During the 1 p.m. hour of the July 30 edition of MSNBC’s “News Live,” host Andrea Mitchell once again defended Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), this time in regards to Sen. John McCain’s newest TV ad tagging Obama as a celebrity that isn’t ready to lead America. During an interview with the Arizona Republican’s senior policy advisor Nancy Pfotenhauer, Mitchell asked: “Tell me about the ad and the reasoning behind [the ad]. Why Paris Hilton? Why Britney Spears? It does seem that you're trying to demean Barack Obama.”
Later, when Pfotenhauer asserted that McCain has proven he’s a leader and has put his country’s interests first on more than one occasion whereas Obama has just given speeches, Mitchell questioned Pfotenhauer’s statement about the presumptive Democratic nominee and claimed that comparing Obama to Paris Hilton raises questions:
The media have been barking up the wrong tree for while, insisting the economy is in recession when we’ve yet to have even one quarter of negative GDP growth.
But of course the mainstream media keep digging around for more reasons to say the economy has gone to the dogs. NBC’s “Nightly News” recently claimed that pets are the “silent victims of this whole economic downturn” because they were given up by their owners whose homes were foreclosed.
Now, a July 28 article on MSNBC.com claims that the economy is to blame for a rise in pet thefts.
Interestingly, the article by MSNBC contributor Kim Campbell Thornton also notes that “Police reports don't make a distinction between pet theft and other property theft, so there's no way to pinpoint the exact number of stolen pets each year, but anecdotally, officers say that pet theft is increasing this year.”
Barack Obama’s overseas trip has garnered an incredibly large amount of media attention, especially with the three broadcast network anchors going along for the ride. But lately, some are beginning to recognize the “Obamania” present within the mainstream media, including members of the media themselves.
On the July 25 edition of “News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” PBS joined in on the acknowledgement that media coverage of Obama has been unprecedented and overwhelming as Senior Correspondent Judy Woodruff discussed the media coverage of John McCain and Barack Obama with Andrew Tyndall, publisher of the Tyndall Report, and Tom Rosenstiel, director of the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Before the guests appeared, Woodruff recounted the media attention given to Obama’s overseas trip, noting that the press corps following Obama was “larger than usual” and that late night comics had even poked fun at the adoration members of the media have shown for Obama.
While many in the media rather enjoyed Obama’s speech in Berlin, particularly CBS which declared that it “confirmed his rock star status,” many conservatives felt that this speech, like others, lacked substance. But, Obama need not worry because NBC Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent Andrea Mitchell, reporting from London, came to Obama’s defense during the 3 p.m. hour of the July 25 MSNBC “News Live”:
Well, [the Obama campaign] have rebutted that and I think when you look at this speech, this was a broad, overarching, thematic speech. It was never intended to be a checklist of legislative programs. So I think that they can fairly defend themselves and say this was the big picture of let’s have the United States and Europe re-engage.
Of course, it could be argued that with the rise of center-right leaders in Germany’s Angela Merkel, France’s Nicolas Sarkozy, and Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi, that Europe has largely re-engaged President Bush’s administration in the past few years, but why bother with such minor details?
Earlier in the segment, Mitchell reported on Obama’s meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, describing the meeting as a “love fest” and gushing about their “full scale presidential news conference”:
Three days after former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech outlining his plan for countering climate change, he appeared on “Meet the Press” with Tom Brokaw who lauded the former Vice President's efforts but also pressed him on his own energy usage and suggested that Americans must sacrifice in order to fight climate change.
Brokaw started off his program lauding Gore, claiming that since losing the presidency to Bush in 2000, Gore has “since focused on his environmental crusade, winning an Oscar for his documentary ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ as well as the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. On Thursday he proposed a bold new plan to address global warming and the energy crisis.”
After Gore joined the program, Brokaw again lauded the former Vice President and showed his personal beliefs on global warming by describing him as “Nobel Laureate, Oscar winner and crusader for conservation of energy and attacking the climate change that we're all experiencing in this country.”
When the Bush administration reported that 15 of 18 political benchmarks set for Iraq had been met, which is nearly twice as many that were met last year, only Fox News reported on the story. And during his July 2report, Brit Hume predicted that the story wouldn’t gain much traction elsewhere:
I suspect that this broadcast tonight -- and maybe some others on this channel -- are the only ones who are going to make a headline out of this. This is not going to be a big story elsewhere.
As Hume predicted, CBS’s “Evening News,” NBC’s “Nightly News” and ABC's “World News Tonight” did not mention the story in their broadcasts that night.
In the wake of Barack Obama’s complaints featured in Glamour magazine about Republican attacks on his wife, “MNSBC News Live” host Tamron Hall interviewed the Chicago Tribune’s Mike Dorning on the subject.
After asking Dorning if Democrats have ever attacked Republican spouses, Hall claimed that Cindy McCain has not been a target for the Democrats in this election:
We have not seen the Democrats, uh, during this election cycle attack Cindy McCain. Do you at all believe that that will happen if these attacks from the Republicans continue? Will it be a tit-for-tat that could inevitably make voters feel very uncomfortable?
Dorning went along with the assertion and even brought up criticism of Cindy McCain in the process:
On Cindy McCain, I don’t think people are gonna attack her unless they think it will help the political cause. And the only place I could see something coming up there that would actually be politically effective would be over the whole foreign buyout of Budweiser. Her family owns a lot of stock in Anheuser-Busch and obviously she would benefit from that. But in general it doesn’t quite fit the tone that the Barack Obama campaign wants to establish that they’re supposedly getting beyond attack politics. So I don’t see how that would profit them.
Of course, Cindy McCain has already been the subject of Democratic attacks. As Jake Tapper noted in his Political Punch blog in May, the Democratic National Committee attacked Mrs. McCain for not publicly releasing her tax returns:
During the 9:00 a.m. hour of the July 16 "MSNBC News Live," Richard Pompelio, a lawyer with the New Jersey Crime Victims' Law Center, appeared as a guest for a segment on a New Jersey appellate court’s recent decision that cities cannot implement their own laws regarding child sex offenders. After asking Pompelio to describe Megan’s Law -- which requires law enforcement personnel to provide information about a child sex offender to the community in which the offender lives -- "MSNBC News Live" host Contessa Brewer worried:
The question that always comes up when you have these community hearings where law enforcement gather the neighbors and they say "look, we just wanna let you know that there's a sex offender moving in so that you can keep an eye on your children and stay safe." The neighbors say "why, why is he moving into my neighborhood.?" But they've served their time, they’ve done their, they've done the punishment so don’t they deserve a chance to come out and try to live a good life?
What Brewer must have forgotten is that the inspiration for Megan’s Law was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kankaby Jesse Timmendequas, a twice-convicted sex offender who happened to live across the street from Megan.
The day after many in the media jumped to Barack Obama’s defense over the satirical cover of the latest New Yorker magazine, MSNBC News Live host Contessa Brewer brought on comedian and satirist Andy Borowitz to make fun of John McCain’s age.
Brewer introduced the segment by informing viewers that:
When John McCain was born, there wasn’t even FM radio and forget about computers, they weren’t even a blip on the technological horizon.
Later, Brewer played clips of McCain trying to be humorous, including him parodying the Beach Boys hit “Barbara Ann” with the lyrics “bomb Iran” and joking that perhaps U.S.-exported cigarettes are shipped to the regime in order to kill Iranians. What followed was an exchange about McCain being too old to properly function as president:
Appearing as a guest during the 10 a.m. hour of the July 11 “MSNBC News Live,” Chicago Tribune managing editor James Warren compared McCain adviser Phil Gramm’s recent comments on the economy’s health to those of Henry Ford during the Great Depression:
But I think in the annals of a not particularly sensitive remarks this will rank up there with a bunch of things. Somebody, a historian reminded me yesterday, the auto manufacturing pioneer Henry Ford during the Depression said something to the effect that “these really are good times, it’s just that few know it.”
Warren then went on to suggest that Gramm needs to be reminded of the current economy’s impact on average Americans:
During the noon hour of the July 8 "MSNBC News Live," host Tamron Hall discussed McCain's new TV ad with Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman and Washington Post’s Kevin Merida. The ad focused on McCain's time as a POW as demonstrative of his love of country and Hall questioned how Obama could compete with such a story.
Well, look, Senator McCain's got this great story about what he survived and what he endured and his campaign wants to tell that story as much as possible because they think that that's something voters respect and it gives them a sense of what he’s made of. But Senator Obama’s got a great American success story, too, and it’s just a different one and I think voters are equally impressed with what he’s all about.
So, the story of a man who never served in the military but was a community organizer and graduated from Harvard Law is "different" but just as impressive as the story of a man who was a prisoner of war, tortured by his Communist captors and refused special treatment in order to stay with his fellow servicemen in prison?
Mixed in with stories on cooking for the Fourth of July and how soldiers deployed in Iraq were spending their Independence Day, the July 4 "Good Morning America" managed to give nearly two full minutes to a story on Thomas Beatie, more commonly known as the "pregnant man," and "his" newly born daughter on Friday.
Unsurprisingly, the segment featured only a positive take on the situation, offering no sound bites questioning the normalcy of the child’s life. Reporter Ryan Owens touted, "The little girl's conception may have been complicated, but her parents insist her life now will be normal."
The designated "expert" of the segment, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, claimed:
Thomas Beatie, the transsexual "man" who was really born a woman, has garnered a lot of news coverage over the past few months because he is the first "man" to become pregnant. ABC promoted the "pregnant man" four times in two and half months on its morning show, "Good Morning America" while ABCNews.com also heavily promoted the story.
Well, Beatie recently gave birth and ABCNews.com jumped on the story and is treating Beatie like a celebrity. The front page features the headline "Exclusive: Pregnant Man Has Baby Girl" alongside a picture of the "man's" pregnant body.
Thursday’s "Good Morning America" used the Fourth of July holiday to exaggerate the effects that food prices are having on consumers. In its "Hitting Home" segment, reporter Sharyn Alfonsi reported on the price increases of certain Fourth of July barbecue staples, claiming that "Americans are gonna eat 110 million pounds hot dogs and that could take a big bite out of their wallets."
During the 11:00 a.m. hour of MSNBC’s News Live, host Tamron Hall discussed possible developments late in a presidential campaign such as an October surprise or a terrorist attack. After Republican strategist Cheri Jacobus claimed that Bush would be remembered for his leadership after 9/11, her Democratic counterpart Keith Boykin tried to insist that Bush was to blame:
You know, I disagree with what Cheri said too about 9/11. 9/11 was a failure for George Bush. He was asleep at the switch on 9/11. He had a memo, he had a memo a month before.
Michelle Obama has made a lot of news with her now infamous soundbite about how America is “downright mean” and that “for the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country.”
But the mainstream media feel that they must defend the potential first lady and show her “softer side.”
During the 1 PM hour of Monday's MSNBC News Live, host Andrea Mitchell interviewed Susan Page, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief, about the newspaper’s interview with Michelle Obama. During their discussion of Obama, Mitchell gushed: “She’s Princeton, she’s Harvard, she’s so smart and so beautiful and, you know, a mom and a wife and a partner and yet people get caricatured.”
McClatchy Newspapers won the MRC’s 2008 Dan Rather Award for the Stupidest Analysis for its article spinning the success of the troop surge in Iraq as bad news for Iraqi gravediggers. Apparently the editors are aiming for a repeat performance at next year’s program.
In his June 26 article, writer Stephen Thomma, on the recently released debate proposal by the Commission on Presidential Debates, found a stature problem for the Illinois senator should he agree to sit-down townhall debates.
Here’s the relevant excerpt from "Under Debate Plan, Obama Loses Height Advantage":
Shortly after Michelle Obama’s appearance as a guest host on ABC’s the View, her choice of clothing began attracting media attention, turning political and general assignment journalists into fashion critics. NBC’s Today show claimed that "fashion icon" Obama had started a "frock frenzy." Before that, NBC's Lee Cowan, who has said covering Barack Obama makes his "knees quake," gushed that "Michelle Obama had always been there, dressed as brightly as her husband's smile."
Well today, Chicago Tribune fashion columnist Wendy Donahue took a stab at political commentary, using Obama’s dress as her news hook.
San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci dutifully dusted off the same liberal talking points we hear every four years about Republican nominees: the women in their own party hate them.
In her front page article, Marinucci found no conservative Republican women to defend McCain or critique him from the right, but she found three Republican, including Obama backer Susan Eisenhower, and two Democratic women to slam McCain.
But as might be expected in the liberal media, the largest reason these liberal Republican women won’t vote for McCain was chalked up to "women’s rights," code words for abortion. The article devoted a special section to McCain's stance on abortion. Of course this ignores the fact that millions of socially conservative Republican women backed equally pro-life candidates such as Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney in the primaries.
The Obama campaign is trying to re-create Michelle Obama after her stumbles on the campaign trail, and the mainstream media are more than willing to pitch in.
Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Clay Waters, director of the MRC’s Times Watch project, critiqued a New York Times story, written by Michael Powell and Jodi Kantor, which helped Obama soften her image and suggested that her "proud of my country" remarks were unfairly covered.
Powell reprised his work spinning Michelle Obama on MSNBC today.
The Times staffer sat down with MSNBC's Tamron Hall during the 9 AM hour of the June 18 "MSNBC News Live." During this time, Powell claimed that the potential first lady’s harsh image has "certainly been imposed on her," as though Mrs. Obama’s statements do not reflect who she really is and that those who criticize her public pronouncements are somehow putting words in her mouth.
Overall, the Tax Policy Center said people with very high incomes would benefit the most under McCain's proposal, while low- and middle-income taxpayers would see larger tax breaks under Obama's plan and wealthy taxpayers would see their taxes increase.
Michelle Obama could be considered a liability to Senator Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, especially with her controversial "For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country" remarks. As such, the liberal media are trying to work against the potentially negative effects of her comments by portraying Michelle as a victim of those evil conservatives and Republicans, even though a prominent Hillary Clinton blogger floated a nasty rumor about Obama using a racial slur.
A June 12 article by Chicago Tribune’s Christi Parsons entitled "Whispers Get Loud Around Michelle Obama" follows this trend. Parsons wrote: "[Michelle Obama] is emerging as an enticing target for conservative critics." So, it’s only conservatives and Republicans who would criticize Michelle Obama?
With all of the videos of Barack Obama’s pastor problems and gaffes, it’s no wonder the liberal media are afraid of what conservative 527 groups will do with them.
A June 9 article entitled “Decency in D.C.” and featured in the “local news” section of the Boston Globe, columnist Kevin Cullen decried the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth (SBVT) – the group which ran ads against Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) in 2004 – as liars and all that is wrong with Washington, D.C.
Perhaps still sore from the 2004 election, and taking a cue from Media Matters, Cullen claimed, “And, the best part is, if [the Swift Boat Vets] can't find any videotape in which [Rev.] Wright actually says anything remotely as outrageous, they'll just make it up.”
"Change We Can Believe In" is the new "I Have a Dream," that is, if you ask the crew at CNN.
During Tuesday’s live election coverage, CNN reporters and analysts gushed over Barack Obama’s speech, comparing it to those of Martin Luther King and Abraham Lincoln as well as praising Obama for his graciousness towards Hillary Clinton.
Leading up to Obama’s speech, Anderson Cooper announced: "An extraordinary moment for Barack Obama, for his wife, Michelle Obama, for all of those supporters, not only gathered in that, in that stadium tonight, but people watching around the country, even those who may not support Barack Obama certainly taking this moment to reflect on the historic nature of what is happening on this evening."
In the midst of reports on the historic nature of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama’s candidacy and as speculation roils about whether he will ask his bitter rival Hillary Clinton to join the ticket, the Boston Globe also found time to take a few jabs at presumptive GOP nominee John McCain and former rival Mitt Romney.
Local politics writer Yvonne Abraham, in a June 4 article titled "McMitt Picking," sought to discuss the potential pairing of McCain and Romney for the presidential and vice presidential spots on the Republican ticket. However, her column was a little less than friendly.
The 9a.m. hour of Friday’s MSNBC News Live featured only slanted coverage of President Bush’s remarks to Israel's Knesset including "Hardball" correspondent David Shuster’s characterization of the President’s remarks as “clearly an intellectually grotesque and dishonest statement.”
Shuster also argued that Bush’s remarks were offensive to "a lot" of people because "when you talk about Adolf Hitler in the context of the Middle East, it diminishes the atrocities and just how horrific the Nazi regime really was."
The hour long broadcast featured two segments which focused on Bush’s remarks with guests David Shuster and Barack Obama supporter Senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), both of whom criticized the President’s statements and went along with the Democratic spin that Bush’s statements were an attack on Obama.
In a May 15 article, Associated Press writer H. Josef Hebert practically cheered the addition of polar bears to a federal “threatened species” list thought of the subjectively positive effects this could have on the global warming debate: “The massive and powerful furry creature that lumbers across the Arctic ice may accomplish what 20 years of environmental activism has not done: force the issue that global warming already is having an effect and there is a price for both action and inaction.”
In his story, “Analysis: Polar Bear's Impact on People is Felt,” Hebert explained that the polar brings a “face” to the global warming debate. Whereas scientists have “long have talked of the visible damage that global warming has done to sea coral” this has “escaped the notice of the average person.” However, the polar bear, according to Wildlife Conservation Society President Steven E. Sanderson as quoted in the article, is different because it is “big, it's charismatic and it's powerful. It's beautiful and it generates sympathy. If it blinks out, you'll notice.”
Over a graphic which read “Pres. Bush Invokes Nazis While Criticizing Obama’s Foreign Policy,” MSNBC sought to hype Democratic reaction to President Bush’s speech in Israel.
During the 9a.m. hour of Thursday’s “MSNBC News Live,” host Mika Brzezinski reported: “President Bush issued a stinging criticism of Barack Obama today suggesting that his plans to hold talks with Iran is the same as trying to appease the Nazis on the eve of World War II.”
Brzezinski began the broadcast with “breaking news” of President Bush’s comments and repeatedly came back to it, making for a total of six references to the “controversy” in the hour-long broadcast. The host also quoted the reaction from the Obama campaign three times and continually referred to the President’s remarks as a “swipe at Obama.”
Amid talk among the mainstream media of a sinking economy in which the elderly must live in vans and others cannot afford to drive 35 miles to church on Sundays, the Associated Press did note a drop in unemployment from 2006 to 2007. But even that news was buried in a story about the military and was used to explain trouble had in meeting recruiting goals.
On May 13, an AP story by writer Anne Flaherty used this drop in unemployment to explain that the military is having difficulty recruiting young people. But just a day before, the Associated Press reported that every branch of the military met its recruiting goals for the month of April, some branches even surpassed them. As Warner Todd Huston noted, AP’s Pauline Jelinek reasoned that the military was successful in its recruitment efforts because “other job possibilities” are limited.
Don’t you just hate it when newsrooms can’t agree over which biased meme should rule the day?
Years before she admitted her own affairs with married men, ABC's Barbara Walters pressed Monica Lewinsky about her affair with a married Bill Clinton: "Did you ever think about what Hillary Clinton might be feeling?" [audio available here]
At the time, the public wasn’t yet aware of Walters’ own affairs. Now, more than nine years later, Barbara Walters has come forward with stories of her affair in her new book "Audition" something former "The View" co-star Star Jones has publicly denounced saying, "It is a sad day when an icon like Barbara Walters in the sunset of her life is reduced to publicly branding herself as an adulterer, humiliating an innocent family with accounts of her illicit affair […] It speaks to her true character."
This new information on Walters sheds some interesting light on her 1999 "20/20" interview with Monica Lewinsky regarding her affair with President Clinton. As MRC Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham said, "It might have helped viewers process that interview with some on-screen graphics that said 'Barbara Walters has been a mistress just like her interviewee.'"