Those warm-hearted, feeling, sensitive souls of the liberal media are at it again. In a cartoon that this morning's Los Angeles Times found fit for publication, Jeff Danziger indulges his fantasy of a group of police and military unleashing a fusillade at Ann Coulter, who is shown screaming, presumably in fear. Danziger even manages to work in a bit of catty sexism, suggesting that the object of his apparent hatred is a bottle blonde.
Let's play one of our favorite games: 'Imagine.' Imagine that a conservative columnist had drawn a cartoon depicting a liberal woman icon as the target of a hail of police and military bullets.
Breaking news from the New York Times: tobacco is bad for you! Of course you didn't know that. Rubes like you [probably the same kind of people dumb enough to have voted for Republicans over the years] likely think tobacco has roughly the same the health impact of bean sprouts washed down with OJ. That's because you've fallen victim to the tobacco industry's "half-century of deception." And the Times is plenty mad about it.
In Tobacco Racketeers Get Off Easy, the Times stamps its editorial feet this morning, frustrated by the judge's rulings in a suit accusing Big Tobacco under racketeering statutes. The judge had earlier denied the $280 billion penalty originally sought, and has now turned thumbs down on "the modest billions sought by prosecutors."
Fulminates the Times: "The prospects for reining in this rogue industry seem limited unless Congress finds the gumption to crack down — or top tobacco executives develop a conscience and decide to get out of the death-dealing business."
Did the MSM get together and decide this would be Bad Economics Saturday? As I noted here, the New York Times emitted an editorial this morning grimly imagining a downturn despite the good economic news.
Over at the Boston Globe, Robert Kuttner has chipped in with More than Wal-Mart. While applauding the efforts of Dem politicians to go after the country's biggest retailer, Kuttner claims that isn't nearly enough. He wants much more government regulation of the economy, and higher taxes for the 'rich'.
"[Wal-Mart's] wages and health benefits are dismal. Wal-Mart batters down wages."
Talk about your party pooper! Like a disgruntled waiter spitting in the champagne back in the pantry, The NY Times editorial this morning, Hold the Champagne, approaches parody status in its attempt to find the cloud on the silver lining of the economy's good performance.
The Times began by comically scolding investors for "almost certainly overreact[ing], pushing up stocks and bonds as if all was right with the economy" in reaction to the news that inflation had been lower than expected. And if anyone should know about stocks going down, it's the folks at the NY Times who have watched the Times' own share price droop steadily downward over the last year.
If not quite from the grave, the decision by one of Jimmy Carter's judicial appointees, striking down the NSA terrorist surveillance program, was an unwelcome blast from past. Call it Carter's Revenge. Malaise Redux. The spirit of Desert One lives.
That this was a political decision more than a legal one is evidenced by the intemperate language of the opinion itself: "There are no hereditary kings in America," harumphed Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit, in a case filed by the ACLU. [An exception to Taylor's no-hereditary-kings rule: the Sulzberger dynasty that is . . . the New York Times. Hat tip to NB poster Jack Bauer. See details in comments below.]
If I ever knew that Chris Matthews' brother Jim Matthews is the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, I had forgotten. Chris manifestly has not, and on this evening's Hardball peevishly berated a Republican guest who had the temerity to remind him of that fact.
After interviewing Dem Congressman Jack Murtha, Matthews had Murtha's Republican challenger Diana Irey on as a guest. Before getting into substance, Matthews testily alluded to the fact that Irey's campaign manager had sent Matthews a press release with proposed questions for Murtha. First on the list:
"How hard is it for you knowing that Jim Matthews just appeared two days ago with your opponent Diana Irey to cut the ribbon at her volunteer HQ in your hometown of Johnstown?"
Imagine Bill Clinton in the setting shown here. Would he be standing at arm's length, tentatively extending a finger? Never! He'd be right down there hugging the child, probably - for that matter - getting an arm around Mom too.
That,in a nutshell, captures the problem campaign ad makers have in softening Hillary's frosty image.
There I was on the couch this morning in full pajamahadeen mode, searching for nuggets of MSM bias with which to titillate NB readers, when for the first time a Hillary campaign ad popped up. It's standard stuff. The theme is Hillary 'Standing Up': standing up for jobs, for military bases, for health care - seems the senator never sits down! As I type this, a freeze frame shows a nicely-coiffed Hillary in a striped pink shirt and sporting a single strand of pearls. On a desk in the background you can discern family photos: Bill, Hillary and Chelsea in one, what looks like a young Chelsea as a ballerina in another.
On 9/11, the occupants of a hotel right across from the WTC flee their rooms. A hotel security guard informs the FBI that in the room-safe of an Egyptian hotel guest, he found an aviation radio. The radio could be used to communicate with airborne pilots.
The Egyptian, Abdallah Higazy, who is attending college in the US, is arrested, and undergoes tough interrogation, including suggestions that his family could be subjected to investigation by Egyptian security. After offering various implausible stories, the Egyptian admits that the radio is his and that he stole it from the Egyptian air force. He is charged with lying to investigators.
A month later, an airline pilot who had been staying in the hotel returns, looking for his radio. Turn out it was his. The security guard who reported having found the radio in the Egyptian's room had lied to the FBI. It was apparently his twisted means of involving himself in the 9/11 story.
Higazy is freed, never having gone to trial, much less having been convicted of a crime.The security guard is charged with lying to the FBI, convicted and given a prison sentence.
Sounds like the American legal system worked pretty well, doesn't it? Not to Bob Herbert of the New York Times. According to his column of this morning, The Tyranny of Fear [subscription required],
"All the authorities have to do nowadays is claim that a case is linked to terror and they can get away with just about anything. The rule of law is succumbing to the tyranny of fear."
We all remember how the MSM climbed all over Hillary Clinton when a few years ago she thought it was funny to claim that Mahatma Gandhi "ran a gas station down in St. Louis." Or more recently when she made her "plantation" remark.
And of course we recall the liberal media saying it was a career-ender for Joe Biden to have said "you cannot go to a 7-Eleven or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking,"
I'll get to the good stuff in a minute. But before I tell you just how Mark Green went about slurring VP Cheney, President Bush and religious conservatives, let me explain why he went out of his way to defame them in the most obnoxious possible manner on this evening's Hardball.
Mark Green is about to lose to Andrew Cuomo in next month's New York Democratic primary for Attorney General. The latest poll has him eating Cuomo's dust by 18 points. And that was before the final nail in his coffin - yesterday's AFL-CIO endorsement of Cuomo. Green has a history of losing. He lost to Al D'Amato for senator. He did manage to get himself elected consumer commissioner of NYC, but then lost to Bloomberg for mayor. His impending loss to Cuomo will in all likliehood mark the end of his elective political career. Any future run could put him in Harold Stassen territory.
Those mean-spirited Republicans. They're all about the politics of hate. And now this! Can you imagine, calling a political opponent an "evil, authoritarian, crypto-fascist puppet master"? Wait a sec. That wasn't a Republican. It's a Huff Poster describing Dick Cheney.
Oh, and for good measure he calls President Bush "a smiling, dry alcoholic with sadistic tendencies."
The author in question is Larry Beinhart, who, as per his web page, is a member in good standing of the liberal establishment: Fulbright Fellow, novelist and screenplay writer, written for Newsday, LA Times, International Herald Tribune, Esquire. Couple Emmys.
In an article on Fidel Castro, his health, and his visit from Venezuelan Fidel fan Hugo Chavez, the Associated Press noted that "birthday articles in state-run newspapers extolled his virtues." The implication is that state-controlled papers aren't apt to be truthful, much less objective.
So what's the AP's excuse? In the very same article, AP reporter Anita Snow informs us that:
"News of Castro's illness made Cubans uneasy about the future, but a series of upbeat statements from government officials have helped calm a public facing up to the mortality of the island's longtime leader. 'What happiness I received!' exclaimed resident Margot Gomez after seeing Sunday's newspaper during a morning walk in Havana. 'Long live Fidel and long live the revolution! He knows what to do to convert setbacks into victories!'
Last week, I documented here the way CNN leaned over backwards for balance in a story. In the wake of the Seattle Jewish Center shooting, it equated the fear of Jewish-Americans of similar incidents . . . with the fear of Hezbollah supporters of being unfairly accused.
Although it wasn't nearly so egregious, Fox News Channel's Anita Vogel [seen here in a file photo] just engaged in some over-reaching herself in the name of balance. She narrated an otherwise solid segment on 'fauxtography' and other ways in which the media and Hezbollah supporters manipulate the news. The segment included an interview with star blogger Charles Johnson, founder of Little Green Footballs, who played a key role in outing the smoky Beirut-skyline bit of fauxtography.
But then, searching for balance where there really is little or none to be had, Vogel claimed that the Israeli government also manipulates the news:
"But we need to keep in mind, there are other ways foreign governments control the media. The Israeli government exercises control over the media during wartime, like prohibiting them from reporting on real-time rocket strikes and places in northern Israel where officials are visiting due to safety concerns."
As this column has oft chronicled, for the MSM gas prices are on a one-way escalator, a moving Stairway to Heaven in which prices are always "soaring." Fairness thus obliges us to report an exception to the rule on today's Good Morning America. An ABC expert actually informed us that gas prices are steadying and might even - ready? - go down.
MRC's Business & Media Institute has been tracking the MSM's slanted coverage of oil and gas. Here's a recent example. Hat tip to MRC's Ken Shepherd.
Even in its tease at the top of the show, GMA hinted that this might not be your typical gloom-'n-doom gas-price story: "Coming up, we have pain at the pump. Gas prices. With all this unrest in the Middle East and now new terror threats what will this do to the price of gas? You might think that prices automatically go up. Butyou may be surprised."
You wouldn't have known either their names or backgrounds had you relied on the Today show this morning for the information. According to the wife of one of the suspects, the men's families come from Jerusalem.
According to NBC reporter Janet Shamlian, who narrated a segment on the situation, those facing terrorism charges are "three Texas men."
Were New York Times columnists Paul Krugman and Bob Herbert hangin' in the Hamptons this weekend? Exchanging ideas at a chic cocktail party with ocean views? You might think so, judging by their columns this morning in which they sound such similar themes.
Compare Krugman: "The Bush administration and its allies in Congress saw the terrorist threat not as a problem to be solved, but as a political opportunity to be exploited."
With Herbert: "Will [Americans] continue to fall for the political exploitation of their fears of terrorism?"
Other annotated excerpts, first from Herbert's column, Aiding Our Enemies [subscription required. Note to readers: despite my reluctance to patronize the NY Times, I broke down and subscribed over the weekends. I subscribe, read and report back, so you don't have to!]
"The catastrophic war in Iraq, which has caused the deaths of tens of thousands, was a strategic mistake of the highest magnitude. It diverted our focus, energy and resources from the real enemy, Al Qaeda and its offshoots."
You might have thought they had gone the way of the dodo bird. But as per a sighting on today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer web site, there are still defenders of communism out there in the Western press.
If Davie Rossie's ramblings were simply those of one more angry liberal pundit, they'd hardly merit comment. What makes his utterances noteworthy is that when Rossie isn't churning out his once-a-week column, he is editing the news for the Gannett chain. Rossie is Associate Editor of Gannett's Binghamton paper, the Press & Sun Bulletin.
In today's column, 'Once There Were Giants in Television News', Rossie laments that they aren't making TV newsmen like Edward R. Murrow any more. With what might be condemned as sexism, nay, misogyny, had it been suggested by a conservative critic, Rossie grumps that "it's mostly ex-fashion models and Playboy Playmates pretending to understand the news they read to us on cable TV."
It doesn't take much to offend liberals' exquisite sensitivities. The latest? Referring to Islamofascists as . . . Islamofascists. Chris Matthews got the ball rolling on this evening's Hardball. But Charlie Rangel upped the ante to the max, managing to impugn Christians and Jews in the bargain. Fortunately, GOP Congressman Dan Lungren had the guts to call Rangel on it.
Matthews got things started by challenging Lungren: "Would you include Hezbollah in that group [of Islamofascists]? Would you include Hamas, they are they enemies of Israel. Are they also enemies of ours? Are they also fascists because they have a dispute with Israel? Anybody who is against us is a fascist now."
Rangel sent things to the moon a bit later with this line: "You take Islamic and you call them fascists, you call them radical. You never called Hitler a Christian fascist. This is insulting to an entire religion."
Apparently stung by criticism of his comments on last night's Hardball, Brian Williams has responded with a clarification at the Daily Nightly, the in-house blog of the NBC Nightly News. In doing so, Williams seems to have coined a new phrase, claiming to have been 'aggressively misunderstood' by his critics.
As noted here, on last evening's 7 PM Hardball, Chris Matthews asked Williams about the latest terror plot members who were "people who have lived in London and England and the free world for all these years that become citizens, subjects of the Crown, and, yet, after having gotten to know us, they want to kill themselves to hurt us."
Responded Williams: "And that, Chris, that last aspect, the willingness to take one's own life -- I always tell people there are guys on our team like that, too. They're called Army Rangers and Navy Seals and the Special Forces folks and the first responders on 9/11 who went into those buildings knowing, by the way, they weren't going to come out. So we have players like that on our team."
Those burly hawks of the Boston Globe are at it again. With a Landis-like testosterone rush, the Globe's editorial this morning, Tarring the majority, rips George H.W. Bush for failing to have taken out Saddam at the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm. Or as the Globe so sneeringly put it:
"The weakling-in-chief who failed to oust Saddam Hussein in 1991 was not a Democrat but the first President George Bush."
Yes, we all remember those rousing Globe editorials urging the first war against Iraq. And who can forget the glorious martial strains of its editorial opus "On to Baghdad!" at war's end? Or not.
Brian Williams of "NBC Nightly News" surely intended to praise the heroism and selflessness of our various service people. But he employed at best an awkward, at worst an inappropriate and offensive manner of doing it.
On this evening's 7 PM ET edition of Hardball, Chris Matthews mused about the UK-born terrorists whose plot was foiled today:
"Here we have maybe 24 people who have lived in London and England and the free world for all these years that become citizens, subjects of the Crown, and, yet, after having gotten to know us, they want to kill themselves to hurt us. Isn't that an even deeper conundrum here than the chemicals being used in these attacks?"
Williams [appearing from London's Heathrow airport]: "And that, Chris, that last aspect, the willingness to take one's own life -- I always tell people there are guys on our team like that, too. They're called Army Rangers and Navy Seals and the Special Forces folks and the first responders on 9/11 who went into those buildings knowing, by the way, they weren't going to come out. So we have players like that on our team."
Made-in-the-UK Islamic radicals are trying to murder people - and it's the UK's fault for not doing a better job integrating them into society.
That was the view expressed on Fox News this afternoon by Angela Corpe of Sky News - Fox's UK sister network. Fox's Page Hopkins asked: "Given that you had 7/7 and we in New York know what it was like after 9/11. [Is it] still very fresh in Londoners' minds that these were home-grown would-be terrorists?
Corpe: "It was a problem even before 7/7 happened last year. . . We are not facing foreign terrorists but people bred here in the UK. Something our politicians have been discussing today. Not only [must we] be more tolerant of the Muslim faith and realize these few do not speak for the Muslim faith. These people born here, brought up here, going to our schools and still feel the need to blow up planes to, to plot to explode buildings and tube stations.
Continued Corpe: "We have a real job to do here in the UK to try to reintegrate these people and find out where we are going wrongin helping these people realize that if they want to stay in this country they have to accept the freedoms we have here and respect human life in the same way we do."
With that kind of attitude, should Angela ever want to 'cross the pond' she should have no problem finding employment in our MSM.
Update: Demonstrating that the UK doesn't have a monopoly on journalists concerned not to trample Islamo-fascist sensitivities, Alison Stewart of MSNBC this afternoon referred to the 'alleged' plot to plant bombs on planes. This is the same MSNBC that yesterday, on Tucker Carlson's show, decided to extend air time to a controlled-demolition nutjob arguing that the Bush administration was behind 9/11.
Keith Olbermann's regular media critic guest, Michael Musto of the Village Voice, called Ann Coulter a 'bastard' on last night's Countdown.
The topic was the news that Vanity Fair has picked celeb photographer Annie Liebovitz to snap the first pics of Suri, newborn daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. There is controversy as to whether Suri actually exists, given that, months after her announced birth, there have been no photos or sightings of the child.
Musto is clearly a skeptic on the subject. When Olbermann asked him what we should expect from Liebovitz's images of Suri, Musto responded with this strained effort to draw a connection to the left's bête noire :
"We should expect an image of a pillow. An illegitimate pillow, mind you. A bastard pillow. What's the word for a female bastard? Ann Coulter! An Ann Coulter pillow!"
That truth is the first casualty of war has been borne home by the proliferating 'fauxtography' scandal of photographs of the current Middle East crisis doctored or staged so as to portray Israel in the worst possible light. At this point, can we look at any image from the area without a good dose of doubt?
Take this morning's report on the Today show. NBC's Richard Engel, in Tyre, Lebanon, reported that:
"The fighting has made humanitarian relief efforts almost impossible. Israel has cut roads and attacked vehicles, isolating Hezbollah and everyone else."
This was followed by a clip of the unidentified individual pictured here. Judging by his words and accent, he might have been a Red Cross official. He asserted:
"Lots of people have died because they just couldn't make it to a hospital in time. Ambulances clearly marked with the Red Cross were hit right in the middle of the roof of the car. The Red Cross stands for protection and neutrality. This should not have happened."
There is a noteworthy MSM tendency to downplay the gravity of terrorist acts by suggesting that they are local, home-grown incidents rather than forming part of international conspiracies. A recent example was the MSM's treatment of the Seattle Jewish center shootings in which a Muslim-American killed one woman and injured several others.
To his credit, NBC terrorism expert Roger Cressey wouldn't let Matt Lauer sing that song when he tried it on this morning's Today show in connection with the just-disclosed plot to blow up in mid-Atlantic flights originating in the UK.
That didn't take long. Just yesterday, Ned Lamont was the netroot hero, the pride of MoveOn.org, the scourge of the GOP. Today, Dem nomination in hand, he began his run toward the center - with a little help from his MSM friends.
On this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews scoffed at the fact that the RNC put Lamont's picture up on its website alongside Michael Moore, Markos Moulitsas of the Daily Kos, Howard Dean, and John Murtha. Well, let's see: Dean via his DFA organization openly campaigned for Lamont over Lieberman. Daily Kos put itself totally in the service of Lamont. As for Moore and Murtha, can anyone point to an iota of difference between their views on Iraq and those of Lamont?
Would Matthews have scoffed had the RNC put up this actual photo showing Lamont on his victory platform surrounded by Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and NOW's Kim Gandy?
Interviewing Lamont, Matthews offered him the chance to show what a non-partisan guy he is, inviting him to name his Republican 'heroes.' Lamont mentioned Teddy Roosevelt - for busting trusts, Colin Powell, and John McCain - for being willing to buck the status quo.
An aside - Lamont noted that he disagreed with McCain on 'choice.' I don't know about you, but of all the political sleight of tongue, using 'choice' as a euphemism for abortion is one that particularly grates on me.
Tucker Carlson stopped short of saying that some of his best friends are Jewish. But he did let us know that "I love Israel, I think it's a wonderful place, I support it completely, I support it instinctively."
That was just before he declared that "I think this war helps Hezbollah. I think it's bad for Israel, bad for the United States. I think you can love Israel and believe this war is a disaster."
And it was just afterhe criticized President Bush for being too pro-Israel.
Carlson turned to Bill Press, his guest on this afternoon's Tucker show on MSNBC, observing:
"You never hear Democrats point out that Bush is not even-handed in the Middle East. You almost never hear anybody criticize the President for taking the side of Israel to the extent that he alienates the Arab world completely. Why doesn't anybody ever mention that?"
The former chairman of the California Dem party gave a response suggesting he might be a proud graduate of the Pat Buchanan 'Amen Corner' School of Foreign Policy: