, Katie Couric was there to fill the gaps and use the opportunity to plump for more government programs including an expansion of perhaps the worst idea ever in welfare - 'public housing.'
Katie opened her interview with this negative assessment: "Only 50% of the debris has been removed. Basic services are still not up and running in some areas. That may lead some people to ask: what is taking so long?"
On Monday’s installment of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Dobbs claimed that officials from Dubai Ports World, the company in the middle of the current port controversy, are putting pressure on CNN to silence him and CNN’s coverage of this issue (video link to follow):
“Dubai Ports World tonight is making what I consider to be a rather astonishing new attempt to silence me and our coverage of this ports deal and our reporting of what at least I consider to be legitimate national security concerns about this transaction. Dubai Ports World has actually refused to grant CNN anymore interviews from Washington or London, and it's refused to allow CNN to videotape its operations in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong if we were to show you the video on this broadcast.”
Dobbs stated that such pressure has happened before:
After exaggerating the deaths at the Al Askariya "Golden Mosques" and the violence after it, Iraqi Defense Minister Saadun Al Dulaimi says journalists and newspapers that incite violence will be arrested or suspended, respectively.
"This is a warning to media working in Iraq."
Agence France-Presse reports that Dulaimi gave the actual statistics for the violence in recent days that many in the media claimed would cause a "civil war."
"After verification on the ground, 119 civilians were killed since Wednesday, not 183 as reported in the media," he said. "The government calls on them (media) to assume full responsibility and play a role in reinforcing unity and to reject anything promoting violence or sedition," he said.
"We will take disciplinary action against any publication inciting violence or terrorism and its journalists will be arrested."
Though President Bush's approval rating, in a new CBS News poll released Monday night at 6:30pm EST, was just one point lower than where it stood in October -- and thus well within the poll's three-point margin of error, Bob Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News by declaring: “There is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low" of 34 percent. It stood at 35 percent in CBS's October 2005 survey. In the subsequent story, Jim Axelrod cited public disapproval of the port deal, declining approval for Bush's conduct of the war on terror and how only 37 percent say things in Iraq are going “well,” -- “down nine points” from the fall, but only down one point from 2004. After Axelrod, Schieffer, in New Orleans to mark the six-month anniversary of Katrina, proceeded to recite some Katrina poll numbers. (Transcript follows.)
Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS “weighted” the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On “media coverage of Cheney hunting accident,” for instance, the public overwhelmingly rejected -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted “too much time” compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the “right amount of time.” Another nine percent, most likely a lot of journalists and the “angry left,” believed it got “too little time.” Also, by 51 to 47 percent, most “approve of Bush authorizing wiretaps to fight terrorism.”
Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, appeared on the February 25 edition of NBC’s Today. Co-host Lester Holt began the segment, airing at 8:11AM EST, by asking Matthews about Iraq. He responded:
"The President, of course, got us to go to war in Iraq with the argument that someday down the road, that country over there on the other side of the world might someday help out the terrorists, and we've lost 3000 guys fighting that argument."
That statistic, of course, is not correct. The actual number, as of February 26, is 2294. The death of every soldier is tragic and their sacrifice should be remembered and honored. But the fact that Matthews rounded up by over 700 shows the grisly fascination that media members have with these milestones. Holt then asked the MSNBC host what options the United States had in a potential Iraqi civil war. Matthews then suggested a bleak and dire scenario:
USA Today media writer Peter Johnson reports that CBS News is not about to give up investigative journalism despite the increasing sceptism that genre endures.
CBS News' "48 Hours" recently had to apologize to a Missouri newspaper for changing a front page photo onscreen and claiming it came from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Peter Johnson says that CBS has taken more hits than any other network.
Yet a week from today, Armen Keteyian, an eight-time Emmy-winning journalist, joins the Evening News as chief investigative correspondent. It's one of the boldest moves yet by CBS News chief Sean McManus, who was charged last October with overhauling the newscast.
CBS News president Sean McManus admits that journalists "in all forms of media have been burned," but that "doesn't mean you say, 'Well, I'm going to focus on human-interest stories exclusively instead of investigative journalism.'" He says to "run away" from investigative reporting because of events in the "recent past," would be "foolish."