TVNewser has an item today about MSNBC's David Shuster blasting Rudy Giuliani and Fox News brass while announcing a lawsuit involving the rival news channel (h/t Ian Schwartz):
This is how MSNBC's David Shuster, who once worked for FNC, reported the story in the 9amET hour:
"This is bad news, perhaps not just for Rudy Giuliani, but also for Fox News Channel. Roger Ailes who is in charge of Fox News, a close friend of Rupert Murdoch, he's been close friends with Rudy Giuliani for 20 years. Fox News commentator Sean Hannity led a Giuliani fund-raiser."
"Here you have a $100 million lawsuit in which Judith Regan is alleging that there was a smear campaign against her to protect the political agenda of Fox News of News Corp. and that that political agenda was to protect Rudy Giuliani"
In an Andy Rooneyesque rant about how his latest movie-going experience "left much to be desired," CBS White House correspondent Mark Knoller hinted he wouldn't mind seeing liberal consumers groups tackle hefty snack prices at the nation's movie theaters. He even suggested the short titles for two bills Congress could draft on that front.
From Knoller's November 12 Couric & Co. blog post (emphasis mine):
The fact is, most movie theaters are glorified snack bars. On average, they keep only 50% or less of the ticket price, far less for blockbusters in their opening weeks. Much of a theater’s profit comes from the concession stand.
Regal, one of the nation’s largest multiplex chains, reported the 3rd quarter profit margin at its snack bars exceeded 86%.
And the markup – especially on popcorn – is eye-popping. The Los Angeles Times last year calculated that just $30 of raw popcorn can translate into as much as $3,000 in sales at the snack bar.
That sounds like a markup that would make the oil industry blush.
Both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney gave speeches honoring military veterans on November 11, Veterans Day. Yet rather than take a short breather from his usual rants about the Bush administration to celebrate veterans' service and sacrifice, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann chose to portray the president as a callous commander-in-chief for not laying a wreath at Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.
But a review of the principal speakers over the history of the wreath-laying and accompanying speech shows that U.S. presidents often send other dignitaries (such as the Vice President or Secretary of Defense) to perform the honor of laying the wreath and addressing the assembled audience in the adjacent amphitheater.
It's a few steps shy of proclaiming, "Gun Ban an Abject Failure at Curbing Crime," but today's Washington Post Metro did trumpet on the front of its November 13 Metro section that the 31-year old D.C. handgun ban has not proven to be a crime deterrent.
With his somewhat subdued headline, "Crime Data Underscore Limits of D.C. Gun Ban's Effectiveness," staff writer Paul Duggan unearthed the political calculus for the 1976 gun ban, as well as the Post's role as chief journalistic cheerleader for the law the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found unconstitutional earlier this year.
In making by far their boldest public policy decision, the District's first elected officials wanted other jurisdictions, especially neighboring states, to follow the lead of the nation's capital by enacting similar gun restrictions, cutting the flow of firearms into the city from surrounding areas.
"We were trying to send out a message," recalled Sterling Tucker (D), the council chairman at the time.
Nadine Winters (D), also a council member then, said, "My expectation was that this being Washington, it would kind of spread to other places, because these guns, there were so many of them coming from Virginia and Maryland."
Duggan quotes other politicians who eagerly supported, and continue to support the ban, noting that at the time even they admitted the ban would do nothing to make citizens safer (emphasis mine):
A red meat speech to Gwinnett County, Georgia, Democrats was cause for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Rhonda Cook to whip up a 15-paragraph Max Cleland press release just in time for Veteran's Day. Not once were any Georgia Republicans quoted for balance in Cook's November 11 story, as the former senator and Vietnam veteran thundered about impending doom for Republicans both nationwide an in Georgia in 2008. But particularly offensive was how Cook uncritically relayed a tired, discredited liberal Democratic meme that Cleland was ousted from office in 2002 thanks to an ad questioning his love of country:
Democrats were especially angered by Cleland's loss to Saxby Chambliss five years ago because of an 11th-hour television ad in which the Republican challenger questioned the incumbent's patriotism.
Of course, Democrats and longtime Cleland supporters are welcome to think anything they want about the ads that questioned Cleland's voting record, but it's not objectively accurate, and neither Cook nor the AJC should uncritically further the Democratic talking point.
This is hardly the first time liberals have played the Max Cleland-as-a-victim-of-McCarthyism card. National Review's Rich Lowry capably addressed this three years ago (emphasis mine):
As the mainstream media often accentuate the negative in the Iraq War -- see Newsweek's latest photo essay -- independent journalist Michael Yon's latest photograph (pictured at right) is highly unlikely to grace the cover of any major liberally-biased newsmagazine.
Yet the picture of Muslim and Christian Iraqis working together to affix a cross atop St. John's Church in Baghdad is creating buzz throughout the blogosphere on sites such as Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, and the Anchoress as a sign of everyday progress -- not just militarily but in the battle for the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people.
Here are some of the Anchoress's thoughts on the matter:
It’s one of those photographs that takes the breath - there is a feeling of cognitive dissonance. Some of us on one side - who perhaps have never understood why we went to Iraq in the first place - may look at this picture and say, “but…but…Iraq is a hell-hole, an unmanageable, unwinnable, place of civil strife, death and occupied people who hate us!”
Some of us on the other side, who - overwhelmed with images of burned flags and screaming mobs - may have forgotten the humanity of the Iraqi people (people we let down once before, and who had reason to distrust us and our commitment) may see these Muslims and Christians raising a cross together, in a language of brotherhood and gratitude, and say, “but…but…all those people are bad people…”
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: