"It seems to me" that the Associated Press's newly announced plan to scrub "illegal immigrant" from its Stylebook is "an attempt to control the language... it's a form of political correctness," argued substitute host Stuart Varney on the April 3 Your World with Neil Cavuto. "You can subtly affect your coverage and your thinking about the issue" by "softening the language," noted Varney, who himself is a legal immigrant to the United States from the United Kingdom. [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
Yes, agreed Varney's guest, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham as, "it's a form of political correctness over factual correctness." Graham noted that the Associated Press and New York Times had long held the line on keeping "illegal immigrant" over the nonsensical "undocumented immigrant" alternative, that lobbying by pro-amnesty groups, as well as liberal minority journalism groups pushed the AP to make a politically calculated decision:
In his 19-paragraph page A4 story headlined "NRA-backed study urges armed staff at schools," staff writer Peter Finn waited until the 12th paragraph to mention that a father of a slain student at Sandy Hook was at the NRA's April 2 news conference in which former Rep. Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.) unveiled a "National School Shield Program" that detailed how school districts might arm security guards and/or teachers to thwart potential attacks by shooters.
Of course Finn made sure to quote the scathing attack of a liberal critic a few paragraphs earlier. "Today's report is nothing more than a continuation of the NRA's attempts to prey on America's fears, saturate our schools with more guns and turn them into armed fortresses," Finn quoted Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, who added that the NRA's plan "must be soundly rejected."
The recent murders of local prosecutors in a north Texas county -- possibly at the hands of white supremacists -- was the news hook for MSNBC's The Cycle to bring Heidi Beirich of the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on to the April 2 program. In introducing the guest and justifying her expertise, co-host Ari Melber merely described the SPLC as "a group that documents that state of hate groups in America." [video follows page break; MP3 audio here]
It fell to token conservative co-host S.E. Cupp to remind viewers that SPLC leans to the left and has been criticized by conservatives for "smearing religious and far-right groups and ignoring far-left hate groups." "Shouldn't people be aware of your ideological biases before they take seriously [SPLC's] claims of who they should be afraid of?" Cupp argued. A bemused Beirich insisted she had to "dispute the notion of the question on its premise," adding that:
You have to hand it to Washington Post editors. They're pretty slick. In hiring Jennifer Rubin as their token conservative blogger, they have a rightie who criticizes the Right enough to ensure they seldom have to actually put in the print edition excerpts of her posts critical of President Obama. In early March I noted how Post opinion editors excerpted a Rubin blog which bashed the conservative CPAC conference rather than say publish a blog post which attacked Obama and the media over sequester hype.
In the Monday, April 1 paper the Post was at it again, choosing to run a Rubin piece that sought to explain how socially conservative opponents of same-sex marriage "lost the fight" on the policy issue. But a review of Rubin's Right Turn blog archive shows a piece she wrote on Friday morning that would have been excellent to put in print and which attacked President Obama over his "gun histrionics." Here's an excerpt which includes many of her key points (emphasis mine):
"This is the ugly, intolerant face of the radical left that's taken over liberalism today," declared NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell on Thursday's Hannity program, reacting to charges by MSNBC's Al Sharpton and Mike Barnicle that conservatives up in arms over Mike Bloomberg's proposed soda ban are animated by anti-Semitism. Bozell appeared on the March 28 program with guest host Eric Bolling for the popular weekly "Media Mash" segment.
"You can't have an [honest] conversation with these radicals" at MSNBC, the Media Research Center founder complained. "I pine for the days of George McGovern... I pine for the days of Joe Lieberman, where are you when I need you? Because you could have a serious conversation, serious disagreements, but you weren't attacked personally for them," Bozell noted. "This is the radical left that goes for character assassination anytime it's faced with a debate" against conservatives. [watch the full Mash segment below the page break; special thanks to my colleague Scott Whitlock for the video]
Maybe we should take to ironically nicknaming Sally Quinn as "Scoop" for this: On March 27, in a column headlined "Does Ben Carson Have a Prayer?" the Washington Post On Faith editor attacked Dr. Ben Carson for his National Prayer Breakfast speech delivered on February 7. That's 48 days between the speech and Quinn's holding forth on why Carson, in her view, improperly politicized a characteristically apolitical prayer breakfast.
Of course, this is rich coming from Quinn because On Faith is chock full of columns by liberal Christians who contort Scripture to make political cases for more gun control, tax hikes, and same-sex marriage.
We've come to expect this sort of thing from MSNBC, but the Associated Press should be ashamed of itself. In a story about Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signing into law a new voter ID law requiring a photo ID to vote-- which may be provided free-of-charge to indigent Virginians, by the way -- the AP strongly suggested the bill is an attempt by Virginia Republicans to prevent a Democratic presidential candidate from winning the state in 2016.
"Republican majorities in the Virginia House and Senate pushed the bill to passage one year after a more modest GOP-sponsored voter identification law failed to prevent President Barack Obama from winning Virginia for the second presidential election in a row and a Democratic U.S. Senate victory," the AP noted in the fourth paragraph of their March 27 story. As you can see in the full story pasted below, this was in the context of hyping a liberal Democrat's charge that requiring voter ID is akin to Jim Crow-era disenfranchisement efforts (story accessed via FoxNews.com, emphases mine):
The liberal media's push for gun control has long included the tactic of attempting to shame the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun rights activists into silence. That tactic was once again deployed by MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this morning in his interview with liberal Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), who is calling on the nation's oldest civil rights organization to cease and desist robocalls to phone numbers in the Newtown, Connecticut, area.
While the liberal news media have been trumpeting Mayor Michael Bloomberg's new $12-million ad buy as an attempt to push federal gun control legislation, a glaring irony of one such ad is being ignored by the media: an actor in a Mayors Against Illegal Guns ad entitled "Responsible" is handling a shotgun in an irresponsible manner, violating three cardinal rules of gun safety.
Washington Times senior opinion editor and gun aficionada Emily Miller explains (emphases mine):
Clinton and Eltahawy made the list under the "activist" category, while Dunham made the "celebrities" list. While there are plenty of relatively apolitical Tweeps in the mix, Time made sure to make Pete Souza, the president's photographer, one of the 10 honored in the arts and photography list. Below the page break you'll see the Souza tweet they chose, along with the picture of President Obama that accompanied it, as well as the magazine's state reason for why they like Souza's feed:
Political moderation rightly understood, Berkowitz explained, is not "compromise for the sake of compromise," but rather a "recognizing and reconciling [of] competing and worthy... political principles," such as individual liberty with traditional social customs and moral virtue. The Hoover senior fellow noted the concept has its origins in the great conservative British statesman Edmund Burke as can be seen in the political thinking of National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. and conservative "fusionism" proponent Frank Meyer. [watch the full interview below the page break]
While much of the media reaction about Majority Leader Harry Reid's decision to scrap the assault weapons ban has been predictably shrill and overwrought, to its credit the Daily Beast ran an interesting analysis from a liberal law professor that argued that a) the Feinstein gun ban was easy to get around with all its loopholes b) might not pass muster in federal court given Supreme Court precedent and c) that the focus on a weapons ban had poisoned the well for liberal gun control advocates who might have had more success had they not pursued a gun ban that energized gun rights advocates to rally against it.
As I noted on Monday, the "On Faith" section at the Washington Post is hard at work attacking faithful Catholics by publishing, bit by bit, excerpts of a Sally Quinn interview with Garry Wills, a critic of the church. Well, on Tuesday -- the day of Pope Francis's installation Mass -- the attack continued with another excerpt in which Wills was given a platform to wish the papacy would become a mere figurehead position, much like the monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
On Faith editor and religious agnostic Sally Quinn opened with the query, "What do you think should be done with the papacy? Do you think it should be abolished?" That softball over the plate allowed Wills to swing for the fences with his attack on thousands of years of church tradition. Wills went on to give his advice to recalcitrant Catholics, which was not to leave the church but rather to simply ignore the pastoral oversight of the bishops and the pope himself, whom the church teaches is the successor of St. Peter:
A funny thing happened on the way to banning assault weapons in the deep blue state of Maryland. Some Democrats in the overwhelmingly-Democratic House of Delegates are considering amendments to reform the bill to carve out some exemptions. Given the composition of the state government, it may be the best bet that gun rights advocates in Maryland can realistically hope for in the short term, but to the Washington Post, it's a "gut[ting]" of Gov. O'Malley's proposal, even as House Democrats pushing changes say they are seeking to avoid banning guns merely on the basis of cosmetic features.
In his page B1 March 20 story, "Proposals would allow some semiautomatic rifles in Md.," staff writer Aaron C. Davis opened by lumping in "veterans and sportsmen" unfavorably with the Aurora, Colorado, theater shooter and the Beltway snipers by noting that "[s]ome semiautomatic rifles" that were "popular" with the former were used by the latter and could be legal under a revised gun ban in the Old Line State.
This afternoon The Hill's Alexander Bolton and Jonathan Easley opened their story "Reid guts Senate gun control bill," with the Nevada Democrat's admission that Sen. Dianne Feinstein's assault weapons ban has at most 40 votes, while 51 are needed for passage and 60 to end cloture. Democrats, you may recall, control 55 seats in the upper chamber of Congress, including the two held by left-leaning independents. This admission shows just how unwilling red-state Democrats are to sign on to an assault weapons ban, especially one that most certainly go down in flames in the Republican-controlled House.
But in reporting the same development, the AP's Alan Fram waited until the fifth paragraph to get to the cold, hard truth that Senate Democrats are gun-shy on pushing a new weapons ban:
As we've documented time and again, the Washington Post's On Faith section is hostile to traditional religious faith. Section editor Sally Quinn failed to disappoint on St. Patrick's Day with her publication online of an excerpt from an interview with liberal Catholic author Garry Wills, who is promoting his new book, "Why Priests? A Failed Tradition."
Coming a mere four days after the election of Argentina's Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio as Pope Francis, Quinn published a portion of her interview wherein Wills argued that the papacy was irrelevant and that the priesthood was an arrogant "monopolization" of power by the clergy. On March 14, just one day after Pope Francis's election, Quinn published another excerpt of Wills which she entitled "The pope shouldn't be king," where she let Wills flesh out his thoughts on the papacy being a "crime":
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- President Obama won reelection in part because the liberal media insulated the chief executive from his horrible first-term record, conservative cartoonist Michael Ramirez told attendees at CPAC 2013.
Ramirez narrated instances of the media's bias by omission over images of editorial cartoons from the 2012 election season, eliciting chuckles from the crowd.
"Before we slice and dice every political statement this Pope has ever made during his entire life....breathe, take it in."
That was NBC News's Luke Russert at 3:36 p.m. Eastern on Twitter. But a mere 14 minutes later, on an MSNBC blog page, the cradle Catholic and son of the late Tim Russert set about to lecture the new pontiff on how to do his job. And, as is to be expected from a liberal journalist, it was chock full of the predictable liberal talking points about priestly celibacy, the role of women in the church, and lamenting that the Church is irrelevant to American Catholics because it is so insistent on social issues. Making his pontifications even more insufferable, Russert opened by bragging about his Catholic bona fides. (emphasis mine):
With thick, black smoke pouring out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel indicating that the College of Cardinals had not elected a new pope on their first ballot, Fox News Channel's Shep Smith took to the air at 3:15 p.m. EDT to grill Catholic priest and Fox News contributor Fr. Jonathan Morris on the Catholic Church being out of touch with the modern world, particularly regarding how women cannot serve as priests.
While Morris defended Catholic orthodoxy and noted that there are some things -- such as the all-male priesthood -- which not even a pope could change, Smith objected that those notions grounded in 2,000-year-old Scripture were just, well, antiquated and irrelevant and that the Church should adapt to the ethos of the age (h/t @tomferrari on Twitter):
Here at NewsBusters, we usually ignore commentary and op-ed pieces because there is no pretense that such items are objective news reports. But from time to time we come across something so egregious, so over-the-top, that it merits exposure and derision. Such is the case with Roger Simon's latest screed in Politico, "Save the sequester, crush the children!" which cranks the crazy up to 11 right out of the gate.
"If American politics has but one purpose in modern times, it is to crush the hopes and dreams of young people everywhere," Simon opened melodramatically, "And this is why President Barack Obama’s closing of the White House to public tours makes so much sense." The Politico opinion writer groused that the tour cancelation was a way to "[bring] the problem "home" to ordinary Americans who caused the sequester crisis in the first place." Only, in truth, "Ordinary Americans did not cause the sequester crisis in any way, shape or form," Simon added, before launching into a dizzying screed that blamed congressional Republicans as much as the president, if not more so, for the sequester:
Kara Swisher of the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD.com has a March 9 post in which she noted how former U.S. Vice President Al Gore was confronted at 2013 SXSW Interactive Festival about his sale of Current TV to the Qatari government-backed Al Jazeera network by her colleague, AllThingsD editor Walt Mossberg:
You sold your network to Al Jazeera, which is owned by a government that’s a big oil producer,” asked Mossberg. “How could you do that?”
Editors for CNN's breaking news emails delivered subscribers a 50-word alert on how "[a] state judge invalidated a New York City law banning certain venues from selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces."[Update: By contrast, Fox News's email breaking news alert simply reads, "State judge halts New York City's ban on large sugary drinks, calling the ban 'arbitrary and capricious'" | see screen grabs below page break]
But rather than couch the stay on the new regulation as a victory of individual liberty, the editors described the ruling as "a setback for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has backed several laws aimed at improving the health of New Yorkers."
Disgraced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick (D) is back in the news today with fresh federal convictions on corruption charges.
Reporting the story on its website, CNN failed to note the corrupt politician's party affiliation. The same is true of a "breaking news" email alert that it sent to subscribers (see screen grab below page break).
One has to hope that Mr. Jack Crawford of Silver Spring, Md., is pulling some sort of prank on the Washington Post -- as Rush Limbaugh would say demonstrating absurdity by being absurd -- because if he's serious, his 42-word March 9 letter-to-the-editor is the most overwrought missive I've ever read in a serious major newspaper.
Published along with two other letters about the Post's "Hyping the sequester's drama," in the Saturday paper's "Free for All" mail bag feature, Crawford expressed his "hope" that the Post "will publish the pictures of all the people who lose their jobs due to the sequester" much like the paper "did with the soldiers who died in Iraq." "Martyrs should be held up for public approval of their honor," he concluded. [see screen capture below]
Liberal bias in journalism is not just bad for the profession as an abstract concept, it's bad for the bottom line of media companies and their shareholders. That was the argument of one Justin Danhof of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research (NCPPR) when he attended a Disney shareholders meeting and confronted the entertainment company's CEO Bob Iger about liberal bias at the news division of ABC. "Liberal bias pervades Disney's media outlets" and "it's time to stop denying this bias and start doing something about it," Danhof argued, having cited former ESPN analyst Rob Parker's "cornball brother" crack about black quarterback and alleged Republican Robert Griffin III and ABC News's Brian Ross's infamous episode in which he hinted that Auroroa, Colorado theater shooter James Holmes might be a Tea Party member.
Danhof argued that Disney executives need to take seriously NCPPR's concerns and the concerns of other conservatives who happen to own Disney stock. Danhof appealed not so much to Iger's sense of journalistic integrity but rather the bottom line: Putting out a fairer, more balanced news product may help ABC attract more conservative viewers, and with them, higher ratings and more customers buying products from ABC News program sponsors, leading of course to higher profit margins for Disney. [h/t Huffington Post; Danhof's statement embedded below the page break]
The liberal media should have reported President Obama's Chicken Little sky-is-falling claims about the sequester, but "with clear skepticism" instead of mindlessly parroting them, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell told Fox News's Sean Hannity on the March 7 edition of his eponymous program. "They should have gone to the American people and in effect said, this man is lying," but instead, "they did the exact opposite. They waved the pom-poms for him," the Media Research Center (MRC) founder argued.
Even worse, Hannity added, after the sequester ended up being a nothing-burger, the media whined about it, wringing their hands that the public are not concerned. "Let's understand what they mean when they say it's sad.... they're sad that the America people aren't believing the media," Bozell argued, adding the the "big losers" in the whole sequester ordeal are the liberal media, because "people are seeing right through it." [watch the full "Media Mash" segment here]
Media consultant John Terenzio is suing former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for stiffing him of a cool $5 million over the environmental activist's sale of Current TV to the Al Jazeera, the Islamist-friendly news network owned by the oil-rich country of Qatar. In a nutshell, Terenzio claims the sale was his idea and that he got the ball rolling on the sale, only to see Gore initially reject it before changing his mind and negotiating the sale without Terenzio.
Eriq Gardner of the Hollywood Reporter has the details in what is the latest development in the Al Gorezeera saga:
In the fortnight leading up to the sequester, the broadcast networks ABC, CBS, and NBC wrung their hands about "all the catastrophes that would happen if these cuts went through," NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes noted on the March 7 edition of Fox Business Network's Varney & Co. Since, then, however, "they've spent no time asking how is the White House going to decide where these cuts are, how is the administration going to parcel out these cuts?"
In short, "[t]hey're not doing their watchdog function at all," the Media Research Center's research director told FBN's Stuart Varney. What's more, for the most part, the same networks lack any skepticism about how the administration might be targeting their cuts in such as way as to deliberately inflict pain, when it's completely in the power of the Obama White House to structure cutbacks in a way that minimizes its impact on the taxpaying American (watch the full segment below the page break):