Exxon-Mobil: private-for-profit corporation or social service agency? The question arises in the wake of Matt Lauer's wide-ranging interview this morning with Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO of Exxon/Mobil. Lauer's tone was not antagonistic; for that matter he was manifestly grateful to Tillerson for being the lone CEO among the Big Oil companies to accept an invite from "Today." Still, there was some bad economics on display, along with a notable attempt by Lauer to make the GOP look like ingrates to an industry with which they've been cozy. Tillerson put in a solid, undefensive performance.
Here are highlights:
Lauer: "Critics say the big oil companies crushed the competition and they are manipulating the prices. What is the truth?"
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked the Bush administration over the leak of Valerie Plame's identity as a CIA agent, implying that the President has "done more to help terrorists and rogue states than hurt them," as he linked Plame's work on WMD to the current standoff with Iran. But Olbermann had previously not expressed worries about threats to national security from other leakers, instead referring to them as "whistleblowers," including those who leaked the CIA's use of secret prisons in Europe, and the existence of the controversial NSA spying program.
Olbermann opened the Tuesday May 2 Countdown show: "The irony was already inescapable and infuriating. In the middle of a war that started over nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, the administration of President George W. Bush was willing to destroy the cover of a secret American agent on the trail of actual weapons of mass destruction in order to deflect criticism over how badly it had fouled up or puffed up its wobbly evidence about phony weapons of mass destruction." (Complete transcript follows)
Fox News Channel was bound to succeed and did so even faster than its founding president Roger Ailes imagined.
just one of several interesting statements made in a recent interview
by Roger Ailes, president and founder of FNC with WorldScreen.com:
WS: When the channel first launched, did you expect it would overtake the competition as quickly as it did?
I try not to get into any race or any fight that I don’t think can be
won. I don’t expect it to be easy, however, and that’s the difference.
I don’t do suicide missions, but I don’t mind difficult assignments.
This was a difficult assignment, because we were taking on G.E. and
Microsoft [MSNBC] and Time Warner [CNN] with about 30 percent of the
resources and staff. So it was a pretty tough hill to climb. I thought
we would tie them in five to six years.
Yet in the last several months, Glamour magazine has twice attempted to deny such a link to its readers. Its most recent effort is a May 2006 article, "The New Lies About Women's Health" by Brian Alexander (WARNING: Photo of rear female nudity). What medical personnel does Glamour cite for its article? People such as Dr. Herb Brown (.pdf file), who has been medical director at Planned Parenthood of San Antonio. Geesh. Conflict of interest, anyone?
As picked up by the DrudgeReport, an AFP dispatch from Greece on Tuesday recounted how left-wing actor Tim Robbins, “at a news conference in Athens promoting his stage version of George Orwell's 1984,” blasted President Bush's policies and the news media for ignoring Bush's supposed crimes. “We have right now a media that is willfully ignoring the high crimes and misdemeanors of the President of the United States," Robbins charged. He lamented that “Clinton lied about a blowjob, and got impeached by the media and Congress," while Bush “got us into the [Iraq] war based on lies that he knew were lies....yet no one in the media is calling for impeachment."
The un-bylined May 2 AFP dispatch from Athens added that “Robbins pointed out similarities between current U.S. policies on terrorism and the authoritarian society described by Orwell” in his 1984 novel: “'Unfortunately, the book and the play is more relevant now than it ever has been,' he said. '(It) talks about continuous warfare as a means to control the Western economy, and as a way to control rebel elements within society through the use of fear, constant fear.'" Citing the “renditioning of innocent people without trial,” Robbins asserted: “This is exactly what Orwell was talking about when he spoke of thought crimes." (With link to video of earlier call for Bush's impeachment)
Count CNN’s Bill Schneider among those in the media who are all too eager to stoke the public’s anger over rising gas prices. In a report this afternoon on The Situation Room, Schneider highlighted the President’s low approval ratings on gas prices, and predicted gloom and doom for the Republican party:
Schneider: "President Bush’s job approval is down to 33 percent in the latest CBS News poll. His approval rating on gas prices, 17 percent. Yikes!..The political impact is dramatic. In January, about equal numbers of Republicans and Democrats said they felt more enthusiastic than usual about voting this year. Now, Democrats have a clear edge. Republican voters seem to be demoralized."
Schneider then promoted Democratic conspiracy theories regarding Republicans and the business sector:
On this morning’s Early Show, co-host Hannah Storm implied to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist that the Congress ought to pay attention to the immigrant boycott and protests from yesterday and pass "immigration reform," a euphemism for "amnesty." That if one million immigrants rallying across the country isn’t enough, what more is it going to take:
"Wanna change gears here for a second because Monday over one million immigrants skipped work and skipped school and marched in streets across America. What is it going to take, Senator, for Congress to come together and institute some meaningful immigrant reform, and how long is that going to take?"
On the opening of last night's edition of Countdown, host Keith Olbermann said "now he can wizz all over himself instead of everybody else" on the subject of Rush Limbaugh's mandatory random drug test. Olbermann presented this as if it were "news," when instead Rush has had to do them for years.
Later in the broadcast, Olbermann ran a smear segment on Rush, as if there was any more news, saying "at least now when he wizzes all over himself, there is a good reason for it".
Olbermann ended his Limbaugh coverage with a jab at his weight saying, "and while no specifics about the random drug screenings were revealed, there is no truth to rumors that Limbaugh will also be tested for steroids and meatloaf."
The lure of class warfare has now seduced even the Fox News Channel. The network, often derided by liberal critics as overly conservative, featured a segment on the May 2 edition of Fox & Friends about the "outrageous" perks that CEOs receive. Co-host E.D. Hill cynically teased the piece by asking, "You know, if you go to work, you get your paycheck, but don't you wish you got a plane too?" She then continued:
Hill: "Or maybe a car or a boat or a country club membership or those sort of things? Well, you will be blown away to find out what perks some executives get."
FNC anchor Brian Kilmeade continued the theme of class envy by noting that some people are "upset about Exxon because they're making way too much money."
Monday’s CBS Evening News inaugurated a new series, “Eye on the Road,” the network’s latest gimmick to keep people outraged at the high cost of gasoline. Reporter Sharyn Alfonsi is driving from Florida to Boston to find people to complain about the high prices, and last night she highlighted senior citizens who are ostensibly sacrificing food and medicine because of Big Oil’s greediness.
Alfonsi highlighted a poll taken by the liberal lobbying group AARP to supposedly prove the hardship gas prices are having on the elderly. “They’re used to living on fixed incomes,” Alfonsi reported, “but now skyrocketing gas prices are forcing seniors to make difficult choices. Some are cutting back on medicine, others say they’re eating less.”
As she spoke, the screen showed the words “AARP Survey” plus the words “Cutting Back,” followed by “Medicine 6%,” then “Food 13%.”
But the poll wasn’t taken “now,” during the wave of network stories wailing about high gas prices. It was actually conducted for the AARP newsletter AARP Bulletin nearly eight months ago, in early September 2005, in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and fairly extensive supply disruptions in the eastern U.S.
On Monday’s 5PM EST version of “Hardball,” host Chris Matthews and MSNBC correspondent David Shuster made a number of factual misrepresentations and suppositions involving Valerie Plame/Wilson and the Bush administration (video link to follow). The most absurd part of this segment was Shuster’s suggestion that the current stalemate with Iran over its nuclear ambitions was exacerbated by the release of Wilson’s name to the press: “Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson`s cover was blown, the administration`s ability to track Iran`s nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.”
Of course, neither the names nor the positions of such sources were revealed by Shuster in this report. Also, there were absolutely no details given to support this wild assertion as to specifically what Plame was working on at the time, or what information concerning Iran ended up being missed by the Administration as a result of her departure from the CIA.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only problem with this report. In his preview of the segment, Matthews said:
Columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts write in the Washington Post that the "the consensus is that President Bush and Bush impersonator Steve Bridges stole Saturday's show -- and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert's cutting satire fell flat." The problem with Colbert, they say, was that he "ignored the cardinal rule of Washington humor: Make fun of yourself, not the other guy."
"You have to have a great deal of confidence to do self-deprecating humor, especially when you're being attacked day in and day out," said Landon Parvin, who helped Bush and Bridges write the jokes contrasting Bush's public voice with his supposed inner thoughts. Parvin, a former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan, is responsible for most of the president's intentional humor, as well as the famous parody song "Secondhand Clothes" for Nancy Reagan's 1982 Gridiron appearance, and Laura Bush's deadpan triumph at last year's correspondents' dinner.
A PR campaign by the U.S. military to ease relations with Iraqi civilians is explained this way Tuesday by Pentagon reporter Thom Shanker:
"There is no doubt that in the three years since the invasion, American forces have alienated Iraqis in large numbers, ranging from the catastrophic events at Abu Ghraib prison, where Iraqi detainees were abused by their American jailers, to more minor yet daily insults, when some soldiers have used unnecessarily rough techniques at checkpoints, in raids and during searches."
Is this a news article or an opinion piece?
For more NYT bias, visit the redesigned TimesWatch website.
Thou Shalt Not Stereotype ranks among the top ten rules that govern respectable newspapers.
Unless, of course, you happen to dislike a particular individual, or his politics.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer sounded the trumpets for yesterday’s nationwide march with the headline IMMIGRANTS SEND A RESOUNDING CALL, with photos glorifying the event, the paper still found room to profile Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) who opposes amnesty for illegal aliens. This is not popular, this point of view.
The Inquirer interviewed dozens of these marchers and while we were given their names we were not treated to their physical characteristics.
Were they short, fat, ugly, tall, slim, handsome -- none of that because that is none of our business.
I linked to a Wall Street Journal editorial
about the elite media's double standard on leaks, especially how leaks
to the New York Times and Washington Post that damaged the Bush admin's
anti-terrorism efforts are awarded prizes while syndicated columnist
Robert Novak is condemned for revealing the occupation of an outspoken
Bush critic. Today, the Journal prints a letter from NYT executive
editor Bill Keller which responds to some of the editorial's charges.
Unsurprisingly, Keller makes no mention of the Valerie Plame Wilson
matter, a scandal which his paper's news and editorial pages have
overhyped since its inception. Instead, he focuses exclusively on leaks
which he does find not only acceptable but praiseworthy, that is the
disclosure that the U.S. may secretly be imprisoning suspected
terrorists (leaked to the Washington Post), and that Americans said to
be communicating internationally with terrorists are being spied on by
the NSA (leaked to the New York Times).
Keller bristles at the Journal's suggestion that the Times's and Post's sources are partisans:
When most women want a makeover, they spend a few hours at the beauty salon. If it’s for their prom, or their wedding, maybe they spend the better part of a day there.
In the case of Sen. Hillary Clinton, the media must figure it’s going to take at least 30 months to makeover the lifetime, power-seeking politician into just a regular, apple pie-lovin' gal from Illinois that the average American can identify with.
For its part, New York’s Newsday put some lipstick on this…former first lady in a May 1 article entitled “Politics Wasn't First on List of NY Sen. Clinton's Career Picks” (hat tip to Drudge).
Done laughing yet? Well, that’s just the headline: “‘I wanted desperately to be an Olympic athlete,’ Clinton said Monday at a Purchase College symposium on Title IX, the 1972 law outlawing sex discrimination in educational programs that receive federal funding.”
That was just the facial. Next came the foundation:
Via Romenesko, we learn that long-time "NBC Nightly News" anchor Tom Brokaw was making some wild claims Monday night at a speech in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The local newspaper reported he "begged the audience to put partisanship aside while the nation is at war," which the media certainly haven't. He "defended his profession against those who suggest journalists have not been balanced in covering the war and have ignored certain stories." He claimed there's mutual respect between journalists and soldiers, and while they may not always see the world "through the same prism," they have other similarities:
"We (both) live unconventional lives, we like to live off the land," he said. "Most of all, we like to get the bad guys and point out where evil is," Brokaw said.
Let’s look at USA Today's story which ran just five days after the media began reporting on the rape allegation and its fallout. I think even those of you with a low opinion of MSM will be shocked by the story’s blatant bias.
The flier being distributed outside Duke's student union Wednesday night looked like a wanted poster: 40 faces of young men, smiling smugly for the camera.
What was most disturbing to those gathered was the possibility several of the Duke men's lacrosse players whose photos were arranged in those neat rows may have committed criminal charges, including forcible rape and sodomy.
Jennifer Harper reports in the Washington Times about an Arizona State University study of 300 al Qaeda statements, letters and other papers. The study was conducted by the university's Consortium for Strategic Communication and a Defense Department .
Says the director of the consortium, Steven Corman, "People are surprised the jihadis think of the media as a weapon."
His study analyzed almost 300 al Qaeda statements, letters and other documents, many of them captured during U.S. military actions in the Middle East and recently declassified by the Pentagon.
Katie Couric took industrial-strength umbrage this morning when Bill Frist suggested to the soon-to-be CBS anchor that she opposes drilling in ANWR.
Yesterday, Matt Lauer gave respectful treatment to Rush Limbaugh's suggestion that Frist's proposal of a $100 rebate amounted to treating taxpayers like ladies of the night. So the Majority Leader surely knew he was walking into the lion's den this morning.
At one point, Katie hit Frist with excerpts from two letters to the editor of her apparent paper of choice - the NY Times.
"Let's see, $100 rebate checks to all taxpayers to offset rising gas prices. That's money out of my tax dollars back to me to give back to gas companies. The way I figure it that rebate won't even cover my gas one way to Washington to complain."