Reminiscent of an earlier review of "Spider-Man 3" that complained about the American flag's cameo in the superhero blockbuster, Times of London film critic James Christopher added "Sunday School morality" as a black mark against the action flick.
This incessant Tom and Jerry action makes it impossible to actually
care. The Sunday School morality, and the inevitable flash of the
American flag, are perfectly irritating. It’s extraordinary how often
the third movie of a tent-pole franchise fails to deliver, in this case
by trying to deliver too much. It’s hardly the kiss of death for Raimi,
but with a budget as huge as his the pressure is surely on to pull in
more than $400 million.
That's much harsher than critic Leo Lewis, who said it was "disappointing" that director Sam Raimi was unable "to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag."
"Did a violinist in a red dress quash detente between Iran, USA?"
Iranian Foreign Minister Manucher Mottaki exchanged pleasantries with
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during regional talks in Egypt this
week, but reports suggest that he didn't stay for dinner Thursday night
because of concerns about the way a female violinist was dressed.
have been told by one of the U.S. State Department officials, who did
not want to be named, that as soon as Secretary Rice walked in,
Manuchehr Mottaki, the Iranian foreign minister, left. But then
[Mottaki's] excuse was that there was a lady violinist who was wearing
a sexy red dress -- she was wearing a shawl on it -- but he was
objecting to the fact the lady was wearing a revealing red dress," says
Mahtab Farid, a reporter with Radio Farda, a U.S. government-funded
radio station that broadcasts in Farsi.
Weighing in on Time's "Swampland" blog, journalist Joe Klein opined that the best question of last night's GOP primary debate was the infamous "What do you dislike most about America" question. Klein slammed the candidates' performances, but particularly picked on Romney, whom he mocked as overly optimistic:
I could imagine him doing the Reagan nice-guy, slightly-boggled head
twitch, especially when he was asked the question of the night: What do
you dislike most about America?
Romney's answer: I love America. Great. Good. Great Great. Creative. People. The American People. Love. Great....
This is a basic DNA difference between the parties. Republicans
see the American people as perfect; the American government as an alien
import from France. You put America and Flawed in the same sentence,
and any Republican will go all (faux) De Toqueville--great good great
Yesterday, NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield passed along how bloggers had picked up on Virgin Airlines screening the 9/11 conspiracy documentary "Loose Change" as an in-flight movie selection.
Andersen reminds her readers that "one simple phone call" can make all the difference, as was the case with Wilkow's producer complaining to Virgin. I suspect, however, that a large, irate blog readership also had a role to play. Over 15,000 hits came up for my "loose change" search on Technorati, while over 600 hits came up when I looked for "Virgin Airlines" on the blog search site.
Hundreds of thousands of potential airline passengers are not worth messing with, after all.
It's commencement speech time again at colleges and universities across America. Goshen College is one of the few to have already graduated its class of 2007, and CBS producer Greg Kandra took notice. Kandra plugged a speech by the Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis* at Goshen College:
In the days to come, we'll be reading a lot of snippets from
commencement speeches. 'Tis the season. Some will be hilarious. Some
dreadful. A few will actually say something that make you put down your
morning coffee and think. This speech is one of those.
Print it. Save it. Share it. It's worth it.
So I'm following Kandra's advice. I printed it (should I buy a tree-offset too?) and I'm sharing it with you. Unfortunately it contains the usual liberal platitudes you hear in a college commencement speech. Here's a sample:
Michelle Malkin noticed that comedian Roseanne Barr wrote recently on her blog that she's too biased against Israel to be hired for the Barbara Walters daytime gab-fest. Here's what Barr wrote:
In reality, I could never host that show, or any network show, because I have opinions that are not sanctioned by the powers that be who refuse to allow even one dissenting voice over the airwaves of television(in this a "free" country).
I truly believe that millions of jews are not zionists, and that even if they are, they do not support Israeli occupation. I believe that Jews all over this planet choose peace in the middle east over the never ending death machine of hatred and division and terror that exists there now.
Yeah, before my time too, but the Vietnam Era folk singer/protester (pictured at right on the washingtonpost.com front page earlier) scored a publicity coup today. In addition to space in the letters-to-the-editor section, the Post dispatched writer Teresa Wiltz to cover Baez. So what was so deserving of giving an aging Vietnam Era folk singer so much attention?
Of course nowhere in Wiltz's article did she interview any concertgoers to see if anyone really missed the earth-shattering experience that is hearing Baez's music.
What's more, Wiltz left unconsidered how negatively injured soldiers might receive Baez's decidedly politically-infused folk music and ultra-left wing leanings. Mellencamp is no Bush fan, but it's hard to accuse the rocker of being opposed to the institution of the military itself. (see correction below)* (continued...)
One great thing about liberal journalists blogging is that without the constraints of editorial oversight, they can let their hair down even more than usual, unleashing their biases as fast as their fingers fly over the keyboard.
Time magazine's Joe Klein is no exception. The journalist and formerly anonymous author of "Primary Colors" shared with readers of the "Swampland" blog today his complaints about a Bush administration that "trafficks" in publicity stunts such as the May 1, 2003, carrier landing. Klein went on to complain that Donald Rumsfeld was the worst Secretary of Defense in the history of the Republic who, along with "the spinners who gave us the Abraham Lincoln stunt" should be "emptying bed pans at Walter Reed."
Klein's ire draws from liberal talking points about the four-year old "major combat operations" speech. You know the meme "Mission Accomplished" and an end of "major combat operations" were impossibly rosy scenarios in light of the ongoing insurgency.
But for the record, Klein himself described the war as having been won shortly after President Bush's USS Abraham Lincoln speech.
From the May 19, 2003, Time magazine, emphasis mine:
Geopolitical instability and inefficient allocation of resources from state-run oil enterprises in Venezuela and other oil-producing countries are one factor in the rising cost of petroleum products. Unfortunately the way Chavez's May Day oil grab is being reported, it's little more than a footnote.
In an April 30 "Public Eye" entry, CBS ombudsblogger Brian Montopoli wrote about CBS's quandary over CIA director George Tenet has a faulty memory regarding an exchange with Richard Perle that supposedly happened the day after 9/11 at the White House. The problem, Perle was stuck in France. He returned to the country on Sept. 15, 2001. So what to do with Web site transcripts of the April 29 "60 Minutes" segment?
"Man Who Claims to Be Prophet Muhammad Alive and Well in Hoboken, Says It's Cool to Eat Pork"
Imagine that headline on ABCNews.com. And imagine the story included no Muslim imams or scholars to denounce the charlatan. Well, that's pretty much what ABC did today on an old story front-paged on its Web site today (see screencap on the right), only the religion in question was Christianity (and the fake Jesus in the story lives in Houston).
Here's the headline for the March 6, 2007, story by Jim Avila (yes, the dateline is correct, this story is over a month old):
Although a quick search of the Web draws up the speech, available here (with video and audio links), rare is the online news service that links to President Bush's remarks on May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln.
Since the media don't reprint excerpts of the speech nor give readers the links to the original source material, here are some comments from May 1, 2003, that point to President Bush warning Americans of an ongoing struggle to establish Iraqi democracy and counter the threat of terrorism (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Yet a review of the questions to Craig betrays Couric's leanings towards Helmke's pro-gun control position as well as some ignorance of the modern history of gun control (see her 10th question, for example).
Below are the questions to Craig with my comments/snark included in italics. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Matt Sheffield is in Philly today at Heritage's Resource Bank. As such the usual Friday Open Thread joke is taking a holiday. Maybe in the future, should I have the pleasure of meeting some of our loyal NB readers in person at a happy hour, I can give you my killer standup routine. It always leaves the crickets chirping in delirious glee.
Anyway, use this thread to pontificate and bloviate, or to audition to become a future NB blogger (by writing a pithy, relevant take on an instance of media bias). If it's the latter, follow our style guide and shoot me a private message with the link to remind me to check it out.
One more thing. Heritage Foundation sponsors one-day "boot camps" in "Computer-Assisted Research and Reporting." They have five more scheduled in 2007 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. It's a great resource for current and aspiring bloggers and online journalists, and best of all, it's free of charge.
The mini-scandal got buried by the Imus flap, but a few weeks ago CBS fired a Couric producer for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The offending item was the vlog script she wrote for Couric's April 4 "Notebook," wherein Couric waxed nostalgic for childhood and worried that today's kids aren't as enamored with the public library as she was.
I was reminded of Katie's ghostwritten blog when I saw the April 26 edition of "Dilbert." In it, Dilbert's buffoonish pointy-haired boss announced to his long-suffering secretary that he was starting his own blog. Of course, he expected her to write it up herself by noon, cooing that he "can't wait to see what I'm thinking."
A troubled newspaper industry is beset with a raging journalistic debate around using the Internet to bolster the bottom line for the nation's broadsheets.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Faced with declining circulation, many U.S.
newspapers are trying to engage readers by allowing them to respond to
news stories online. But the anonymity of the Internet lets readers
post obscenities and racist hate speech that would never be allowed in
the printed paper.
LaShawn Barber lays out her thoughts in an April 26 post to her eponymous blog, suggesting that newspapers are misguided to attempt to co-opt the blog format. Rather than allowing anonymous comments that can encourage trolls that cheapen honest debate and discussion, Barber suggests another strength of the blogosphere that is easily adaptable to newspapers' online versions.:
Ian over at Hot Air posted this early this morning. The portion in bold is his emphasis:
Covering the burial of a Blue Angels pilot who crashed his plane last
weekend, Fox News anchor Shepard commented on the flag draped coffin
shown on screen. Smith compared the showing of this pilot’s flag draped
coffin to the flag draped coffins troops are laid to rest in. He used
the death of a pilot to bash an administration war policy.
SHEPARD SMITH, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: “This is a scene we are not accustomed
to see during war times. They don’t allow us to see the victims — uh,
heroes who died for us in Iraq. We don’t get to see their caskets come
back. It’s a wonderful honor to be able to pay tribute to this man in
this way. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were able to do this with the
hundreds upon hundreds who have died for us in Iraq?”
This dovetails well with what my colleague Scott Whitlock reported on NewsBusters two days ago:
ABC Graphic: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"
The graphic ran underneath co-host Diane Sawyer and GMA financial contributor Mellody Hobson’s discussion over whether or not the Dow, which has been breaking records recently, is headed for a downturn.
Today the Dow Jones closed above 13,000 for the first time in history.
Of course ABCNews.com had to sow seeds of worry about the economy (see screencap to the right).
You can see how ABC and other media outlets have consistently taken a sour view of the economy here.
The Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute has more on the media's generally gloomy take of the economy here and here and here.
In an April 25 post, CBS's "Public Eye" editor Brian Montopoli worries that the media are not doing enough reporting on gun control, lamenting that the media are waiting for political players to gin up the issue.
There were reasons not to take up larger issues and assign blame in the
immediate wake of the shootings – those first few days needed to be
about how people were dealing with the horror of what had taken place.
But some time has now passed, and I'm hard pressed to think of a better
time for the media to focus on a huge issue that isn't going away
Where has Montopoli been? Not only have the media been focusing on the gun control angle to the story, they've heavily leaned in favor of more gun control, including featurin gun control advocates in both broadcast and print coverage. While there were a few exceptions, most media coverage has cheerleaded the notion of enacting new gun control laws. Here's a refresher for Montopoli, a list of some of our coverage over the past nine days:
As we've noted in an earlier post, Rosie O'Donnell and ABC couldn't work out a contract renewal for her slot on "The View." But when I read the "exclusive" story this morning by ABC News's Monica Nista, I noticed the reporter left out any mention of Rosie's numerous controversies such as her 9/11 conspiracy theories, her suggestion that the British hostage crisis in Iran was a conspiracy, her "ching-chong" gaffe, or her swipe at "radical Christians" being just as dangerous as "radical Muslims" like Osama bin Laden. Instead Nista focused on an a feud with rival network NBC's "Apprentice" host Donald Trump:
Update below jump with related items from NewsBusters.
This morning, NewsBusters contributing editor Dan Gainor brought this Washington Post article to my attention:
"Britain's Gun Laws Seen as Curbing Attacks"
But the problem is that while anti-gun activists recited those talking points in Post foreign service correspondent Mary Jordan's April 24 story, the empirical evidence shows otherwise.
The number of crimes in which a handgun was used in England and Wales
has risen from 299 in 1995 to 1,024 last year. Offenses committed with
all types of firearms, including air guns, have also increased.
That's an increase of 725 gun crimes in 11 years, a 242 percent increase. Britain already had strict gun control before the 1996 Dunblane, Scotland, school shooting, and in 1997 both Conservative and Labour governments pushed through fresh gun control legislation banning small caliber handguns.
Update at bottom of post: other bloggers reactions.
In a column this afternoon, Politico's Roger Simon took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for giving a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman "in Christ's name.":
Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians?
He didn’t the other day. The other day, in order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer “in Christ’s name” at Ryman Auditorium, which bills itself as “Nashville’s Premier Performance Hall.”
Edwards has a perfect right to pray publicly or privately any way he wants to. But people who are not Christians often feel left out of prayers like his.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Here's just a sample of diarist Bcgntn's eulogy. Portions in bold are my emphasis.:
Cho lived in shadows, deep and dark. He attended classes at a
prestigious University. He was a scholar, a writer. Yet, he was
shunned. His dialect was odd, mumbled, and his words were difficult to
discern. This academic was nearing graduation, a scary proposition all
in itself. He did not feel excepted in the world. From what we know
of his history, he never had.
Thanks to NewsBusters reader hjmick, who noted coverage on imao.us, for the tip.
Arlington, Va.: Okay, what's your take on the Laurie/Karl/Sheryl
dust-up? I understand it was somewhat crazy for Laurie to think she was
going to change Karl's mind then and there, but I also think that
because access to Karl is so limited for "regular" people, I would have
taken advantage of the chance to push my agenda on the nation's top
advisor had I been there. That's why this concept of "no politics
tonight, we're all friends here" for the Dinner seems silly. How often
does Karl return any of these reporter's phone calls?
Kurtz: Having not been there, I don't know whether Sheryl Crow and
Laurie David confronted Rove aggressively, which got him mad, or tried
to engage in a polite discussion of global warming, only to be
tongue-lashed by the White House adviser. Given the speed and the glee
with which they blogged about the incident, I suspect they were not
averse to making a scene.
By now you've heard about the environmental dust-up between singer
Sheryl Crow and GOP operative Karl Rove at the White House
Correspondents Dinner. Crow wrote about the incident at Huffington
Post. She also added a new posting to her Stop Global Warming College
Tour blog that includes "easy ways for us all to become a part of the
I propose a limitation be put
on how many sqares [sic] of toilet paper can be used in any one
sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or
her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people
that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit,
except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be
required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's
judgement [sic] I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step
further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square
No one forced you at gunpoint to use Google today, but you probably have. The trouble is you don't know how evil that tech company with a "gusher of profits" is.
Fortunately for you, Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein does, and he thinks Big Government -- awash in a gusher of tax revenues it collects from you involuntarily -- has just the remedy. More regulation.
Accompanying a cartoon in the print edition depicting Google as a many-tentacled sea monster, Pearlstein devotes four paragraphs to asking "How Much More Should It Be Allowed to Grab?"
Pearlstein started off by noting that "Google is the quintessential business success story" and that its meteoric rise is standing the company in good stead on Wall Street while its chief rival, Yahoo, is faltering.