Trying to submerge its own network’s “under God” censorship into a greater narrative, Monday’s NBC Nightly News managed to combine into one disjointed story, pegged to “a tough slog” over the weekend “when it comes to the campaign to get along in our public discourse,” the NBC Sports decision to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in its opening montage for the U.S. Open golf tournament, “distress” by “Republicans at a leadership conference over an Obama impersonator’s racially tinged jokes,” how “on conservative network Fox News, anchor Chris Wallace and liberal comedian Jon Stewart went at it” and that “Texas Governor Rick Perry won the loudest applause with this line.”
The awful remark, which NBC aired as its last example in a story which carried “BAD DECISIONS” as the on-screen tag: “Let's speak with pride about our morals and our values. Let's stop this American downward spiral!”
Put the lie in your lead and the truth deeper into your story, Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney relayed on Sunday in passing along advice he got from his late father. A few pages away, Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton seemed to take that advice as he led his Sunday column, “The truth about the Sarah Palin e-mails,” by asserting: “If you read the mail to the ombudsman last week, you would think The Post organized a vigilante mob to burn Sarah Palin at the stake. That interpretation is complete balderdash.” He also insisted: “Nor was this a biased, one-sided effort to dig up dirt on Republicans and not Democrats.”
Not until the 17th paragraph of his lame 17 paragraph column did Pexton undermine his premise and let the truth out:
I think requesting the correspondence of public officials is a crucial tool for journalists. Sure, go ahead and get Obama’s e-mails from when he was an Illinois state senator. Why not? And I think crowd-sourcing is here to stay as a regular part of the future of this publication and others.
A gem of a letter appeared in the “Free for All” page of letters in Saturday’s Washington Post.
“Kindly let us know exactly where on your Web site we should go to participate in your ‘Let’s Get Obama’ project so we can interact with the objective mainstream media,” Michael Crawford, of Great Falls, Virginia, concluded.
Instead, on Friday night ABC offered a bunch of ways to describe Melaku , who caused a major incident when his car was found hidden in bushes near the Pentagon -- starting with anchor Diane Sawyer who identified him simply as a “Marine Lance Corporal.” Reporter Pierre Thomas referred to him as “the suspect” multiple times as well as a “Marine reservist,” “a 22-year old Ethiopian American” and a “lone wolf.”
Wednesday’s World News on ABC led with a report from the left-leaning Center for Public Integrity (Arianna Huffington is one of several liberals on the Board of Directors) documenting Barack Obama’s failure to meet his promise to “change” politics as usual and thus not sell access and give jobs to big donors, a report not touched by the CBS or NBC evening newscasts.
“Today,” Jake Tapper relayed, “the Center for Public Integrity issued a report concluding that, quote, ‘about one-third of Obama bundlers or their spouses joined the administration in some role,’ and ‘80 percent of those who collected more than $500,000 for Obama took “key administration posts” as defined by the White House.’”
Tapper zinged: “There is a difference between the Bush administration and the Obama administration, according to the Center: The Obama administration is worse.”
The night after CNN’s debate in New Hampshire with seven Republican presidential candidates, Anderson Cooper brought aboard left-wing “comedian” Bill Maher to ridicule them. Asked if he “had to vote” for one of them, he named Ron Paul since “he's a cut from a different cloth than the rest of those people who are of course selling their souls to the corporate interests who back them and who have just horrible, society-killing ideas about America.”
Later discussing Anthony Weiner, Maher used it as an opportunity to deride one of the left’s favorite targets they never tire of vilifying: “Dick Cheney used to go out and shoot birds by the hundreds that were like in a cage. To me, that's a lot more psychotic than anything Anthony Weiner ever did.” Maher insisted: “He shot and killed an incredible number of birds for absolutely no reason than a blood lust.” (Audio: MP3 clip)Video below:
Previewing Tuesday’s Early Show town hall meeting with Republicans on the economy, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, who pushes his Face the Nation guests to agree taxes must be raised, hailed a Republican, Senator Tom Coburn, for expressing a willingness to include a tax increase in deficit negotiations.
After dismissing the Republicans CBS assembled -- Monday afternoon at the Newseum -- for how they “pretty much stuck to the Republican line: Low taxes and cutting the deficit will eventually lead to economic growth,” Schieffer championed: “But it was Coburn who may have won the prize for candor.” Viewers then heard Coburn declaring: “I’ll stand up as a conservative Republican, one of the biggest deficit hawks in Congress, and say ‘I'll negotiate on taxes’ -- because our country’s in trouble.”
Much of the media made fools of themselves with their excited obsession over the release of Sarah Palin’s gubernatorial e-mails, but NBC News went the furthest, sending, as did CNN, reporters to Juneau as the network uniquely led its Friday night newscast by hyping the non-news as a major event. “On the broadcast tonight,” anchor Lester Holt heralded, “mail call. Thousands of pages of e-mail from Sarah Palin's time as Governor. What we're learning about her tonight.”
Following a story from “national investigative correspondent” Michael Isikoff in which “MSNBC.com investigative reporter” Bill Dedman had the gall to complain “we waited longer for these records than Sarah Palin was Governor, almost a thousand days,” NBC’s David Gregory recognized, in an understatement: “As Mike and his team are finding, not a lot of bombshells here.”
Asked by new CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley why Congressman Anthony Weiner “matters,” CBS Capitol Hill reporter Nancy Cordes on Monday night maintained he’s vital as a critic pushing Obama from the left.
“The President has a lot of critics on the right,” Cordes noted, “but Weiner is one of his most outspoken critics on the left wherever liberals feel that the President is straying too far from their principles,” so “it's unclear how well he's really going to be able to perform that role now, a role that even the President has said is very important.”
Looking at government as the best job creator, on Sunday’s This Week ABC’s Christiane Amanpour pushed her guests to agree the stagnant economy and growing unemployment argue for less concern about controlling federal spending and demonstrate the need for “another stimulus” big spending effort. Amanpour was undeterred by the failure of the ongoing “stimulus” spending pushed by President Obama.
“With the political wars over the debt, there is no chance for another stimulus,” reporter John Berman regretted in a set-up piece before Amanpour pleaded with Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers:
In a story which ironically included a soundbite from Republican Congressman Paul Ryan denouncing demagoguery on budget decisions, ABC’s Jake Tapper on Wednesday night sank to employing some of his own by citing a local government’s budget cut from two years ago for a drowning death on Memorial Day and then drawing a line to GOP efforts on the federal level to cut funds from food inspections and bomb detection methods.
Noting a White House meeting with Republicans and President Obama, anchor Diane Sawyer offered a dire warning against reducing any spending anywhere at any time: “Hovering over the meeting in that room, the stories of cuts already made and their consequences.”
ABC’s World News and the CBS Evening News on Wednesday night both allocated full stories to Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner and his evolving non-denial denials over the lewd photo sent from his Twitter account, but not the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
Williams instead made the news judgment to skip Weiner and highlight the “PR problem” Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces for taking a state police helicopter to his son’s high school baseball game – and later found 25 more seconds to note the retirement of NBA star Shaquille O'Neal.
“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)