Ever creative in finding things for which to blame the "right wing," Salon magazine is criticizing conservatives in a headline ("Planned Parenthood Firebombed, Right Wing Silent") about an apparent incident in McKinney, Texas last Tuesday in which an unknown person allegedly threw a Molotov cocktail at a Planned Parenthood establishment.
No one with even superficial understanding of conservatives and a sound mind could conclude the conservative movement supports throwing Molotov cocktails at business establishments, even left-wing ones. That we did not comment on an incident that received almost no press attention and at which no one was injured is more logically attributed to the fact that we, like almost everyone else on the planet, had no idea it took place.
In yet another example of the news media being selective about which party labels it chooses to share, a recent CNN online story about Shirley Sherrod mentioning three Democrat politicians included the "D" when the politicians where doing something the story applauded, and left it off when the Democrat was a bad guy.
When drought struck the South in the 1970s, the federal government promised to help New Communities through the Office of Economic Opportunity. But the money was routed through the state, led by segregationist Gov. Lester Maddox, and the local office of the Farmers Home Administration, whose white agent was in no hurry to write the checks, she said.
But later in the story, when two Democrats do something of which the author clearly approves, the party label is included:
Using that experience, Sherrod worked with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives to help black farmers keep their land. The group worked with U.S. Rep. Mike Espy, D-Mississippi (who later became agriculture secretary), and Sen. Wyche Fowler, D-Georgia, to pass the Minority Farmers Rights Act in 1990. The measure, known as Section 2501, authorized $10 million a year in technical assistance to black farmers, but only $2 million to $3 million a year has been distributed.
This sort of bias is so obvious, I sometimes wonder why the media even bothers.
A senior official of the NAACP appears to have further undermined the credibility of his organization when, in a Fox News debate with Project 21's Deneen Borelli Friday, he directly contradicted something he said on Fox News Tuesday.
The debates centered on the controversial, though still secret, NAACP resolution adopted this week at the NAACP annual convention, which alleges racism within Tea Party events. A number of Tea Party officials and attendees have hotly disputed the charge, including a series of black Tea Party speakers, organizers and attendees whose statements have been published at BigGovernment.com.
Shelton replied to Borelli, referring to a Tea Party rally held in March, "I was. As a matter of fact… I was on Capitol Hill at that tea party rally…"
It seems impossible that Shelton could have been telling the truth both times, raising the question: If a senior official of the NAACP is confortable telling a fib on national television, whatever else might the organization be fibbing about?
The top three things the editors of TIME magazine should have caught, but didn't, in the February 22 edition:
3) From "Colin Firth" by Richard Corliss and Mary Pols:
Ah, Mr. Darcy, the 'man without fault' who courted Jennifer Ehle's Elizabeth Bennet in the BBC's 1995 Pride and Prejudice. The role marked Firth as a gently seductive actor but one who often loses the leading lady to a name higher on the marquee.
Realizing the book came out too recently for the Cliff Notes version to be available and the authors may not have had time to see one of the several movie versions (has the 1940 version made it to video yet?), an editor should have been kind enough to pencil in that Mr. Darcy did indeed win the hand of the estimable Elizabeth Bennet.
PHIL JONES, British scientist at the center of the Climategate scandal, saying he contemplated suicide after the leaked e-mails prompted threats from global-warming skeptics
Phil Jones did indeed make this claim -- see London Sunday Times, 2/7/10 -- but TIME added the bit about the communications coming from "global-warming skeptics."
Here's how the Times reported it:
He remains at risk, still receiving death threats from around the world including two in the past week: "I was shocked. People said I should go and kill myself. They said that they knew where I lived. They were coming from all over the world."
As a) the exposure of conduct for which Jones is being investigated has been a great boon to skepticism, as b) global warming-related policies have cost taxpayers and private citizens a great deal of money and the CRU e-mails hint it may have been for naught, as c) environmentalists have been known to issue death threats (take my word for it, or ask another skeptic), as d) the term "ecoterrorism" has been coined but "skeptiterrorism" or something similar has not, and as e) people have been known to issue death threats for psychological reasons, TIME is not justified in assuming, and publishing as fact, that the alleged threats came "from global-warming skeptics."
TIME also dropped a word from the quote, making it less than "verbatim."
1) From "The Moment" by Michael Grunwald, about New Orleans:
But the Lombardi Gras felt like a new beginning for a who-dat city of underdogs -- especially coming just days after its black and white residents came together to install new adult [emphasis added] leadership in the form of Mayor-elect Mitch Landrieu.
TIME says Mayor-elect Landrieu, born 1960 and white, is "adult," presumably in comparison to his predecessor, Ray Nagin, born 1956 and black.
Is TIME calling Nagin a "boy"?
Imagine if a conservative publication had published that.
As Noel Sheppard reported last night on Newsbusters, CBS's Sharyl Attkisson revealed Monday (see Noel's post for video) that "101 Congress-related" people flew to the Copenhagen climate summit last month, at tremendous cost to taxpayers.
But although Attkisson ended the piece with a brief nod to the environmental impact of the huge Nancy Pelosi-approved delegation, her otherwise excellent report told only part of the story. That is, when Speaker Nancy Pelosi approved a Congressional delegation to Copenhagen almost a quarter of the size of the entire Congress, she approved an enormous carbon footprint -- and she did it just a few months after twisting arms (brutally) to get Congress to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill.
Using a calculator and some information available to anyone with internet access, my husband David worked out some quick facts regarding the carbon footprint of Nancy Pelosi's delegation. According to David:
Former Solictor General Ted Olson's Newsweek essay, "A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," is embarrassing for conservatives -- that is, embarrassing that we had a Solicitor General so willing to publicly use straw-man arguments.
Of course, as it has ever been, when an individual conservative of moderate fame wants some nice press in the mainstream media, he offers up a 'man bites dog' story, to wit, "Neanderthal Conservative Sees the Light [Insert Topic Here]."
Which is not to say a desire for fame is Olson's motivation, particularly; his essay is ardent enough to signal his logic has been overwhelmed and thus it is likely he is sincere, but how many of us, pushed out on a limb of illogic after letting our emotions rule, are rewarded with an essay in Newsweek?
(I daresay even a fashionable liberal, penning "A Liberal Case Against Gay Marriage," couldn't get one.)
Olson lists the "reasons I have heard" against legalizing gay marriage.
Last June, as Newsbusters readers will remember, ABC allowed President Obama to pitch his health care proposal in a special edition of ABC's Primetime hosted by retiring World News anchor Charlie Gibson and (now incoming anchor) Diane Sawyer. Obama was given additional airtime to pitch his health care agenda that evening on Nightline.
Conservatives didn't get equal time.
Worse, ABC News even refused to allow the conservative group Conservatives for Patients Rights to purchase paid advertising to put out an alternative perspective.
Immediately afterward, the National Center for Public Policy Research (full disclosure: which I work for) began a multi-month review of the commercials run on World News. We found something interesting.
The Atlantic's often-silly list (Paul Krugman is #1!) is not completely without value, however, as it provides a cautionary tale of how foolish we can look when we pretend there is no such thing as a conflict of interest.
(Earlier today, Clay Waters covered Krugman's column for NewsBusters here.)
The group (full disclosure: I work for the National Center for Public Policy Research, which sponsors Project 21) has also called on President Obama to condemn "this effort to stifle debate with race-baiting tactics" as well as "all efforts to derail legitimate public debate."
Krugman's column drew the following specific comments from Project 21 members:
ABC News' Friday special, "Over a Barrel: The Truth About Oil," was reviewed by David Almasi, one of my colleagues at the National Center for Public Policy Research. He found so much bias in the special, I knew his review would be of interest to Newsbusters readers:
ABC News Finds Selective "Truth About Oil" by David Almasi
Last Friday, July 24, ABC News aired the special "Over a Barrel: The Truth About Oil." It might have been more correctly titled "Charlie Gibson Hates the Oil Companies."
ABC News newsreader Charlie Gibson interviewed 18 people during the course of the program. Seven were gas station owners, refinery workers and the like - people who were there to specifically deliver raw information about the operations of the oil industry. When it came to the 11 people featured for their political insight, it was obvious Gibson only really wanted to hear one viewpoint.
As both Noel Sheppard and I reported recently, General Electric boss Jeffrey Immelt faced a tough crowd at GE's annual stockholder's meeting in April.
First, Project 21 Fellow Deneen Borelli asked if media reports that Immelt had tried to silence anti-Obama reporting on GE-owned networks are true. During her dialogue with Immelt, her microphone was cut off (it was restored after she continued talking anyway).
As readers here know from Noel Sheppard's report last night, at yesterday's annual GE shareholder meeting, CEO Jeffrey Immelt was challenged on the subject of media bias at GE-owned NBC, CNBC and MSNBC.
The story is far from over.
I encourage those interested in it to watch the O'Reilly Factor tonight for additional in-depth reporting, including the airing at least part of an audio recording of the Q&A session inside the stockholders' meeting made by Tom Borelli and shared with Fox News. (As of this writing, Fox has also made a tiny portion of the tape, the part featuring Fox reporter Jesse Watters asking about about Keith Olbermann's handling of the recent infamous Janeane Garofalo interview, and the shareholders booing when GE cut off Jesse Watters' mike, available on its website now here, and it has been linked to by Drudge.)
When the New York Times today told its readers about the massive Henry Waxman-Ed Markey 648-page draft global warming bill, it bent over backwards to report the pros and cons of the proposal.
The March 31 story, supplied by Darren Samuelsohn and Ben Geman of Greenwire:
* Included sponsor Rep Waxman's claim that "this legislation will create millions of clean energy jobs, put America on the path to energy independence, and cut global warming pollution," without a balancing rebuttal or reference to the economic damage passage of the bill would almost assuredly cause.
* Followed that favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Waxman with a favorable quote by California liberal Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
* Followed those two favorable statements with seven sentences quoting Democrats Rep. Charles Gonzales (D-TX), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Rick Boucher (D-VA), who have quibbles on the margins about the proposal but who like the concept.
President Obama’s pace in making nominations — rather than occasional Republican opposition — is responsible for vacancies in key administration posts at a critical time, senators from both parties say. But Obama is still sending the Senate more names and winning confirmations faster than his predecessor...
...But the problem may be one of perception. Obama has sent more nominees to the Senate and had more confirmed than George W. Bush had by the same point in his first term as president, according to the White House Transition Project, a nonpartisan effort by scholars, universities and think tanks to smooth transitions.
Despite an occasional line likely to raise a conservative's eyebrow ("Dyson may be an Obama-loving, Bush-loathing liberal who has spent his life opposing American wars and fighting for the protection of natural resources, but he brooks no ideology," for example) writer Nicholas Dawidoff's 8,200-word March 29 New York Times magazine feature, "The Civil Heretic," on world-renowned physicist, Iraq-protesting liberal and "global warming skeptic" Freeman Dyson will be appreciated by many readers of this blog.
Using a comfortable, storytelling style, Dawidoff immediately sets the scene:
A New York Times editorial published this week has been excoriated by Walter Olson, proprietor of the popular "Overlawyered" blog and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and justly so. The subject is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), a law that went into effect earlier this month and which even now is causing libraries, thrift shops and used book stores to throw away large volumes of used children's clothes, toys and any children's books published before 1985. Don't take it from me:
If you browse through the racks of children's clothing at area Goodwill stores, you'll notice half the supply is gone - all because of a new law being implemented by the federal government Tuesday morning. -KPTM FOX 42 News, Omaha, 2/9/09 (Hat tip for the link: Ace of Spades.) ...our realistic choices are: 1. Shut down our children's section, or 2. Ban kids 12 and younger from the library.
When University of Washington Professor Eric Steig announced in a news conference and paper published in the January 22 edition of the journal Nature that he and several colleagues removed one of many thorns in the sides of climate alarmists -- in this case, evidence that Antarctica is cooling -- he received extensive worldwide attention in the mainstream press.
The Stieg paper's release was covered by 27 newspapers, including the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle & Los Angeles Times, by CNN, by the Associated Press, by NPR and quite a few others (see reviews of the coverage at the end of this post).
After independent analyst Steve McIntyre discovered a major error in the data, and released his results on his influential blog Climate Audit beginning on February 1, based on a Nexis search I conducted today, none of these outlets chose to inform their readers.
Here's how the Stieg research showing supposed warming was received by the mainstream press:
Apparently complacent about criticism from the Tennessee Center for Policy Research that his family's energy use at his Nashville home is more than 19 times greater than the average American household's, Al Gore has committed conspicious energy consumption once again.
In Washington D.C. Thursday to deliver yet another speech warning Americans about global warming caused, Gore believes, by excessive use of fossil fuels, Gore handed yet more evidence to critics who believe he's a hypocrite.
He did so by traveling to his speech in what almost certainly was an unnecessary entourage of three luxury gas-guzzling vehicles -- two Lincoln Town Cars and a Surburban SUV -- one of which was kept idling outside for twenty minutes, apparently to keep the interior cool for the driver, Mrs. Gore and the Gores' adult daughter.
Matea Gold's Los Angeles Times story today lets readers know what a close call it was that Jesse Jackson's off-color comments made it on the air yesterday.
But for an alert overnight transcriber, Jackson's comments, meant to be private, almost stayed that way. What a loss to the public interest that would have been. Not.
I suggest that the public benefited very little from knowing Jackson's personal feelings on this matter, and that Fox was doing little more than spreading gossip.
Revealing all isn't always useful. Take the rush to report then-President Reagan's remark, meant as a joke, that the bombing of the Soviet Union "begins in five minutes"? Like Jackson's comment, it was said into a live mic, but it wasn't meant to be public.
What if the Soviets had believed Reagan meant it? The satisfaction a few reporters received by covering something the President didn't intend to be public would have been faint consolation had nuclear warheads rained down on our heads.
Sure, Reagan shouldn't have said it, but was it any wiser to report it?
I believe the Washington Post knows perfectly well that the word "censor" does not belong in the lead of today's Juliet Eilperin story, but the editors left it in (or inserted it?) anyway.
The story, "Cheney Aides Altered EPA Testimony, Agency Official Says Ex-Administrator Says Official From Vice President's Office Edited Out Six Pages," begins:
Members of Vice President Cheney's staff censored congressional testimony by a top federal official on the health threats posed by global warming, a former Environmental Protection Agency official said today.
Bush and Cheney have been in office nearly seven and a half years now. That's time enough for the Post's staff and editors to get used to the fact that they were elected to run the executive branch, and thus they can alter any executive branch document, presentation or policy they darn well please.
That's not censorship; it's editing, policy-setting, or both.
Business as usual, when you run the government.
To be fair, near the end of the story, Eilperin's piece included this quote from the White House:
Nearly two years ago on Newsbusters, I floated a proposal that newspapers require their editorial and other writers to police themselves for accuracy by requiring them to turn in footnotes with their copy. The process would force writers to check information they think they know that isn't so.
My husband David Ridenour shares his analysis of the spin coming from a sponsor of the late and unlamented Lieberman-Warner global warming cap and trade bill, and the media's response:
We've been hit with a fast-moving, spinning column of hot air - and it's not another midwestern tornado. It's Joe Lieberman.
After Senate Democrats fell 12 votes short of the number needed to invoke cloture to end debate over the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act and move to a vote earlier today, Senator Lieberman (I-CT) issued a press release boldly proclaiming victory.
"Today 54 members of the United States Senate, including 9 Republicans, demonstrated their desire to move forward with the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act," Lieberman's press statement said.
Oh really? There were, in fact, only 48 votes in favor of ending the debate. The Connecticut tornado - er, Senator - also counted five Senators who didn't attend the vote, but who indicated in letters that they would have voted in favor of cloture had it been important enough to them to show up. Lieberman's count also included Senator Edward Kennedy, recovering from surgery, who had also sent a letter.
But U.S. Senate doesn't operate by mail-in ballot - at least, not yet. Senator Lieberman used to know that when he was a Democrat.
If you plug the search terms "James Hansen" and "censored" into Google, you get 37,900 results. Do the same search substituting "Roy Spencer" for "James Hansen," and you get 610 results (the third of which is from Newsbusters [here and here]).
The media is highly selective about the censorship it covers. Consider the note climatologist Roy Spencer posted on his website today: