The same day the MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) released its study [pdf available here] dealing with the media's preference for "secular progressive" values over those of those of orthodox religious faiths, evangelical magazine Christianity Today noticed that many newspapers are losing their religion [sections].
The CMI study concluded that:
Americans have clearly identified the media as primary culprits in the
nation’s moral decline. If the media continue to singularly promote
Progressive values and a secular worldview, while undermining Orthodox
faith and values, reversing America’s moral decline will be very
In her March 7 article, writer Sarah Pulliam noticed a mixed bag on the media's handling of religion coverage. Apparently even as many newspapers end or severely restrict religion coverage in print, religion news-oriented newspaper blogs prove popular with readers:
That's essentially the tone of a March 5 Los Angeles Times article* that took Democrats to task for their plans for what President Clinton was fond of calling "targeted tax cuts." Apparently they just "cost" the government too much of our money:
WASHINGTON // After years of claiming that Republicans were cluttering
the tax code with provisions that enriched the wealthy, leading Democrats in Congress want to add more tax credits and deductions to benefit narrow groups of largely middle-class constituents.
Among potential beneficiaries: people with elderly parents in nursing homes, new parents, college students, volunteer firefighters and organ donors.
But all these goodies are raising questions about how the Democrats can give away tax revenues while keeping their pledge not to deepen the government's deficit.
It's a good thing I wasn't sipping my coffee when I saw this on the front page of the Baltimore Sun in Starbucks this afternoon.
"Checks, balances rule Md. capital: Democratic leaders split on key issues, how to raise money."
Reporter Andrew Green began his March 5 article by conceding that "in ways large and small, Annapolis is showing signs of a leftward tilt" ever since Gov. Martin O'Malley took the helm on the second floor of the State House. But relax, Green continued, competing egos in the state government ensure that the legislative track isn't laden with runaway trains.
Maybe so, but all the freight the Maryland General Assembly is steaming into the station is filled with liberal goodies:
CBS blogger Brian Montopoli took a swipe at conservative CPAC attendees in his entry on Ann Coulter today, blaming them for her "faggot" crack about presidential candidate and former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.). Montopoli described Coulter's audience as a "gathering of right-wing true believers."
As the Skeptic's Dictionary notes, "True-believer syndrome is an expression coined by M. Lamar Keene to describe an apparent cognitive disorder characterized by believing in the reality of paranormal or supernatural events after one has been presented overwhelming evidence that the event was fraudulently staged."
So conservative activists are superstitious adherents to an ideology disproven by overwhelming evidence?
"As many political observers see it, [Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William] Howell is maturing into the leadership role he took on four years ago," wrote The Washington Post's Tim Craig in today's paper. And what exactly is developing the Republican speaker into an upstanding young chap?
Nothing more than a newfound willingness to raise taxes in the Old Dominion.
Here's the first two paragraphs of Craig's Metro section front pager:
"Bush Iraq Strategy Has No Option for Failure," read the headline on the Washington Post home page when I accessed it at 1:30 this morning. [UPDATE with some thoughts from Captain's Quarters tacked to bottom of post]
But is that just a statement of fact or a lament about a lack of a "failure option" for the war in Iraq itself. Here's the blurb that followed teaser headline:
Eager to appear resolute and reluctant to provide fodder for skeptics,U.S. officials rebuff questions about failure with a mix of optimism and evasion.
And what exactly does the Post find evasive? You need look no further than the first two paragraphs of Karen DeYoung and Thomas Ricks's front page March 5 article to find that it's a determination to win the war in Iraq.:
Plugging her monthly "Color of Money Book Club" entry today, Washington Post finance columnist Michelle Singletary made a gratuitious reference to Al Gore, comparing consumer debt to global warming:
James D. Scurlock, author and director of "Maxed Out," hopes to do with the overselling of credit what former vice president Al Gore has done for global warming -- elevate people's consciousness about a terrible threat to our existence. In this case, it's our financial well-being.
I was at the 2007 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) for only part of the first day, but I think Politico.com writer Jonathan Martin's characterization of CPAC attendees as gloomy about the crop of 2008 hopefuls to be a little over-dramatic.
Caroline Daniel of the Financial Times, on the other hand, had a less dramatic view in her March 3 article, "Conservatives search for presidential candidate."*
Daniel reported that many attendees feel no one candidate captures all that they are looking, but noted in closing "some conservatives are willing to overlook" socially liberal stances from candidates like Giuliani if they are solid on the War on Terror.
On February 22, Tongsun Park became "the first person convicted by a jury in the United Nations Oil for Food
scandal," noted CBS "Primary Source" blogger Phil Hirschkorn in a February 24 blog post. Park, who "once acted as a secret backchannel between Saddam Hussein and the United Nations" was sentenced to five years in a federal prison.
But a search of CBS News in Nexis turns up no stories on Park's sentence on February 22, nor anytime since then. Anchor Katie Couric did, however, find time on February 22 to air a minute-and-a-half story by correspondent Kelly Cobiella on the custody hearing held to determine who would get to bury Anna Nicole Smith.
CBS News "PublicEye" editor Brian Montopoli suggested in a recent blog post that conservatives are unfairly attacking liberal Web sites for comments posted by readers that lament that a terrorists attack in Afghanistan did not succeed in killing Vice President Cheney.
Montopoli says that both right and left-wing sites have their share of nutty commenters, which, to some degree is a fair point. There are fring loonies and flamers on the Internet on both sides of the aisle.
What Montopoli seems to miss then is that the objection conservatives like Sean Hannity have raised is not so much the sin of commission by nasty commenters but the sin of omission by Web site administrators and editors.
It's a legitimate question to ask why people wishing for the assassination of the Vice President of the United States are not banned from a politically-oriented site.
The CBS blogger also has skewed the matter by comparing this controversy with the Ward Churchill row from a few years ago:
Two days ago a NewsBusters reader alerted me to some missing comments on a February 26 blog post by Evening News anchor Katie Couric at CBSNews.com.:
When I first saw this post on Couric's website last night (around 10:30 PM ET), I thought it was great that there were *12 pages* of comments appended to her post -- with every single one criticizing her and Al Gore for being limousine liberals and attacking the mistakes in her post. But when I looked at it again today (11:00 AM ET), all the comments have disappeared.
CBS's Greg Kandra addressed concerns about the missing comments in this February 28 post to "Couric & Co.":
This year the Media Research Center marks 20 years of busting liberal media bias. Today's Washington Times took notice, with a profile of the MRC by reporter Robert Stacy McCain entitled "Keeping the press honest."
You can find the article online here and here (printer friendly version).
Here's an excerpt:
Six silent television screens are tuned to six different channels on the third-floor offices of the Media Research Center in Alexandria, producing a discordant TV tableau. On a recent afternoon, one screen shows a woman crying on the "Dr. Phil" show, while on another screen, director James Cameron is promoting a documentary that purports to show the tomb of Jesus.
It's all in a day's work for the center, whose red-bearded founder, L. Brent Bozell III, chuckles cheerfully as he guides a visitor on a tour.
In a nearby room, he points to row upon row of archived video recordings of news broadcasts, dating back to the founding of the conservative media-watchdog group two decades ago. In another room, banks of computers hum away, digitally recording the day's news from every U.S. network.
"I think, in one sense, you could say we've exceeded all expectations," says Mr. Bozell, whose organization will celebrate its 20th anniversary March 29 at its annual gala banquet.
I subscribe to e-mailed breaking news alerts from both Fox News and CNN. Out of curiosity today, I reviewed the news alerts about the market's performance from yesterday's precipitous drop and today's rally.
I found that yesterday Fox issued two alerts to CNN's one. Today, Fox sent an e-mail update about the market's 50-point gain for the day. No such e-mail was issued from CNN, however.
I took the liberty to lift the text from the updates. Here they are in chronological order from earliest to latest:
Fox News breaking news update | 2/27/2007, 15:07 EST
DOW INDUSTRIALS FALL MORE THAN 500 POINTS ON FEARS OF ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN IN U.S., CHINA AND EUROPE
CNN Breaking News | 2/27/2007, 16:05 EST
-- The Dow sees its biggest
one-day drop in 3 years, ending about 400 points lower after plummeting
more than 500 points earlier in the day. More soon.
Update/Correction (3/1/2007, 10:32 EST): Oops. Ted Olsen is the online managing editor for Christianity Today and he e-mailed me to point out his byline as the "former solicitor general" was part of the satire. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have lunch with James Cameron...
Former solicitor general Ted Olsen wrote a brief satire that illustrates the absurdity of filmmaker James Cameron's belief that he's found the remains of Christ because he found a family tomb in Israel bearing the names Jesus and Mary. It's posted at Christianity Today's Web log.
He was an absolute wreck until a fleeting glimpse of JFK saved his life and paved the road of his destiny.
Sounds like the dust cover to a Democratic politician's biography, right? Try the opening grafs to Washington Post reporter Mary Beth Sheridan's February 27 profile of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)
"His father abandoned him. His stepfather was an alcoholic. By his
sophomore year at the University of Maryland, Steny Hoyer was short of
cash, getting D's and drifting," Washington Post repoter Mary Beth Sheridan began her front page profile of House Majority Leader.
Then one spring day in 1959, a Pontiac convertible cruised past him
on campus, carrying a familiar figure. Hoyer followed it to the student
center. Spellbound, he listened as Sen. John F. Kennedy appealed to
young people to get involved in government.
"It was just like
that," Hoyer says, snapping his fingers as he sits in his U.S. Capitol
office. "Just like that." The next week, he switched his major from
public relations to politics. He started getting A's and went on to law
"You know the rest," he says.
As a lifelong Marylander, I do know the rest. Hoyer -- full disclosure, he's my congressman -- is a consistently liberal Democrat (lifetime ACU rating of 8), a point often softened by media portrayals which often refer to him as a moderate due to his penchant for supporting local military installations with government largesse.
Even in an age when eight-year-olds are expert video gamers, if you're a kid (or a 28-year-old blogger playing with your nephews) nothing beats an old-fashioned game of Cops and Robbers (or Jack Bauer vs. shady terrorist masterminds). But that doesn't sit well with liberal parents who abhor "gun violence." So what do you do if you're a liberal TV pundit like George Washington University's Jonathan Turley and your kids won't take the hint when you take away their toy guns and swords and other toy "weapons"?
Well, the law professor wrote yesterday about how he stopped worrying and learned to accept that little boys like to play with toy guns (in his kids' case more often with toy swords/lightsabers). He found that, surprise, surprise, little boys often act out good vs. evil dramas with their toy gun or sword play, and for some darn reason, it seems natural for them to do so:
The Associated Press reports that three journalists are being kicked out of Cuba for writing stories critical of the Communist regime: one BBC reporter, a Chicago Tribune reporter, and a correspondent for El Universal, a Mexican newspaper.
When I read this I recalled a study by MRC's Rich Noyes a few years back about CNN's Cuba coverage, which, by contrast, never incensed the Castro regime. In fact, Noyes found that stories filed from that bureau's chief Lucia Newman amounted to a "Megaphone for a Dictator."
My colleague Paul Detrick regularly monitors public radio and when doing so today he caught this gem from American Public Media's (APM) Marxist Place, er, "Marketplace" program.
A new study finds that high taxes and good healt go together. Researchers say states with higher taxes spend more money on social programs which ultimately leads to healthier kids.
Turns out APM didn't tell listeners about the political donations of the study's liberal author, nor turn to conservative health care experts for criticism or to offer market-oriented solutions to covering more children with health insurance.
My colleague Dan Gainor has the full story here, but basically CNN's "American Morning" aired a story today about some teens who got sick after drinking the new Spike Shooter energy drink. They shouldn't have even consumed the stuff -- the label says those under 18 or elderly (or with asthma, etc.) should steer clear of it. But that didn't matter to anchor Miles O'Brien, who lamented a lack of FDA regulation of energy drinks rather than faulted the kids for failing to heed the warning label.
Spike Shooter's warning label can be read at the product Web site, click "ingredients."
And no, I don't mean the cloud of smug from all the Toyonda Piouses.
Benefit concerts, even ones held to save the planet, generate lots of trash and traffic, and eat up plenty of electricity, half of which is generated in this country from coal-fired power plants. Just don't expect the liberal media to make those points as they cover former Vice President Al Gore's "Live Earth" concerts.
A few moments ago on the February 16 "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," NBC's Natalie Morales shared a story with the late night host of actor Alec Baldwin's attempt to score a lunch date with the "Today" show talent.
I'll update later in the morning with video, but basically, a few years ago, according to Morales, Baldwin called her on the phone and told her he was working on a movie about cable news. Was Morales available for say, lunch sometime to help Baldwin with his, well, research.
Morales wasn't born yesterday, so she kindly told the "30 Rock" star that she's married.
Washington Post media critic Howard Kurtz gives readers of today's Style page a look at conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, and his portrait, at least to my eye, painted conservative blogger and author as paranoid, vindictive, obsessive and shrill.
Diamonds don't cause conflicts in Africa, bands of armed thugs do. But you wouldn't know that if you followed the media's slant on "conflict diamonds," which, much like stories on gun control, often blame the object instead of the evil person misusing it.
The Washington Post's Amit Paley did an excellent job giving a balanced, factual report just four days ago on a recent stock sale by Sallie Mae chairman Albert Lord. His February 14 Business section article, however, is a different matter. Instead of digging for evidence on both sides, Paley relayed Democratic complaints and clipped a quote from a company spokesman.
Despite his natural aptitude for rapping, Velshi will probably keep his day job, in which he earns well above minimum wage to spoon-feed bad economic theory to breakfast hour viewers. For instance, did you know government could grow the economy by mandating a higher minimum wage?
The media can't really deny the economy is doing great. But all good things come to an end,so what the heck, why not float the prospect of a looming recession? That's essentially what The New York Times did in today's paper.
Staff writers Eduardo Porter and Jeremy W. Peters turned to a Clinton economic adviser to suggest that the current economy is driven by a housing bubble similar to the tech bubble that drove the smokin' hot economy of the late 1990s.
“In both situations we had overinvestment, now in housing, then in fiber optics,” the Times reporters quoted Joseph E. Stiglitz, Clinton’s "chief economic adviser from 1995 to 1997."
[I guess those silly 2001 and 2003 tax cuts that have resulted in record tax receipts from a growing economy and its resultant jobs growth have nothing to do with it.]
Porter and Peters persisted in peddling a discredited media meme: it's the housing "bubble" driving the economy, but in fact:
A few days old but a goodie. I've seen in this one report something that's often missing from network treatment of the minimum wage issue: a quantification of how much the government wage mandate affects the bottom line for small businesses, and ends up screwing over the little guy.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi's Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has
employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans
to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others.
Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
"I've had to go to some of my kids and say, 'Look, my payroll just
increased 13 percent,' " he said. " 'Sorry, I don't have any hours for
Messner's monthly cost to train an employee has jumped from $440 to $580 as the turnover rate remains high.
"We go to great lengths to hang on to our high school workers, but
there are a lot of kids who come in and get one check in their pocket
and feel like they're living large and out the door they go," he said.
"We never get our return on investment when that happens."
Last week, NewsBusters bloggers Scott Whitlock (here and here) and Mark Finkelstein (here and here) separately addressed "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer's softball interviews with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
It's a shame it didn't come out before then, but this weekend Parade magazine released its 2007 World's Worst Dictators list. Al-Assad came in at number 10, up 6 slots from the 2006 list.
Oh well, I guess it's helpful to have the next time Sawyer enlarges her carbon footprint by flying around the world just to ask another thug completely innocuous questions while enjoying the touristy trappings of a Potemkin village.