“GOP presidential contenders drift to the right,” reads the headline over a Monday night dispatch by the AP’s Charles Babington who devoted an entire story to fears “Republican candidates are drifting rightward on a range of issues, even though more centrist stands might play well in the 2012 general election.” (I caught a shortened version in Tuesday’s Washington Examiner.)
“Independents,” the Associated Press White House correspondent warned, “may be far less enamored of hard-right positions than are the GOP activists.” He soon repeated the “hard-right” pejorative as he relayed how “some in Obama's camp,” as if they are genuinely concerned for Republicans or offer any kind of reliable political insight, “say the presidential contenders risk locking themselves into hard-right positions that won't play well.”
A couple of weeks ago, actor/comedian Martin Short celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden by singing, on the Late Show with David Letterman, “Bastard in the Sand,” a parody set to the tune of Elton John's “Candle in the Wind.”
As he played the piano and sang, he was accompanied by five people dressed as Navy SEALs whom the Late Show blog, the Wahoo Gazette, called “the Singing Navy SEALs.” A couple of the humorous stanzas:
In the afterlife, six dozen virgins sure sounded swell
So it must've burned your ass, when you ended up in hell.
It seems to me you lived your life like a bastard in the sand
Never knowing when the U.S. Navy SEALs would land.
“Do you think the Tea Party is losing some of its appeal?” So Harry Smith cued up a hardly independent guest on Sunday’s Face the Nation: Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic Congresswoman and Chair of the Democratic National Committee.
Earlier, the fill-in host was astonished House Majority Leader Eric Cantor would want to find cuts to afford extra spending for tornado recovery efforts: “One of the things you said earlier this week is that emergency funding should be offset by cuts to the budget deficit. Do you stand by that?”
Meanwhile, another round of Sunday panels meant more pleas to raise taxes. On Fox News Sunday, a frustrated Juan Williams fretted: “Republicans -- for all this talk about oh, the deficit, the debt, we have to be serious, entitlement reform – refuse to consider raising taxes.”
On Saturday night (May 28) C-SPAN twice ran the Media Research Center’s “DisHonors Awards,” and presentation of the “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence,” which took place May 7 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.
Before each airing, C-SPAN’s announcer warned: “This event contains language and comments that some viewers may find offensive.” I’d call that a good reason to watch.
The evening newscasts on Thursday night eagerly devoted time to fresh speculation, prompted by Sarah Palin’s upcoming bus trip from Washington, DC to New Hampshire, that she may jump into the presidential race, but they all made sure to point out her high negatives amongst non-Republicans, characterizing her as “divisive” and “polarizing” while raising concern she couldn’t beat President Obama.
“She's a divisive figure,” CBS’s Jan Crawford declared,” citing how “our latest polls show that a majority of Republican voters do view her positively, but, among all voters, only 26 percent do. So that gives Republicans some pause. They want someone that they think can beat President Obama.”
In full retreat, a humiliated and somber Ed Schultz opened his MSNBC show on Wednesday night by apologizing to Laura Ingraham for using, on his radio show, “vile and inappropriate language” to describe her, language he did not repeat. On Tuesday, the left-wing host had slimed the conservative talk radio host as a “right-wing slut” and a “radio slut.” (After Schultz’s statement, Thomas Roberts hosted the rest of the hour.)
Schultz pleaded: “I am deeply sorry, and I apologize. It was wrong, uncalled for and I recognize the severity of what I said. I apologize to you, Laura, and ask for your forgiveness.” He added that “I also met with management here at MSNBC, and understanding the severity of the situation and what I said on the radio and how it reflected terribly on this company, I have offered to take myself off the air for an indefinite period of time with no pay.” The official NBC management statement, however, said he had agreed to “one week of unpaid leave.”
As first picked up before other blogs early Wednesday afternoon by NewsBusters from Brian Maloney’s Radio Equalizer blog, MSNBC host Ed Schultz, on his Tuesday radio show carried by satellite radio, slimed conservative radio host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut.”
MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
After the jump, Radio Equalizer’s audio of Schultz’s May 24 remarks.
Plugging an upcoming story on Tuesday’s CBS Evening News, anchor Russ Mitchell highlighted that “Congress gives Israel's Prime Minister dozens of standing ovations but,” Mitchell warned as if it were just as relevant or surprising, “the Palestinians are not buying his peace plan.” The Palestinians haven’t yet bought into the right for Israel to even exist.
Setting up the subsequent report, Mitchell repeated his formulation: “Nancy Cordes reports he got a standing ovation, but the Palestinians were not impressed.” Cordes emphasized how Benjamin Netanyahu “refused to compromise on the biggest prize: Jerusalem” and “an aide to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called that a ‘declaration of war against the Palestinian people.’”
ABC’s Diane Sawyer on Monday night presumed everyone lives inside her media bubble obsessed with “global warming” as she set out to blame the Joplin, Missouri tornadoes on it – but not even the CEO of a group dedicated to instilling public fear of “climate change” would go along with Sawyer’s fear-mongering. From Joplin, Sawyer plugged the upcoming segment:
When we come back, what do those experts say? Everyone's saying, is this it, is this global warming? Is this the evidence? Is it in? The answer.
Sawyer set up the subsequent World News story: “Is this it, this is the evidence of a kind of preview of life under global warming?” Reporter Jim Avila, who called the tornadoes “nature’s payback,” cited a thousand tornadoes and “counting so far, compared to 500 in an average year.” He turned to Heidi Cullen of Climate Central who, he relayed, says climate change “can be blamed for a general increase in extreme weather, science cannot specifically point to climate change for this hyper-deadly tornado season.”
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Sunday conceded “Paul Ryan has shown considerable guts” with his Medicare plan, but she declared liberal Democratic Congressman Chris Van Hollen is “correct that nobody on the Republican side is showing any courage on the tax front. And unless taxes are part of the mix,” NBC’s chief foreign correspondent insisted in repeating the standard media refrain, “every grown-up knows” a deficit solution cannot be achieved.
The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson soon picked up the liberal agenda, regretting “Republicans will not talk about tax increases” while Democrats, supposedly, “talk about a lot of budget cuts.”
Ending her final night as anchor of the CBS Evening News with a “five years in five minutes” video retrospective, Katie Couric went out in sync with how she conducted herself since 2006 – challenging and discrediting conservatives while providing a platform to liberals to disparage conservatives.
Her Thursday night highlight package began with Couric pressing President George W. Bush in 2006: “Is there anything that you wish you had done differently?” From there, CBS jumped to actor Michael Fox: “I could give a damn about Rush Limbaugh's opinion.” After clips on wild fires, steroids and the Virginia Tech shooting, viewers heard this blast from Valerie Plame: “I never once considered that, in fact, this administration would betray my identity as payback.”
Getting to the 2008 campaign, CBS played a friendly clip of Couric empathizing with Joe Biden: “Are you worried you're going to have to pull your punches a bit?” Then, instead of re-running her “what newspapers do you read?” question, Couric chose instead to highlight, just weeks after Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan, how Sarah Palin had said that nation was not protecting al-Qaeda. (Video excerpt after jump) MP3 audio
Feigning interest in Republican presidential prospects, on Monday night NBC Political Director Chuck Todd contended the decisions by Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee to forgo presidential runs leaves “an opening now for the economic populous, a sort of confrontational fire-breather, if you will, in the Republican Party.”
Todd soon repeated his disparaging “fire-breather” formulation: “There is a vast opening now for the social conservative, sort of what Pat Buchanan was in 1992, this fire-breathing, pitch-fork carrying, I'm mad and heck and not going to take it anymore Republican.”
Just the kind NBC News staff would be sure to denigrate and ridicule.
Two days after liberal Democratic politician/CNN host Eliot Spitzer told fellow CNN host Fareed Zakaria it “brought a smile to my face” and “makes my heart warm” to learn President Obama “calls you for wisdom and advice about issues around the world,” Zakaria took to CNN’s Web site for his Sunday show, Fareed Zakaria GPS, to issue a “clarification on my conversations with the President” in which Zakaria, an in unusual late Saturday afternoon posting, declared: “The characterization that I have been ‘advising’ President Obama is inaccurate.”
Zakaria maintained that all he’s done is “had a couple of conversations with the President, off-the-record. At no point did President Obama ask me for advice on a specific policy.” Apparently, “conversations” that are “off-the-record” do not constitute “advising.”
The next day, on Sunday’s Reliable Sources, Howard Kurtz accepted Zakaria’s explanation and only offered a gentle reprimand for not making the meetings known. Kurtz relayed how Zakaria claimed “that the two meetings he's had with Obama in recent months give him a sense of the President's thinking, and that he used to have the same kinds of meetings with, for example, Condi Rice.”
With “Cal’s High Honor” as the on-screen tag, the Fox News Channel on Saturday highlighted video of Fox News Watch panelist Cal Thomas receiving the Media Research Center’s “William F. Buckley Jr. Award for Media Excellence” at the MRC’s May 7 annual Gala featuring the “DisHonors Awards.”
After the jump: Video of what Fox News Watch showed of MRC President Brent Bozell introducing Thomas and some remarks from Thomas.
ABC News announced Thursday that Rick Kaplan, a long-time (FOB) Friend of Bill (Clinton) who used his high-level network news positions to protect his friend, will take the helm at ABC’s This Week and oversee all ABC News political coverage. “I’m delighted to report that Rick Kaplan is returning to ABC News as Executive Producer of This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” ABC News President Ben Sherwood declared Thursday, touting (per TVNewser): “Rick will also oversee our political coverage. His mission: To lead This Week to #1 and to guide ABC News to dominance in the 2012 elections and beyond.”
Kaplan was Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric from early 2007 through last night (Thursday) after a career with stints as Executive Producer of ABC's World News Tonight and Nightline before serving as President of CNN in the 1990s and later President of MSNBC in the Keith Olbermann era (2004-2006).
He has had a long record of friendly relations with former President Bill Clinton, advising Clinton on how to respond to the Gennifer Flowers scandal in 1992 and blocking anti-Clinton stories from appearing on Nightline and World News Tonight. Kaplan has also been hostile to conservatives and, even AFTER memo-gate, declared that disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather's “legacy” was “the gold standard journalists today have struggled to live up to.”
Pedro Ramirez knows his “future depends on” President Barack Obama’s success in passing “immigration reform,” specifically the “Dream Act,” CBS’s John Blackstone asserted in a Tuesday night story which corroborated the need for Obama’s quest by holding up Ramirez as an innocent victim.
“He is student body president at California State University at Fresno where he'll graduate this month following years of accomplishment,” Blackstone heralded, “until his parents admitted to him they've been living here illegally since he was three years old. Last year he joined other young undocumented immigrants pushing for passage of the Dream Act. It would award legal residency to children brought to America before they were 16 as long as they graduate from high school and go on to college or the military.”
Linking Ramirez’s plight to Obama’s policy solution, Blackstone asserted: “On the Texas border today, the President called for those who want immigration reform to help push an entrenched Congress.”
Monday’s Washington Times and Washington Examiner wrote up short items on the MRC’s Saturday night gala. “The Media Research Center's 2011 ‘Dishonors Awards’ for the most liberally biased news reporting drew so many guests on Saturday evening that it was staged in the mammoth National Building Museum,” Jennifer Harper wrote in the lead item in her Washington Times “Inside the Beltway” column.
“It was exactly what you would expect at a gala with some of the nation's most high-profile conservatives in media and politics -- a lot of Keith Olbermann jokes,” observed the Washington Examiner’s “Yeas and Nays” page where Nikki Schwab reported: “The Media Research Center, a conservative media watchdog, celebrated the DisHonors Awards on Saturday at the National Building Museum. Talk radio host Neal Boortz and author Ann Coulter were among the presenters, which are given (tongue-in-cheek) to ‘the most outrageously biased liberal’ reporters.”
Scott Pelley, the incoming anchor for the CBS Evening News, dropped by Washington, DC’s CBS affiliate on Wednesday where he mimicked left-wing MSNBC’s “Lean Forward” slogan as he promised: “We’re going to be leaning forward.”
On DCRTV.com I saw a link to online video of a WUSA-TV story about Pelley’s May 4 visit to the Gannett-owned station where he pledged: “We're going to cover hard news. We're going to be aggressive about that. We're going to be leaning forward.”
Very unlike MSNBC, however, he pledged fairness: “Were going to be all about original reporting, unique insight and being fair to everybody involved in a story. It is just that simple.” (Audio: MP3 clip)
“This week -- budget blowback,” Christiane Amanpour trumpeted in framing her Sunday look, at reaction to Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget plan, through those hostile to it, asserting: “As town halls across America erupt in anger over a plan to slash spending, Republicans find themselves under fire.” Amanpour maintained: “Congressman Ryan is at the center of the storm. It's his plan, of course, that has sparked the outcry. Across the country, the anger is palpable.”
Instead of adding some light, however, Amanpour fueled the fire by legitimizing left-wing talking points, confronting Ryan: “People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don't add up,” since:
It also says two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like – take from the poor, give back to the rich again.
Like clockwork, an unusual weather event occurs and some shallow journalists immediately leap to speculating about global warming – even accusing humankind of causing the event. On Thursday night, looking at the tornadoes across the South, ABC’s Sam Champion ridiculously claimed “everybody is asking if climate change played a role here.” Brian Williams blamed humans: “What's going on here? Is this something we have done?”
On the NBC Nightly News, Williams prompted Greg Forbes of the Weather Channel:
Let's be candid here. When you and I go home, you see friends and family, you get e-mail from people you know. People ask the same question: What's going on here? Is this something we have done? What has happened to the climate because it seems so much of what we cover is relentless weather-related tragedy?
Picking up from flustered colleague Bob Schieffer, who on the April 17 Face the Nation demanded of Congressman Paul Ryan, “Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they're already rich,” CBS reporter Nancy Cordes on Tuesday night asked him: “Do you think that you would be getting more support out there if you didn't include this big tax cut for the wealthy?”
Cordes insisted “35 percent to 25 percent is a big cut,” though Ryan’s plan is meant to be revenue neutral, or even give a boost, as he explained the rate reduction is “in exchange for losing their tax shelters.”
Cordes pressed Ryan from the left on tax rates after her story featured soundbites of liberal hostility to Ryan and other Republicans at town hall meetings, some clips taken from video posted by a left-wing site, clips which included a woman screaming “your plan screws the next two generations!” and “You're a liar!” before video of a crowd yelling “Hands off Medicare!” and a close-up of this sign: “PAUL RYAN’S DEATH PANEL KILL MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY.”
Regurgitating the same kind of derogatory comments he regularly spews on his Friday night HBO show, Bill Maher showed up Monday night on the Late Show with David Letterman where CBS, unlike HBO, excised his vile terminology for Tea Party activists.
Maher denounced Tea Party followers as “sad, unfortunate people” because they are “corporate America's useful idiots” who don’t allow “facts” to “get in that tin foil helmet.”
Then he employed his usual “tea-baggers” phrase, but CBS silenced the “baggers” so viewers heard dead air when Maher spoke that foul term:
I don't have any respect, no, I don't have any respect for the tea-(baggers) [word silenced] and I do call them the tea-(baggers) [word silenced again] -- even though they hate it. I will stop calling them Tea-(baggers) [word silenced for a third time] when they stop calling it Obamacare, that's my deal.
On Friday night, the Fox News Channel debuted a Hannity special, ‘Behind the Bias: The History of Liberal Media.’ The promo declared: “Double standards? Groundless attacks? Blatant bias? Sean calls out the mainstream media! Don’t miss Behind the Bias: The History of Liberal Media.”
The Media Research Center made available to Fox News Channel producers video clips from our archive going back more than 20 years and they are scattered throughout the hour – as are soundbites from MRC President Brent Bozell.
The hour began with what Sean Hannity described as “how and why this bias began,” illustrated with several classic examples of left-wing journalistic advocacy and/or denigration of conservatives. Watch the segment, about seven minutes in length, after the jump:
A day after a CBS News Sunday Morning story fretted that the wealthy aren’t paying a high-enough income tax rate without bothering to note how a significant portion of the population avoids paying anything, on Monday’s CBS Evening News reporter Bill Plante pointed out: “The day of reckoning with Uncle Sam is less painful for some than for others” since “45 percent of Americans don't owe the government anything today, but they're not the super-rich.”
Plante, however, repeated the usual media mantra about how the wealthy are paying less without noting how they pay a disproportionate share. Plante asserted: “The very rich do pay, but they pay a lot less than they used to: 17 percent in 2007, down from 26 percent in 1992.”
CBS News on Sunday morning managed to examine incongruities in the U.S. tax system, highlighting those – including a former New York Times reporter – who think the wealthy aren’t paying enough, but without bothering to point out the disproportionate share of the income tax paid by those at the top nor how more than a third of those who file an income tax return pay nothing or even get more back than they put in.
Reporter Seth Doane lamented the declining top tax rate: “It declined slowly through the '60s and '70s until 1982 under Ronald Reagan when it fell to 50 percent, eventually working its way down to the current rate of 35 percent.”
In his CBS News Sunday Morning piece, Doane turned to ex-New York Times reporter David Johnston for the usual liberal clap-trap: “All the data are overwhelmingly showing that for the last 30 years money has been flowing upward. It's not trickle down economics. It's Niagara up.” Including the FICA tax, Johnston complained: “If you're a single person making $500 a week, your total federal tax burden is significantly higher than someone who makes a million dollars a day.”
“Why do these rich people need another tax cut?” Bob Schieffer demanded of his guest on Sunday morning’s Face the Nation, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan. Conveying his no-so-profound economic reasoning, Schieffer saw a pot of money to be absconded: “I mean, they're already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?” After Ryan explained his proposal would maintain current tax revenue levels while eliminating deductions and loopholes used by the wealthy, a baffled Schiefier ruminated:
I guess the part that I don't quite understand – and I take your proposal to be a serious one – but the part I don't understand is if the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would be seem to me that's where you get revenue. How do you justify that?
In the next segment, with Senator Mark Warner, Schieffer also hit the Democrat from the left on hiking taxes, after describing him as a “conservative” from “a very conservative state,” even though Virginia voted for Obama: “Senator, you are a Democrat, you are a conservative Democrat from a very conservative state, Virginia. Do you think that we can solve the deficit problem without raising taxes in some way?”
“Critics say it’s about time” for President Barack Obama to offer his plan to reduce the deficit, CBS’s Chip Reid acknowledged Tuesday night before he proceeded to rationalize Obama’s disengagement, validated by CBS’s in-house political analyst. Reid asserted: “Political analysts say the President had good reason to wait. He wanted the Republicans to go first and they did last week when influential Congressman Paul Ryan released his controversial plan.” CBS News political analyst John Dickerson proposed:
The President needed Paul Ryan's House budget plan to use as a foil for his own argument about what government should do, what government priorities are. He will say that the Ryan plan does not match up with American values.
Indeed, Reid contended the White House saw “an irresistible opportunity to portray Republicans as callous and extreme.”
A round-up from over the weekend of journalists denouncing Republican Congressman Paul Ryan for not including a big tax hike in his deficit-reduction plan and discrediting the Tea Party’s pressure on House Speaker John Boehner as a “far right” impediment to good government.
“He doesn't deal with the revenue side at all,” despaired Newsweek veteran Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, arguing: “We cannot survive on 18, his goal is to do 18 percent of GDP as revenue. That's not enough. We're going to have to raise some taxes...”
On HBO’sReal Time with Bill Maher on Friday night, Katty Kay, anchor of BBC’s World News America, echoed, “He does nothing on the revenue side,” fretting: “There is this allergy, amongst Republicans, about saying ‘you know what, we actually do have to deal with taxes too.’”
Juan Williams charged “the rich get off like scoundrels,” complaining onFox News Sunday that Ryan is “not doing anything in terms of raising taxes.” Williams also worried: “John Boehner now has the Tea Party wrapped around his neck like an albatross.”
Instead of being embarrassed by how their story generated a talking point for the President to use in a partisan political battle, ABC on Thursday night boasted of how President Obama cited Jake Tapper’s coverage to boost his argument. Anchor Diane Sawyer touted how “the President, last night, well, he noticed what Jake was saying.” Tapper recalled: “Last night on World News, we told you the story of Louisville, Kentucky's. J.T. Henderson, his wife and their adopted son, worried about not receiving the family's desperately needed tax refund because of the possible shutdown....And at least one negotiator was watching.”
That was Obama, who during comments in the White House briefing room on Wednesday night, cited the man Tapper featured a few hours earlier, the father of an adopted four-year-old from Ethiopia. Obama announced: “J.T. said if he could speak directly to all of us in Washington, he'd tell us that all of this political grandstanding has effects as it trickles down to normal, everyday Americans. There is no reason why we should not be able to complete a deal, unless we've made a decision that politics is more important than folks like J.T. Henderson.”
Tapper added: “Today, Henderson told us he appreciated the President hearing his concerns.”