In a post to his Change of Subject blog, Chicago Tribune's Eric Zorn practically pressed Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to go further than just stopping short of calling former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) liars:
Why stop short? The Clintons are lying about Obama's remarks on Reagan
(Barack) Obama stopped just short of calling (Hillary) Clinton and her husband liars... from the Swamp's live blog of last night's Democratic debate.
Hmm. I see no reason to stop short. Bill and Hillary Clinton have lied brazenly about Obama's recent statement about Ronald Reagan.
Zorn then turned to comments from both Clintons and an extended transcript of Obama's remarks to give readers a full and fair context for those remarks. Zorn got to the heart of the matter by concluding that the Clintons are hoping to tap residual left-wing hatred of Reagan even though they should and likely do know that the Gipper's political prowess offers lessons for Democrats, even if they lay asunder his policy goals (emphasis mine):
Liberal Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) is in trouble with the voters who elected nearly 15 months ago. In a state that is deep blue in presidential elections and has a 2:1 Democratic registration advantage, the former local Irish rocker is getting a chorus of boos from voters with poll numbers in the mid to high 30s. One major factor: the tax-hiking special legislative session he called in fall 2007.
Not to worry, Governor, the Washington Post has got your back. Here's the headline for the top Metro section story in my January 23 Maryland Home Edition of the Post:
It becomes apparent, however, that rebuilding O'Malley's positive press is high on the Post's agenda. Reporter John Wagner wrote of O'Malley's plan to take "modest steps" towards fulfilling what O'Malley insists is "protecting our priorities." Wagner takes care to focus on how a slowing economy could prove an obstacle to O'Malley's policy goals, but fails to address concerns that O'Malley's tax hikes could be part of compounding the problem by disincentivizing business from expanding or moving to the state:
Mark Moring has an interesting read at Christianity Today's Web site. He recalls all the popular movies in 2007 that feature life-affirming responses to unexpected pregnancy in films such as "Knocked Up," "Waitress," "Juno," "Bella," and "August Rush.":
To some, it was a year of war movies and "statement" flicks—including In the Valley of Elah, Lions for Lambs, and Rendition. Meanwhile, David Poland of Movie City News declared 2007 "Oscar's Year of the Man," noting that of the top sixteen contenders for best picture, only three were headlined by women.
But others noticed a different trend: In some ways, 2007 was the Year of Pro-Life Cinema.
The results aren't in yet, but most Cubans agree; the most famous candidate in Sunday's parliamentary election - Fidel Castro - has won overwhelmingly.
If that is true, and there is little reason to doubt it, the Cuban leader sidelined by emergency intestinal surgery nearly 18 months ago is now eligible for election to the Council of State, which in turn elects the nation's president from among its members.
It's the biggest question in Cuba: Will Fidel Castro return - if not as before, at least in title? Or, will his younger brother, First Vice President Raul Castro, who "temporarily" assumed the presidency as provided for by the Cuban Constitution, officially fill the post?
I don't know about you, but the suspense is killing me.
Chicago Tribune Washington bureau Economics Correspondent and The Swamp blogger Frank James took inspiration from some recent comments from Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), although liberals are likely to not be fond of the result.
James posted a photo (pictured at right) of President Ronald Reagan signing a 1983 law designating the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday:
Given the New Hampshire comments by Sen. Hillary Clinton about it taking a president to make dreams a legislative reality, for which she was excoriated by some of Sen. Barack Obama's supporters, and Obama's Nevada comments about Reagan being a transformational president, for which he was castigated by Sen. Clinton, her husband former President Bill Clinton and others, this seemed like an appropriate photo to run today.
Reagan Presidential Library photo via Chicago Tribune.
One of the American mainstream media's favorite John McCain memes is that South Carolina voters rejected the Arizona Republican in 2000 because of a baseless smear campaign about McCain's personal life. That bias is so infectious it's now a global pandemic, just witness this item from the January 18 edition of the London-based Financial Times:
McCain hopes to avoid repeat of 2000
For John McCain, victory in tomorrow's Republican primary in South Carolina would exorcise the ghosts of the bitterest moment in his political career.
It was in South Carolina in 2000 that his first presidential campaign crumbled after a vicious smear campaign by supporters of his opponent, George W. Bush.
A barrage of misinformation was spread through phone calls and leaflets, including claims the Arizona senator had fathered an illegitimate black child and that his wife was a drug addict.
The smears reinforced doubts about Mr McCain among social conservatives and helped deliver Mr Bush a victory that set him on course for the Republican nomination.
The problem, of course is that the smear tactics were not only never proven to be linked to the Bush campaign, they are taken on face value as THE driving factor rather than conservative distaste for the more liberal stances of John McCain when set in contrast to then-Gov. Bush.
For example, McCain ran, to be charitable, gun-shy on income tax cuts compared to then-Gov. Bush's tax cut plans. What's more, McCain actually pushed some tax hikes and demagogic rhetoric about a major industry in South Carolina centered on the state's most profitable cash crop, tobacco.
Take this Nexis transcript excerpt from Linda Douglass's report on the Feb. 3, 2000 edition of ABC's "World News Tonight" (emphasis mine):
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in whale areas," blares the headline to an AP story on MSNBC.com about President Bush granting the Navy the right to continue to test mid-frequency active sonar in coastal waters despite a federal court judge's order for the Navy to stop.
"Judge had earlier ordered 12-mile no-sonar zone off California," reads the subhead.
Gee, I wasn't aware that whales had legal claims on U.S. coastal waters, let alone that they are considered "whale areas."
The issue at hand is whether environmental laws can and should be shelved from time to time for national security exemptions, and if the president can make that determination as commander-in-chief. So why not a headline that's more straightforward?
"Bush allows Navy to use sonar in coastal waters. Decision challenges court ruling aimed at protecting whales."
Writing in the January 16 Financial Times, reporter Marc Frank takes a look at Cuban politics as though it were an actual liberal democracy, not a Marxist dictatorship. Frank finds no irony or contradiction-in-terms in the way he qualifies the election as a public ratification of a pre-determined outcome. And in what amounts to a laughable print edition subheading, Frank's editor wrote this in the subhead to "Castro keeps world guessing on retirement":
Even if the head of state stands down, he may still be able to exert power from the sidelines, writes Marc Frank.
Gee, ya think?!
Here are the first few paragraphs of Frank's page 3 report, with my emphasis added:
Yes, the Democratic primary last night in Michigan was a beauty contest -- the delegates selected to represent their candidates will not be seated at the convention in Denver -- but it is something of a story that 45 percent of that primary's voters cast ballots in favor of alternatives to Clinton, including a sizable portion of them to uncommitted delegates.
Essentially this means that over 264,000 Wolverine State Democrats took time out of their day yesterday to vote against Hillary Clinton --voting uncommitted or for Kucinich, Dodd, or Gravel -- even though it didn't matter for much of anything.
The Washington Post picked it up on page A7 of the January 16 paper and Congressional Quarterly reported story on its Web page, noting the Clinton campaign heralded the victory with triumphant rhetoric even though her delegates will not be able to vote for her nomination at the convention:
Another liberal Democratic governor has backed off an illegal immigrant-friendly challenge to the new federal Real ID law. Yet in their coverage of Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D-Md.) reversal, the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post failed to note how drastic the Democratic governor's reversal was, nor to consider if low polls numbers and public disapproval were driving factors for the change of plans.
Bowing to federal pressure to crack down on undocumented immigrants, the O'Malley administration announced yesterday that in two years it would begin requiring all driver's license applicants to present a birth certificate, passport or some other documentation to prove they are legal residents of the United States.
From MyDamnChannel.com comes a gem: Katie Couric yukking it up with CBS News production staff off-the-air on primary election night in New Hampshire. (Warning: There is some profanity in the video).
Some of my favorites 1) Couric admitting she doesn't know much about Huckabee 2) Couric talking about how she thinks she creeped out Cindy McCain because she couldn't stop staring at her eyes. 3) "I'm always like oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t, oh sh*t" 4) "Give me one interesting exit poll, please!" 6) "Oh sh*t, I have seven seconds. [shrieks]"
It wasn't long after the fatal Minnesota bridge collapse on I-35 last summer that the liberal media jumped on the tragedy as a way to bash President Bush and the spending priorities of the Bush administration. Keith Olbermann suggested that Iraq war spending was to blame and Mike Barnicle, subbing for Chris Matthews on "Hardball" wondered if it gave Democrats political ammunition for growing the size of government.
Of course, this hardly was shocking for seasoned bias busters like our own Tim Graham, who noted parallels with media bias following a 1989 bridge collapse in San Francisco.
But now the investigation into the August bridge collapse is complete and it turns out that the seeds of the tragedy were planted in the 1960s when the bridge was built during the LBJ Era of massive social and defense spending with the Great Society and Vietnam respectively.
On January 9, a California appeals court struck down San Francisco's 2005 ban on handguns, citing that local governments lack authority under California law to enact such a ban (h/t NewsBusters reader John Kernkamp).
While this is a state law struck down on state constitutional grounds, not the 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it is a major victory for gun rights advocates -- in a liberal Democratic state no less -- in a presidential election year in which the Supreme Court of the United States is hearing a 2nd Amendment case in March (District of Columbia v. Heller).
Yet while the San Francisco Chronicle's Bob Egelko covered the story on January 10, I'm having trouble finding any coverage elsewhere in the media. When searching Nexis, I found no coverage of the San Francisco gun ban story in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, nor broadcast networks ABC, CBS, or NBC.
Meanwhile, as the Chronicle's Egelko noted in a January 14 story, San Francisco's district attorney has filed a friend-of-the-court brief backing the District of Columbia in its appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the District's 1976 handgun ban:
Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to summit Mt. Everest, died last week. CBS's Katie Couric noted the passing in her January 11 "Notebook" at her Couric & Co. blog, but in doing so made a gauzy reference to New York Senator Hillary Clinton (D). Curiously, Couric failed to note that the latter once falsely claimed her parents named her after the New Zealand adventurer. In fact she was born years prior to Sir Edmund's famous climb.
Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" column is a weekly window into the leftist soul of the editors at the weekly magazine. This week's CW is no different, as it insults the GOP conservative base as "nativist" while boosting Sen. John McCain, disses conservative Fred Thompson, lauds Hillary Clinton's "blood, sweat and tears" win in New Hampshire:
Blood, sweat and tears humanize her enough for N.H. win. But S.C. on 1/26 looks daunting.
A new "Veggie Tales" movie is hitting the silver screen and, as may well be expected, the New York Times doesn't like it much.
That's not so surprising coming from the hallowed pages of the broadsheet bible of the secular left. But as Jeffrey Weiss of the Dallas Morning News's Religion Blog notes, it appears the hostile NYT reviewer is wholly unfamiliar with the Veggie Tales franchise and so may hardly have been the best reviewer for the assignment in the first place:
The New York Times has a bad review today of the new VeggieTales film, "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." It's a bad review, in the sense that it slams the movie. But it's also a badly written review in that it seems to be written by someone who has never heard of or seen any of the VeggieTales previous cartoons or movies. Here's the top of the review, by Neil Genzlinger:
*Update/Correction (15:28 | January 11): Grasmick has donated to Republicans running for statewide office (OpenSecrets tracks only federal contributions), as Mark Newgent of the RedMaryland blog notes, yet all told her state and federal contributions to the GOP are quite smaller than that of those to the Democratic Party. See Newgent's item here.
The January 10 Baltimore Sun, reporting on an escalating personnel struggle in Annapolis, dutifully noted liberal Gov. Martin O'Malley's (D) charge that state school superintendent Nancy Grasmick is a "pawn" of the GOP. Grasmick has served under three governors, two Democrats (Govs. Schaefer and Glendening), and Republican Robert Ehrlich.
Yet completely missing from reporter Liz Bowie's article was any mention of Grasmick's historic political ties to Democrats. Indeed, 30 seconds in an online would yield campaign contribution data showing Grasmick has only given money to Democrats.
According to OpenSecrets.org, in the past seven years Grasmick has given money to incumbent Democratic congressmen or congressional candidates such as Elijah Cummings, Dutch Ruppersburger, and John Sarbanes. Grasmick also gave $500 to the state Democratic Party in 1999, the first year of liberal Gov. Glendening's second term. Not once during her tenure was a contribution to a Republican* listed.
Yesterday fellow NewsBuster Matthew Balan and I wrote about media bias in Reuters and Associated Press reporting on the death of CIA turncoat Philip Agee. Today the Washington Post devoted a 23-paragraph obituary to Agee that was also somewhat lacking.
The Post's Joe Holley did relay to readers that former President George H.W. Bush believes Agee's role in divulging the names of covert operatives resulted in at least one death, that of CIA agent Richard Welch at the hands of Greek terrorists in Athens in December 1975.
Yet while Holley mentioned that in 1987 then-Secretary of State George Schultz denied Agee a passport due to "CIA reports that Mr. Agee was a paid adviser to Cuban intelligence, had trained Nicaraguan security officials and had tried to thwart the U.S. invasion of Grenada," Holley failed to follow the thread any further on Agee's sympathy with the Marxist regimes, particularly Fidel Castro's.
As a January 9 AP obit noted, Agee was a Castro apologist, writing as late as 2003 in the propaganda newspaper Granma defending Castro's crackdowns on pro-democracy activists:
Only one Supreme Court Justice seemed keen on overturning Indiana's voter identification law, Los Angeles Times reporter David Savage noted in a January 9 article at latimes.com. That would be liberal Clinton appointee Ruth Bader Ginsburg. But while Savage noted that "conservatives [were] leading the way," in questioning the validity of the Indiana Democrats' complaint about the law, he failed to note Ginsburg's ideological leanings. Nor did he suggest she's out on a far-left limb since none of other liberal colleagues shared her concerns:
Update (17:35): Paul Colford with AP e-mailed me with an updated obit posted at 14:40 EST that had more information. See more at bottom of the post.
Philip Agee, a leftist who exposed fellow CIA operatives by name in a book he published in the 1970s has died in Cuba. Agee's perfidy was one reason Congress in 1982 passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. If that doesn't ring a bell, that's precisely the law that Bush administration critics charged Karl Rove and/or Scooter Libby violated in the "outing" of CIA agent Valerie Plame.
Yet while the Plame case was a media obsession for roughtly four years, the AP's Will Weissert buried that detail deep in its January 9 obituary. What's more, the wire service practically painted Agee's defection to Cuba as retirement from CIA work to the private sector:
The Clinton and McCain victories in New Hampshire were topic A on the network morning shows today, so I thought we'd compile a montage video of the teases that the "Early Show," "Good Morning America," and "Today" ran.
The horserace coverage and media spin about Clinton's comeback notwithstanding, she actually trails Barack Obama right now where it really counts, in the number of delegates (her 24 to his 25) to the Democratic Convention.
John Hinderaker at Powerline notes the delegate count, numbers that the media rarely discuss when the dust settles on hyped primaries:
New Hampshire was a big win for John McCain and a serious setback for Mitt Romney. But do last night's results mean that Romney is finished? Not at all. In fact, he is the current leader on the Republican side in delegates, as tabulated by CNN.
Turns out on the Republican side, McCain has a meager 10 delegates compared to Huckabee's 18 and Romney's 24.
Given that and the fact that McCain was helped by crossover votes from liberal independents that he cannot count on in closed primary states, the media would do well to note McCain's challenge to run to the right in order to sew up the nomination, rather than take his victory in New Hampshire as a sign that's he's the new front-runner.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is proposing a new insurance surcharge to plug a budget gap that conservative critics are calling a tax. And objectively speaking, it really is a tax. But the L.A. Times was careful to avoid attributing the T-word to the idea.
Here's the teaser from the Times Web site's front page:
Gov. urges levy on insuranceBy Marc Lifsher and Evan HalperPlan calls for 1.25% assessment on all residential and commercial property policies to fund firefighting. Foes call it a tax.
Chicago Tribune Public Editor Timothy J. McNulty addressed reader discontent over his paper's decision to include in its January 6 paper that week's syndicated Parade magazine insert featuring an outdated cover story and interview with the late Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. The story was written and the magazine published days before Bhutto's murder.
McNulty shared some reader e-mails as well as feedback from Tribune editors, making a point to emphasize that the Trib has no control over Parade's editing nor publication schedule and that the Trib did include an editor's note in the paper about the outdated nature of the Parade insert.
But while McNulty did a good job dealing with this particular controversy, he failed to look at a larger issue that the Parade incident fleshes out: the logistical and editorial weaknesses of traditional print media in a 24/7 news cycle, and how that could push more news consumers away from print and towards online media.
Forget the label "old media," the Parade distribution model in this case seems jurassic, woefully outdated given the nature of the modern news cycle, and particularly so if the Sunday magazine wishes to report on anything of global political import rather than say Hollywood fluff.
Because the Trib's handling of the matter seems ham-handed, it also calls into question the relevance and reliability of newspaper print editions in an unforgiving, 24/7 media universe that's becoming more and more dominated by Internet-based media.
One has to wonder if Robin Givhan is still atoning for what the Left perceives as a grievous sin against Hillary Clinton: expressing distaste for Hillary Clinton showing a bit of cleavage on the Senate floor. How else can you explain the fashion critic's January 8 Style section front-pager gushing over Hillary's emotional moment at a campaign event in New Hampshire yesterday (emphasis mine):
For a brief moment at a campaign stop in Portsmouth, N.H., Hillary Clinton let slip a glimpse of uncontrolled emotion. In response to a question from an empathetic voter who wondered how she remains upbeat and "so wonderful," Clinton's voice cracked as she conceded that the nonstop campaigning -- and all it entails -- is not easy.
Of course, as fellow NewsBuster and Business & Media Institute staff writer Jeff Poor notes, it's highly unprofessional and misleading for media outlets to gin up fears of recession this early (emphasis mine).:
Pollster Frank Luntz has some 'splainin' to do writes Michelle Malkin, who has a post with video about one Granite State gentleman who's shown up in more than one Luntz focus group.
New Hampshire's a small state, but c'mon:
Yep. I think Frank Luntz, not any of the campaigns, is the one who needs to answer the questions about who Mr. Undecided is–and how he managed to end up in both focus groups. Transparency about how all of the people in the room ended up there would be wise.