CNSNews.com staff writer Monisha Bansal has done something I've seen very little, if any of, in mainstream media coverage. Reporting on yesterday's Supreme Court ruling striking down two race-based preference structures that governed public school districts in Louisville, Ky. and Seattle, Ms. Bansal documented the reaction of the lawyers who won the lawsuits in question.
As NewsBusters has repeatedly noted, most of the media focus has been on the political dimensions of a "rightward" shift in the Court, in Kennedy as the new swing justice, etc.
Below is an excerpt of Bansal's June 29 article, portions in bold are my emphasis:
The following is submitted by Jason Aslinger, a NewsBusters reader and a private practice attorney from Greenville, Ohio. Cohen pictured at right (file photo).
In his June 28 "Court Watch" article, CBS News legal analyst Andrew Cohen laments the
conservative bent of the U.S. Supreme Court under Chief Justice John
Roberts. But rather than give readers sound legal critiques, Cohen sounds out a decidely political lament.
With a title like “Rightward Ho!” you might think that
Cohen would attack the Court’s conservative justices, and he
does, dismissing Justice Samuel Alito as a "rigid starboard-facing
ideologue" while he derides Chief Justice John Roberts as "silly and
Cohen lists several cases from the 2007 term in which, in Cohen’s
view, Justice Alito delivered the deciding vote. Cohen writes:
I could not leave this untouched. Joan Biskupic, the same Supreme Court reporter I accused of sounding like a John McCain press flack, has given us a gem of a skewed report on a 5-4 decision today about the use of race as a factor in managing public school registration.
Let's walk through it shall we?
When reporting on a key Supreme Court ruling, it's kind of nice to give readers a glance of the reasoning of the majority first. Makes sense, right. After all, the focus is supposed to be the party at suit that, well, WINS. But Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote for the majority, isn't quoted until the 9th paragraph. Justice Kennedy's more restrained concurring opinion is referenced in the fourth, but it's dissenting liberal Justice Stephen Breyer who draws first ink in the third paragraph.
Below are the first four paragraphs (my emphasis in bold), punctuated by my commentary:
As a follow-up to my previous post, I thought I'd take a look at the inane headlines for coverage of the 5-4 ruling today that restricts school districts from using race to manage school populations. Time and the Los Angeles Times are real howlers:
In a landmark 5-4 case today, the U.S. Supreme Court found that two school systems had improperly used race as a consideration in managing the public school districts. Web sites for many newspapers have carried Associated Press coverage of the ruling, and the later the revision of the AP report, the more information tends to be packed in them.
As of 1:15 a.m. Eastern when I started this post*, the Los Angeles Times front page linked to an AP story published just before 11 a.m. Eastern. But in that version of the AP story, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, is not quoted at all. Yet a similar AP story (perhaps the same story but with fewer paragraphs edited out) was published just minutes later in the Washington Examiner.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
Myra Langerhas of "Snarking Dawg" had this pointed take on those vaunted "campaign finance reform" champions at the liberal New York Times that I thought I'd share with you:
Typical editorial from every litterbox's paper of record. Boil it down
to bones - 'Bong hits 4 Jesus' banner by a high school student during
class hours demands 1st Amendment protection, but an ad from a private
group that asks Senators to vote on judicial nominees needs to be
censored by the Federal Gubmint.
Wow, and the 'smart guys' read this fodder.
Our very own Clay Waters scoops out that litterbox regularly. You can track his record of the Times' droppings at TimesWatch.org.
In its rush to paint yesterday's Supreme Court ruling that struck down an issue ad ban contained in the so-called McCain-Feingold Law, the Chicago Tribune described the case as a win for President Bush and the GOP, even though the Bush administration's lawyers lost the case in question and even though the case benefits liberal activist groups as much as it does conservatives. What's more, Bush's appointees to the court actually restrained the conservative majority from taking a bigger swipe at the campaign finance law.
Here's the lede from the Tribune staffer David Savage:
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court gave President Bush and Republican
leaders two important 5-4 victories Monday by clearing the way for
corporate-funded broadcast ads before next year's election and by
shielding the White House's "faith-based initiative" from challenge in
Oh really? President Bush signed the campaign finance bill into law, it was his Federal Election Commission that pleaded and lost the case, and he's not able to run again for reelection, yet somehow he won yesterday by virtue of his Federal Election Commission losing?
What's more, Republicans, conservatives, and business interests can certainly benefit from the change in the law, but so can Democrats, liberals, and labor unions, a point that the Washington Post's Robert Barnes picked up on in his reporting, which tracked favorable reaction from labor and business leaders:
CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen found the rulings from the Supreme Court today to be a boon for conservatives, but he couldn't resist hinting about his personal opinions about those cases. He didn't seem to agree with any of them. (emphasis mine):
Conservatives go 4-4 today at the Supreme Court
Let's stay with our baseball theme today.
and political conservatives hit for the cycle Monday morning when they
"won" four long-awaited rulings from the United States Supreme Court.
The Justices further chipped away at the wall that separates church and
state, took some of the steam out of the McCain-Feingold campaign
finance law, neutered federal regulators in environmental cases to the
benefit of developers and slammed a high school kid who had the
temerity to put up a silly sign near his high school.
Here's how USA Today's Joan Biskupic started her June 25 article on the Supreme Court's ruling in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, the case in which the Court struck down a televised ad ban in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. (emphasis mine)
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday opened the door to corporate and union financing of broadcast adssubtly attacking candidates for federal office before an election, in a 5-4 decision that is likely to make it harder for Congress to regulate campaign financing in the future.
The decision also could bring about a new flood of corporate and big-money spending on the 2008 elections.
If I didn't know better I'd think she were auditioning for a PR job with the John McCain for President campaign.
Here's how Biskupic colleague Jill Lawrence of the paper's "On Politics" blog tracked McCain's reaction to the ruling (emphasis mine):
Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban interest groups from running issue ads close to an election. The McCain-Feingold Act bans any issue ads by interest groups that mention a candidate running for reelection from airing within 60 days of a general election (and 30 days before a primary), even if the ad does not expressly advocate voting for or against the named candidate.
The way Ariane de Vogue of ABCNews.com reports it, the ruling is not a victory for free speech and political participation, but a blow to "reform." (emphasis mine):
Reigniting the debate over campaign finance regulation, the Supreme
Court struck down a part of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act on
That legislation, also known as the McCain-Feingold law,
restricts corporations and labor unions from broadcasting ads at
election time using general funds. Proponents of campaign finance
reform fear Monday's ruling will create a major loophole in the
legislation and cause an influx of so-called "sham issue" ads that
McCain-Feingold was created in part to combat.
Reporting a new survey on the success of a federal voucher program in the District of Columbia,
New York Times reporter Sam Dillon portrayed the federal program as a failure, albeit
one that makes parents of voucher students feel good on the taxpayers' dime.
Here's how Dillon opened his story (emphasis mine):
Students who participated in the first year of the District of
Columbia’s federally financed school voucher program did not show
significantly higher math or reading achievement, but their parents
were satisfied anyway, viewing the private schools they attended at
taxpayer expense as safer and better than public schools, according to
an Education Department study released yesterday.
Nowhere in his article does Dillon dive into problems that have plagued D.C. public schools that have helped push parents to seize the opportunity to send a child to private school on the public dime.
Instead, Dillon goes to lengths to castigate parents of voucher students as out-of-touch with reality about their child's education:
Earlier today, NewsBusters contributor Pam Meister picked up on the MSNBC investigation into journalists' political contributions. Nearly 87 percent of the journalists gave exclusively to Democratic candidates.
Now some journos are reacting, and it seems the ones at Time magazine don't see the big deal.
I haven't myself made any political donations since I've been with
Time, as far as I remember, owing mostly to being a cheap bastard.
(Time's policy allows political donations, although according to
MSNBC's list, only one staffer has taken advantage of that, so I'm
guessing most of my co-workers are as tightfisted as I am.) Scratch
that: I did attend a fundraiser for John Kerry in 2004, which I believe
Mrs. Tuned In paid for, that consisted of a $20-a-ticket concert in a
friend's backyard by children's folk-rock musician Dan Zanes. There is
probably no more yuppie-Brooklyn phenomenon than a Toddlers Against
The Washington Post's Fredrick Kunkle let a leftist group skate away with the bland "nonprofit group" tag. The group, the Boston-based World Against Toys Causing Harm (WATCH) named Heelys -- a pair of sneakers with small wheels recessed into the heel -- the worst toy of 2006.
But a review of WATCH's Web site reveals that the group is headed by a trial attorney who boasts of raking in "record-setting settlements and jury verdicts throughout the country."
Oh, and they don't like toy laser guns, although they, you know, don't actually shoot real lasers:
The Washington Post's obituary pages are never immune from bias, particularly when a Communist goes on to his or her eternal reward. The passing of the "first lady" of Cuba, Fidel Castro's sister in law Vilma Espin de Castro, is no exception. The bias began even before the lede with a headline that described the dead Communist as a "politician" who "empowered women in Cuba."
It wasn't until the 17th out of the 23-paragraph obit that Post staffer Adam Bernstein noted Raul Castro's late wife"was reportedly ruthless when it came to ordering the killing of suspected informers."
Instead, Bernstein chose to view Espin "as a champion of women's rights" being "the first woman elected to full membership on the Cuban Communist Party's Politburo." Something tells me she wasn't a champion of, oh, I dunno, the right to private property, the right of free speech, the right to free and fair elections, or the right to travel freely outside of Cuba. Bernstein doesn't mention it, but other news accounts make clear she was for the right to have an abortion, the quintessential "woman's right" to many in the mainstream media.
Coming back from a commercial break that included a plug for "the best reporting, the power of NBC News" on "Super Tuesdays," MSNBC's Chris Matthews was caught uttering an expletive, complaining about the content of the network's programming.
The "Hardball" host complained that "we're all reacting here and putting on shit" with the network's breaking news coverage pertaining to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg leaving the GOP to become an independent.
There's nothing biased here, just some industry news. Politico and Media Bistro's fishbowlDC are reporting that it looks like NBC/MSNBC will be giving up their Capitol Hill cubby hole digs and moving most if not all of their DC bureau operation out to Nebraska. Avenue that is.
For those unfamiliar with Washington, the NBC offices on Nebraska are considerably farther from Capitol Hill than the stone's throw from the Senate that NBC now enjoys.
The bottom line: this could make it harder to get congressmen and senators who need to stay close to the Hill for legislative votes to appear on camera on MSNBC.
As we've documented at NewsBusters, last year the media, particularly the Washington Post, raked then-Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) over the coals for his infamous "macaca" insult, and his ensuing profuse apologies for same. We've also documented that Democratic politicians' jokes about India and Indian-Americans have been largely ignored (see below the jump).
The latest racial incident kicking up dust on the 2008 campaign trail is yet another Democratic gaffe, dubbed by some, "Punjab-gate," after an Obama presidential campaign research memo cheekily described rival Hillary Clinton as a Democrat from Punjab, a province in India.
Of course, as the oppo memo itself notes, and as John McCormick of the Chicago Tribune reported in the Trib's "The Swamp" blog, Obama's staff were referring to another "lame attempt at humor" (my emphasis, see below jump) by the junior senator from the Empire State about her electoral chances were she to decide to relocate to India:
The mainstream media often obsess about the profit margins of "Big Oil" companies. We at NewsBusters and our friends at the MRC's Business & Media Institute have frequently documented how the media view the petroleum industry in a particularly fiendish manner at the very worst and a highly skeptical light at best.
So surely the MSM will have just as much outrage when there's a corporation that receives from the taxpayer what literally amounts to blood money, and, to top it off, has a very healthy profit margin, right?
Unlikely if the name of that corporation is Planned Parenthood:
(CNSNews.com)* - Despite a drop in donations and the first fall in income from clinics in its history, the nation's biggest abortion provider made a high profit last year, thanks to the American taxpayer. Pro-lifers want this to stop.
During its 2005-2006 fiscal year, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America performed a record 264,943 abortions, attained a high profit of $55.8 million and received record
taxpayer funding of $305.3 million.
According to its annual report, income is divided roughly into three major categories: clinic income (fees charged to customers at clinics); donations (gifts from corporations, foundations and individuals); and taxpayer money (grants and contracts from federal, state and local government).
The Washington Post today ran yet another story that puffed the politics of pro-illegal immigrant activists. [see Tim Graham's excellent post from April about biased coverage of a pro-amnesty rally]
In "The DJ Who Decided It's Drive Time," staff writer David Montgomery detailed the activism of Eddie "El Piolin" Soleto, a Los Angeles Spanish-language morning show host. It's not until deep in the article that we learn Sotelo is an illegal immigrant, having sneaked across the border from Mexico in 1986.
There's no effort to bring in an opposing point of view, and plenty of quotes are taken with the typical "jobs Americans won't do" tack.
Updates below. (Close look at whiteboard in video calls Ann Coulter a "whore," etc.)
By now you may have heard about "Obama Girl," an attractive young woman dancing and singing a tune about having a "crush" on the Democratic presidential hopeful. It's all the rage on the cable news nets this afternoon. Doing some digging around the Internet, however, I was unable to find who exactly is behind the viral video phenomenon, but I did find it was registered through GoDaddy.com, the Web site registrar made a household name for its racy TV ads.
At any rate, "Obama Girl" Leah Kauffman (see update) doesn't appear to be a random young woman with a camcorder and Internet savvy. Her video "I Got a Crush on Obama" serves as the inaugural media stunt for BarelyPolitical.com, a Web site created on May 30 that has a skimpy "about us" section:
MRC intern Joe Steigerwald wrote the following post.
You've got to give credit to Al Gore, he certainly knows how to play the mass media like a fiddle, particularly NBC.
Eight days ago, NB editor Brent Baker picked up on an NBC Universal press release about how the peacock network and its sister networks will cover the upcoming Live Earth concerts a grand total of 75 hours.
That doesn't count the gratuitious promotional pitches for Live Earth that may be embedded within NBC programming. Take last night's (June 13) "Late Night with Conan O'Brien."
In a blatant and out-of-the-blue pitch, O’Brien conjured a Live Earth question for "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert.
For some context here, O'Brien and Russert had just finished talking about one time the Sunday talk show host interviewed Russian nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky:
In the past, Washington Post music reviewers have made no secret of their disdain of country music star Toby Keith's patriotic homegrown quasi-conservatism. But now that Keith is shying away, almost apologizing for his political scuffles with the Dixie Chicks and the late Peter Jennings, the Post seems to have a new-found respect for Keith as a musician and artist. Below the fold you'll see what I'm talking about, but let's start with two prime examples of the Post's past personal swipes at Keith.
Take this November 5, 2003, review by Bill Friskics-Warren, which front-loads a begrudgingly positive review with the obligatory "I can't stand this guy's politics, but he's a damn fine musician" lede:
French president Nicolas Sarkozy and his political party are pretty popular these days. He's only enjoying a landslide parliamentary election a month after he routed Socialist Segolene Royal to gain the keys to the Élysée Palace.
But the way you read it in the Associated Press, it almost sounds as if Sarkozy is a latter day Robespierre, at least in that there's some Reign of Terror just waiting to break out all over the Fifth Republic. [Emphasis mine]
PARIS -- President Nicolas Sarkozy appears to have won a mandate for change after his party swept first-round parliamentary elections, and he is picking up speed in his plans to overhaul France's welfare state. But rivals say he should watch out.
A major misstep, critics warn, and the streets again could explode in anger.