The McCain campaign went looking for a major anchor to be awarded the blessing and the curse of the first Sarah Palin interview -- a blessing for ratings and a curse from all the competitors who would accuse the winners of being soft on Republicans. At CBS, Katie Couric had wallowed in fan-club-president questions to Hillary Clinton about her "pure stamina," so she couldn’t be first. NBC's Brian Williams kept asking Barack Obama those hardballs about how his late mother would swoon over the latest glowingly positive "news" magazine cover. How hard was it to pick Charlie Gibson on ABC?
Of the three anchors, Gibson is the one with the longest career in the hard-news trenches. The McCain people knew Gibson was not a "friendly." They knew Palin's first interview was going to be a grilling -- not just because the media saw her as untested, but because of the enormous liberal-media peer pressure to puncture her popularity.
It's not unlike the attitude that greeted conservative Gov. John Sununu of New Hampshire when he came to Washington to be Bush 41's chief of staff in 1989. Ben Bradlee, then the executive editor of The Washington Post, offered the Los Angeles Times his less-than-humble opinion: "A jack-leg Governor from a horse's ass state. How could he play with us in the big leagues?"
Seven years ago America was attacked. Thousands of innocents were murdered. As a nation we were first stunned, then saddened, and then angered, united as we hadn’t been for half a century, committed in a common purpose to fight back and defeat what was now a national enemy. There were many heroes that day. We honored them all then, and today we honor them again.
The mission of the Media Research Center is to document, expose and neutralize liberal media bias. We do so relentlessly. But if our mission is to take to task those who err in their roles as news journalists, we are also honor-bound to recognize their efforts when they excel in their profession. On 9-11-01, and in the days that followed, we saw the American news media at their finest. Several months after this horrific event, during the MRC’s Annual Gala in Washington DC, we unveiled a video tribute to these men and women, recognizing their excellence, and thanking them for it.
It is fitting that today, on the seventh anniversary of 9-11, that we release this video again, with our gratitude.
The executive suite at MSNBC is the last hardened corner of America to concede that maybe Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews are nowhere close to the textbook definition of detached, "straight news" anchor. Their decision to abandon what was tenderly called their anchoring "experiment" only acknowledges that the idea was a bust: MSNBC was regularly coming in dead last among the commercial cable-news and broadcast-news network covering the conventions.
NBC News is coming to the realization that Olbermann and Matthews aren’t only suppressing MSNBC’s ratings on election and convention nights, they’re ruining whatever credibility NBC’s brand retained. When the boos really kicked in during Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech in St. Paul, the delegates started chanting "NBC! NBC!" as the foremost example of partisan excess from an "objective" source. It’s gotten so bad that old NBC war horse Tom Brokaw is decrying how these men have "gone too far." This is shocking stuff coming from an anchorman who gave a Reagan-trashing interview to Mother Jones magazine in his Eighties heyday.
When MSNBC’s Chris Matthews suggested in Denver that Barack Obama earned his present elevation in American politics, unlike "showcase appointments" like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, he reminded the world of the peculiarity of liberalism. John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate underlined it. Liberals find no joy when Republicans select women or minorities for top positions. They are all fraudulent traitors to their own apparent group interests. Conservative blacks aren’t really black. Conservative Latinos aren’t really Latino. Now, conservative women are somehow not really women.
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift spoke for her colleagues on the Palin selection: "If the media reaction is anything, it's been literally laughter in many places...In very, very many newsrooms."
What a disgraceful display of media malice in response to the Gov. Palin announcement. The Governor is a remarkable, genteel and upstanding woman, yet the press went right into the gutter in response to Sen. McCain's selection of her to be Vice President.
These alleged journalists are again demonstrating what utter charlatans they are. Every day they lecture conservatives about ‘mean-spirited' politics, yet they spent the entire Labor Day weekend using Gov. Palin's new born son's condition to try to score cheap and shoddy Democratic campaign points. And continued right on doing so when the Palin family announced that their oldest daughter Bristol was pregnant.
These are not reporters, these are hypocritical left-wing advocates using their First Amendment rights as clubs to bludgeon and abuse this fine woman with the lowliest attacks they can drum up.
The line between the liberal media and the Democratic Party has now been crossed so many times it is no longer blurred, it is obliterated.
Barack Obama's campaign has been seriously frightened by John McCain celebrity-mocking ads. Those celebrities were virtually nowhere to be found for most of the Denver convention. While the Obama machine may control the inside of the convention, outside these celebrities are clearly out of control – again.
That overbaked tart Madonna kicked off her latest concert tour with a fairly typical attempt to put her Kung Fu grip on media attention by signaling her preferences in the presidential race. In her first concert in London – the same city where the Dixie Chicks professed their shame for being geographically associated with Bush – Madonna performed a song titled "Give It 2 Me" with a video screen flashing images behind her.
First came John McCain's picture – alongside images of Adolf Hitler, Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe, environmental ruin, and starving children. (She also included Mike Huckabee in that odd hall of shame.) Then came the Obama segment, and the Democrat was surrounded by images of Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, John Lennon, and Al Gore.
For two years now, we’ve heard Barack Obama’s media allies telling us how he was a somehow Not A Politician, that he was the pragmatic soul of civility who was "uniquely qualified to nudge the country toward the color purple." (So said Newsweek.) If that myth hadn’t died under tons of weight to the contrary by now, it certainly should have expired in Springfield, Illinois when he selected Joe Biden as his running mate. The Democratic hatchet men were unleashed.
Obama brought the D-word to the table: the Republicans are a "disaster." The country could not suffer through "Four more years of the same out of touch policies that created an economic disaster at home. A disastrous foreign policy abroad. Four more years of the same divisive politics that's all about tearing people down instead of lifting the country up."
When Sen. John Kerry arrived in Boston for the last Democratic convention, the TV news stars thought they’d died and gone to political heaven. Dan Rather said Kerry’s speech drove the crowd in Boston into “a three-thousand-gallon attack about every three minutes,” and Newsweek’s Jon Meacham was comparing Kerry to Abraham Lincoln on MSNBC. If media liberals can get that excited over Kerry, viewers may have to worry about the anchors lapsing into diabetic comas over Barack Obama’s ascension convention in Denver.
It’s easy to forget just how “tick tight,” as Rather once put it, the primary race was between Obama and Hillary Clinton. It ended up with a vote gap of just one tenth of a percentage point. The real difference-maker in the 2008 race was the Obama favoritism of the national media, led by the television networks. It was his margin of victory.
Hollywood is always reminding us of its rosy vision of the future where there are absolutely no limits to sexual adventurism and gender confusion. Seldom is heard a discouraging word about the next new frontier of tolerance. "If it feels good, do it" isn’t merely a T-shirt slogan. In California, it should become the state motto, and might soon sound like a new pledge of allegiance – one utopia, casting aside any moral compass, finding liberty and justice in applauding every perversion.
On television, it’s become almost blase to place a reality show in the fashion world that merely features gay men with pink hair and cross-dressing judges. The CW network show "America’s Next Top Model" has now gone through ten seasons of "top models." So to freshen up the concept, hostess Tyra Banks announced that for the fall season, one of the girls will be a man – or, to use the politically correct term, a "transgender."
You know there are some in the liberal media who have simply lost touch with reality when the headline reads "John Edwards Cheats on Wife With Cancer" and they ask with great detachment whether he'll be able to run for office again soon. These people's morality is so bizarre that they showed more outrage at John McCain featuring a picture of Paris Hilton in a commercial for two eye-blinks than for Edwards catting around on a dying spouse.
For months (and more hotly in the last two weeks), the National Enquirer has been trickling out the goods they collected on John Edwards having an affair and possibly a love child with campaign aide Rielle Hunter, staking out Edwards in a California hotel – and how he hid in the bathroom to avoid them.
There's a quick campaign ad on the two parties in a nutshell. Republican George Bush took on Osama bin Laden and took out Saddam Hussein. Democrat John Edwards hides in a bathroom from the tabloids.
Newsweek’s love for Barack Obama knows no bounds. After Obama’s speech in Berlin, Newsweek published a headline that suggests an editor who’s spent six days drunk on a merry-go-round: "Obama’s Reagan Moment." That deserves the Lloyd Bentsen retort: "I knew Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan was a friend of mine. Barack Obama is no Ronald Reagan."
The Newsweek piece sneered that while Obama and John Kennedy spoke to more than a hundred thousand people, Reagan spoke to a much smaller audience, "only about 20,000," and they were outnumbered by leftist protesters the night before. They recalled, "Even some of Reagan’s aides were embarrassed by the ‘tear down this wall’ line thinking it was too provocative or grandiose." Newsweek would concede only that "Reagan understood stagecraft," and communism’s fall "made his words prescient."
In other words, the Gipper was a showboat who got lucky.
John McCain has figured out that one way to build enthusiasm among conservatives is to confront his former best friends in the liberal media. As the media glorify Barack Obama the "statesman" on his trip abroad, with the three network anchors lining up for interviews like a gaggle of smitten fan-club presidents, the McCain campaign suddenly acquired a surprising "Annoy The Media" flavor.
Like many Obama-loving press outlets, Newsweek has reported that McCain’s campaign is struggling against an Obama crusade that seems "blessed by destiny." This spin is maddening. The Obama campaign has been blessed by a media that arrogantly aspires to be the manufacturers of our destiny, and make history by beating the electorate senseless with glowing Obama coverage.
McCain is learning that the best way to fight the "destiny" makers is to take them on directly. The Drudge Report revealed that after The New York Times published an op-ed by Obama on July 14 laying out his thoughts on Iraq, McCain submitted an op-ed in reply. But the Times rejected it. David Shipley, the deputy editorial page editor, suggested that McCain’s article wasn’t constructive enough to publish.
In the groves of academe, studying popular culture is often the preserve of nutty left-wing professors performing exotic Marxist autopsies on the imperialist dynamics of Donald Duck comic books. Academic conservatives are teaching and writing about Homer the Greek poet, not the cartoon, which is important but oftentimes leaves their audience without a learned guide to analyze the themes of our modern culture.
Fortunately, there is Thomas Hibbs, a professor of ethics and culture at Baylor University – and a film critic for National Review Online. Earlier this year, the Spence Publishing folks in Dallas published a valuable and fascinating book by the professor called "Arts of Darkness: American Noir and the Quest for Redemption."
The news of Tony Snow’s death wasn’t wholly unexpected, but it’s still devastating. Tony was a man brimming with optimism and you just felt that if anyone could beat this cancer, he could do it. He was an absolute professional in his craft and always, always a gentleman.
The conservative movement is diminished today and anyone who knew him is heartbroken for his wife, Jill, and his three children Kendall, Robbie, and Kristi.
Conservatives across America mourned at the news of the death of Senator Jesse Helms, a man credited with impeccable conservative credentials in the U.S. Senate, a conscience of a movement devoted to the defeat of communism abroad and the defense of liberty at home. He was the staunchest of social conservatives as well, unflinching in his opposition to the abortion lobby and the gay agenda.
To liberals he was "Senator No," which meant only that he would strongly oppose everything they wanted to impose on America. Their badly disguised loathing of Helms, well-expressed over the decades, only endeared him to conservatives all the more.
Jesse Helms relished that opposition. In 1990, the media declared him politically dead, his re-election an utter impossibility. On election night, a thousand cheering supporters were made to wait before their man finally emerged to declare victory, 20 minutes late. He opened his remarks by apologizing for his tardiness. "Ah was up in mah room," he explained, "ah had to watch the grievin’ face of Dan Rathuh when he had to say we’d won agin." The crowd went wild.
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy reported last month that a teenager who has been depressed in the past year was more than twice as likely to have used marijuana than teenagers who have not reported being depressed (25 percent compared with 12 percent). The study said marijuana use increased the risk of developing mental disorders by 40 percent. So much for the "harmless" nature of pot.
There are more worrisome statistics still. The 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that among Americans age 12 and older there were 14.8 million current users of marijuana and 4.2 million Americans classified with dependency or abuse of marijuana. Addiction is a real threat. Another 2006 report found 16.1 percent of drug treatment admissions were for marijuana as the primary drug of abuse. This compares to six percent in 1992.
There surely are multiple reasons to explain the increasing use of this drug. But one reason for the trend is surely its glamorization by Hollywood, which thinks marijuana is a fun-and-games subject.
In the thick of the fight over the wrong Reverend Wright, Barack Obama put on his annoyed face and said the whole issue of his preacher’s hate speech was a distraction from the real issues, like health care and education and war. So many in the media were quick to agree. But now that the primaries are over, the network news crews aren’t covering the issues. They’re warbling a happy tune about all of Barack and Michelle Obama’s wonderful personal qualities.
Think of all the inane stories designed to boost the picture of Obama being loaded with charisma and momentum. All “news” that is good is presented with great enthusiasm – like the utterly unsurprising and uninspiring endorsement by Al Gore. All news that is bad is buried -- or if that seems too obvious, it’s mentioned briefly and then killed and buried.
Everyone loves a person who makes you laugh, and you naturally mourn when a comedian passes away. George Carlin made a lot of people laugh with his observational humor, and we’re saddened by the loss. But the media appreciations of Carlin hailed him for his daring in “crossing the line” of good taste. This was not something to be celebrated.
The nation’s top newspapers added some depth. Paul Farhi in The Washington Post noted two Carlin comic personalities. There was Gentle George, the absurdist who made fun of language, even the sound of words like “yogurt.” He was riotous fun. Then came Angry George, the one who “sprayed comic acid on whatever moved across the front page.”
The general election season is under way, and the leftists are already displaying their hypocrisy. They’ve launched pre-emptive warnings against a Republican "swiftboating" of Barack Obama at the same time they’re making up wild allegations about the villainous ultraconservative plots against goodness planned by John McCain. The supposed civility police in the media are emphasizing the Obama warnings of a right-wing onslaught, but not the nasty leftist attacks on McCain. Once again, Republicans are painted as the agents of character assassination, while Democrats are angels whose style is sweet civility and whose substance is the refreshing truth.
Obama’s campaign is putting up its dukes with a new website called "Fight the Smears." It’s topped by an inspirational quote from Obama’s June 3 victory speech. "What you won’t hear from this campaign or this party is the kind of politics that uses religion as a wedge or patriotism as a bludgeon." In the words of the Almighty Barack, Team Obama pledges to steer clear of negative personal attacks, and avoid seeing their opponents "not as competitors to challenge, but enemies to demonize. Because we may call ourselves Democrats and Republicans, but we are Americans first. We are always Americans first."
The day after Al Gore endorsed Barack Obama in Detroit, MSNBC kept repeating the allegedly big news with the on-air question "Will Gore Help or Hurt Obama?" Left out of that question: Who cares? Does Gore’s endorsement matter at all?
Pundits usually declare in today’s media-saturated world that endorsements from major politicians or movie stars just don’t have much impact. A Who’s Who of the Beautiful People in Hollywood endorsed and actively campaigned for John Kerry – and had no impact.
With Al Gore it’s the same thing. He doesn’t bring a single vote Obama doesn’t already have. He could have participated in the process but he waited until the primary challenge from Hillary was over. Now he supports Obama. Where in the world is the news there?
(Editor's note: this column was syndicated on Friday.)
It’s axiomatic that people who’ve disgraced themselves are the last to realize it, or maybe the first to pretend they don’t know. Take longtime CBS anchorman Dan Rather, who shredded his own reputation by smearing President Bush’s military service with phony documents.
He’s still at it, still in shameless self-denial, raging against the world, still pontificating about that which he has no standing to speak about: Journalism ethics. On June 7, he mounted a soapbox at a far-left event in Minneapolis called the "National Conference for Media Reform," perhaps the last and perhaps the best forum interested in his opinion.
In front of this fervent group of leftists, Rather tried to put on Superman’s cape and pledge to push back against the evil forces "that imperil journalism…and impair democracy itself." In Rather’s vision, blatantly biased reporting is not only what passes for "journalism," it is the lifeblood of democracy. Dismiss Dan Rather for a lack of professionalism, and suddenly, you’re part of the corporate media vast right-wing conspiracy against Jeffersonian ideals.
Feminism has been a very disgraced brand for decades. The final nail was placed in the coffin when feminists tried so athletically to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil with Bill Clinton’s record of serial adultery, sexual harassment, and even a credible accusation of rape. But now that Hillary Clinton has finally conceded to Barack Obama, the media elites have suddenly discovered the glorious and militant cause of women.
Hillary Clinton’s failure wasn’t her fault. It was sexism that ruined her chances.
Feminists have blamed everyone for this crushing burden of sexism. It’s most fun watching them savage the press, the amazing thing being that the media just play along, as if they deserve it, with self-loathing males like CBS’s Harry Smith sitting in their studio chairs cheering them on. "Talk from your gut," Smith urged to ex-Congresswoman Patsy Schroeder, to which she responded as if afflicted by rhetorical rabies, as well as historical hysteria: "It was like they made a witch out of her, some people! You know, we thought the Salem witch trials were over!"
For conservatives who would like to think the whole government should be handed over to the liberals for a few years until the Reagan wing of the Republican Party can get its act together, a quick look at a monstrosity under consideration by Congress is in order. Liberal Democrats and "green" Republicans are proposing a massive reorganization of the American economy to fight so-called global warming. Worse yet, proponents of this bill are attempting to sell this eco-socialism as a "market-based" policy, and their allies in the national media are going along with the charade.
For decades now, the media have shoved down our throats the idea that Planet Earth is in grave peril of catastrophic global warming. Now that Washington’s elites feel confident that everyone from McCain to Obama agrees that doom is imminent, it’s time to push something they call "cap and trade." Put an emphasis on the "cap." That means that the federal government is aspiring to dictate for every individual and business in America the absolutely perfect level of carbon-dioxide emissions. Once the government mandates how much emission will be allowed, then it will allow the public to "trade" on the rights that remain.
That sleazy yet hallowed HBO television series "Sex and the City" is now in theaters as a feature film, and the cultural elites are having a religious experience. Newsweek previewed the movie by reporting how an estimated 50,000 people, some from far-away lands like Australia and Japan, "make the pilgrimage each year to the shrine," the fictional New York City home of "Sex" protagonist Carrie Bradshaw. The magazine chronicled a tour group standing silently, some weeping.
Am I the only one who thinks that those estimated 50,000 people out there make the Trekkies look sane by comparison? But Newsweek seems to lament how the movie isn’t outrageous enough. The headline is "Girls Gone Mild," and the trailer is all about our protagonist getting married – maybe. Writer Julia Baird was amazed at "how many people speak of it in hyperbolic terms: as a revolution, a phenomenon, a cataclysm, almost an insurgency."
Imagine that John McCain named a young running mate to campaign with him, and this national rookie suggested America had 58 states, repeatedly used the wrong names for the cities he was visiting, and honored a Memorial Day crowd by acknowledging the "fallen heroes" who were present, somehow alive and standing in the audience. How long would it take for the national media to see another Dan Quayle caricature? Let’s raise the stakes. What if it was the GOP presidential candidate making these thoroughly ridiculous comments? This scenario is very real, except it isn’t McCain. It’s the other fellow.
ABC reporter Jake Tapper follows politicians around for a living. On his blog, he suggested Barack Obama has a problem: "The man has been a one-man gaffe machine."
At the dawn of the Democratic primary race between Barack and Hillary, news anchors like ABC’s Diane Sawyer were caught up in the question: Is America more poisoned by racism or sexism? If like ABC, you think the country is still dragging its knuckles in the primordial slime, then the expected primary victory of Obama provides the answer: the country is more sexist.
Hillary’s now playing this card, even including the national media as an accomplice, as the rest of the poker palace is emptying out. Remember how the first President Bush suddenly discovered the "Annoy the Media, Vote Bush" tactic in the last futile days of 1992? Hillary looks just as pathetic trotting out this "Annoy the Media, Vote Hillary" angle in obvious desperation. Yet some in the press are biting. Washington Post reporter Lois Romano interviewed Hillary and asked her if her media coverage didn’t suggest mistreatment of women. Romano suggested "I get the idea that it's really pissed off a lot of women."
The second film based on the Narnia books, "Prince Caspian," roared like Aslan the lion at the box office in its first weekend, grossing an impressive $56 million in theaters, and supplanting "Iron Man" as the most successful movie in America.
Why the continued success of the "Chronicles of Narnia" films? Time movie reviewer Richard Corliss takes a stab at that question, with a unique angle, comparing "Caspian" to "The Golden Compass," the first movie installment of Philip Pullman’s dark atheist trilogy which viciously attacked God, Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular.
"Narnia" author C. S. Lewis was a fervent Christian theologian. "Compass" creator Pullman proclaimed his books were about "killing God."
In the last presidential election, leftist special interest groups and socialist billionaires like George Soros waged war with an unprecedented tsunami of negative TV attacks on the Republican incumbent, suggesting he was a draft dodger that knowingly lied us into war. Adding fuel to the fire, Hollywood uncorked nasty – and equally distorted -- documentaries like "Fahrenheit 911." The Bush-bashing wave was so big Byron York wrote a whole book about it called "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy." This year, our "objective" media turned their eyes on the November race, but they’re seeing only one negative side of the street – a right-wing conspiracy to lie, cheat, and smear their beloved Barack Obama.
A truly fair and balanced media might foresee a really tough election contest – on both sides. But instead, we have a partisan chorus, whining in four-part harmony. They’re not waiting for Hillary Clinton to discover her Titanic has sunk. They are getting their general-election assault on the "Republican attack machine" under way.
Air America Radio may have tried and failed to use washed-up comedians like Janeane Garofalo and Al Franken to make liberal talk radio work, but their rule seems to be that if first you don't succeed, flop, flop again. When wacky radical Randi Rhodes resigned over a nasty and profane denunciation of Hillary Clinton, Air America replaced her in afternoon drive time with... Roseanne Barr.
And in no time flat Roseanne behaved like Roseanne. On April 28 she suggested leftists should ignite riots at the Democratic convention in Denver. "We should, a bunch of us, go there and repeat the Democratic Convention from Chicago. Like, let's just cause a bunch of trouble!" There's even a leftist group called "Recreate 68" building up the rioting nostalgia.
"Recreate 68" is no joke. It is trying to draw a raucous crowd: "Join us in the streets of Denver as we resist a two-party system that allows imperialism and racism to continue unrestrained." These troublemakers live to get arrested.
The Bill Moyers PBS interview of Barack Obama’s long-time minister, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, underlined once again that our tax dollars don’t fund programs championing racial harmony. They fund programs that celebrate black radicals, militants, and kooks. Moyers came to Rev. Wright’s side not to condemn him or even challenge him, but to praise him and defend him. As he implored Wright to explain his "God damn America" sermon, Wright at least said he was free in America to denounce America. To which Moyers replied: "Well, you can be almost crucified for saying what you've said here in this country."
Bill Moyers wants us to see Jeremiah Wright as the Jesus Christ of our time?