Earlier this morning the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on partial-birth abortion. What's more, Justice Anthony Kennedy, whom many in the media often focus on as the "moderate" and "swing" justice on the Court, penned the majority opinion. While the mass murder at Virginia Tech is still the top story in the media, Fox News found room to give this landmark ruling prime real estate on its Web site. CNN, however, relegated the story to a link nine entries deep into its "latest news" list.
The screenshots I've included in this post are taken from Fox News and CNN's Web sites from around 11:30 a.m.
In an April 17 article at CBSNews.com, investigative reporter Armen Keteyian tracked down the origin of the guns used by Virginia Tech mass murderer Cho Seung-Hui.
While Keteyian failed to consider what part restrictive anti-concealed carry policies on the Virginia Tech campus may have played in ensuring Cho faced no opposition from armed civilians, he found a former ATF agent to criticize current gun laws as too little to thwart terrorism.:
Lamenting how Democrats have lost their penchant for fierce advocacy of new gun control laws, Time's Karen Tumulty described as "modest" former Vice President Al Gore's stance on gun control in his 2000 campaign in an April 17 post at her magazine's "Swampland" blog.:
...in talking to Democrats on Capitol Hill, I'm picking up no enthusiasm
for a cause that many have deemed a political loser. Al Gore's
relatively modest proposal in the wake of Columbine for licensing gun
owners (as opposed to the more radical one of registering their guns)
is still widely believed to have been a factor in costing him the
election, losing him votes that he might otherwise have goten from, for
instance, gun-owning union members.
Perhaps a sign of how blind the liberally-biased media are to arguments from gun rights advocates, CBS's Andrew Cohen wrote in his Washington Post "Bench Conference" blog that "There Is Irony in the Tragedy at Virginia Tech."
I learned from CBS News' Armen Keteyian that school administrators and
college officials at Virginia Tech had in fact implemented reasonable
security measures (against the wishes of state legislators) designed to
limit guns on campus. In other words, even though the university was
relatively proactive in confronting the problem of guns on campus, the
brutal slayings occurred anyway.
Actually, that's not so much irony as the law of unintended consequences, something that any pro-gun rights advocate could tell Cohen. I've not seen a worse definition of irony since Alanis Morissette wrote a song about it. (continued...)
Isn't there something a tad, I dunno, hypocritical about a group of journalists who associate with each other on the basis of race and ethnicity issuing an edict to fellow journalists to ignore the race and ethnicity of the Virginia Tech shooter, Cho Seung-Hui?:
Like the rest of the nation, we at the Asian American Journalists
Association (AAJA) are stunned at the news of today's shooting at
Virginia Tech. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families and
friends as they cope with this horrific incident.
As coverage of
the Virginia Tech shooting continues to unfold, AAJA urges all media to
avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane
reason. There is no evidence at this early point that the race or
ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident,
and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire
The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful.
It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color
We further remind members of the media that the
standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no
matter the platform or medium, including blogs.
Here's a little lighthearted item to punctuate the serious news of the past day.
"The View" co-host Joy Behar appeared on today's "Martha Stewart Show" to help the program's host make piñatas from scratch. The final product: a piñata emblazoned with Rosie O'Donnell's photographic image.
For what it's worth, Behar insisted in a Q&A session with the audience that the heated discussion on-set doesn't translate to off-camera animosity.
I'm struck by how political Web sites are choosing to address the shooting deaths at Virginia Tech, if at all, and the reaction the same is generating among at least one prominent conservative blogger.
Shortly after midnight, the presidential campaign for liberal Democrat Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) announced it's shuttering its Web page, kucinich.us, for 24 hours out of respect to the lives lost. The Web page is plastered with an image of an Easter lily, and the words "In memory and respect of all the victims at Virginia Tech, and all those who are affected by violence everyday, we have closed our site for a twenty-four hour period of mourning."
In a 2:30 p.m. posting, well before details about the weapons used in the tragic Virginia Tech shootings were available, ABC News's Brian Ross devoted a "Blotter" blog entry to a gun control advocate's talking points. Ross didn't make room for any gun rights advocates or find a critic to suggest the Brady Center was callously capitalizing on a tragedy to further its political agenda. Here's the entire blog post:
High capacity ammo clips became widely available for sale when Congress failed to renew a law that banned assault weapons.
sites now advertise overnight UPS delivery of the clips, which carry up
to 40 rounds for both semi-automatic rifles, including 9mm pistols, and
"High capacity magazines read extreme firepower and gusto. Stock Up!" is the headline of one of many gun shop Web sites.
law enforcement officials have not identified the weapon used in the
shootings today at Virginia Tech, but gun experts say the number of
shots fired indicate, at the very least, that the gunman had large
quantities of ammunition.
"When you have a weapon that can shoot
off 20, 30 rounds very quickly, you're going to have a lot more
injuries," said Peter Hamm of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
That item is the only "Blotter" entry about the Virginia Tech shootings so far today. Hamm's group, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, issued a press statement on the site's home page that peddles its talking points. It also has a brand new petition page up at the site set up to sign up readers for e-mail updates. Curiously enough, "journalist" is one of the selections a petitioner can check off when describing him or herself on the form:
In an online chat at washingtonpost.com today, media reporter Howard Kurtz condemned the media's rush to judgment in 2006 in the Duke lacross rape allegations.
"If you go back and lok at the coverage of 13 months ago, knowing what we know now, teh tone of much of it was irresponsible," wrote Kurtz in response to a question from Floris, Va. Later in response to a question from Portland, Ore., Kurtz cited the 1996 Olympic park bombing and the early media buzz over suspect Richard Jewell, "who turned out to be innocent." Kurtz worried that the media's rush to judgment in sensational crime stories "is a lesson the profession never seems to learn."
Kurtz's remarks about media coverage differ wildly from the cavalier tone taken by ABC's Terry Moran in a blog post from April 12.
Writing on his "Pushback" blog then, Moran insisted that the Duke lacrosse players received "special treatment in the justice system -- both negative and positive." He failed to offer a similar indictment of the media frenzy surrounding the case and even suggested that the Duke players would get over their ordeal with little trouble (portions in bold are my emphasis):
Harvard researcher Matthew Miller released a study on April 10 that ties higher suicide rates with higher rates of firearm ownership. Six days later the Washington Post's Shankar Vedantam printed a five-paragraph brief in the paper's "Science Notebook" that cribbed heavily from the Harvard School of Public Health press release. Yet nowhere in his story was the fact that a liberal anti-gun think tank gave $700,000 to finance the School's research.
No gun rights advocates or independent statisticians were quoted to critique the study's methodology or to question the political motivations that may have guided the study, although Vedantam had five days to round up critics of the study.
Another glaring omission in Vedantam's April 16 story: he failed to inform readers that the Harvard study was financed by the liberal Joyce Foundation.
A review of the Joyce Foundation's Web site makes clear it has an activist anti-gun ownership agenda.
For one thing, the foundation only gives grant monies to organizations it feels will help advance its liberal, anti-gun agenda. According to a "Common Question" page in its "gun violence" section:
Citing a new study that shows no statistical difference in sexual activity between kids taught abstinence-only sex ed and kids taught about contraceptives, the April 14 Washington Post presented the results as a moral and scientific vindication for critics of abstinence-only education.
Yesterday I noted that the New York Sun reported Melissa McNamara to be the producer CBS fired for plagiarizing the Wall Street Journal in a script she wrote for Katie Couric's April 4 "Notebook" vlog. For its part, CBS News refused to publicly release the name of the fired producer. As of publication of this blog post, CBS's ombudsblog "Public Eye" has not addressed the Sun's reporting. Now there's another development in the story.
Yesterday, the New York Observer reported that McNamara was slated to teach journalism courses offered by Media Bistro.
I checked the course Web site today and it notes that the course has been postponed with a new start date to be announced. These development have not been covered by CBS's "Public Eye" blog.
Yet here's how "Public Eye" envisions its mission within CBS News and as a service to CBSNews.com readers:
Update (April 13 | 10:46 EDT): The April 13 edition of Fox News Channel's "Red Eye" briefly addressed Moran's blog entry. I've added a screen capture from the program.
Leave it to a liberal journalist to bring racial tension and class warfare into a story about three men exonerated of rape allegations after a year of prosecutorial misconduct.
ABC's Terry Moran found the outpouring of sympathy for the exonerated Duke lacrosse players is a bit much because, in a nutshell, they're white guys from wealthy families who attended a private university. In fact, in an April 12 "Pushback" blog post at ABCNews.com, he suggested that in a way, they were victimized less than the Rutgers women's basketball team by Imus. Portions in bold are my emphasis. Video Clip: Real (2.7 MB) or Windows (3 MB), Plus MP3 (477 KB)
Starbucks. Many Americans may think the Seattle-based coffee chain is generally well-liked by its employees and generally well-liked by liberals, but to some left-wing organizers, it's the new Wal-Mart. Sooner or later the Washington Post was going to notice.
And so today's paper splashed its Style section cover page with a David Segal story about Daniel Gross, a "scruffy college grad" that became the "Norma Rea of the Caramel Macchiato."
But the thing is that organizer Gross doesn't work for a liberal-but-mainstream labor union like any number of unions that report to the AFL-CIO. No, Gross is a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), a self-described radical organization that thinks the AFL-CIO is too soft on corporate America.
The New York Sun is reporting today that CBS "Blogophile" Melissa McNamara is the producer that was fired for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The fired producer recycled language from a Jeffrey Zaslow column in the script she wrote for a Katie Couric "Notebook" entry published to the CBS Web site on April 4. CBS has refused to name the fired producer, but I'll update this post should CBS News address the matter on the network's "PublicEye" blog.
Regardless of the identity of the fired producer, Couric's "Notebook" lives on. Yesterday the "Evening News" anchor vlogged about the religious background of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
I critiqued McNamara once on NewsBusters on an unrelated matter:
A week ago, I posted a snarky item about a Katie Couric vlog entry at CBSNews.com. In an April 4 page from her "Notebook," the "Evening News" anchor worried that kids entering college were unable to use a library for something as basic as locating a book needed for class. In doing so, she erroneously suggested colleges use the Dewey decimal system, when in fact most use Library of Congress Classification to arrange the bookshelves.
Now it turns out that not only did Couric not exactly do her homework, but that the producer who did it for her lifted some of the script from a Wall Street Journal column. That producer has since been fired.
CBS's Brian Montopoli explained how the vlogs are written and produced in a post today at CBS's "Public Eye" blog:
On the April 10 "Tonight Show," host Jay Leno joked about Democrats boycotting the Fox News Channel/Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate. Wondered Leno, "How are you going to stand up to terrorists when you're afraid of Fox News?"
Maybe Jay should ask Time magazine's Joe Klein, who called the Fox News debate a "sordid event" that was a clever ploy to "pander" to a Democratic interest group.
Calling the Fox News debate a "sordid event," Time magazine's Joe Klein offered Barack Obama the journalistic version of the cinematic slow clap with an April 9 post to Time's "Swampland" blog:
First, congratulations to Barack Obama for dropping out of the
Congressional Black Caucus Institute-Fox News debate. With John Edwards
already out, that means this sordid event is over...Back in 2004, I
remember raising an eyebrow or two when it was announced that Fox would
sponsor a debate in partnership with the CBC, of all groups. Roger
Ailes' strategy seemed classic:
Just to give our readers a look at how fastidiously accurate we are at the MRC, we've been having a bit of an in-house debate about the proper spelling for the nominative plural for "ho," as in the street slang for whore. Yes, news is stranger than fiction, and we only have Don Imus's "nappy-headed hos (?)" remark to blame for this journalistic quandary.
My colleague Matt Balan and I have combed the Web to see how different news orgs handle it and we found no consensus:
UPI uses "ho's": "Imus last week described Rutgers University's women's basketball team as 'nappy-headed ho's.' Imus also apologized for the comment during his talk show."
Associated Press uses "hos": "Radio host Don Imus, suspended for two weeks for calling the Rutgers female basketball players 'nappy-headed hos,' called the punishment appropriate Tuesday but stressed, 'I am not a racist.'
LA Times uses "hoes": "Radio provocateur Don Imus apologized Friday for referring to the Rutgers women's basketball team as 'some nappy-headed hoes' on a broadcast of his syndicated radio show 'Imus in the Morning,' which also airs live on MSNBC."
We at NewsBusters typically follow Associated Press Style and since the AP wire is going with "hos," that probably will be the default for any future posts, for what that's worth.
In the meantime, for more examples, you'll just have to follow Rosie O's advice and "Google it!"
UPDATE 2 (April 11 | 12:40 EDT): A word of thanks to Greg Gutfeld of Fox News Channel's "Red Eye," who linked to this post on his "Daily Gut" blog and discussed the matter during the Imus-related segment of his April 11 program.
Newsbusters senior editor Tim Graham wrote earlier today about how the Washington Post chose to focus on religious controversies in its obituary of cartoonist Johnny Hart.
Not to be outdone, Post magazine humor columnist Gene Weingarten found room to slam Hart's Christian faith in his online chat today. A reader/chat participant did seem to egg him into it, but all the same it's rather tasteless to besmirch the man's faith in an ostensible celebration of the man's artistry and sense of humor. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
VA: For four months you leave us, and now you think you can just walk
in here like nothing happened? At least offer us a poop joke and some
words about Johnny Hart.
Gene Weingarten: I tried to write an
appreciation of Johnny for today's paper, but failed. It was coming out
nasty, and that was bad. [continued below jump...]
In a front-page article in the Washington Post in 1993, reporter Michael Weisskopf quipped that Christian conservatives were "largely poor, uneducated, and easy to command."
Of course, that's utter malarkey, but even when well-educated Christian conservatives serve in high offices in the federal government, they don't fare much better in the liberally biased media, particularly if they graduated from Regent University, an accredited private graduate school founded by [gasp] Pat Robertson.
Take CBS's Andrew Cohen. The legal analyst/blogger who recently argued that Alberto Gonzales may well be the nation's worst Attorney General ever, picked up on a Boston Globe article to turn his anti-Gonzales drumbeat into a swipe at Bush political appointees who hail from evangelical Christian circles:
If I had a $100 for every time the media fret that liberal Republicans will be seen as too "moderate" for their party base, I'd be blogging this from my vacation home in St. Kitts.
This CBS "Pure Horserace" article took the occasion of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani reaffirming his support of taxpayer-funded abortions to ask, "Is Rudy Too Moderate?"
The belief that abortion is not only a constitutional right but one deserving of subsidy by tax dollars is hardly a moderate position, it's a policy position grounded in advocacy of the exercise of the right to obtain an abortion.
It may arguably be "moderate" for a candidate to favor abortion rights but with some restrictions, such as a ban on partial-birth abortion, parental consent laws, a ban on public financing, etc. But to defend taxpayer funding of abortion and/or to balk at banning partial-birth abortion moves solidly into the "liberal" edge of the spectrum on the abortion issue.
Earlier today, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham wrote about ABC's Tahman Bradley and his coverage of President Bush's recess appointment of Sam Fox as ambassador to Belgium. The headline for Bradley's story read like that of a left-wing press release: "Bush Swift Boats Belgium, Congress."
Thursday home editions of the Washington Post come equipped with a Life magazine insert, and I was pleasantly surprised with the pro-religious, pro-faith content that graced its pages.
The cover for the current issue (April 6 weekend) is: "America's Coolest Churches: The amazing places where presidents, cowboys, and dog lovers go to pray."
The cover photo is a breathtaking shot of the Cadet Chapel at the U.S. Air Force Academy on a bright, sunny day.
I found the photo essay by Danny Freedman a quirky but respectful tribute to some of the more unusual houses of worship across the fruited plain. Pegged to hit American doorsteps during Holy Week it's a welcome change from other media outlets that often see Easter as a time to trudge out the usual suspects of gnostic revisionism. [continued...]
Reporting a crime story from Colville, Wash., the Associated Press refused to use the term "unborn baby" to describe the intended victim of a crime that landed an 18-year-old man in prison for over six years:
(AP) An 18-year-old pleaded guilty to trying to hire a hit man to kill
his ex-girlfriend's nearly full-term fetus and was sentenced to more
than six years in prison.
Charles D. Young received 76½ months
in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to first-degree solicitation to
commit manslaughter. State law allows for such a count when a viable
fetus is the intended target.
Prosecutors allege Young, then 17,
offered an undercover officer posing as a hit man $3,250 last October
to injure his estranged 17-year-old girlfriend so badly that her fetus
That's pretty much the spin from the Politico this afternoon as the online political journal spun Barack Obama's campaign fundraising performance into bad news for Republican presidential aspiratios in 2008.
Here's the text of the "breaking news" e-mail from Politico.com. That's right, it's so important it deserved a breaking news alert to Politico readers' inboxes:
The Politico.com Breaking News: --------------------------------------------------------- GOP Gets Swamped in Money Hunt
The $25 million raised by Barack Obama this year is the latest bad news for Republicans.
In an April 4 blog post to "Couric & Co.," the University of Virginia alumna (Class of 1979) worries that kids these days don't know their way around the library, and hence will be up a creek when they drift into the college library cramming for term papers:
Many kids skip the library altogether and head for the store. Sales of
juvenile books rose 60 percent from 2002 to 2005. It's an encouraging
sign that kids value reading, but many tech-savvy kids never experience
the joy of using the library's shelves as a place to discover new
worlds. And students are arriving in college unable to navigate
libraries with a Dewey decimal system many have never used.
Of course, kids love books, they just need authors that know how to capture their attention. Katie knows this well, having plugged the heck out of Harry Potter novels repeatedly over the years. But it's the last line in the above excerpt that caught my eye about students being unfamiliar with "a Dewey decimal system many have never used."
Our good friends at Get Religion noticed that the New York Times's Dining & Wine section had a bit of trouble today digesting the real meanings of Easter and Passover.
Now, to be fair, no one expects a newspaper's foodies to be experts on the finer points of theology, but it's pretty safe to say that knowing Easter celebrates the physical resurrection of Christ is not asking that much of someone writng a column about foods traditionally associated with the holiday.
Two days ago NewsBusters documented how ABC's "Good Morning America"
is hyping the "latest trend" for couples tying the knot this year,
so-called green weddings. Of course, weatherman/reporter Sam Champion
left out for his audience how the bride featured in his story, Anna
Swinson, is a Sierra Club official in Atlanta, but what's a covert
liberal agenda among friends?
ABC is not the only network pushing the phenomenon as a tactic to combating global warming. "Days of Our Lives"
addicts will be treated to the earth-friendly nuptials of characters
Sami and Lucas. Of course the NBC.com Web site doesn't just plug the
liberal-friendly story arc, it also insults the intelligence
of its readership by insisting that having a "green wedding" isn't just a matter of taste, it's a matter of life and death (yes, even if green is just not the bride's color):