For the second day in a row, ABC’s Diane Sawyer questioned a guest as to whether the American voters are either secretly "more racist" or "more sexist" when they cast their ballots. During an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd on Tuesday’s Good Morning America, Sawyer inquired:
Sawyer: "...Ninety percent of Americans say race and gender make absolutely no difference in their vote in the polls. I asked Senator Obama yesterday if he believes it, and he thinks it's case by case. Let me ask you, do you think that there is secret sexism, secret, secret genderism in this country?"
Of course, the liberal columnist agreed with Sawyer’s premise that American society is sexist, but asserted that it is not, in fact, a secret:
Maureen Dowd: "Oh, I don't think it's, I don't think it's very secret. I'm not sure we've gotten so much farther along than with Ferraro, where she didn't get any guys in the south...I do think there is obviously racism and sexism, but I think that these are both two extraordinary candidates [Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama] who, you know, might be able to triumph over some of that, but we'll see."
Sawyer: "More sexism than racism, racism than sexism?"
Looking for an election-season boost, the Times opened up its exclusive Times Select product to non-paying proles last week, sending editor-columnist Frank Rich's "2006: The Year of the 'Macaca,'" to the #1 most e-mailed story of the week (the free window is now closed, so you have to pay for Rich's deep thoughts on why Bush-style conservatism lost this year).
"This was callous conservatism, if not just plain mean.
"It’s the kind of conservatism that remains silent when Rush Limbaugh does a mocking impersonation of Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's symptoms to score partisan points. It’s the kind of conservatism that talks of humane immigration reform but looks the other way when candidates demonize foreigners as predatory animals. It's the kind of conservatism that pays lip service to 'tolerance' but stalls for days before taking down a campaign ad caricaturing an African-American candidate as a sexual magnet for white women.
At about 11:00 AM Eastern Time Tuesday, CNBC reported that a highly-regarded research company, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, has determined that the well-touted theory that the world has or is close to “peak oil” is nonsense. CNBC’s Sharon Epperson covered the story (rough transcript):
There is this new report out that says, “Is the world running out of oil? No way!” The new report out today debunks the peak oil theory. That of course is the theory that when half of the oil is pumped out of the ground, then it’s going to peak and decline precipitously from there. Well, today, CERA, which is the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, is just out with a report saying that this in fact is a faulty theory; that the peak oil theory that the world is running out of oil is simply a faulty premise. It says that there are actually nearly 3 ¾ trillion barrels of oil out there. That is nearly three times the 1.2 trillion that most of the peak oil theorists think is out there. And they also say that this is too critical an issue to allow fear to enter into the equation. Really it takes careful analysis to really talk about some of the challenges that are out there in delivering these fuels to economies that really need them.
As CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso Cabrera read through the embargoed release, she mentioned that its author, Dan Yergin, is one of the most respected oil analysts in the world, and that in this report, he claimed:
Chris Matthews is so blatantly anti-Iraq war that any time he's discussing it, he ought to be balanced out but that wasn't the case on this morning's Today show. NBC's Matt Lauer sat idly by as the host of Hardball compared Iraq to Vietnam and demanded the President relent to Democrats and withdraw troops as soon as possible. Matthews even was dismayed that the President still dared to use the word, "victory."
Matthews ranted to Lauer: "I mean the President lost the election. He, he still talks like he won the election. The Democrats who control both houses want to begin withdrawing our troops. It's all about numbers of troops and the timetable for getting them out and the President and Tony Snow right there said they don't, they don't go along with that thinking."
Republicans are in the news today with some GOP dissent over the appointment of Florida senator Mel Martinez to head the Republican National Committee. In 2008 news, Rudy Giuliani formed an "exploratory committee" for a presumptive presidential run.
The Boston Globe's recent article on Dick Cheney's "fate" after the recent elections is an interesting, if not subtle, attempt to make it seem as if the Vice President were somehow on his way out just like Donald Rumsfeld was. Even painting Bush as "forgetting" the VP was in a recent meeting intimating that Cheney is not included in running the country anymore.(Cheney doesn't need Rumsfeld anymore)
Here is the lead paragraph of the story:
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush and the two top Democrats in the House met with reporters on Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney was largely silent, sitting impassively with his characteristic half-smile. "All three of us recognize that when you win, you have a responsibility to do the best you can for the country," declared Bush, apparently forgetting that the vice president was there to make it a foursome.
Half smile? Is that another way of saying smirk -- their favorite attack word against Bush himself?
As NewsBusters reported Saturday, the politically correct crowd appears to have lost this round concerning whether the Christmas season should be referred to as the holiday season so as not to offend, well…anybody. Another sign that it will once again be acceptable to recognize the religious aspects of this annual ritual with total impunity (meaning without fear that the ACLU will serve you papers instead of egg nog for the holidays!) is when we start seeing news reports concerning this on television.
With the official start of the shopping season now just ten days away, the following videoof a report filed by WRCB in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is guaranteed to get you in the mood to shout from the rooftops -- as well as in your favorite store -- “Merry Christmas.”
Early on in the recent Israel/Lebanon war, there was a photograph published by both U.S. News and World Report and Time Magazine, which according to captions published with the picture was of a burning Israeli jet, shot down by Hezbullah missiles. The blogosphere was quicktodisputethepicturein question, and the widely-circulated story was that the photograph was actually that of a tire dump.
Well, it seems that the photographer responsible for taking the photograph, Bruno Stevens, has finally sounded off on Lightstalkers (the professional photographer's forum), explaining the photograph and telling the true story of how things ended up the way they did. He also notes that the site was not a tire dump, but was rather an old Lebanese Army base that had either been hit by an Israeli jet, or by a misfired Hezbullah rocket (both possibilites he appears to have recounted in his original captions). The key point that Bruno makes is that, while he sent in a fairly balanced caption to accompany the photograph, the wire services rewrote the caption completely, changing the pertinent facts surrounding the story. Where have we heard that before?
Bruno's story is available in full at Lightstalkers, and I recommend checking it out, even though it is mostly written as a response to someone who has been alleging that he was somehow covering up a civilian massacre or other indiscriminate act by the Israeli Air Force.
Now that the Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, the New York Times is painting the new Senators firmly into the political middle. Reporter Timothy Egan profiled Sen.-Elect Jon Tester, one of the hard-left Daily Kos Democrats, in a story headlined "Fresh Off the Farm in Montana, a Senator-to-Be." Egan began his ode to the liberal man with a crew-cut: "When he joins the United States Senate in January, big Jon Tester — who is just under 300 pounds in his boots — will most likely be the only person in the world’s most exclusive club who knows how to butcher a cow or grease a combine." You have to read quite a way into the article to see that this good old boy is raising "organic lentils, barley, peas, and gluten-free grain" on his farm. No boutique liberal there, eh?
Egan insisted "the senator-elect from Montana truly is your grandfather’s Democrat — a pro-gun, anti-big-business prairie pragmatist whose life is defined by the treeless patch of hard Montana dirt that has been in the family since 1916." That definition would work, if your grandfather opposed wiretapping enemy communications in World War 2 or would have opposed a Patriot Act to help fight the Nazis.
I first received this picture in my e-mail today from our good friend Joe Myers. It contained the following caption:
Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt cradles a young Iraqi girl as they both sleep in the hospital. The girl's entire family was executed by insurgents. The killers shot her in the head but she survived. The girl received treatment at the U.S. military hospital in Balad, but cries often. According to nurses at the facility, Chief Gebhardt is the only one who can calm down the girl, so he holds her at night while they both sleep in a chair. Chief Gebhardt was assigned to the 332nd Expeditionary Medical Group at Balad Air Base, Iraq.
After some effort, I found the whole story at Military.com. If this doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, I don’t know what will:
Reading yesterday's entry I realize I never did get around to describing my meeting with Dr. Ali Aldabbagh, chief spokesman to Iraqi PM Maliki. Dr. Aldabbagh told me that a precipitous US withdrawal would be a "huge gift" to the terrorists. He also described Muktada Al-Sadr as a man of "restraint" and said that, like it or not, he is a "player." Events of today have perhaps put those statements in an interesting light. For a full report see my story at Cybercast News Service.
We made a quick Blackhawk trip from the International Zone to Fallujah on Monday night, and were met at the helipad by Captain Duncan of Gary, Indiana. He escorted us to our quarters which were a pleasant suprise - a modular unit with actual beds and a unit just down the line with internet. That was very welcome of course, but it put things in perspective when we learned today that one of the Iraqi internet technicians who installed and maintained the service was murdered, presumably for his collaboration with US forces.
The story: A priest works at a Miami high school as a history teacher and assistant chaplain. Nude photographs of him interacting physically with other men are discovered on the Internet. The priest resigns from his job. Graphic Internet photos are readily available for the media.
In light of the recent media frenzy over Rev. Ted Haggard (5,500 results at Google News), it sounds like everything would be ripe for a story that the media would just love to jump all over. But, curiously, the mainstream media has essentially ignored this story. Why?
The answer may lie in the priest's denomination. Here's the story. You see, Rev. Parry is not a Catholic priest. He's not even a pastor from one of those conservative Evangelical churches. Rev Parry is a priest of the increasingly liberal Episcopal Church in the USA.
A year after the networks let their evening newscasts by championing Democratic Congressman John Murtha's anti-war views, the CBS Evening News on Monday night touted an “exclusive” interview with Murtha, whom anchor Katie Couric favorably described as “a highly-decorated Vietnam veteran” who was “long considered a hawk on defense issues” when he “stunned House colleagues by calling for the immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.” Though the news media trumpeted Murtha last November, Couric painted him as a victim as she reminded him of how “there was hell to pay, though, Congressman, for what you said. You were called a 'defeatocrat,' a 'liberal turncoat.' Senator John McCain said you had become too emotional, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said your comments were damaging to troop morale.” She then cued him up: “Did you feel vindicated last Tuesday?" Murtha, naturally, agreed with Couric's characterization: "Oh, I certainly did feel vindicated.” (Transcript follows)
On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews show, the host of MSNBC's Hardball endorsed Hillary Clinton for...Majority Leader. In his final commentary Matthews said the election afforded Clinton "a great new career option," that she was "a natural," and leading the Senate would prove, she has the "necessary ability to bring us together." Matthews puffed up the Senator from New York as an expert on health, education, the economy and even defense issues: "Not only does Hillary Clinton know her stuff, she cares about it, especially the issues that cut so close to daily life in this country: health, education, economic opportunity. And ask the generals who say that this member of the Armed Services Committee could well be the best prepared senator there is in that life-and-death world."
Unsatisfied with American domination of the international news market, a French company is getting ready to launch a cable/satellite news channel.
The staff of France 24 insists they'll be different than CNNi, BBC, and others, but in one respect they're perfectly similar. Just like their American counterparts, they pretend they're objective. They also appear to have trouble perceiving reality. Regarding the Iraq war, managing director Gerard Saint-Paul says:
"Our image will be more panoramic as compared to other channels – but
that doesn’t mean that the other channels are bad at all. Let me give
you an example to better illustrate: Concerning coverage in Iraq, which
constitutes a cornerstone in media coverage, I find that CNN conveys an
American-directed message to a large extent, and more precisely one
that is in favor of President George Bush. What we will offer is a
wider vision that is different from what others present, and this of
course, will be affected by the historical and emotional relationship
between France and Lebanon, as well as the closeness of the relations
between France and the Arab world."
This is, of course, the news channel that actually is more anti-conservative and critical of the United States than its American counterpart. I guess Saint-Paul prefers a more Pravdaesque approach to covering international news.
I also can't help but note the hypocrisy in that France 24 has its country of origin in its name (and likely is benefiting from French subsidies as well) and talks about how its mission is to bring the French approach to news and culture to the world. Somehow this is OK but bringing an American approach is bad.
On Sunday's Reliable Sources on CNN, the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz recognized the media's soft treatment of Speaker-to-be-Nancy Pelosi. CBS's Gloria Borger, ABC's Martha Raddatz and CNN's Candy Crowley also acknowledged the “honeymoon” for Pelosi -- and all three insisted coverage of her will turn tough. After some clips of the softball questions posed to Pelosi last week by network anchors, Kurtz asked: “Is Nancy Pelosi getting pretty soft treatment from the media?" Borger sarcastically replied: "Honeymoon, you think? Yeah, I think -- I think it will remain a honeymoon for a while.” Raddatz predicted that “there will be this minor little honeymoon period -- the whole female, first female Speaker of the House. That will go away really quickly.”
Kurtz turned to Crowley and raised the media's hostile attitude toward Newt Gingrich, who didn't get any media honeymoon: “Is Nancy Pelosi ever going to get the kind of tough press scrutiny that, for example, Newt Gingrich received when he became Speaker in 1995?" Crowley insisted: "I think so,” contending journalists will “if only because everybody is sort of aware of that. I mean, I think there will be tough scrutiny.” Crowley proposed the tough coverage will come after Democrats take over, “so I would think long about February you're going to begin to see tough scrutiny, because I think it's incumbent upon us and I think everybody knows that." We'll see.
"Washington Post" reporter Sally Quinn appeared on Monday’s "American Morning," ready to psychoanalyze President Bush in the wake of last week’s midterm defeat. Quinn discussed the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of Robert Gates as a replacement, and how President Bush is secretly "relieved" over the drubbing the GOP received. Now, either Ms. Quinn has become a psychological expert on why Bush is hiring former advisors to his father, or she’s just another member of the media who wants to be a part of important inner-circle decisions:
Quinn: "But I just have a feeling that it was clear to the father that the son -- clearly, he made Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense -- that the son did not want his father's advice on a lot of these things....I felt the other day watching Bush that he was almost relieved in a way about losing the House and the Senate. I know that sounds weird, but it was as though, ‘Okay, now I really have permission. I can take my father's advice.’ And, also, that it's not all on him anymore. It's not all on the Republicans. The Democrats are going to have to take a lot of the responsibility now."
O’Brien: "It's nice to, nice to share a little blame, isn't it, in some cases? And in this case, perhaps share some blame with his father. I wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. wonder why it took him so long to reach out this way. Did -- was -- did he have to have that election in order to prompt this?"
Speaking as an alumnus to students at Brown University over the weekend, liberal New York Times reporter James Risen -- best known for breaking open the government's terrorist-surveillance program -- hailed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation as "the best thing to happen in a long time" and cheered that it's "sinking in" with President Bush that his foreign policy is "too radical."
Risen also typically complained of how vital the New York Times is to American democracy. The Bushies have "suppressed dissent throughout the administration," and the climate of fear is "palpable" and "frightening to watch." The press is vital because "there's been almost no congressional oversight." And cable news just rips off the newspapers: "CNN, which is probably the best of them, does almost no original reporting" and the cable networks have "24 hours to fill and nothing to say." In the Brown Daily Herald, reporter Abe Lubetkin wrote:
For the third time in as many weeks, ABC continued to showcase Democratic Senator Barack Obama. Anchor Diane Sawyer interviewed the first-term senator from Illinois on Monday's Good Morning America, and asked him about a range of topics, from the war in Iraq and a potential Obama run for the White House in 2008, to the groundbreaking of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial on the National Mall. The most eyebrow-raising moment of the interview, however, occurred when Sawyer asked Obama about Sunday’s Washington Post article which questioned whether racism and sexism plays a role in the decision-making of American voters:
Diane Sawyer: "We have seen new polls this morning about you and Senator Hillary Clinton. Here's my question. Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
I guess we should have seen this one coming: the United Nations has published a children's book raising international fears about global warming. As announced this morning by the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works (emphasis mine throughout):
Nairobi, Kenya – A new United Nations children’s book promoting fears of catastrophic manmade global warming is being promoted at the UN Climate Change Conference in Kenya. The books main character, a young boy, is featured getting so worried about a coming manmade climate disaster that he yells “I don’t want to hear anymore!” The new children’s book, entitled “Tore and the Town on Thin Ice” is published by the United Nations Environment Programme and blames “rich countries” for creating a climate catastrophe.