Every day around lunchtime, CNN.com posts a humorous video as its "Funny Lunch" feature. The link stays on the site for a few hours at mid-day and can be found in the list of "Top Stories."
But today's video, Culture and Media Institute researcher Colleen Raezler noticed, was a gross-out spoof of diamond ads pegged to Mother's Day, which is this Sunday. Raezler informed me the link teased video for a "Mom's Day gem of a gift."
In a fake commercial spot for "Oedipus Diamonds," a young man is shown making out with an older woman as a narrator voices over his concern, disgust, and ultimate approval of a younger man's display of affection with a woman portraying his mother.
The video, entitled "Diamonds," was accessed here but the link will probably take you to a different video tomorrow. The video is permalinked here. A screenshot follows the transcript:
CBS's "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli punted yet another golden opportunity to press a CBS News executive (Linda Mason pictured at right*) on why the network won't name the producer it fired in early April for plagiarizing a Wall Street Journal column.
You will recall that the New York Sun reported on April 12 that Melissa McNamara, who also edited CBSNews.com's "Blogophile" blog, was fired for basing her script for a Katie Couric vlog entry on a Jeffrey Zaslow column.
On April 13, I wrote that Montopoli appeared "to have given up the fight with the execs in his network" after he failed to press CBS executives over their secrecy. Montopoli concluded an April 10 entry by merely accepting the company line:
With the Pope endorsing excommunication for politicians who support abortion, journalists might do well to bone up on what excommunication really is all about.
Reported Time magazine's Jeff Israely on May 9:
During an unprecedented 25-minute on-flight press conference, Benedict
left little room for interpretation: pro-choice politicians not only
should be denied communion, but face outright excommunication from the
Church for supporting "the killing of a human child."
Wow, sounds grave. It is, but a proper understanding of excommunication is as a "medicinal" not "vindictive" measure in Church discipline, according to the online Catholic encyclopedia New Advent:
FORT DIX, N.J. — The three brothers being charged as part of the
alleged Fort Dix terror plot may have been smuggled across the border,
FOX News has learned.
Four of the arrested men were born in the
former Yugoslavia, one was born in Jordan and one came from Turkey,
authorities said. Three were in the United States illegally; two had
green cards allowing them to stay in this country permanently; and the
sixth is a U.S. citizen.
Federal investigators are now checking
whether the latter three lied on their immigration paperwork to remain
in the United States.
An investigation by Telemundo and NBC News has uncovered details of an
extensive smuggling network run by Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group
founded in Lebanon in 1982 that the United States has labeled an
international terrorist organization. The operation funnels large sums
of money to militia leaders in the Middle East and finances training
camps, propaganda operations and bomb attacks in South America,
according to U.S. and South American officials.
U.S. officials fear that poorly patrolled borders and rampant
corruption in the Tri-border region could make it easy for Hezbollah
terrorists to infiltrate the southern U.S. border. From the largely
lawless region, it is easy for potential terrorists, without detection,
to book passage to the United States through Brazil and then Mexico
simply by posing as tourists.
Three of the six Fort Dix terror suspects are in the United States illegally, so I thought I'd look at how three major metropolitan newspapers reported that fact in today's papers.
Looking through coverage in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, I found that the first two put mention of the illegal immigration status of the Duka brothers one-quarter of the way through their respective articles, while the Post buried the mention more than halfway through the article, paragraph 14 out of 26 to be exact.
Here's how each paper reported the illegal status of three of the suspects:
Well, here's an update. It appears they still are.
As of 7:00 p.m. EDT tonight, both FoxNews.com and CNN give the Fort Dix terror plot story prime real estate. Not so for MSNBC. See MSNBC screencap below and check here and here for Fox and CNN screencaps respectively.
A new study by my alma mater, the University of Maryland, looked at the online divisions of 19 major traditional print and broadcast media:
... to see
which ones gave the users of their RSS feeds the same number of
stories, the same range of news sources, in as timely a fashion as
could be gotten if those users went to the individual website.
The Los Angeles Times, ABCNews.com, and Foxnews.com fared among the best RSS providers while the New York Times was among the worst. But the bottom line, the study concluded, was that:
... if a user wants
specific news on any subject from any of the 19 news outlets the
research team looked at, he or she must still track the news down
website by website.
The main reason? The paucity of information RSS feeds give the reader:
The Greensburg tornado disaster was just the perfect excuse for another global warming item on ABCNews.com.
After all, the Associated Press and CNN have focused on an Iraq angle to devastating tornado damage, but finding an Iraq angle to everything is so, I dunno, 2004.
At any rate, on his "Science and Society" blog at ABCNews.com yesterday, reporter Ned Potter set out to find why tornado touchdowns have increased in the past few years.
I called the National Weather Service, which says that as of today it
knows of 69 dead in tornadoes since Jan. 1, compared to 49 up to this
point last year, and 38 deaths for all of 2005. It's worth looking
around NOAA's Storm Prediction Center site; find it HERE.
there a reason? Shifting weather patterns? Shifting population
patterns? Global climate change? Clayton Sandell was asked to put
together some notes.
Anti-conservative bias in the media is not unique to America. Agence France-Presse (AFP) practically portrayed French President-elect Nicolas Sarkozy as a modern day, Gallic incarnation of Nero, fiddling while France burns (emphasis mine).:
France's next president Nicolas Sarkozy holidayed Tuesday in Malta
ahead of launching a radical reform programme, while back home cities
across the country were hit by more violent "anti-Sarko" protests.
A few paragraphs later, the AFP article --bearing the loaded headline "Sarkozy rests as France braces for reform -- continued to hold Sarkozy in a sinister light.:
Granted, disaster stories are big news, particularly so close on the heels of the Greensburg, Kansas, tornado. But six immigrants, all of whom are suspected radical Muslims and three of whom are here in the United States illegally, is certainly a more compelling story for a top story.
Washington Post writers Tamara Jones and Roxanne Roberts (who co-writes the paper's "Reliable Source" gossip column) took just four paragraphs into their page A1 story on Queen Elizabeth's state visit to snark about a gaffe of President Bush's during the welcome ceremony.
The President was noting that the Queen had visited the United States for the bicentennial in 1976, but he started to say 1776 before catching himself.
Noting that the Queen "did not appear amused," Jones and Roberts described Bush's reaction as "sheepish" and that the Queen's disapproving glare was not his only "comeuppance of the day."
A May 7 article by Los Angeles Times reporter Jordan Rau tiptoed around selfish motivations that a big business coalition may have for pushing more government involvement in healthcare. Indeed, Rau presented the political manuever as a break from business reticence to "healthcare reform."
What's more, nowhere in his article did the Times reporter label the government mandate-heavy plan
a "liberal" policy nor did he seek experts to quantify the direct cost
to taxpayers nor the indirect cost to consumers (in increased prices
for goods and services).
"Abandoning the business lobby's traditional resistance to healthcare reform, a new coalition of 36 major companies plans to launch a political campaign today calling for medical insurance to be expanded to everyone along lines Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is proposing for California," Rau began his article, referring to a coalition led by Safeway grocery chain chairman Steve Burd.
The weak female support is a bitter personal blow for Royal, who had
played up her feminist credentials throughout the campaign, frequently
defending policies she would want "as a mother" and accusing critics of
Yet Gehmlich noted that the Sarkozy-Royal split among women voters in general was 52-48, according to an Ipsos exit poll. That closely tracks the 53-47 split among voters generally and is not far afield from 54 percent of men who voted for Sarkozy.
Indeed, younger female voters were about evenly split while elderly female voters broke heavily against the Socialist Royal, suggesting that generation, not gender, may have been a stronger determinant in the election outcome.
Royal's support among older voters was particularly poor, with 64
percent of women above the age of 60 supporting Sarkozy, and only 36
percent voting for Royal, according to the Ipsos survey. Women under 35
were split between her and Sarkozy.
Those numbers come from an Ipsos exit poll. Meg Bortin of the New York Times gave more data in her May 7 article that points to age differences in voting for the candidates. (Emphasis mine):
NewsBusters senior editor/MRC director of research Rich Noyes appeared on "Your World with Neil Cavuto" a few moments ago discussing the agenda of silly, liberally-biased questions in last night's GOP debate on MSNBC.
Discussing the agenda of questions posed by Chris Matthews and the reporters from Politico.com, Noyes observed: "It's the kind of stuff you find liberal bloggers complaining about, questions like, 'Is Karl Rove your friend,' 'Do you believe in evolution,' [questions] designed to trip up Republicans and make them look like they were against science. The question from Jim VandeHei, 'What's the deal with the corruption in your party?' This was all a series of very left-leaning questions to G.O.P. candidates. And there's no problem asking Republicans tough questions, but if you look at the tone of the Democratic debate, it was all softballs compared to what Republicans got last night. There's really two different standards for the two parties."
After running down some of the more obnoxious questions thrown at the candidates at last night's debate, Cavuto pointed out how "none of those Republicans was afraid to be at a venue where they knew they would probably get snide questions like this on a network or with a host who has a certain leaning. Yet none of their counterparts in the Democratic Party would dare appear here."
Noyes agreed: "Well, that's true. It's amazing that Democrats are trying to avoid having a debate on the Fox News Channel. Fox News had debates in the last cycle. A lot of the questioners brought in — they were not Fox employees — they were some liberal reporters like Gwen Ifill and Juan Williams, along with some of Fox's own people like Carl Cameron. Nobody had any complaints about that [debate]. Now, because they want to please the left-wing blogosphere, they're acting like if appearing on Fox is somehow a dangerous and terrible thing to do. Here you have Republicans going on MSNBC, which is a really, become a very far-left wing network in the last few months, few years, and they all seemed to have a pretty good time and got their message out."
I'm really blessed as an evangelical Christian to have Bill Redeker at ABCNews.com to tell me that my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are "evolving."
The evangelical movement has long been considered a powerful political
entity. An estimated 65 million Americans consider themselves
conservative Christians. Their anti-gay, anti-abortion views are well
known as is their support for mostly Republican political candidates.
But times are changing.
there are evangelicals speaking out on global warming and supporting
adoption. Neither would have been endorsed only a few years ago.
Really? I must have missed the sermons all those years about how adoption is not Christ-like, despite the Bible using the adoption analogy to describe Christ's relationship with His Church.
And what about global warming? That's not really a concern germane to biblical ethics, although , yes, many evangelicals that happen to be conservative and Republican are likely to be skeptical of the theory of anthropocentric global warming.
Reminiscent of an earlier review of "Spider-Man 3" that complained about the American flag's cameo in the superhero blockbuster, Times of London film critic James Christopher added "Sunday School morality" as a black mark against the action flick.
This incessant Tom and Jerry action makes it impossible to actually
care. The Sunday School morality, and the inevitable flash of the
American flag, are perfectly irritating. It’s extraordinary how often
the third movie of a tent-pole franchise fails to deliver, in this case
by trying to deliver too much. It’s hardly the kiss of death for Raimi,
but with a budget as huge as his the pressure is surely on to pull in
more than $400 million.
That's much harsher than critic Leo Lewis, who said it was "disappointing" that director Sam Raimi was unable "to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag."
"Did a violinist in a red dress quash detente between Iran, USA?"
Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki exchanged pleasantries with
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during regional talks in Egypt this
week, but reports suggest that he didn't stay for dinner Thursday night
because of concerns about the way a female violinist was dressed.
have been told by one of the U.S. State Department officials, who did
not want to be named, that as soon as Secretary Rice walked in,
Manuchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, left. But then
[Mottaki's] excuse was that there was a lady violinist who was wearing
a sexy red dress -- she was wearing a shawl on it -- but he was
objecting to the fact the lady was wearing a revealing red dress," says
Mahtab Farid, a reporter with Radio Farda, a U.S. government-funded
radio station that broadcasts in Farsi.
Weighing in on Time's "Swampland" blog, journalist Joe Klein opined that the best question of last night's GOP primary debate was the infamous "What do you dislike most about America" question. Klein slammed the candidates' performances, but particularly picked on Romney, whom he mocked as overly optimistic:
I could imagine him doing the Reagan nice-guy, slightly-boggled head
twitch, especially when he was asked the question of the night: What do
you dislike most about America?
Romney's answer: I love America. Great. Good. Great Great. Creative. People. The American People. Love. Great....
This is a basic DNA difference between the parties. Republicans
see the American people as perfect; the American government as an alien
import from France. You put America and Flawed in the same sentence,
and any Republican will go all (faux) De Toqueville--great good great
Yesterday, NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield passed along how bloggers had picked up on Virgin Airlines screening the 9/11 conspiracy documentary "Loose Change" as an in-flight movie selection.
Andersen reminds her readers that "one simple phone call" can make all the difference, as was the case with Wilkow's producer complaining to Virgin. I suspect, however, that a large, irate blog readership also had a role to play. Over 15,000 hits came up for my "loose change" search on Technorati, while over 600 hits came up when I looked for "Virgin Airlines" on the blog search site.
Hundreds of thousands of potential airline passengers are not worth messing with, after all.
It's commencement speech time again at colleges and universities across America. Goshen College is one of the few to have already graduated its class of 2007, and CBS producer Greg Kandra took notice. Kandra plugged a speech by the Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis* at Goshen College:
In the days to come, we'll be reading a lot of snippets from
commencement speeches. 'Tis the season. Some will be hilarious. Some
dreadful. A few will actually say something that make you put down your
morning coffee and think. This speech is one of those.
Print it. Save it. Share it. It's worth it.
So I'm following Kandra's advice. I printed it (should I buy a tree-offset too?) and I'm sharing it with you. Unfortunately it contains the usual liberal platitudes you hear in a college commencement speech. Here's a sample:
Michelle Malkin noticed that comedian Roseanne Barr wrote recently on her blog that she's too biased against Israel to be hired for the Barbara Walters daytime gab-fest. Here's what Barr wrote:
In reality, I could never host that show, or any network show, because I have opinions that are not sanctioned by the powers that be who refuse to allow even one dissenting voice over the airwaves of television(in this a "free" country).
I truly believe that millions of jews are not zionists, and that even if they are, they do not support Israeli occupation. I believe that Jews all over this planet choose peace in the middle east over the never ending death machine of hatred and division and terror that exists there now.
Yeah, before my time too, but the Vietnam Era folk singer/protester (pictured at right on the washingtonpost.com front page earlier) scored a publicity coup today. In addition to space in the letters-to-the-editor section, the Post dispatched writer Teresa Wiltz to cover Baez. So what was so deserving of giving an aging Vietnam Era folk singer so much attention?
Of course nowhere in Wiltz's article did she interview any concertgoers to see if anyone really missed the earth-shattering experience that is hearing Baez's music.
What's more, Wiltz left unconsidered how negatively injured soldiers might receive Baez's decidedly politically-infused folk music and ultra-left wing leanings. Mellencamp is no Bush fan, but it's hard to accuse the rocker of being opposed to the institution of the military itself. (see correction below)* (continued...)
One great thing about liberal journalists blogging is that without the constraints of editorial oversight, they can let their hair down even more than usual, unleashing their biases as fast as their fingers fly over the keyboard.
Time magazine's Joe Klein is no exception. The journalist and formerly anonymous author of "Primary Colors" shared with readers of the "Swampland" blog today his complaints about a Bush administration that "trafficks" in publicity stunts such as the May 1, 2003, carrier landing. Klein went on to complain that Donald Rumsfeld was the worst Secretary of Defense in the history of the Republic who, along with "the spinners who gave us the Abraham Lincoln stunt" should be "emptying bed pans at Walter Reed."
Klein's ire draws from liberal talking points about the four-year old "major combat operations" speech. You know the meme "Mission Accomplished" and an end of "major combat operations" were impossibly rosy scenarios in light of the ongoing insurgency.
But for the record, Klein himself described the war as having been won shortly after President Bush's USS Abraham Lincoln speech.
From the May 19, 2003, Time magazine, emphasis mine:
Geopolitical instability and inefficient allocation of resources from state-run oil enterprises in Venezuela and other oil-producing countries are one factor in the rising cost of petroleum products. Unfortunately the way Chavez's May Day oil grab is being reported, it's little more than a footnote.
In an April 30 "Public Eye" entry, CBS ombudsblogger Brian Montopoli wrote about CBS's quandary over CIA director George Tenet has a faulty memory regarding an exchange with Richard Perle that supposedly happened the day after 9/11 at the White House. The problem, Perle was stuck in France. He returned to the country on Sept. 15, 2001. So what to do with Web site transcripts of the April 29 "60 Minutes" segment?
"Man Who Claims to Be Prophet Muhammad Alive and Well in Hoboken, Says It's Cool to Eat Pork"
Imagine that headline on ABCNews.com. And imagine the story included no Muslim imams or scholars to denounce the charlatan. Well, that's pretty much what ABC did today on an old story front-paged on its Web site today (see screencap on the right), only the religion in question was Christianity (and the fake Jesus in the story lives in Houston).
Here's the headline for the March 6, 2007, story by Jim Avila (yes, the dateline is correct, this story is over a month old):
Although a quick search of the Web draws up the speech, available here (with video and audio links), rare is the online news service that links to President Bush's remarks on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Since the media don't reprint excerpts of the speech nor give readers the links to the original source material, here are some comments from May 1, 2003, that point to President Bush warning Americans of an ongoing struggle to establish Iraqi democracy and counter the threat of terrorism (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Yet a review of the questions to Craig betrays Couric's leanings towards Helmke's pro-gun control position as well as some ignorance of the modern history of gun control (see her 10th question, for example).
Below are the questions to Craig with my comments/snark included in italics. Portions in bold are my emphasis: