A quick hit this morning, as I'm on the road . . .
Question for our readers, astute observers of the political scene that they are. Scanning the news this morning, you see a report on the latest presidential poll. John McCain has lost over 1/3rd of his support. What's the first thing that pops into your mind? OK, the headline here is a hint, but isn't it obvious that McCain's pro-amnesty stance has hurt him badly among Republican voters? Well, apparently not so obvious to Tim Russert. Here's how it went on this morning's "Today."
TIM RUSSERT: John McCain's lost eight points since April, Matt.
MATT LAUER: What's wrong with his campaign?
RUSSERT: Well, he's having some fund-raising problems and I think Fred Thompson's presence is starting to draw folks away.
NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield appeared on the FNC show "Fox and Friends" Thursday morning (7:00am ET hour) to discuss fired CNN correspondent Jeff Koinange and the scandals surrounding his apparent staging of a news story as well as his use of network resources to conduct an affair with a source.
Update 7:50 | Matthew Sheffield. Well that was fun. Unfortunately the prior segment to mine ran a little long so we didn't get a chance to fully discuss the FNC Iraq question. Please see Tim Graham's followup on the subject if you're interested in more.
Talking to our Matt Sheffield on "Fox & Friends" this morning, FNC's Steve Doocy referred to an AP story that his network has noted repeatedly in recent days: that the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that FNC's doing less Iraq coverage than CNN or MSNBC. David Bauder sought out the MRC for balance, and we said the problem we have with the media elite is that they clearly see Fox as pandering to an audience and they don't see CNN as pandering to an audience. Media liberals routinely isolate Fox as a less journalistic, more propagandistic outlier -- they don't see networks inside their liberal bubble as the slightest bit questionable.
On Wednesday night’s "Larry King Live," NBC’s Matt Lauer tried to play the politician in the middle of the Rather vs. Couric publicity feud, stressing his "great respect" for the disgraced Rather and how this is "inside baseball" that most Americans don’t care about. (Yeah, right.) But his attempt to please everyone grew ridiculous when he called Katie’s increasingly historic ratings lows part of a "normal feeling-out period" and that some times, it takes time for a program to be a big hit: "I mean look at the history of some of the shows in primetime that went on to become huge successes, like 'M*A*S*H' and 'Cheers,' and things like that, where in the beginning they were -- you know what, they fell flat."
Let’s hope Katie gives him credit to Matt for his willingness to look silly on her behalf, as the entertainment equivalents of her "Evening News" stint might be more like "Cop Rock." A flop.
"CBS Evening News" executive producer Rick Kaplan has also come out to slam Dan Rather for his sexist comment that CBS' Katie Couric has "dumbed down" and "tarted up" the news biz with her tenure on CBS' nightly news broadcast. But, a little investigation shows that only two years ago Kaplan praised Rather as the "gold standard" of news anchors at an awards ceremony for Rather's "retirement".
So, which is it, Mr. Kaplan? Is Rather a jerk, or is he the best there is?
Sam Zaramba, in a subscription-only op-ed column in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal, gives the next Woodward or Bernstein a hot story to follow up on:
..... malaria ..... is the biggest killer of Ugandan and all African children. Yet it remains preventable and curable. Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool.
Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use Dichloro-Diphenyl-Trichloroethane -- DDT.
..... Today, every single Ugandan still remains at risk. Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year, and up to 100,000 of our mothers and children die from the disease.
No one could possibly be conspiring to prevent the eradication of malaria, could they?
Well, yes they could. And they are, as Zaramba notes:
Katie Couric led Wednesday's CBS Evening News by trumpeting a victory for gun control and featuring a one-on-one interview with a gun control advocate. “An historic alliance between Democrats and the NRA produces the first major new gun control bill in years,” Couric teased. “Tonight, they're closing the loophole that allowed the Virginia Tech killer to buy his guns.” After that plug for House passage of a bill that still must go through the Senate and be signed by the President, she teased another story, one seemingly more crucial but didn't get to until 14 minutes into her newscast, “A CBS News exclusive: For the first time, the Director of the FBI details the nuclear threat that America faces today” from al Qaeda. Couric led by touting how the closing of “the loophole that allowed Seung-Hui Cho to buy the guns he used in the April massacre despite his history of mental illness” is “the first major new gun control legislation in more than a decade and it has the backing of the NRA.”
After NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre got one sentence in the story from Sharyl Attkisson (“We'll work with anyone if you protect the rights of law-abiding people under the Second Amendment and you target people that shouldn't have guns”), Couric turned to Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She started by asking him to assess the effectiveness of the proposed new law before fretting that it doesn't go far enough: “What about gun shows though? Won't they still be permitted to buy them there?” She also let Helmke ruminate on what “motivated”the NRA to back the bill. Helmke used that as a chance to forward a talking point: “It's too easy in this country for dangerous people to get guns. We have very weak gun laws. We need to strengthen these things.”
On his program last night Fox News host Bill O'Reilly blasted his cable competitors for their "delight in showing Iraqi violence," a product of an editorial mindset at CNN and MSNBC that "want[s] Americans to think badly of President Bush."
"And that strategy has succeeded," he added.
O'Reilly's words came in response to remarks made by CNN president Jon Klein who accused FNC of dialing back Iraq coverage as violence in Iraq has increased.
"It illustrates the danger of cheerleading for one particular point or
another because they were obviously cheerleaders for the war," He told the AP. "When the war went badly they had to dial
back coverage because it didn't fit their preconceived story lines."
MSNBC was certainly the place to be Tuesday evening if you like watching a conservative take on a liberal about the value of the ACLU, and how tied into the Democrat Party that organization is. Also on the debate docket was the value of torture in terrorist interrogations.
What more could you ask for on a Tuesday evening?
Without further ado, in the left corner was Rosa Brooks of the Los Angeles Times; in the right corner was Tucker Carlson of MSNBC.
As this was scrappy and entertaining from the opening bell, I’m just going to let the tape role without any interruptions, and allow the reader to peruse the transcript that follows while watching this truly delicious segment (video available here, better fasten your seatbelts):
The student loan industry has been too cozy with colleges and universities and has harmed students, at least that’s what the media say.
“For weeks, an investigation of the student loan business has been scrutinizing whether close ties between lenders and colleges have enriched them at the expense of debt-laden students,” explained the May 29 USA Today.
But that investigation has been an anti-industry “crusade” waged by liberal New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and the media have been fighting alongside him.
What do you get when you add a liberal think tank study, another liberal “expert, and CBS “Evening News?” You get a doom-and-gloom story about baby boomers remaining in the work force as “an economic necessity” that ignores relevant information.
“The 78 million baby boomers are starting to think about retirement, but for many of them, that’s all they’ll be able to do. Think about it. Two new reports out today show many will have to retire much later than they thought,” said anchor Katie Couric.
Couric also said, “While boomers may be better educated and better paid than their parent, they’re not necessarily better off.”
Now don’t despair boomers. There is something Couric and correspondent Nancy Cordes didn’t tell you.
Most of the media have spun the decision not to re-nominate Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace as being solely about the Iraq War. Only CNN and The Washington Post reported that Pace’s comment about homosexuality being immoral and his support for convicted White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby could be factors. David Niedrauer of the Culture and Media Institutelooks at the media spin.
MRC intern Joe Steigerwald wrote the following post.
You've got to give credit to Al Gore, he certainly knows how to play the mass media like a fiddle, particularly NBC.
Eight days ago, NB editor Brent Baker picked up on an NBC Universal press release about how the peacock network and its sister networks will cover the upcoming Live Earth concerts a grand total of 75 hours.
That doesn't count the gratuitious promotional pitches for Live Earth that may be embedded within NBC programming. Take last night's (June 13) "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
In a blatant and out-of-the-blue pitch, O’Brien conjured a Live Earth question for "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.
For some context here, O'Brien and Russert had just finished talking about one time the Sunday talk show host interviewed Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky:
An interesting discussion ensued on Tuesday’s “Scarborough Country” surrounding ABC’s “The View” and some of the anti-Catholic positions taken by the various co-hosts.
MSNBC general manager Dan Abrams, sitting in for Joe Scarborough, had Catholic League president Bill Donohue on to discuss his ad placed in Tuesday’s New York Times complaining about the behavior of folks like Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar while pointing a finger at Barbara Walters for allowing such antics on her program.
As the MRC’s Tim Graham noted earlier today, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales provided conservatives with quite a laugh when he asserted in Wednesday’s edition of the paper that "even critics of Rather" would have to admit the man has firm "integrity." Appearing on MSNBC’s "Morning Joe," he went even further. According to Shales, Rather’s comments about Katie Couric "tart[ing]" up the news couldn’t have been sexist, because "liberals, so called, don't go around calling women names like that."
Does the name Don Imus ring any bells? "Morning Joe," with host Joe Scarborough, even airs in the exact same time slot, on the same network. How quickly people forget.
The cover of this week’s Newsweek touts a story inside on "Hillary’s Likability Gap." That’s not exactly how it’s pitched inside, where the magazine tries another attack on right-wing Clinton haters titled "The New War on Hillary." Reporters Jonathan Darman and Mark Hosenball ponder the "haters’ fury," and remember the bad old days of First Lady Hillary: "Installed in Washington, Hillary morphed into a comic-book villain for her detractors – a man-eating feminist, they claimed, who allegedly threw lamps at her husband, communed psychically with Eleanor Roosevelt and lit a White House Christmas tree adorned with sex toys. The narrative of depravity – a tissue of inventions by conservatives – was often hard to follow."
But wait, wait: who "invented" Hillary’s seances with Jean Houston conjuring up Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House? That story emerged from the keyboard of Bob Woodward – no conservative – in 1996. Newsweek wrote an article lamenting the story, hailing Hillary as a persecuted "Joan of Arc figure." And what about the lamp-throwing? Newsweek really launched those rumors nationwide (albeit with sympathy toward poor Hillary) in the April 5, 1993 edition:
Does "Good Morning America" have a masochistic streak? On Wednesday, GMA host Chris Cuomo allowed liberal filmmaker Michael Moore to claim that due to the failure of journalists in challenging President Bush’s claims about pre-war Iraq intelligence, ABC and other networks are "complicit" in the deaths of American soldiers:
Al Roker was one of the villagers with torches who stormed the castle demanding that Don Imus be fired, but now the foot is in the other mouth. On the June 7 edition of the “Today” show, during a segment discussing London's truly horrible 2012 Olympic logo, which was said to have driven people into epileptic seizures upon viewing, Roker cracked a joke about the disorder. Without turning inflecting a politically correct tone or blowing the situation out of proportion, the New York Post reported his comments and next-day apology (hat tip: Insignificant Thoughts):
"Remember that controversial Olympic logo for the 2012 Olympics in London? Some folks have complained that the campaign actually sent them into epileptic seizures," Roker said on Thursday's show.
"Well, we asked you to weigh in on our Web site in an informal poll; those of you who could get up off the floor after shaking around were able to actually log in…"
I guess things have changed since Roker wrote in his blog that he was sick of the “ 'humor' at others expense” and “the cruelty that passes for funny” (bold mine throughout):