At the On Faith page of The Washington Post and Newsweek, Sally Quinn interviewed liberal Sojourners magazine publisher Jim Wallis about his squabble with Glenn Beck about the meaning of “social justice” and Christianity.Quinn probably could have lined up Beck – after all, he sat down for an online interview with Katie Couric. Quinn wanted to know if Beck would keep attacking if Wallis and his liberal friends would benefit. Wallis insisted he told his staff no personal attacks on Beck: “We have to stay on the high ground here.” Quinn asked, “Is it hard?”Wallis replied, “Sometimes, when they’re just misrepresenting. They said, ‘Does the Gospel call us to redistribution? ‘ I said ‘Yes.’ ‘So Jim Wallis wants the government to come in…’ I didn’t say anything like that. (Laughing). That’s dishonest.”
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis. His career at the MRC began in February 1989 as associate editor of MediaWatch, the monthly newsletter of the MRC before the Internet era.
Graham is co-author with MRC president Brent Bozell of the books Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election and How To Prevent It From Happening Again in 2016 (2013) and Whitewash: What The Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, But Conservatives Will (2007). He is also the author of the book Pattern of Deception: The Media's Role in the Clinton Presidency (1996).
Graham is a regular talk-radio and television spokesman for the MRC and has made television appearances on MSNBC, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, and the Fox Business Channel. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, National Review, and other publications.
Graham left the MRC to serve in 2001and 2002 as White House Correspondent for World, a national weekly Christian news magazine. He returned in 2003. Before joining the MRC, Graham served as press secretary for the campaign of U.S. Rep. Jack Buechner (R-Mo.) in 1988, and in 1987, he served as editor of Organization Trends, a monthly newsletter on philanthropy and politics by the Washington-based Capital Research Center.
Graham is a native of Viroqua, Wisconsin and graduated from Bemidji State University in northern Minnesota.
Newsweek's Dahlia Lithwick and law professor Sonja West wrote for Slate.com about how empathy is a much better quality than diversity in Supreme Court justices: "If we can't in fact have a court that looks like America, we should seek a court that feels for America." But this push grew really weird when they suggested retiring Justice John Paul Stevens was somehow a Latina:
Perhaps they've also imagined him having the ability to take the lead away from Jennifer Lopez in the movie Selena. Lithwick and West concocted the idea that the media threw a fit against the "empathy" principle, somehow confusing the media and their "war on empathy" with objections from the Republican minority:
He grew up white, male, heterosexual, Protestant, and wealthy. At no point in time was he a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay or a frightened teenage girl. And yet, over the decades, his rulings and written opinions repeatedly showed us that he could see the world through the eyes of those with very different life experiences from his own. In other words, he tapped his inner 'wise Latina woman' when the case called for it, and we are all better for it.
Over at the Daily Kos, the gay activist that writes under the byline "Bill in Portland, Maine" (I'd prefer Boogers of Change) slammed both the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts in his regular "Cheers and Jeers" column on Thursday:
CHEERS to justice served. Let us not forget that the Catholic Church isn't the only institution owned and operated by ultra-conservatives that's getting battered with pervert accusations. There's also the Boy Scouts of America, which a jury just tied up in knots:
April 15 was a hot day for Tea Party rallies, and also a hot day for liberal talk-radio denunciations of the Tea Party movement. Randi Rhodes claimed it was just a crowd of stupid people looking for a free lunch:
They have a lot of free time to travel about and around the country, don't they? These are the same people that just were in Boston; then they got on buses. They never ask who pays their freight. They think there's a free lunch somewhere on the bus, I don't know. And they just come town to town, and they stand there with their stupid signs screaming and yelling about corporations need to be protected. It's the sickest movement I've ever seen in my life!
Bill Press rolled out the typical line that "I think they want something for nothing. I pointed out before, if you look at this crowd, most of them are older, white, on Social Security and Medicare."
It's highly strange that at the same time major media reporters and editorialists are "worrying" about whether extremists are going to ruin Republican political fortunes, Saturday's Washington Post played up President Obama's newly mainstream partner -- Al Sharpton. On the front page, reporter Krissah Williams presented a tamer and more cooperative Reverend Al:
Sharpton's relationship with the White House is thriving amid a heated debate over whether black leaders should relate to the president as ally or agitator. Early on, Sharpton chose ally, staying off the campaign trail in 2008, for instance, when Obama sent word that he would be a distraction.
More recently, Sharpton has been among the president's chief defenders against criticism from television host Tavis Smiley that "black folk are catching hell" and that the president should do more to specifically help blacks.
The editorial page at Investor's Business Daily noticed what the major media ignored or downplayed, once again: the latest Climategate development. They headlined their Friday editorial "Climategate Gets a Whitewash." The University of East Anglia commissioned two independent inquiries into what became known as the Climate-gate scandal. But just how "independent" was the latest report? IBD wasn't impressed with the five-page report that found no deceitful practices:
The sugarcoated report should be no surprise. The probe was conducted by Lord Oxburgh, an academic who was briefly chairman of Shell. He is now, according to the Financial Post, chair of Falck Renewables, a firm that has wind farms across Europe, and chair of the Carbon Capture and Storage Association, "a lobby group which argues that carbon capture could become a $1 trillion industry by 2050."
Imagine that. A man with a financial interest in companies that would benefit from efforts to arrest man-made global warming is asked to look into the possible scientific malpractice of researchers whose conclusions are favorable to his business concerns.
National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on Friday devoted its latest interview on DVDs worth watching to the picks of leftist filmmaker Michael Moore, although they used no pesky label for him. Moore began by snobbishly asserting to anchor Steve Inskeep that he doesn’t like DVDs. He likes going to theaters, even for old movies: “I keep a list on my computer of the various art houses and places that show old films. And I'll drive, literally, for hours to go see something from the 1940s, if I can see on a movie screen."
Don’t alert the people who think long drives are causing global warming.
Unsurprisingly, Moore liked leftist films. First he recommended a movie called Czech Dreams, which mocked how desperate people who were liberated from Soviet-imposed communism wanted to shop, shop, shop. The filmmakers promoted a phony mall opening just to mock the suckers who would celebrate it. In the same Moore-pleasing spirit was Borat:
MSNBC's Peter Alexander claimed this afternoon that magazine publisher Cathy Areu declined an interview with Bill O'Reilly: "Areu said thanks but no thanks to Fox. Saying she wanted to appear right here on MSNBC. We don't blame her."
But there she was, in the first interview segment on Friday night's Factor: Cathy Areu, responding to O'Reilly's questions on her claim on the Headline News show Showbiz Tonight that Palin was "Larry the Cable Guy minus the class and intelligence." O'Reilly pressed her to explain herself:
O'REILLY: What's your primary beef? I mean, the Larry the Cable Guy without the class, that's pretty harsh.
AREU: She can take it.
The front page of Friday's New York Times has an article on people going naked in public – as part of an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. "Some Forget You Should Not Touch the Art," quipped the headline. Reporter Claudia LaRocco relayed the outrage of a young dancer named Will Rawls as he was touched by an "older man" as he stood in the buff:
"He proceeded to slide his hand onto my ribs and back and then touched my butt," Mr. Rawls said. "As he was passing me he looked me in the eyes and said ‘You feel good, man.’"
Rawls complained to security, and the museum "revoked the man’s 30-year membership and barred him from returning to the museum." Such outrage is the only kind expressed in the Times account. Nowhere in the piece was there any outrage at the public nudity itself, or any hint at whether the "art object" could get arrested for indecent exposure.
This is odd, considering the case of Kathleen Neill. Last August, she was arrested for public nudity – inside the Museum of Modern Art. The Times never reported it.
Some reporters come to Tea Party rallies not so much to cover them as expose them as hypocritical. On Thursday, Boston Globe reporter David Abel began his story on protests starring Sarah Palin in Boston by highlighting the Shirk family, with ten home-schooled kids – and Medicaid health coverage.
For the Shirks, it was a day for their children to seek inspiration from Palin and the other speakers, who questioned Obama’s patriotism and at least one of whom referred to him repeatedly as Barack Hussein.
The couple, who rely on Medicaid for their health care, were also upset about the nation’s new health reforms.
When asked why her family used state-subsidized health care when she criticized people who take handouts, Valerie Shirk said she did not want to stop having children, and that her husband’s income was not enough to cover the family with private insurance.
On Wednesday night's edition of Showbiz Tonight on CNN Headline News, anchor A. J. Hammer churned up the hype about Sarah Palin making an estimated $12 million. To analyze this haul, Hammer brought on Cathy Areu, creator of Catalina magazine (for Latina women) and a contributor to The Washington Post Magazine, and Rachel Zalis of Life and Style Weekly. But it was Areu who suggested Palin was a dumb and classless redneck:
HAMMER: Hey, ladies, my jaw dropped when I found out that Sarah Palin made an estimated $12 million since she left her job as Alaska`s governor because that was less than a year ago. And at that time, a lot of people thought she was making a huge mistake by leaving that post. Cathy, do you think that she`s in danger of losing that down-home image, that relatable image that really endeared her to a lot of people?
CATHY AREU: Sarah Palin could do no wrong for so many people. I mean, she is a female Larry the Cable Guy minus the class and intelligence.
The April 19 Newsweek cover that's shamelessly selling the "remarkable" tale of our economic recovery also promises a story on "Hate on the Right." In fact the word "HATE" takes up half a page, white letters on a black background, with the subhead "Antigovernment extremists are on the rise – and on the march."
Pictures illustrating the article strangely connect Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin with 1930's socialists. The caption read: "Huey Long castigated the rich and Father Coughlin denounced Jews in the 1930s. Today, the microphones belong to Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin." (Beck's previous impassioned rebuttal of the comparison to Coughlin is ignored.) This would not be the first time Newsweek's imagined "right wing" Coughlin as an Obama foil.
Evan Thomas and Eve Conant utilize the usual liberal experts – Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, who unloads his usual line about militias "roaring back," and historian Alan Brinkley, who opines that "the current surge of fear and loathing toward Obama is ‘scary,' he says. ‘There's a big dose of race behind the real crazies, the ones who take their guns to public meetings. I can't see this happening if McCain were president.'"
The Boston Globe is a proudly liberal newspaper. So it’s a little stunning for their staff writers Christopher Muther and Hayley Kaufman to suggest that tax refunds are best spent on conspicuous consumption. They suggested “you may want to put any windfall toward your credit card bill,” but they didn’t suggest liberal Globe readers redistribute their refund income to the poor in the inner cities, in Appalachia, or in earthquake-stricken Haiti. They suggested people drop a grand on looking “like a demi-goddess” in thousand-dollar shoes.
Muther and Kaufman began: “It's not exactly found money, but the tax refund that may eventually surface in your mailbox gives you a prime opportunity to indulge in those long-delayed purchases, such as the pair of shoes that have been whispering your name, or the fragrance that has been winking at you from across the cosmetics counter.” Many items on their list were under $100, but then there were these:
Clash of the Titans'' has nothing on these. Look like a demi-goddess in the Quartz Patent Leather gladiator bootie, from Jimmy Choo, $995.
Now that spring is here, you'll need chic specs for your al fresco adventures. These will have you looking like a star. Develay sunglasses in emberwood, from Paul Smith, $255.
The tea-party headline at the bottom of the screen early this morning on the local D.C. CBS affiliate WUSA said this: "Tea Party Leaders Anxious About Extremists." The same headline graced an Associated Press story this morning. The theme of the day isn't the burdensome growth of government. It's media bias, piled upon media bias, as AP's David Lieb began:
Organizers of tax-day tea parties are preparing for their biggest day of the year Thursday, as thousands of demonstrators participate in local rallies against high taxes and big government spending. But the leaders are striving to keep the rallies from presenting another image: one of fringe groups, extremists or infiltrators obsessed with hateful messages.
Sensitive that poor public perception could sink their movement, some rally planners have uninvited controversial speakers, beefed up security and urged participants to pack cameras to capture evidence of any disrupters. Organizers want to project a peaceful image of people upset by a growing and burdensome federal government.
If the media had ignored hateful signs and fringy attendees -- as they do for left-wing protests -- then this entire story would be unnecessary. The headline could be "Tea Party Leaders Anxious About Liberal Media Bias." But AP wants to keep all these fringy elements at the front of the story. Lieb elaborated on the "recent publicity hit" that the tea partiers were racists:
Los Angeles Times media reporter James Rainey discovered the Pulitzer Prize jurors weren't going to touch the National Enquirer with a ten-foot pole over their expose of John Edwards:
One juror told me that, among that competition, the Enquirer's stories about Edwards did not even make the top 10. The tabloid had first revealed Edwards' relationship with his campaign videographer, Rielle Hunter, in the fall of 2007 and continued to push the story forward through 2008. The Pulitzers announced this week were for work in 2009.
Rainey joked that the Enquirer should inspire a new award called the "Muffin Choker," for stories that make a morning newspaper reader choke on his breakfast.
Washington Post reporter Scott Wilson topped Wednesday's paper with a "news analysis" headlined "On world stage, Obama at ease as seminar leader." The word that came to mind wasn't "analysis." It was "unanimous." Everyone in Wilson's supine story praised Obama's command and personality. It's like Wilson was Obama's news butler at this summit:
"He's in charge, he's chairing the meetings, and this is where his personality plays a big part," said Pierre Vimont, the French ambassador to the United States, who compared Obama's role during the summit to the way he led the bipartisan health-care meeting at Blair House in February.
"He does it very well," Vimont continued. "And he feels very comfortable doing it."
Even the anonymous sources weren't hiding their identity to make vicious digs at Obama, the way the Post employed critics against George W. Bush. No, they loved Obama "the teacher," too:
On Tuesday's front page, Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz reported press secretary Robert Gibbs will eventually be promoted out of that pedestrian job of White House press secretary and become a senior strategist. Team Obama's disdain for their press enablers was a given:
By and large, positive coverage has always been a fact of life in the Obama universe, so it's not surprising that the administration's press secretary, especially one who is personally close to the president, is less interested in wooing the reporters in the room than sparring with them.
Horowitz noted some terse exchanges from several weeks ago between Gibbs and the network correspondents, but suggested that the press was increasingly "anachronistic" and irrelevant and Gibbs' job was "less lofty" than it used to be:
On the front of Sunday's Washington Post, Supreme Court reporter Robert Barnes unfurled the first liberal spin line of the battle over a new Supreme Court justice: that there's no way whoever Obama nominates will be more liberal than retiring John Paul Stevens. Barnes said "almost certainly" the court will be more conservative after Obama's second nominee is confirmed.
Can anyone imagine the media buying that spin for a second after, say, Chief Justice Rehnquist passed away? Oh, Bush can't possibly make the court more conservative. "Almost certainly," the court will be more liberal now.
Barnes completely accepted Justice Stevens laying down a marker for his half of the court, and made it the newspaper's own front-page spin:
CNN anchor Don Lemon subbed in for Rick Sanchez on the program Rick's List on Friday, and he worked hard to be as obnoxious as Sanchez in charging that right-wing rhetoric is out of control. In an interview with former GOP congressman J.C. Watts, Lemon asked him to offer "words of wisdom or caution" to Republicans.
When Watts insisted both sides do it, Lemon insisted "we have seen it on the Republican and the conservative side much, much more than on the Democratic side. The name calling in groups, with signs, calling people, you know, epithets, comparing them to Hitler. We've seen it much more from the conservatives, from the tea party movement."
Once again, a CNN anchor completely forgets the way they handled Bush-as-Hitler-with-horns protests on the left -- as fair comment, as a "Bush look-alike."
Washington Post ombudsman Andrew Alexander called for more investigation of Democrats' allegations of racial slurs from Tea Party protesters on Capitol Hill, even noting Andrew Breitbart's $100,000 challenge for evidence. He concluded his Sunday column:
Breitbart's $100,000 challenge may be publicity-seeking theater. But it's part of widespread conservative claims that mainstream media, including The Post, swallowed a huge fabrication. The incidents are weeks old, but it's worth assigning Post reporters to find the truth. After all, a civil rights legend is being called a liar. That aside, there's serious money at stake.
Alexander explored three different claims. The claim that Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was purposely spat upon looked shaky to him, and he said the Post overplayed it: