As gas prices are on a springtime upswing and the summer driving season is upon us, NewsBusters and the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute have documented the media's persistent hype about gas prices.
Blogging at the "Couric & Co." blog, CBS producer Ward Sloane admitted that many journalists who covered the Gipper were wrong about the 40th President's political and policy acumen. Noting a new book that reveals entries from Reagan's journal, Sloane made it sound like the media were only echoing a large swath of the American electorate:
The fact is that many Americans and -- not surprisingly to some of you
reading this blog -- many members of the mainstream press believed that
Ronald Reagan was aloof and disconnected from the events that marked
his presidency. Historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited the diaries at
the invitation of Nancy Reagan, says they show Reagan to be exactly the
CBS News producer/blogger Greg Kandra opened the e-mailbag today to relay to "Couric & Co." readers some negative reaction to the network's coverage of Rev. Jerry Falwell's death. In particular, Kandra quoted from a female Liberty University graduate and vascular surgeon who took issue with historian/guest pundit Douglas Brinkley's assessment of Falwell's views on women.
In an appearance on the May 15 "Evening News," Brinkley dismissed Falwell as a reactionary who (emphasis mine) was "opposed to some of the
progressive liberal high watermarks of the 1960s, and certainly he
wanted--his returning to family values was returning to women being in
the kitchen, in many ways."
Time.com Washington Editor Ana Marie Cox directed "Swampland" blog readers to a compendium of Mitt Romney gaffes in a post entitled "Gaffe-a-Minute Mitt," calling it "The missing sidebar to Karen's cover story on the Mittster." Cox was referring to Karen Tumulty's May 10 article, "What Romney Believes."
The link takes the reader to a Cox-compiled "top ten" list of the former Massachusetts governor's gaffes. "Mitt Romney may be leading the underwhelming Republican presidential
field in fundraising, but he also has a less dubious distinction —he
leads the pack in committing professional-grade gaffes," Cox opened her special report.
Of course, former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R-Wisc.) has also had his fair share of gaffes in the past few weeks, as has Democratic contender, Sen. Barack Obama. For instance, shortly after the Virginia Tech mass murder, Obama gave a rambling speech about violence that made little sense. More famously, on May 8, Obama said that 10,000 people perished in the Greensburg, Kansas, tornado when in fact that number was considerably smaller.
My review of the Time "Swampland" blog postings from on and around April 16 and May 8 revealed nothing by Cox snarking about either incident.
In today's Washington Post, staff writer Carol Leonnig heavily
skewed in favor of the District of Columbia gun ban. The stringent 1976
gun law was overturned earlier this year by a three-judge panel of the
D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals but may be appealed to the Supreme Court. Notice the skew of the article in favor of the D.C. government's position in the first two paragraphs of "Gun Ban Ruling Puts Fenty on the Spot.":
D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty
must make a risky choice about the District's gun ban: defend it before
the Supreme Court or write new, looser laws governing how city
residents can keep guns in their homes.
As he wades into a
high-stakes debate over the Second Amendment, the new mayor of the
nation's capital faces the possibility that the city could lose the
case and undercut decades of hard-fought gun-control legislation across
Yeah, because it's a darn shame when laws that undercut a
constitutional right might, you know, be repealed by the highest Court
in the land.
Update/Related (16:44 | May 17) P.J. Gladnick of "DUmmie FUnnies" (also an NB blogger) has a blog entry about Democratic Underground worrying about commenter bile over Falwell damaging their "cause."
Update (10:14 EDT | May 17): WikipediaReview.com picked up on this post. The discussion board's slogan: "Now with 100 percent better judgment, care, and sensitivity than Wikipedia itself." Check them out.
(Content warning: Inappropriate, crass comments from left-wing nutjobs excerpted below)
Joking that an elderly religious man died from suffocating on a penis is not my idea of anything "comical." It is to the George Carlin wannabes at Wonkette though, reporting on a vandalized Jerry Falwell page on Wikipedia:
Something happened to somebody famous, so guess what happened on
Wikipedia … that’s right, the person’s page was comically vandalized! Nobody ever gets tired of a really good joke.
You'll recall that in March, MRC's Brent Bozell wrote about Wikipedia's bias against conservatives, but this is ridiculous.
On Wonkette's part, posting such an item served only to provide another comment thread for wingunuts to spew hatred about Falwell and religious conservatives, such as this dirge by commenter "choirboy":
A NewsBusters reader sent us an MP3 clip
of an ABC News radio report from the afternoon of May 15 by "Nightline"
host Terry Moran. In it, Moran boils down the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's clerical career and political activism to one extreme soundbite from
shortly after 9/11.
Moran left unmentioned that Falwell later
clarified his statements to reflect more accurately his belief that God lifted the "curtain" of His protection to allow 9/11 to happen, and closed his report emphasizing Falwell as a marginalized political actor:
In 2001, just two days after the 9/11 attacks, Falwell infamously and
appallingly blamed the mass murder not on terrorists...
FALWELL sound bite: The pagans and the abortionists...
The TV industry is a fickle business, just ask any veteran of the small screen. While most actors in Hollywood would probably tell you that they're at the mercy of you the viewing audience, blogger LaShawn Barber noticed that comedian George Lopez whipped out the race card to complain about his five-season-long show being canned by the alphabet network.
"TV just became really, really white again," complained Lopez, who was reacting to the premise of "Cavemen," the sitcom that will replace his show. "Cavemen" will basically transform the Geico commercial cavemen premise into a half-hour laugh riot (you can tell I suspect it will be even less funny than Lopez's show).
XM Radio announced today that radio shock jocks Opie & Anthony will be suspended for 30 days. The news release excerpted below makes a nondescript reference to a crude May 9 radio bit with a homeless man in which said man suggested he'd like to rape Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Here's an excerpt:
Radio deplored the comments aired on "The Opie & Anthony Show" last
week. At the time, the company strongly expressed its views to Opie and
Anthony, and they issued an immediate apology.
Comments made by
Opie and Anthony on yesterday's broadcast put into question whether
they appreciate the seriousness of the matter. The management of XM
Radio decided to suspend Opie and Anthony to make clear that our on-air
talent must take seriously the responsibility that creative freedom
requires of them.
Patrick Ishmael of NewsBuckit notices that XM didn't find the rape references worthy of discipline but rather that the shock jocks may "appreciate the seriousness of the matter." Ishmael also points out CBS Radio plans to keep airing O&A, even though it quickly canned Imus shortly after MSNBC killed his simulcast:
I've always had this sneaking suspicion that John Kerry asked the wrong
Republican to join his ticket in 2004, that Chuck Hagel would have said
yes, that a Kerry-Hagel ticket would have won. Now we have Hagel
hinting at a 3rd party run. So, with apologies to, uh, Hegel:
Chuck Hagel is a terrific national resource, a decorated veteran of
Vietnam who has taken a courageous path away from his party on
Iraq...and who really understands national security and foreign policy.
Third Party talk is futile, especially if you don't have a fortune like
Perot's or Bloomie's, which Hagel doesn't.
Synthesis--An Obama-Hagel ticket. (Or a pick-your-democrat -Hagel ticket)
Little Green Footballs has more on the infamous "Mullah Mouse" TV program geared towards Palestinian children and running on Hamas TV.
The Islamic supremacist character was back on the air Friday as LGF's Charles Johnson notes:
The monstrous clone of Mickey Mouse used by Hamas to teach children violence, hatred, and Islamic supremacism was back on the air yesterday. Hamas issued a statement with the usual toxic mix of whining victimhood and murderous threats; MEMRI TV captured and translated the latest episode of this nightmarish Islamic children’s show.
And the media, meanwhile, continue to make excuses and cover for this depravity, in story after story that claims the evil mouse is doing nothing more than teaching “resistance against Israel.” It’s more disgusting than the show itself.
Update 17:27 | Matthew Sheffield. As Charles notes here, Friday's show featured Farfur cheating on his homework in school because "the Jews destroyed our home." Here's the clip:
Update (14:25): Justin McCarthy has more analysis and a full transcript available here.
Update (13:50 EDT): Video (2:07): Real (1.55 MB) or Windows (1.3 MB) plus MP3 (980 kB).
Update (12:42 EDT): We're still working on video and a transcript, but here's the audio (980 kB).
Moments ago "The View" co-host Rosie O'Donnell found a golden opportunity to resurrect her conspiracy theories on the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7 (WTC 7) as her fellow co-hosts were discussing Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign. Co-host Joy Behar faulted Giuliani for keeping the NYC emergency command center in the World Trade Center complex. That's when O'Donnell noted that the command center was in WTC 7. This time around, however, token non-liberal Elisabeth Hasselbeck pushed back on Rosie's loopy conspiracy theories.
A cartoon in the May 13 "Sunday Briefing" on page F2 of the Washington Post furthered a left-wing talking point against "Big Oil" that a comprehensive study by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) debunked last year: that oil companies artificially manipulate gas prices by squeezing supply.
A cartoon from the Newark Star-Ledger's Drew Sheneman depicts a man fueling his car asking a cigar-smoking "Oil Co." representative, "Why do gas prices always go up right before the summer vacation season?" "Coincidence," replies the oil executive, as he stands atop the fuel line, bottlenecking the gas on its way to the motorist's car. The price atop the pump reads $3.50.
The implication, of course, is that the petroleum industry artificially bottlenecks supply to jack up fuel costs.
But that's not true, previous probes into allegations of price gouging have determined, including a May 22, 2006 FTC study of post-Hurricane Katrina gas prices.
Among the major conclusions, the FTC post-Katrina found:
The CBSNews.com blog "Public Eye" reported today that a retired general who has appeared in anti-Bush TV ads has been dismissed as a CBS News military analyst due to his political activism. Yet the CBS executive who defended the move seemed to almost blame CBS's at-home audience for the personnel decision.
Maj. Gen. John Batiste (US Army, Retired) may still be quoted on CBS's newscasts, he just won't get paid for it.
"We might still go to the general to ask about things, but not as a consultant to CBS News," CBS News Senior Vice President for Standards Linda Mason was quoted by editor Brian Montopoli.
Montopoli quoted Mason's rationale for asking Batiste to leave (emphasis mine):
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.