The front page of the Times Sunday Business section is dominated by reporter Landon Thomas Jr.’s profile of conspiracy-mongering author John Perkins (“Confessions of an Economic Hit Man).”
In “Confessing to the Converted -- How a Book Tries to Tap Into Fears of ‘Corporatocracy,” Thomas begins:
“It is standing room only in Transitions, a New Age bookstore in Chicago, and John M. Perkins, the author of ‘Confessions of an Economic Hit Man,’ is describing to his audience the quandary that faces Evo Morales, the recently elected president of Bolivia. Leaning low into the microphone, Mr. Perkins affects a deep conspiratorial whisper as he sets the scene for the imagined encounter between the new president and the representative of the multinational corporate interests Mr. Morales had vilified during his campaign.”
According to the Daily Times of Pakistan (hat tip to the American Thinker), former President Bill Clinton stated to reporters in Islamabad last Friday that the publishers responsible for the Muslim cartoons that have started riots around the world should be convicted. Yet, despite this call by a former president to limit the freedom of the press, America’s media have paid virtually no attention to Clinton’s declarations.
As reported by the Daily Times: “Talking to reporters after meeting Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Islamabad, Clinton said he disagreed with the caricatures and that the publication was against religious and ethical norms.”
Some people may have been wondering if the nine-day old Dick Cheney hunting story would be going away. Don’t count on it. On the February 20 edition ofthe Early Show, Evan Thomas, assistant managing editor at Newsweek, told Harry Smith that "People who don’t like [Cheney] think this is the dark, Darth Vader type." His analysis coincided with the new issue of Newsweek that features a cover story, written by Thomas, on "Cheney’s Secret World." The online edition features this sub-headline:
"He peppered a man in the face, but didn’t tell his boss. Inside Dick Cheney’s dark, secretive mind-set-and the forces that made it that way." (Italics added)
Mainstream media coverage of Bryant Gumbel's denigrating remark on the racial makeup of the Winter Olympcs has been scant. The host of HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel" said:
"Try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention."
Gumbel's statement on white athletes is more direct than Rush Limbaugh's statement about black quarterbacks in 2003, when discussing black Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Said Limbaugh on ESPN:
"The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
In his "Media Notes" column in today's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz puts together a really odd paragraph or two in further examining the Cheney vs. Liberal Media fight:
Cheney and his strategists seized on what they viewed as a non-hostile forum, figuring every other news outlet would have no choice but to carry excerpts. Such an approach is hardly unprecedented for public figures on the hot seat. Gary Condit talked to Connie Chung. Monica Lewinsky talked to Barbara Walters. Ken Starr talked to Diane Sawyer. Hugh Grant talked to Jay Leno. Michael Jackson talked to Ed Bradley. Saddam Hussein talked to Dan Rather...
On the February 18th edition of CNN’s In the Money, CNN business contributor Andy Serwer took a cheap shot at U.S. foreign policy during a discussion on lower than expected ratings for the Winter Olympics in Torino. CNN’s resident curmudgeon, Jack Cafferty, pointed to disappointing performances from some U.S. athletes as a possible reason for NBC's woes. This led Serwer to make this comparison:
Andy Serwer: "You know, it kind of reminds me, I hate to say this, but the performance of the U.S. Olympic team kind of reminds me of what we’re doing around the world."
Serwer continued, over the laughter of Cafferty and CNN correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, by calling the performance of the U.S. Olympic team "spotty" and "raggedy,"and made this surprising statement disparaging U.S. wins:
Serwer: "You know, we’ve got some unexpected victories, but, you know, kind of rolling my eyes, right?"
The transcript of the full exchange is behind the cut. (Hat tip: Free Market Project's Ken Shepherd)
Things didn't work out well at the Olympics for Johnny Weir, the flamboyant American figure skater. Favored to take home a medal, he finished a disappointing fifth after a very rugged long program.
But Johnny shouldn't feel too bad. When he hangs up the skates, there could be a promising second career for him . . . as a member of the liberal media.
Interviewed on CBS' Early Show this morning, Weir explained that he knew he wasn't at his best on the day of the long program, and in particular wasn't "feeling pretty." Then, waxing philosophical, he noted that things aren't always perfect. If they were, Michelle Kwan would be skating, and "we wouldn't be in Iraq."
There are moments where you totally miss Sen. Alan Simpson in government when he gets going with the metaphors. This is the Much Ado Over Birdshot exchange of the weekend, from "Fox News Sunday":
ALAN SIMPSON: Let me tell you, those who don't like him have put a big red tail on his bum, and cloven hooves, and horns on his head. And let me tell you, if anybody thinks -- if this had happened to anybody else in America, it would have been like a sparrow belch in a typhoon.
CHRIS WALLACE: Could you be a little more colorful, Senator?
SIMPSON: Well, I don't think I could, because it really is absurd.
Hat tip to the Malkinator. After praising both Bush "41" and Jimmy Carter as wonderful, Simpson returned to firing on the press: "All you get is controversy, crap and confusion." Ah, the three C's. Simpson wrote a book a few years back about "scrapping" with the press, called "Right In the Old Gazoo."
For those of you that missed it, Sunday’s “Meet the Press” panel discussion between Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, David Gregory, Paul Gigot, and Mary Matalin was an extraordinary panoply of left versus right. As it’s rare these days to see Matalin on without her husband, James Carville, this was a unique opportunity to watch Mary square off with liberal America’s favorite left-wing diva, Maureen Dowd, and the NBC White House correspondent in the middle of last week’s press corps firestorm, David Gregory.
The first interesting vignette was Gregory apologizing for calling White House press secretary Scott McClellan a jerk:
In her column today in the Sunday "Outlook" section, Washington Post Ombudsman Deborah Howell expressed official dismay at Post reporter/columnist Dana Milbank's decision to wear hunter garb as a Dick Cheney gag on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann." The Post's AME for National News, Liz Spayd, apparently handed out some discipline:
Spayd said she felt Milbank "crossed the line" on his TV appearance. "What he intended as a playful joke was viewed by many as mocking and unprofessional, and understandably so." Suffice it to say that he has been taken to The Post's version of the woodshed and told not to do that again.
TIME magazine just released the results of a recent poll done for them by SRBI Public Affairs concerning America’s view of Vice President Dick Cheney following almost non-stop, wall-to-wall, 24/7 coverage of a hunting accident that he was involved in last weekend. The numbers are quite fascinating, and depict a populace that is much less concerned about this incident than the press, as well as possessing a far smaller level of disdain for the vice president than those in the media.
It appears safe to assume that the headline statistic from this poll will be that 41 percent of respondents disapproved of Cheney’s performance as vice president versus 29 percent that approved. However, SRBI stated this is “little changed from last November.”
Yet, what likely won’t make the front-pages tomorrow or be the lead stories on tonight’s network broadcast news programs is that 52 percent of respondents approved of the way Cheney handled informing the media of the hunting accident, compared to 42 percent that disapproved. This has certainly not been reflected in the seven days of media outrage that followed this incident.
As reported by Dave Pierre of NewsBusters Thursday, HBO’s Bryant Gumbel made some truly absurd and obviously racist remarks recently on his “Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel” program. To refresh everyone’s memory, Gumbel was in the middle of a rant about why the Winter Olympics aren’t sports when he blurted out “So try not to laugh when someone says these are the world’s greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention.” (Video Link)
This faux pas looks even more absurd given the gold medal that Shani Davis won Saturday night in speed skating, making him the first black athlete to win an individual gold medal in Winter Olympics history. As reported by the Chicago Tribune:
One of the annoying things conservatives discover when they spend any time studying public broadcasting is how much cash pub-casting bosses take home even as they beg struggling audience members for donations (and ever more taxpayer funds). The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Public Radio may forego $190,000 in state tax money rather than disclose how many MPR execs make more than $100,000. One sharp Republican legislator (my hero!) is saying you want the money, you disclose your salary info:
Thomas Kigin, MPR executive vice president, said MPR would ask legislators to change the law. Asked if it might forgo the state money should the disclosure provision remain, Kigin said, "It's possible."
First there was Bryant Gumbel. But has one of our own Olympic athletes also politicized this installment of the Winter Games? In an NBC profile of U.S. champion figure skater Johnny Weir this past week, the flamboyant athlete is shown lying on a couch wearing a red sweatjacket with the decoration of CCCP, the Cyrillic Russian initials of the old USSR [link to video at gawker.com, see note below]. Yes, we have now seen the day when an Olympic athlete, representing the United States, is seen casually wearing a sweatjacket symbolizing the old Soviet Union.
Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, Neal Gabler's gotta take outlandish swipes at the Bush administration on Fox Media Watch. And, perhaps in a form of childish defiance, Gabler also has a penchant for biting the Fox hand that feeds him.
On tonight's episode, Gabler:
Claimed that Vice-President Cheney "doesn't believe in a free press."
Described the shooting accident as "idiocy" on the VP's part.
Accused Brit Hume of not asking the 'major question' in his interview of Cheney [having to do with the timing of notification].
Seconded the notion that the shooting might have been a 'conspiracy' and 'good PR' for purposes distracting attention from the latest Abu Ghraib photo release and other administration problems. Cal Thomas had floated the notion as a joke, but Gabler seemed to pick up on it seriously.
Mocked Fox's objectivity, saying "when the Vice-President shoots somebody in the face, it's big news. I don't care where you live, even on Fox News, it's a big story."
Alright Neal, you've met your quota for the night. See you next week.
Just when you thought the media had closed the book on the Cheney hunting accident, the Associated Press fired one last salvo at the Vice President today. In their article, VP Accident Tale Filled with Discrepancies, Calvin Woodward and Nancy Benac rehash the same litany of talking points that flooded the media this week. Woodward and Benac revisit the shifting blame, belated acknowledgment of beer consumption, discrepancies in the shooting, the aftermath and how it was reported.
Scott McClellan was cited for promoting the "blame the victim" defense when he repeated Katherine Armstrong's comments on the accident. Cheney's first public comment on the accident amounted to an "about face" according to the AP.
National Public Radio provided publicity to the leftist website Salon.com on three shows Thursday for their release of previously unseen (if not notably different) pictures of American abuses at Abu Ghraib. Nowhere in their three dollops of publicity did NPR label Salon as liberal or left-wing, or explain that they oppose President Bush and the war in Iraq.
The Huffington Post has a video clip of the introduction to Friday’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO. In it is a satirical advertisement for a new rap album by Dick Cheney, the real “ODP.” Predictably, the piece lampoons Cheney’s recent hunting accident, while bringing up some old favorites including his infamous expletive directed at a member of Congress, as well as some not-so-nice words for a member of the press.
The lyrics (not suitable for children) as transcribed from the video follow. To see the video, go here.
The Programme Complaints Committee of the BBC looked into charges that one of its news reports was unfair towards the Conservative Party. Almost a year after the broadcast, the committee has ruled that the story did indeed breach "the guidelines on accuracy and impartiality."
According to a Friday BBC story, "Governors said rules were broken when Harri said the then Conservative leader was booed, but did not mention the same thing had happened to Tony Blair."
The reporter in question is Guto Harri, who now peddles his fair and balanced reporting as BBC's North American correspondent.
Remember when actor Alec Baldwin threatened to leave America if George W. Bush was elected president, and then welshed on his promise? Well, Alec is at it again at the quickly becoming blog site for the stars to rant non sequiturs with total impunity Huffington Post. This time, Baldwin set his sights on Vice President Dick Cheney – color me surprised. Baldwin began:
“So, I suppose the question is...what kind of civil trial will we see, or not see, between Cheney and Whittington? Whittington is certainly no stranger to a court room and to civil litigation. Will Cheney pay him off, preemptively? Will they go to court? I would imagine if a guy with a few beers in him shoots you in the face on a hunting trip, how could you turn down that opportunity?”
Then, Baldwin mumbled some truly unintelligible nonsense concerning Cheney, Enron, former California Governor Gray Davis, and current Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. I must caution the reader to hold tightly onto something as you read this drivel, and try to do it on an empty stomach, for this malarkey is destined to repeat, and repeat often: