It's common for leftists to call President Bush a dictator, and now liberal Newsweek foreign correspondent Christopher Dickey, by describing the Baghdad proceedings against Saddam Hussein as a "show trial," has associated Bush with one of the vilest dictators ever, Josef Stalin.
On this morning’s Early Show on CBS, co-host Julie Chen teased a segment on the Abramoff situation by claiming there was "major fallout in Washington" surrounding the "Capitol Hill Corruption Scandal." What was she referring to? To me, major fallout would mean there were indictments or resignations or a slew of Congressmen announcing they would not seek reelection. But no, she was referring to the fact that President Bush and other senior Republicans were going to rid themselves of donations that came from Jack Abramoff. It began:
"I'm Julie Chen. Major fallout in Washington in the wake of the Capitol Hill corruption scandal. President Bush and senior Republican lawmakers plan to dump thousands of dollars in campaign donations from disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff; we'll have that story."
The latest installment of NewsBusters' series on political bias in sports coverage features the Washington Post columnist Joel Achenbach, who, apropos of University of Texas quarterback Vince Young's performance in last night's national-championship college-football game, wrote on his blog that Young
did the impossible: He not only took his team from 12 back with only 6 minutes left, he kept me up past midnight. This hasn't happened in years. Young also got me to root, secretly, for Texas in those final minutes. You can't root openly for Texas, even in the privacy of your own living room, because of the, you know, political associations. Let's not get into that.
NYT reporter Adam Nossiter has an eager story about a “very conservative congressman” pushing what Nossiter calls “the ultimate big government solution” for post-Katrina rebuilding in New Orleans. The headline writers and editors were also wooed by Rep. Richard Baker’s apparent apostasy (“A Big Government Fix-It Plan for New Orleans”), putting the story on Thursday’s front page.
“Representative Richard H. Baker, a Republican from suburban Baton Rouge who derides Democrats for not being sufficiently free-market, is the unlikely champion of a housing recovery plan that would make the federal government the biggest landowner in New Orleans -- for a while, at least. Mr. Baker's proposed Louisiana Recovery Corporation would spend as much as $80 billion to pay off lenders, restore public works, buy huge ruined chunks of the city, clean them up and then sell them back to developers.”
Hollywood Reporter says that two NBC affiliates have announced they will not run the controversial new show, "The Book of Daniel."
The series depicts an Episcopalian minister, played by Aidan Quinn, struggling with an addiction to Vicodin, among other problems in his diocese. Jesus is actually a character on the series, depicted in imagined conversations with the minister.
Last month, the conservative American Family Assn. began calling on affiliates and advertisers to bail out of "Daniel." Many stations have been flooded with e-mails and calls from viewers objecting to the series.
KARK-TV in Little Rock, Ark., and WTWO-TV in Terre Haute, Ind., announced Wednesday they would pre-empt "Daniel," when it premieres Friday at 9 p.m. Both are owned by Nexstar Broadcasting Group,
Laura Ingraham's radio show started today (she's back from Brazil) with this media bias nugget: while The Washington Post carries as its front page Abramoff headline "Bush To Give Up $6,000 In Abramoff Contributions," paragraph 17 of Jonathan Weisman's story (well inside the paper Post and on page 2 of the online version) carries the better man-bites-dog angle of this story:
All but three of the 24 politicians giving up the funds are Republicans. The three Democrats -- Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.), Richard J. Durbin (Ill.) and Byron L. Dorgan (N.D.) -- have pledged to shed a total of $97,000 in contributions. A spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) said Reid has no intention of shedding the $47,000 he has received from Abramoff's lobbying team and tribal clients.
Howard Kurtz, in his Thursday Washington Post story on Ted Koppel’s decision to join the Discovery Channel, revealed a tantalizing tidbit in his tenth paragraph about who first reached out to Tom Bettag, the Executive Producer of Nightline until Koppel’s departure from ABC in November: “The first contact came on Dec. 1, the week after Koppel's last Nightline broadcast, when Don Baer, a Discovery executive vice president who previously worked in the Clinton White House, e-mailed and then called Bettag.” (Bettag and several others from Koppel's ABC crew will follow Koppel to Discovery.)
Indeed, after nine years at U.S. News & World Report, where he rose to Assistant Managing Editor, in 1994 Baer jumped to the Clinton White House to become the chief speechwriter for President Clinton, and was later elevated to Communications Director for the Clinton White House. Baer reportedly so admired Bill Clinton that he effused about how Clinton was “the moral leader of the Universe.” (Details follow.)
National Review's Jay Nordlinger began his potpourri-of-thoughts "Impromptus" column today with a telling thought on the state of the media in our times of war:
Couple of days ago, I was reading a speech by Peter Pace. It was a very good speech, too — on strategy in Iraq. (Find it here.) Who’s Peter Pace? He’s chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
And as I was reading, I realized how little I know of our commanders — of the people who are fighting the war (the war in Iraq, and the War on Terror at large). Who are these guys (Pace, Abizaid, Petraeus, et al.)? Where are they from? What are they like? Who are their wives? What are their nicknames? Etc.
Harvey Silvergate writes that although the Bush administration is trying to go after those in the government who leaked the wiretap story to the New York Times, the government could just as easily indict those who work for the paper itself.
A variety of federal statutes, from the Espionage Act on down, give Bush ample means to prosecute the Times reporters who got the scoop, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, as well as the staff editors who facilitated publication. Even Executive Editor Bill Keller and Publisher Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger Jr., could become targets — a startling possibility, just the threat of which would serve as a deterrent to the entire Fourth Estate.
Silvergate himself is no fan of Bush and says the Times revealed "reckless conduct" by the White House.
First, state the obvious -- The 12 deaths are an unspeakable tragedy, the families of the victims should be in everyone's prayers, and any employer negligence that is found deserves swift and harsh punishment.
The blindly partisan blame-gaming without regard to the facts in this morning's New York Times editorial is irresponsible. Here's the worst paragraph (bold is mine):
Political figures from both parties have long defended and profited from ties to the coal industry. Whether or not that was a factor in the Sago mine's history, the Bush administration's cramming of important posts in the Department of the Interior with biased operatives from the coal, oil and gas industry is not reassuring about general safety in the mines. Steven Griles, a mining lobbyist before being appointed deputy secretary of the interior, devoted four years to rolling back mine regulations and then went back to lobbying for the industry.
How about the truth? Here is relevant data The Times could have easily accessed from the Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration Coal Mine Fatalities page (chart can be found here):
ABC's Terry Moran, a new Nightline co-host who was until recently a dogged attack-questioner of the Bush White House -- and of course, an even more recent attack-questioner of Dick Cheney -- sent a very sensible note to the new World News Tonight blog about the Jack Abramoff scandal and how lobbying has grown because the size of government has grown. Now let's see if he sounds like this on Nightline:
The real reason there's so much power for sale in Washington is that there's so much power in Washington. The British newspaper The Independent said today that President Woodrow Wilson could not have imagined today's $4 billion lobbying industry. They are quite right -- but Mr. Wilson could hardly have imagined today's $1 trillion-plus federal government, whose powers reach into every nook and cranny of American life. When the federal government can influence what happens in your business or your backyard or your bedroom -- you are quite properly going to want to influence it right back. That's not corruption; that's self-government. And while it would be swell if that dialogue happened in a pristine, college-seminar-style setting -- or maybe a private club -- free of the grubbiness of real-world interests, it doesn't. This, after all, is America. And we grub.
The heartbreaking story of the 12 miners who died in a West Virginia mine collapse on Monday, January 2, is now common knowledge. The lone survivor remains in the hospital in critical condition. But if viewers were tuned into CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees on Tuesday night, they were in for a surprise.
Anderson was on the scene when he breathlessly delivered the breaking news that 12 out of 13 miners had in fact survived the accident. The chances of these men surviving for days on end without oxygen were nil, but sometimes audiences want to believe in miracles. The families of the deceased certainly did and they acted accordingly, taking part in a spirited celebration at the local church. But several hours later they were faced with a cruel blow. They were told that their family members had died after all.
Bonneville Radio announced yesterday that it will launch Washington Post Radio on three dial settings in the Washington, DC radio market (1500, 107.7, 104.3). Bonneville currently runs WTOP radio, a 24/7 newsradio station in Washington. Are we about to get the Post's liberal bias on the radio, too? Bonneville executive Joel Oxley said in today's Post story, "It's going to be NPR on caffeine. It will be non-drowsy public radio."
Bonneville will own and operate both WTOP and Washington Post Radio. Washington Post Radio's programming will include in-depth local, national and international news and commentary provided by Washington Post reporters, editors, and columnists as well as news makers and other local media personalities.
Media Mantra: Unhappy Holidays Pessimism about holiday sales went right through Christmas this year.
Were consumers cheerful shoppers or Scrooges this Christmas season? The final sales data aren’t out yet, but the media have scared the dickens out of economy-watchers with the latter theory.
As reported by the Free Market Project in October and December, the media’s annual Christmas shopping gloom-fest started in August this year, well before back-to-school sales had ended. Phrases like “Consumers are pinched” and “Retailers are squeezed” were being uttered on news broadcasts before Labor Day.
Just in case you won’t see these in the Associated Press, the Washington Post or the New York Times, here are two useful tools for use when wading through the Jack Abramoff trial stories.
The first is a list supplied by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called “Democrats Don’t Know Jack???” It lists the forty of forty-five Senate Democrats who’ve accepted cash from Abramoff and/or his clients.
40 Of The 45 Members Of The Senate Democrat Caucus:
We have frequently noted that the political leanings of mainstream media publications can often be seen by what fails to make it into print. In the case of Jack Abramoff, political bias of the Washington Post is obvious in its articles of January 3 and 4. The first article written by William Branigin, Susan Schmidt and James V. Grimaldi and the article dated January 4 penned by only Schmidt and Grimaldi are littered with the names of Republican officials, aides and family members. The articles indicate all of these individuals are being investigated. However, no mention of a Democrat appears in the text.
Today’s copy mentions former House majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, Representative Robert W. Ney of Ohio, former Delay aides Tony Rudy, Michael Scanlon and Edwin Buckham, Senator Conrad Burns of Montana, Representative John T. Doolittle of California, Rudy’s wife Lisa and even DeLay’s wife Christine in connection with an investigation into Abramoff’s admitted guilt on fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy to bribe public official plea bargain in the Washington U. S. District Court. Their names appear repeatedly in both articles and total of 33 times in the January 4 copy. This was done despite the Post indicating “In court papers, prosecutors refer to only one congressman: Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio).” The article continues saying “Abramoff, who built a political alliance with House Republicans, including former majority leader Tom DeLay of Texas, has agreed to provide information and testimony about a half a dozen House and Senate members...”
NYT business reporter/columnist Gretchen Morgenson loves corporate scandals, and she rounds up the year’s greatest hits for an illustrated, above-the-fold story, “The Big Winner, Again, Is ‘Scandalot,’” for Sunday’s Business section year-end wrap-up.
“Same stuff, different year. That’s one way to look at 2005, the fourth consecutive year in which corporate chicanery loomed large….Greed was on display throughout 2005 as throngs of executives pocketed pay that was even greater than the previous year’s. To hear them talk, they deserved the amounts because -- are you sitting down? -- they enhanced shareholder value. Never mind that many of their companies’ stocks ended the year lower than where they began it.”
CBS’s Harry Smith on Wednesday’s “The Early Show” saluted New York Times reporter James Risen, who in a December 16 front-page article exposed an ongoing National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence-gathering operation aimed at thwarting al Qaeda attacks in the U.S., and whose new book, “State of War,” amplifies his concerns with the way the U.S. government has pursued the war on terror.
Shortly after 7:30 this morning, Smith touted his upcoming interview with Risen, advertising him as “the author of a new book the Bush administration does not want you to read.” A few minutes later, he introduced Risen by asserting that the NSA’s surveillance program “has shocked many Americans.” Smith used sinister language to describe the NSA program:
Ever since George W. Bush was elected in 2000, the left-wing media have developed a taste to expose episodes of media corruption. No, not their corruption. Conservative media corruption.
The liberal media made loud grunts and noises over columnist Armstrong Williams, who didn’t tell readers of his column that he had a public-relations contract with the Department of Education to sell the “No Child Left Behind” legislation. If a columnist is working for a government program or entity, it’s always best to disclose to readers your involvement, so they can judge your point of view more fully.
The latest example arrived with columnist Doug Bandow’s inexcusable back-door acceptance of cash from Jack Abramoff for columns promoting his clients’ interests. Williams and Bandow both could argue they were only promoting conservative causes they would support anyway. But the exposures of what they wouldn’t disclose had the opposite effect. It emits the odor of corruption. It made them look like they were primarily advancing conservative issues through columns because there was personal profit involved.
The New York Times evidently sensed a need to respond to last week’s announcement of a Justice Department investigation into who leaked to Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau for their December 16 scoop on surveillance of terror suspects in the U.S.
Wednesday’s editorial, “On the Subject of Leaks”, attempts to explain how one set of leaks (Plame’s identity as a CIA employee) was very bad, possibly criminal, and certainly worthy of investigation, while another set of leaks (uncovering the Bush administration’s surveillance of terror suspects without warrants) was a noble and patriotic deed that shouldn't be questioned. It's rough going for the paper, and basic logic doesn’t fare well either.