I'm sure as a concerned social observer, CBS "Evening News" anchor Katie Couric may genuinely think we as a society are too addicted to TV. That said, I can't help but feel that her persistent third-place status in the broadcast evening news race is part and parcel of her Andy Rooney-Lite rant against the boob tube. Here's the November 7 page from Katie Couric's "Notebook" (see video here):
This week in Newsweek, writer Allison Wood complains about seeing television everywhere, and I think we're on the same wavelength.
It's in your living room, the kitchen, the bedroom. Leave home and hail a taxi, it's there too. A lot of cabs now have little TV screens bombarding you with news and weather as you head to wherever you're going.
It's arguably not as explosive as rigging trucks to explode in vintage "Dateline NBC" fashion but it seems ABC News may be using phony gay couples to gin up an incendiary story that plays on the media's preconceived storyline about intolerance and "homophobia" in conservative parts of America, particularly the South. Here's an excerpt from Michelle Malkin:
When you don’t feel like covering the news, you manfacture it. Remember the story I broke last spring about NBC News engineering a sting at NASCAR to try and expose fans as anti-Muslim bigots? Well, it looks like the dinosaur networks haven’t learned from the embarrassing backlash to that pathetic episode. Or Rathergate. Or Shattered Glass. Or Janet Cooke. Or Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Etc. etc. etc.
Update (Nov. 8 | 13:00 EST): International and Beijing Olympic officials are denying any such Bible ban exists. Click here for the story.
"Olympic agencies of the free world shouldn't tolerate this kind of intolerance. But will the media notice?" NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham asked in a Sunday blog post, referring to a November 2 Catholic News Agency article reporting the Communist Chinese government's plan to bar athletes from bringing Bibles along with their other personal effects in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Unfortunately, a full four days after the CNA article, it seems major print and television media have ignored the story. A Nexis search of major newspapers from November 2-6 yielded no stories on the matter. Ditto with a search of ABC, CBS, and NBC news transcripts, as well as a search of MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News.
A notable exception to the general media silence: Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto. Just after the half-hour mark to his November 6 program the host of "Your World with Neil Cavuto" covered the controversy as he interviewed evangelist Bill Keller, who is urging the United States government to boycott next year's Summer Games should China not repeal the policy.
Cavuto and Keller noted that the Koran, unlike the Bible, was not similarly on the censorship list.
Displayed prominently on the home page for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site at 12:30 Tuesday afternoon was this tease for a story about a local politician in hot water for crude remarks to a colleague:
GOP lawmaker punished Minority House Republicans have severely disciplined a Vancouver lawmaker for inappropriate remarks to a female staffer.
The link takes readers to AP writer Curt Woodward's story, "House GOP member punished for remark to woman aide," in which we learn in the lead paragraph that "Minority House Republicans" in the Washington state House of Representatives, "already reeling from a sex scandal that prompted one member to quit, have severely disciplined a Vancouver lawmaker for inappropriate remarks to a female staffer."
On Monday, President Bush honored a Cuban political prisoner, author Harper Lee, and former congressman Henry Hyde (R-Ill.), along with five others in a Medal of Freedom ceremony. Yet while Washington Post Foreign Service staffer Nora Boustany led her November 6 article with a focus on the Castro-imprisoned Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, Post headline writers slapped a bland headline on the story, "Cuban Doctor Among Eight Honored at White House."
That's hardly an enticing attention grabber for your average Post reader flipping through page A14 while hunched over his corn flakes.
What did America ever do to deserve a major evening news anchor who's afraid of [driving in] the dark?
"CBS Evening News" anchor Katie Couric has a fresh reason to be anxious this fall: more time spent driving in the dark thanks to daylight saving time ending. Here's the tease to her video in a November 2 "Couric & Co." blog post:
Due to Daylight Saving Time this weekend, many drivers will have an extra hour of dark to face on their commute home. And that can be dangerous.
Of course, it's hardly new for Couric to champion petty anxieties on her vlog. In April, Couric used her Notebook segment to clang alarm bells about kids not knowing how to use the library. Her ghostwriter at the time, CBSNews.com's Melissa McNamara, was fired for plagiarizing a Wall Street Journal columnist in the script Couric read from, according to the New York Sun.
Update (Nov. 7 | 10:49): The folks over at the satirical NewsGroper have a "response" from Katie Couric. Enjoy (mild content warning for language).
What is it with the mainstream media painting liberal, pro-choice political action groups as outlets to get women elected, when in fact the groups in question skew leftward and are staunchly pro-choice on the abortion issue.
On November 1, I noticed that CNN's Carol Costello conveniently omitted the fact that liberal political action committee EMILY's LIST only gives money to pro-choice candidates. In Monday's Washington Post, a similar organization, the National Women's Political Caucus (NWPC), was tagged as "an organization that promotes the election of women."
The description came in the obituary for the late Grace Suydam Orlansky, "a longtime civic activist" who died on October 22. Orlansky "worked for the caucus from 1975 to 1991, chiefly as assistant executive director," readers learn from a 12-paragraph obit written by Adam Bernstein. Not once was the word "abortion" or "pro-choice" featured in the article.
Helen Thomas is a "stalwart of the White House press corps who wields candor like a weapon of mass instruction," gushed Seattle Post-Intelligencer managing editor David McCumber in a November 2 post at his paper's Big Blog.
In a short video of her Friday appearance, Thomas regales the P-I newsroom audience with her tired left-wing ravings about how the Bush administration lied to get the United States into war with Iraq, and how President Bush must have been utterly amazed at how sheep-like the media were in the lead-up to war. McCumber was so enchanted by her presence that he included what he considered to be a pearl of wisdom from the reporter-turned-front-row-Bush-basher:
Ann Coulter's been a naughty girl! She has to go sit a time out in the corner, according to Chris Matthews, who's withdrawing the distinct and high honor of inviting the columnist on "Hardball" as punishment for the Donny Deutsch row, which was hyped by the liberal smear machine Media Matters for America.
And I thought that was only reserved for attractive business reporters who didn't lean into the camera.
Author and political reporter Timothy Carney has an interesting item this morning in the Washington Examiner about how Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) practically gets campaign contribution kickbacks from her support for subsidies to the drug industry for the so-called emergency contraceptive pill Plan B. Emphasis mine. (h/t James Joyner):
Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., portrays herself as a scourge of the pharmaceutical industry, but she has shown that she’s willing to help a drugmaker if that’s what it takes to profit Planned Parenthood, her indispensable political ally.
Clinton’s campaign Web site touts that she has “battled the big drug companies.” Yet she has sponsored many bills that would directly subsidize Barr Laboratories, maker of the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B, which also functions as an abortifacient. Thanks to a deal cut between Barr and Planned Parenthood, those taxpayer subsidies will yield generous profits for the pro-choice group that every four years spends millions trying to elect a Democrat to the White House.
Filing a report on how crucial single female voters are for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), CNN reporter Carol Costello left out the central, defining aspect of a liberal political action committee hoping to elect Clinton.
Costello's report aired on the November 1 "The Situation Room" about a quarter before 6 p.m. Eastern. Here's how she blandly described EMILY's List over B-roll showing the group's Web site (pictured at right):
Two thousand eight could well be the year of the woman, or rather the single, anxious female. According to new research by EMILY's List, a political network for Democratic women, they might just put Hillary Clinton in the White House.
Yet the very same Web site declares the group to be "the nation's largest grassroots political network" that is "dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to federal, state, and local offic." Hammering home the point that the abortion issue is THE litmus test for candidate funding, the Web site answers the question "Who is EMILY" by among other things asserting that she's "every woman who’s ever had to defend her right to be pro-choice. She’s every woman who’s ever had to explain her choice not to have a child."
Former Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy (D) pleaded guilty today to lying about his military service in order to obtain financial benefits to which he was not entitled. Levy is a Democrat, but keeping with AP tradition, his party affiliation was not disclosed in Geoff Mulvihill's 8-paragraph article "Former Atlantic City Mayor Pleads Guilty." (h/t NewsBusters reader Martin Edward)
CBS's Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling sees curious timing in a controversy CNN reported on an October 31 program, but which took place weeks earlier, involving a stand-up comic and a noose:
Last night on CNN’s “Out in the Open” hosted by Rick Sanchez, he had a lively discussion/debate with an African-American comic who had worn a noose like a necktie as “a fashion accessory.” The segment began:
Mindless, publicity-seeking pawns of eeeevil neocons. That's how Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. sees College Republicans at the University of Washington. Jamieson's gripe, the recently-observed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week:
Maybe the stunt was fun and games for the publicity-seeking Republican college group. But it's serious business for the folks behind last week's national event, sponsored by David Horowitz of the Los Angeles-based Freedom Center, a conservative think tank. These right-wingers want to grab power by creating campaigns that spread fear and invoke made-up, hot-button words.
Yup, that's College Republicans alright, mindless stooges of vile neocons bent on ruling the world! [cue evil organ music, lightning clap, mad scientist laugh]
To Jamieson, there's no legitimate concern to be had over radical Islamic terrorism, or if there is, College Republicans were creating controversy solely for publicity, not out of a desire to educate or spark discussion.:
"[T]he Clinton campaign in general has a sense of entitlement regarding treatment from the media. I think they're truly shocked by the fact that Russert had the audacity to ask them tough questions," argued Slublog at Ace of Spades in reaction to the Hillary camp's whining about treatment at the hands of NBC's Brian Williams and Tim Russert. Yet as NewsBusters and the MRC can attest, neither Williams nor Russert are even close to being agenda-driven conservatives.
Slublog was reacting to a report at TheHill.com about a Clinton damage control conference call. Reported Sam Youngman in a November 1 article (emphasis mine):
One caller from Oklahoma City said that “the questions … were designed to incite a brawl,” and that Russert’s and Brian Williams’s moderating was “an abdication of journalistic responsibility.”
As we've noted at NewsBusters before, it's perfectly sporting to liberal reporters to scoff at conservative activism by college-aged Republicans. Just the same, the left-wing activists of kids not old enough to drive is enough to make journalists warm and gushy inside.
Take Linda Ellerbee, formerly of NBC and CNN, who has a new Nick News special on kids engaging in political activism, and yes, it's heavy on left-wing action items from protesting alleged "torture" sanctioned by the Bush administration, to decrying standardized testing in Seattle, Washington, as racist, to aiding PETA in protesting the use of circus animals. (h/t Blackfive)
O'Donnell was a guest on Martha Stewart's Halloween program and was ostensibly dressed as Queen Elizabeth I, who presided over a fledgling Royal Navy that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Their ships were fashioned of wood then, probably because fire didn't always melt steel.
What's with going for Queen Elizabeth, though? Some hidden message about "View" co-star Elisabeth Hasselbeck? And given her volatile personality, the antagonism between Queens Mary and Elizabeth, and the ghost fable by the same name, wouldn't "Bloody Mary" have been a better choice?
In the same vein as NewsBusters Warner Todd Huston's earlier blog today about labeling bias, the Associated Press found a Republican politician's alleged episode of gay sex worthy not only of mentioning his party affiliation, but of doing so in the lede.
SPOKANE -- A Republican state legislator from southwest Washington had sex with a man he met at an erotic video store and then told police he had been targeted in an extortion attempt, according to police documents released Tuesday.
State Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, who on Monday declared, "I have not had sex with a guy," told police he was the victim in an extortion attempt by Cody Castagna at the posh Davenport Tower hotel Friday, search warrant documents said.
Curtis' party was also mentioned in the subhead for the article, although that may have been the work of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where I found the article from a link in the paper's Big Blog.
Imagine the ire the media would have, rightfully so, if George W. Bush, Karl Rove, and Dick Cheney (and Sean Hannity and whatever other liberal bogeymen the ultra-left fear) could even dream of, much less institute, a block-by-block patriotism patrol answerable to the U.S. government.
Of course that would not and could not ever happen under our Constitution. But the same essential thing was a building block of Fidel Castro's Marxist regime in Cuba, and, surprise, surprise, a Washington Post staff writer devoted an A-section article to its waning influence and substitute dictator Raul Castro's hope of reviving it.
CAMAGUEY, Cuba -- Children swarmed the table outside Blanca Peleaz's concrete home in this central Cuban city. There were cakes and cookies, gooey frosting and candy speckles, rare abundance in a place where food shortages are the norm.
The sweets came with a history lesson on a recent muggy evening during a celebration of the Cuban Revolution. Peleaz and other neighborhood adults told the youngsters about the Moncada Barracks raid that started it all. They told the little ones that the Communist Party would lead the nation to glory.
Then they sang.
"Marching, we move toward an ideal," the grown-ups blared, urging the youngsters to join in. "Onward, Cubans. Cuba will reward our heroism."
For decades, Peleaz and her mother before her have been keepers of Fidel Castro's communist message, using their position as the head of the neighborhood's Committee for the Defense of the Revolution, or CDR, as an ideological wedge into the minds of their neighbors. Now, in the twilight of Castro's reign, the fate of the CDRs could provide a clue about Cuba's future.
Orange County Sheriff Mike Carona was indicted "on federal corruption charges stemming from a lengthy investigation into allegations that he had misused his office for financial gain," the Los Angeles Times reported on October 30. Reporters Christine Hanley, H.G. Reza and Paul Pringle noted that Carona was once considered a "rising star" for the GOP.
It's a fair point to make note of Carona's party affiliation, but the Times unevenly applies party labels when it comes to elected officials' scandals.
As NewsBusters contributor Dave Pierre noted on September 11, Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's (D-Los Angeles) campaign violations and the corresponding punitive fine of $5,200 were buried on page B-4 of that day's Los Angeles Times. The same squib failed to disclose Villaraigosa's Democratic Party affiliation. (more follows after page break)
A major presidential candidate is straddling the fence between two key constituencies: gay voters and black churchgoers who tend to frown on homosexuality. Yet when profiling Barack Obama's gospel concert campaign swing through South Carolina, Washington Post staffer Sridhar Pappu all but left that verse out of his October 29 hymn of praise, "In S.C., Obama Seeks a Spiritual Reawakening."
Gay activists have slammed Obama for inviting ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to perform/campaign for the Illinois Democrat. Obama has repudiated McClurkin's personal views on homosexuality and in response to criticism from gay activists invited an openly gay preacher, Andy Sidden, to appear at the same campaign event as McClurkin. Obama stopped short of asking McClurkin to withdraw from his scheduled performance.
Yet nowhere in Pappu's article did Sidden's name surface, and the only mention of consternation within the ranks of liberal interest groups over Obama's affiliation with McClurkin was relegated to an oblique parenthetical reference:
(The gospel series also draws attention because of the inclusion of the Grammy-winning gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, who has publicly said he overcame his homosexual thoughts and desires through prayer.)
Pappu's treatment of the campaign gimmick of marrying Gospel music with an Obama campaign pitch was nowhere near the critical treatment conservative evangelicals get from liberal journalists for ventures such as "Justice Sunday" (emphases mine):
Army Captain Mark L. Stoneman took issue with the Washington Post placing an article regarding the Medal of Honor ceremony for the late Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in Afghanistan, on page A4, when the Post devoted prime real estate on the front page to a profile of Democratic strategist Joe Trippi (emphasis mine).:
I was disappointed in your coverage of the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor to Navy Seal Lt. Michael P. Murphy [news story, Oct. 23].
While Ann Scott Tyson did a good job of covering the ceremony itself, it would appear that her editor felt that such an event deserved only a few column inches and some perfunctory context of the actions for which Lt. Murphy was recognized.
This insult was compounded by your decision to bury the story on Page A4. While I understand that the fires in California and the tension between Turkey and Kurdish rebels were the two big stories of the day, you cannot tell me that a feature article about one of presidential candidate John Edwards's campaign strategists is more newsworthy than the presentation of only the third Medal of Honor since Sept. 11, 2001.
Stoneman was referring to a front-page profile of former Howard Dean Internet strategist and current John Edwards adviser Joe Trippi. The story by staffer Chris Cillizza is a feature in a profile series entitled "The Gurus."
The Trippi profile was hardly a time-sensitive front-page story. Capt. Stoneman went on to note a double standard in Post coverage of the military:
Why is it that a page from Katie Couric's "Notebook" is often cribbed from the left-wing playbook? [Check here for a real eye-roller from June 2007]
In her October 25 "Notebook" item at her Couric & Co. blog, the "CBS Evening News" anchor parroted the complaints of a left-wing group that finds scandalous the practice of doctors getting freebies from pharmaceutical companies.:
We all know the saying, 'there's no such thing as a free lunch,' but not if you're a doctor. Every year drug makers spend almost $7 billion in lunches, dinners, travel fees and gifts to doctors. That's on top of the estimated $18 billion in free drug samples they give them. We talked with Rob Restuccia of the Prescription Project, which studies potential conflicts of interest between drug makers and doctors. He says there's a high correlation between the prescribing of particular drugs and gifts to those physicians...
It may be a bitter pill for some drug companies but when doctors receive free lunches, it's their patients who often pay the price.
USA Today founder Al Neuharth (file photo at right), who in February blustered that George W. Bush should be "planted firmly at the top" of the list of the worst U.S. presidents, reportedly dressed up as Jesus Christ --crown of thorns and all-- at a dinner with USA Today senior staff in the newspaper's infancy.
The October 25 Washington Post "The Reliable Source" column relayed the account by newspaper publisher Cathie Black, as found in her memoir "Basic Black" (emphasis mine):
"Al Neuharth was sitting at the table, dressed in a robe, a crown of thorns perched atop his graying head.
MSNBC's Keith "Chicken & Waffles" Olbermann attacked conservative blogger Michelle Malkin for "ethnic profiling" of Chinese restaurant dishwashers in New York City who donated to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Of course, running off of the liberal Media Matters script, Olbermann failed to note that Malkin's problem is not with the donors' ethnicity per se, but that it's highly suspicious when low-wage earners pony up a few thousand to give a political candidate. Especially when that candidate, Hillary Clinton, like her husband, has had a spotty history at best when it comes to suspicious or untoward campaign contributions.
After all, these aren't $50-checks or anything, it's big money, reported the not-so-right-wing Los Angeles Times on October 19:
It's one thing for an editor to stubbornly defend a reporter whose story has come under fire when the reporter in question vehemently insists he is telling the truth. It's quite another when an editor stands by a discredited story that even the writer responsible for refuses to vigorously defend.
Such appears to be the case with The New Republic's Franklin Foer.
In a recorded Sept. 6 conversation, the writer, Pvt. Scott Thomas Beauchamp, said from Iraq that the controversy had "spun out of control" and had become "insane" and "ridiculous" and concluded: "I'm not going to talk to anyone about anything."
Time's Joe Klein, aka the Anonymous who wrote "Primary Colors," painted a very nasty portrait of the crop of 2008 Republican candidates for the presidency on his October 24 appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Particularly of note, Klein referred to the former Republican governor of Massachusetts as a "troglodyte.":
Look at Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, you know, ran as a liberal against Ted Kennedy in 1994. Then he ran as a moderate for governor, and now he's running as a troglodyte. It's unbelievable.
Romney has come under fire from conservatives, and perhaps quite fairly, for his flip-flopping on key issues over the past two decades. Yet no respectable pundit on the left or right would characterize the affable family man as a "troglodyte."
Even so, Klein's invective went unanswered by host Joe Scarborough, who helpfully added, "And it seems to work in all cases."
Every time the media feature an ostensibly Average Joe to further a liberal Democratic talking point, my curiosity is piqued as to how that person was singled out by a news agency to flesh out the human dimension of a policy argument. Many times it turns out the poster child/family in question is delivered to the media on a silver platter courtesy of a professional liberal activist.
The Frost family of Baltimore seems to be no exception, as Lisa Rein of the Washington Post noted in passing deep in her October 23 article on Bonnie Frost's pro-socialized health care activism.:
"Bonnie's a symbol of the true depth of the health-care crisis in Maryland," said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative, which is sponsoring the new radio ad. "Luckily, CHIP is there for their kids, but there's nothing for them."