As Noel Sheppard noted, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and Comedy Central host Stephen Colbert interviewed each other on their respective shows. In a gag confirmed by a Fox News spokesman, Stephen Colbert stole the microwave from the Fox News "green room" after he appeared on the "O'Reilly Factor."
Said Colbert on his own show, displaying the plunder from the fraternity prank:
"When two such powerful figures meet on two such powerful programs, the world stands still. The moment Papa Bear and I shook hands, the Evil Doers were set back twenty years. That's why I am placing on my bookshelf tonight this microwave oven that I stole from the O'Reilly Factor green room, when I was over there. Honest to God. One can only imagine what might have been warmed in this mighty chamber. Maybe Sean Hannity nuking a hot pocket. Maybe Alan Colmes reheating his mug of gruel. Or Steve Deucy softening a banana so he feed it to a chimp in a top hat. There it is, the memento of a magical evening preserved forever on this DVD."
As long as it's not about violence in Iraq, the AP is willing to issue corrections, and in big letters.
Says the "new" caption:
Colombian soldiers escort former Colombian cabinet minister Fernando Araujo, with his arms up, as they arrive at a military base in Cartagena, Colombia, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. Fernando Araujo escaped from six years in rebel captivity by fleeing through the jungle for five days after troops attacked the guerrillas who held him, he said Friday.(AP Photo/Ricardo Maldonado)
Washington Post media writer Tom Shales noticed how CBS introduced yesterday's Bush speech, but said it was only a "regularly scheduled program."
CBS viewers, especially those who are always suspecting the network of tilting left, may have been jolted by the recorded announcement played during the closing credits of "Armed & Famous," the show that preceded the president's speech on the network. Said an announcer: " 'Criminal Minds' is next, here on CBS."
That, of course, was the regularly scheduled program, the one to which CBS rushed back at about 9:29.
Here are how the Big Three networks introduced Bush's Speech (HT TV Newser):
With reporters declaring that yesterday's Bush Iraq speech was "the most important speech in the president's career," Fox News' Sean Hannity reminded people that the opposition Democratic party has to put foward an alternative view as well. According to TV Newser:
Throughout MSNBC's day of "Iraq: What's Next?" coverage, a countdown clock appeared in the lower right corner of the screen, ticking down to President Bush's speech. So at the top of a special 10pm edition of Hannity & Colmes, FNC's Sean Hannity placed his own clock on the screen, titled "What's Their Plan?" He said:
"The left wing media spent most of the day counting the hours to which they called the most important speech in the president's career. We will count the time since the president's speech and and wait for a Democratic alternative." He added: "Our clock is officially clicking on the Democratic leadership and their rhetoric."
The Associated Press crowed on Jan. 4 that their controversial source "Jamil Hussein" did indeed exist, as it announced:
Ministry spokesman Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, who had previously denied there was any such police employee as Capt. Jamil Hussein, said in an interview that Hussein is an officer assigned to the Khadra police station, as had been reported by The Associated Press.
I've been in touch with Bill Costlow (the CPATT (Civilian Police Assistance Training Team) representative) since he has been back in-country and I have a few interesting developments on this story.
Despite the AP's claim that a Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf had confirmed Hussein's existance:
Brig. Abdul-Karim Khalaf never acknowledged that there was a Capt. Jamil Hussein assigned to the Khadra station, he confirmed to the AP that there was a Capt. Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim assigned there. Apparently he is the source for the AP even though he still, to this day (according to Bill Costlow), denies being the source.
Possible candidates for "Captain Jamil Hussein": Jamil Gholaiem Hussein, Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim, Jamil Ghdaab Ghulaim, or indeed Jamil Hussein, but not as a police captain, but instead as a Sergeant.
A little bit of "Hussein" here, a shade of "Gulaim" there... When you are
never obligated to prove your claims, why not throw in a little
"Gholaiem" as well?
It should be clear from all of this that AP writers are merely story painters, with palettes as large as the earth itself. A painting can be made, or a "trend" created, out of stringing together facts from any set of random people in the world. If you wanted to write a story claiming the 1920s-era flapper style is now all the rage, a shade of "teenager Sarah Wilson likes flapper clothes" here, a touch of "fashion watchers are observing..." there, and you've made a whole new painting out of shoddy-at-best sources, ones you'll likely never have to verify. In the process, you've just proven the existence of the biggest thing to hit the fashion world since blue jeans.
Michelle Malkin has the latest on efforts to identify the mysterious "Captain Jamil Hussein," the "source" the AP claimed as an authority figure for a number of reports out of Iraq, including the apocryphal November story that claimed "Shiite militiamen grabbed six Sunnis as they left Friday worship services, doused them with kerosene and burned them alive."
As Malkin reports, the AP itself isn't being very cooperative in trying to follow up on new leads.
Yesterday, I contacted the AP about the "Jamil Hussein"/Jamil Ghdaab Gulaim/Ghulaim findings and asked these simple questions:
The Boston Herald reports that hundreds of journalists hungry for advancement have sent in resumés to become Bob Woodward's assistant. Making up facts to fit a preestablished narrative a plus. Also, like Mark Felt, you have to do all the work but give all the credit to Woodward.
Last October, Dante Chinni wrote in the Christian Science Monitor that Bob Woodward has an uncanny knack for finding quotes to match any narrative, even if it contradicts one of his earlier narratives.
You may not be Carl Bernstein, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work with Bob Woodward.
The legendary journalist is currently looking for a new assistant and took the unusual step of advertising on Web sites like journalismjobs.com.
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is well known for bashing those who bash Islam or those who associate it with terrorism. Now they are attacking conservative columnist and radio talker Dennis Prager. Reports the AP:
An Islamic civil rights group wants a columnist removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council for criticizing Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in next month.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that comments by Dennis Prager, a columnist and conservative talk radio host, displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him inappropriate to serve on the council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Channel 4, a TV station seen all across England, has decided to embrace the country's coming Islamification. Reports the Daily Mail:
Channel 4 is to reignite controversy over the wearing of the veil - by featuring a Muslim woman in full niqab giving the broadcaster's alternative Christmas message.
The woman, today named only as Khadija and said to be a lecturer in Islamic studies, will go head-to-head with the Queen when she gives her annual speech to the nation on 25 December.
Producers are said to have "discovered" her after a month-long search for a suitable candidate.
A spokesman for the channel added: "We felt it fitting that Channel 4's alternative Christmas message should be given by a Muslim woman in a year when issues of religious and racial identity and freedom of expression have dominated the news agenda.
Yahoo News and Reuters want regular people to send them photos from their personal devices. This way, terrorists don't have to merely give propaganda to journalists in Iraq, they can send it directly to the editors back home. Reports the New York Times:
Hoping to turn the millions of people with digital cameras and camera phones into photojournalists, Yahoo and Reuters are introducing an effort to showcase photographs and video of news events submitted by the public.
Starting Tuesday, the photos and videos submitted will be placed throughout Reuters.com and Yahoo News, the most popular news Web site in the United States, according to comScore MediaMetrix.
Reuters said it would also start to distribute some of the submissions next year to the thousands of print, online and broadcast media outlets that subscribe to its news service. Reuters said it hoped to develop a service devoted entirely to user-submitted photographs and video.
The Iraq government has set up an agency to monitor false news coming out of Iraq. After the Associated Press used a government source that doesn't exist, the government wants to make sure the AP and other media outlets cannot get away with similar fraudulent activity. Reports the UK Guardian.
Iraq's interior ministry has formed a press monitoring unit in response to what it described as "fabricated and false news" that misrepresents the country's security situation.
Singling out the Associated Press for criticism, spokesman Brigadier General Abdul-Karim Khalaf said yesterday that dedicated unit would monitor news coverage and even initiate legal action if journalists do not correct stories it believes to be incorrect.
It should be no surprise that journalists are making up facts when up-and-coming journalists cheat on tests about that very subject, ethics. Says the New York Times:
Cheating is not unheard of on university campuses. But cheating on an open-book, take-home exam in a pass-fail course seems odd, and all the more so in a course about ethics.
Yet Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism is looking into whether students may have cheated on the final exam in just such a course, “Critical Issues in Journalism.” According to the school’s Web site, the course “explores the social role of journalism and the journalist from legal, historical, ethical, and economic perspectives,” with a focus on ethics.
The New York Post is reporting that sales of the seventh season of "Seinfeld" on DVD are 75 percent higher than lasts year's sale of season six. According to this pattern, a media dressing down should also help sales of Mel Gibson's new "Apocalypto."
Season 7 of the popular sitcom is outselling the Season 6 set (released on the same day last year) by more than 75 percent, and more than 90 percent over season 5 at some online DVD retailers, according to TMZ.com.
On Barnes and Nobel's Web site, the DVD set is the sixth-best selling and Amazon ranks it in 12th place.
Yesterday John Gibson, host of "The Big Story" on Fox News, wondered if a national TV network, NBC, should make the country's foreign policy.
Let me introduce you to somebody. His name is Robert Wright. He is the chairman of the NBC television network, which is actually a few networks including CNBC and MSNBC. In essence, he runs those networks.
Since I used to work over there and know Mr. Wright and know how things work somewhat, I am confident I am right when I say Bob Wright decided, or at least approved, NBC's policy to refer to whatever it is that is now going on in Iraq as a civil war.
The Pentagon doesn't think so. The White House doesn't think so. Even CBS Evening News Executive Producer Rome Hartman said he thought NBC's decision wasn't so much a news judgment as a political judgment.
Staffers for the Washington Post are now being graded, in an attempt to make those in the newsroom feel the same pressure as those in the boardroom. The grading options: “frequently exceeds expectations,” “sometimes exceeds expectations,” “meets expectations,” “sometimes fails to meet expectations,” or “frequently does not meet expectations.”
Unfortunately, there are no options for "somewhat biased," "hideously biased," or "Pelosi's press agent biased."
“I initiated this because we’ve had complaints over the years from reporters who would be evaluated and feel that their evaluations were inconclusive,” said Peter Perl, assistant managing editor for training and career development.
The other networks are not quite ready to jump on NBC's "civil war" bandwagon. "Secretary of State Matt Lauer" (according to Howard Kurtz) and other NBC reporters have decided to declare the situation in Iraq a civil war, a move that is praised by some in the MSM and denounced by others. Reports the New York Observer:
“It was their decision to make and their process,” said Jon Banner, the executive producer of ABC’s World News. “We constantly discuss editorial matters here—all the time, every day. How that decision got made there I have no idea, nor do I want to guess.”
“To be honest with you, I think it’s a political statement, not a news judgment,” said Rome Hartman, the executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “We deal with the events of the day, and we decide the best way to describe those events based on the news of the day, not by—never mind, I’m not gonna go there.”
Then he did.
The news that six Sunnis were captured by Shiites, doused with kerosine and burned alive, was too sensational to not be picked up by the mainstream media. But it turns out that the event never happened. Furthermore, the Iraqi "spokesman" relied on to give all information regarding this event is as fictional as the story itself.
Jamil Hussein, the man news reports called "police Capt. Jamil Hussein," was the source for all information regarding the burning. Although he is mentioned by USA Today, the Associated Press, CBS News, and other outlets, Central Command says no such person exists. Centcom also asked the Associated Press to retract the story unless it has proof beyond Jamil Hussein's word.
Flopping Aces has a press release from Centcom, which is in charge of all U.S. forces in the Middle East.
Dear Associated Press:
Nov. 24, 2006, your organization published an article by Qais Al-Bashir
about six Sunnis being burned alive in the presence of Iraqi Police
officers. This news item, which is below, received an enormous amount
of coverage internationally.
Taking a cue from Bill Clinton, Dem. Congressman Barney Frank bashed Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on the air, and denounced Fox News as "substantially worse" than the other networks. Reports the New York Sun:
"I've got to say, Chris, you have an odd view of balance," Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts told the host of "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace. "I am struck by the tenor of your questions. You advertise this as giving us a chance to talk about what we're going to do, but everything is aimed at trying to put us in a kind of a bad light and look at the most controversial and not very representative things that we plan to do," Mr. Frank said.
The congressman objected to Mr. Wallace's questioning at four different points during the segment, which featured three soon-to-be chairmen of powerful committees, Rep. Charles Rangel of Manhattan and Queens, Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, and Mr. Frank.
Michelle Malkin writes in her syndicated column that journalists complain about "the Bush administration for stifling its free speech, endless court filings demanding classified and sensitive information from the military and intelligence agencies, and self-pitying media industry confabs bemoaning their hemorrhaging circulations."
But this is nothing compared to what other countries' journalists face.
Give thanks we don't live in Bangladesh, where you can be put on trial for writing columns supporting Israel and condemning Muslim violence....
Give thanks we don't live in Egypt, where bloggers have been detained by the government for criticizing Islam and exposing the apathy of Cairo police to sexual harassment of women...
Last Thursday I noted an I Want Media vote about who should be the 2006 Media Person of the Year. I asked for nominations for our own tally, and now that the choices are in, you can vote for who you think most impacted the media/country in the last year.
The choices: Al Franken, Katie Couric, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, George Allen and Mark Foley, Tony Snow, Chris Wallace, Washington Post, Green Helmet Guy, and the Media.
If you have a "write in" candidate, include it in the comments section. Sorry, you can only vote once, this not being a Democratic primary.
It seems like CNN (and not Fox News) is on every public TV. But one hotel chain has decided that the liberal news network crossed the line when it showed a terrorist video. Reports the AP:
A Midwest hotel chain has pulled CNN from the TV channel lineup in its guest rooms, saying the cable network was aiding terrorism with the broadcast of a video showing Iraqi snipers shooting at U.S. troops.
The broadcast, which aired Oct. 18 on CNN and CNN Headline News, featured portions of a tape the network said it obtained from a rebel group, Islamic Army of Iraq.
It crossed the line from journalism to propaganda, said James Thompson, president of Iowa-based Stoney Creek Hospitality Corp. ''It was shocking and repulsive,'' he said. ''Their actions supported terrorism.''
Media blog I Want Media is taking nominations for Media Person of the Year. Last year it was Anderson Cooper. Who do our NewsBusters readers think should be the Media Person of the year?
Forget Time magazine's Person of the Year. Who should be named Media Person of the Year in I Want Media's fifth annual online poll?
Which figure in the media industry inspired the most debate, sparked the most interest, left a lasting imprint?
An influential media CEO ... a crusading journalist ... a ground-breaking blogger? Here's an opportunity to take a look back at the year in media through some of its leading (and sometimes over-the-top) personalities.
Include a brief explanation as to why the person you nominate deserves to be recognized. Your comments may be posted on the site.
Al Jazeera English launches today, but the fledgling cable network is having trouble finding U.S. cable providers who are willing to carry it. According to the New York Sun:
The long-delayed sister channel to Al-Jazeera is set to make its debut this morning, but the new network's ability to build an audience in America is in doubt because major cable and satellite providers here have declined to carry the new television offering.
The new network — which, in a last-minute move, has apparently changed its name from Al-Jazeera International to Al-Jazeera English — announced its distribution outlets yesterday and proclaimed that it will have access to between 70 million and 80 million homes worldwide. However, in America, no cable operators have reported plans to carry the Qatar-based channel, and the two largest satellite providers have also opted out. Al-Jazeera English will be available through the Internet and a satellite company specializing in international television feeds.
Jack Shafer writes in Slate that the media are trying to sweeten up their relationship with the presumed new House speaker, Nancy Pelosi. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal are slathering "calculated praise" on the Democratic leader.
The Washington press is already ladling the sugar on Nancy Pelosi, and she's hasn't even been crowned speaker of the House yet. Yesterday's (Nov. 9) Page One story in the Wall Street Journal painted the presumptive speaker in such a thick coat of butter-cream frosting that I scarcely recognized her. Strategically placed after the jump to reduce professional embarrassment, Neil King Jr., Yochi J. Dreazen, and Greg Jaffe canonized their subject, writing:
Much as the president freely speaks of his conservative evangelical faith, Mrs. Pelosi reflects a Catholic sense of social justice when it comes to aiding the poor and disabled, and frets about missing Mass on hectic weekends.
Framing Pelosi's redistributionist views as an extension of her Catholic sense of social justice neatly removes her from the New Deal compost pile from which her political career blossomed. Pelosi's father, Thomas "Old Tommy" D'Alesandro, was a Baltimore political hack who held every office—state delegate, city council, member of Congress, mayor—but dogcatcher.
Acting "more like Pelosi's press secretary than a skeptical reporter," Washington Post reporter Lynne Duke says:
Theirs was the politics of the New Deal, of the hand up for those who were down.
"It was always about the progressive economic agenda for a fair economy, where many Americans, all Americans, could participate in the economic success of our country," Pelosi said yesterday when asked about the influence of her family's politics on her own.
The Palm Beach Post today urged a Florida election official to move more strongly on the case of columnist Ann Coulter's alleged voting fraud. And the Post editorial criticized Coulter's behavior.
"Coulter, who specializes in tirades against Democrats and others whom she considers unpatriotic, voted in the wrong Palm Beach precinct during the town's February election," the editorial stated. "As a result, Supervisor of Elections Arthur Anderson had a chance to show the public that even celebrities aren't above the law. Instead, he has made a halfhearted attempt to turn the matter over to the state attorney's office.
Like today's election, British writer Christopher Hitchens says in The Times that the media spun what issues were important for the 1960 election. Despite the raging Cold War, the media determined that the most important issue was "Nixon’s unshaven jowls as exposed in the first televised debate."
It has been a quarter of a century since I moved to the United States but now it comes back to me how I used to resent the way in which Americans made up their minds. In the first election I was able to follow — the Nixon-Kennedy race in 1960 — there were American nuclear bases in Britain, and great American decisions to be taken about free trade and other matters that affected us all directly. Yet from the American press I learnt that the whole thing hinged on Nixon’s unshaven jowls as exposed in the first televised debate.
These days I spend a good deal of my time defending my adopted country from what I have to call anti-American attitudes, many of them based on what seem to me a mixture of envy and ignorance. But, yes, I tell the BBC man when he finally calls back, there is quite a lot of argument this fall about whether or not American schoolchildren should be exposed to the ideas first promulgated by Charles Darwin in the mid-Victorian epoch. Indeed, the subject has begun to open a split in the Republican Party, as well as between it and its critics. There is a brief silence on the line.