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."
Nine years have passed since The New Republic came to grips with the fact that it had a serial fabulist on its hands in writer Stephen Glass. Now the liberal magazine is facing more scrutiny for more faulty reporting at the hands of Scott Thomas Beauchamp.
"I couldn't help but be struck by the similarities and differences at The New Republic, then and now," blogger Ed Morrissey wrote after viewing the 2003 film "Shattered Glass," based on the rise and fall of New Republic writer Stephen Glass. What's most damning, Morrissey argues, is that the Beauchamp scandal is much worse in terms of the gravity of the news material that was faked and the disparity in how the TNR editors have responded:
Congratulations, Bobby Jindal, on winning the governorship of Louisiana. Now if only you stood any chance of your constituents liking you, much less you getting anything done as governor. At least that's the highly pessimistic message readers of the October 21 New York Times received courtesy of reporter Adam Nossiter.
It's safe to say Nossiter, reporting from New Orleans, didn't exactly spend his "Louisiana Saturday Night" by dancing "in the kitchen 'til the morning light" over Jindal's victory (emphases mine):
The ascendancy of the Brown- and Oxford-educated Mr. Jindal, an unabashed policy wonk who has produced a stream of multipoint plans, is likely to be regarded as a racial breakthrough of sorts in this once-segregated state. Still, it is one with qualifiers attached.
Major metropolitan newspapers generally gravitate towards bad news, and certainly have no incentive to preach the Good News. So it's a little odd that a Dallas preacher's anti-Mitt Romney sermon got picked up in the October 18 Dallas Morning News, especially since the sermon was a full 18 days old.
Erick Erickson at RedState argues it's no coincidence that Dallas Morning News reporter Gromer Jeffers' story ran the day before the October 19 "Values Voters" forum hosted by the socially conservative Family Research Council.:
That "Mormon Speech." Will Romney give it? You know the one. It's the one Bob Novak said weeks ago existed and is ready to go.
Covering the flap over Rep. Pete Stark's (D-Calif.) assertion that President Bush likes to see American soldiers die for sport, Washington Post reporter Jonathan Weisman tossed in a swipe about Republicans of his own, characterizing a vote to uphold Bush's SCHIP veto as a vote to "deny children health care."
[Video of Stark's comments available on YouTube via the NRCC here]
The liberal "alternative" paper Philadelphia Weekly (PW) has taken aim at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) for his October 1 stop at Geno's Steaks (h/t Blonde Sagacity). What's so political about a lunch stop? PW took issue with owner Joey Vento's strong conservative views on immigration and immigrant integration.
Given Giuliani's decidedly more liberal immigration stance when he was mayor, the PW sought to make Giuliani's lunch run a symbol of pandering to "xenophobic" intolerance:
On the way to a fundraising event, he stopped by Geno’s Steaks at Ninth and Passyunk, and embraced Joey Vento, the biggest symbol of ignorance, intolerance and immigrant-bashing in the U.S. today.
We'll have to keep Patterico in mind for hosting duties if we ever decide to throw a NewsBusters game show (although be warned, we're fiscally conservative, so the prize would probably be a cheap Rosie O'Donnell doll).
If you ask the voters to reinstate a tax after it’s been thrown out by the courts, it’s a new tax. But if you beat the courts to it — by convincing voters to approve a slightly lower tax before the higher one is invalidated — is it a tax “reduction”?
Washington Post reporter and author of "God's Harvard," Hanna Rosin, admitted in an October 15 blog post that she disagrees politically with most evangelical Christians and that she thinks that the religious views informing their political ideology and activism is downright unhealthy for democracy.
Posting an entry in a "blogalogue" at Beliefnet.com, Rosin offered these reflections on conservative evangelical Christians and their participation in politics (emphasis mine):
Hardly surprising, I suppose, but "CBS Evening News" anchor Katie "Who made us the boss of them?" Couric has passed judgment on the SCHIP fight between Congress and President Bush, invoking a playground analogy to hit President Bush and the Democratic Congress for "playing politics" instead of working to "put children first."
Said Couric in an October 16 vlog at her online Notebook:
Both sides are using this issue to score points when they need to get out of the sandbox, act like adults, and agree on a compromise.
That's vintage Couric, alright. As NewsBusters editor Brent Baker wrote on Sept. 24, 2006:
"Would the media laugh at a nude chocolate Mohammed?"
So asks Arkansas Democrat-Gazette religion editor Frank Lockwood with the headline to a October 16 blog post hitting fellow journalists for a double standard in reporting insults to religious faith.
Reacting with disdain towards a flippant Associated Press article about a confectionery rendering of a naked Jesus Christ, Lockwood answers with a resounding no:
Can you imagine the national media laughing it up about an anatomically-correct chocolate Mohammed, on display in Manhattan with his genitals on display? They'd be too afraid to print the pictures. They don't have the nerve to print artistic renderings of the Prophet with his clothes on!
McClatchy Newspapers is taking a somewhat ghoulish, pessimistically-toned look at the poor souls who suffer from our success in Iraq: undertakers. That's right, with less people dying, business is slow for Iraqi undertakers, report Jay Price and Qasim Zein in their October 16 article (accessed via Yahoo News), "As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch.":
NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.
A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
The burials aren't expensive, usually $200 or less, but many people draw their income from them.
Wired magazine's Sarah Lai Stirland is reporting that liberal advocacy group MoveOn.org is reversing course after it was lambasted for censorship for pushing Google to censor anti-MoveOn.org ads by Maine Senator Susan Collins' (R) campaign.:
The left-leaning political advocacy group, MoveOn.org, is backing down in a flap over the use of its name in online advertisements, permitting an influential Republican senator to criticize the organization in a reelection ad on Google's search engine.
"We don't want to support a policy that denies people freedom of expression," says Jennifer Lindenauer, MoveOn.org's communications director.
There's something to be said for a slightly irreverent, punchy writing style when it comes to reporting political developments in an online news venture. But is conjuring up the image of Ohio as flyover country a way to endear outside-the-Beltway readers to The Politico?
A nine-term member of Congress, Hobson, 70, announced his plans to retire Sunday. “I wanted to go out on top,” said Hobson, who said his health is good. In a telephone interview with Politico, he said he had been thinking about retiring for quite a while and “almost did not run last year.”
Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) will now face questions over the fact that three of the 12 Republicans (Hobson, Ralph Regula and Deborah Pryce) who have announced their retirement this year come from the Buckeye State, Boehner’s home.
As my colleague Tim Graham has noted before, Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom Watch" is a reliable weekly rehash of liberal conventional wisdom. Indeed, as Tim noted in a March 25 blog entry:
It really would be more honest for Newsweek to call it "Newsweek Consensus Watch." Or "What We Say To Each Other Over Lunch."
It looks like not much has changed in the past six month, as the crew at CW tapped into left-wing blogger outrage over conservative bloggers who smelled something fishy with the Democratic poster family for SCHIP, the Frosts of Baltimore, Md.:
Time's Joe Klein (file photo at right) has a bit of a hypocrisy problem. After earlier saying he wanted to "throw up" after seeing President Bush showcase "snowflake babies," children adopted as frozen embryos, during a ceremony marking his veto of a bill to expand federally-funded destruction of embryos for medical research, Klein professes disdain not at Democratic partisans who used 12-year-old Graeme Frost to plug the vetoed SCHIP expansion, but conservative bloggers who brought scrutiny to bear on Frost's parents, Democratic officials, and a lapdog liberal media that uncritically relayed the Frost family's account.
"...for Newsweek staff, all conservatives look alike."
Thus is the complaint of Rudy Giuliani adviser Daniel Pipes, reacting to Newsweek erroneously confusing him with fellow Giuliani backer Martin Kramer, and pretty much mixing and matching all but one of the Giuliani foreign policy adviser photos.
Now, I know finding a Republican in Chicago city government is probably less likely than spotting a nudist in a porcupine convention, but is it asking too much for the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times to add a D-tag when reporting on six-term (and freshly re-elected) Mayor Richard M. Daley's push for an 11 percent city sales tax and a 10-cent-per-bottle bottled water tax?
It's particularly puzzling given the Sun-Times excellent reporting by Tim Novak and Fran Spielman on the "hidden tax" imposed by corruption within the Daley administration:
When Mayor Daley asked Chicagoans to cough up $293 million more next year to finance the cost of city government, there's one tax he failed to mention: The Corruption, Waste and Mismanagement Tax.
Teasing yet another (manufactured) Ann Coulter controversy, ABCNews.com practically suggested that Coulter is an anti-Semite, and when you follow the bread crumbs, you'll find Media Matters the culprit behind the half-baked cake. "The columnist suggested that the U.S. would be a better place without Jews," teased a headline in the rotating news summary on ABC's Web site (see screencap at right).
Yet in context, it's quite logical to conclude Coulter means that, as a Christian, she would like everyone to embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, hence securing them eternal life in Heaven. Grounded in historical Christian teaching, her desire for all to believe in Jesus (and hence be Christians) is not a racist or genocidal point-of-view, but a loving, religious one, however awkwardly stated it may have been in her recent interview.
Here we go again. Another instance of a reporter mocking conservative Christian teaching. And giving an atta-boy to Jimmy Carter to boot.
In an October 11 post to The Skinny blog at CBSNews.com, Keach Hagey took a reductionist and highly stereotypical slant to biblical teaching on Christian households, mocking the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for offering women "an academic degree in their special, God-given role," which Hagey described as making dinner:
Network morning news programs showcase musicians all the time with concert series and the like, and sometimes musicians make political statements in between songs, as Bruce Springsteen did on the September 28 "Today" show. But usually those segments are fluffy revenue raisers meant to hook audiences with popular musical acts. The politics are notable for their general left-wing slant, but otherwise unconnected to the news reporting on the program or the network.
Not so with Michael Stipe's appearance on the October 10 "Anderson Cooper 360," which will give Stipe and his band REM a platform to make a politically correct ecological statement in line with CNN's upcoming special, "Planet in Peril."
According to CNN.com:
(CNN) -- Rock group R.E.M. plans to debut a song from its upcoming album Wednesday on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" program.
On September 29, 2007, Baltimore 12-year old Graeme Frost became the Democratic poster child, literally, for SCHIP. Frost read the Democratic Party's official response to the president's weekly radio address, attacking President Bush for his veto of a Democratic-sponsored bill to balloon federal spending on the 10-year old program.
The Baltimore Sun ran a story that morning noting young Graeme Frost's brush with political football history, and two days earlier ran a gauzy profile on Graeme's mom and dad and their push for the Democratic SCHIP expansion here. But now that conservative bloggers have been raising questions about the portrayal by Democrats and the Baltimore Sun of the family's financial plight, the Sun is hitting back by attacking conservatives bloggers as heartless and obsessive, Michelle Malkin noted on her blog.
Those pesky conservative suburbanites and their market forces! They'll be the ruin of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, bellows Anonymous.
Hugh Hewitt and Ed Morrissey have taken on the unattributed complaints of a self-described Star-Tribune ("Strib") veteran, who laments that his beloved paper is becoming a right-wing shill for, gasp, hiring a token conservative opinion columnist.:
The Rake, a local alternative newspaper here in the Twin Cities, published an interesting cri de coeur from "one Strib veteran" about the direction of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The anonymous attribution wears thin in the first line of the quote:
Democratic mayor Robert Levy, accused of being a phony soldier of sorts, went AWOL on September 26, failing to report to work on behalf of the citizens of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Reported the AP in an October 9 article:
Levy has been mired in scandal for nearly a year.
Last fall, the Press of Atlantic City reported that the Vietnam veteran's claims that he was a member of the Green Berets were untrue. He apologized.
But federal authorities have been looking into whether the 64-year-old Levy made that claim to increase his veteran's benefit payments.
Hmm, no party label? Even though this is not just resume embellishment but a possible case of veterans benefits fraud?
The New York Sun's Eli Lake is reporting this morning that "Al Qaeda's Internet communications system has suddenly gone dark to American intelligence" following "the leak of Osama bin Laden's September 11 speech inadvertently disclosed the fact that" American intelligence agencies "had penetrated the enemy's system."
You can thank ABC News for that. According to Lake:
...the disclosure from ABC and later other news organizations tipped off Qaeda's internal security division that the organization's Internet communications system, known among American intelligence analysts as Obelisk, was compromised. This network of Web sites serves not only as the distribution system for the videos produced by Al Qaeda's production company, As-Sahab, but also as the equivalent of a corporate intranet, dealing with such mundane matters as expense reporting and clerical memos to mid- and lower-level Qaeda operatives throughout the world.