[Update, 10:30 am EDT Thursday: Martin's title at CNN is now political analyst, not contributor, according to an e-mail we received earlier this morning. This must be a very recent development, as Mr. Martin was referred to as "contributor" as late as June 17.]
CNN contributor Roland Martin, when asked on Tuesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360" if Michelle Obama was being held to a different standard than other presidential candidates’ wives, unequivocally placed the blame on conservative men. "No, I think what you have is you've got some weak men on the conservative side who, frankly, don't like strong women. I mean, we saw the exact same thing take place for Hillary Clinton back in 1992.... All of a sudden... Michelle Obama is this angry black woman, when in fact, she's an accomplished woman, a mother, a wife. And so, they are trying to define her in that way, because they don't want to deal with the reality."
ABCNews.com, reporting on the Catholic Diocese of Rome refusing permission to Ron Howard’s plans to film the movie prequel to Dan Brown’s "The DaVinci Code" in two historic churches, used loaded wording in the headline: "Church Cracks Down on New ‘Da Vinci’ Film."
The lead for the report, written by Phoebe Natanson and Luchina Fisher, also used similar imagery to describe the Catholic Church’s refusal: "Once again, the Catholic Church is coming down hard on writer Dan Brown, the author of ‘The Da Vinci Code.’ The producers of Brown's latest thriller to be made into a film, ‘Angels and Demons,’ have been banned from filming key scenes inside any church in Rome, on the grounds that the book is "an offense against God," according to a church spokesman.
Speaking of "coming down hard," wasn’t Brown doing just that in "The Da Vinci Code" by depicting the Catholic Church as a nefarious organization?
CNN, following the same vein as the Associated Press, highlighted how Elian Gonzalez is now a member of Cuba’s Young Communist League. Correspondent Shasta Darlington reported on Monday’s "American Morning" that the newly-minted communist "vowed he would always follow the examples of Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, Cuba's new president." She also acknowledged unquestioningly Fidel Castro’s "personal relationship" with the boy.
Darlington, reporting live from Havana, introduced her report by announcing that Elian took his "first step that, for a select few, lead to a bright political future in Cuba." She then gave a short summary of the custody dispute over the child eight years ago, during which she stated that "Fidel Castro himself led the ideological battle to bring Gonzalez back to Cuba and his father."
Leave it to the mainstream media to highlight the latest "accomplishment" of the Castros’ oppressive regime.
One of Yahoo.com’s front page news items Monday morning linked to a story from the Associated Press about Elian Gonzalez’s entrance into Cuba’s Young Communist Union. The short uncredited story put the news this way:
The Cuban boy at the center of an international custody battle eight years ago has joined Cuba's Young Communist Union.
Communist youth newspaper Juventud Rebelde quotes Elian Gonzalez as saying he will never let down ex-President Fidel Castro and his brother Raul Castro, who succeeded Fidel earlier this year.
CNN contributor Roland Martin, a known Barack Obama sympathizer, surprisingly isn’t buying the argument that conservatives/Republicans are behind the rumored Michelle Obama "whitey" comment. During a segment on Thursday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," substitute anchor Campbell Brown asked Martin, "Republicans have made it clear, pretty much, that Michelle is fair game here. Are you surprised by the intensity of the attacks?" He replied, "I'm not surprised by it, but I think, also, we can't blame Republicans for everything. It's these idiot Democrats that started some of this stuff."
CNN continued to harp about "big oil’s" record profits and the Democrats’ proposed windfall taxes on companies like ExxonMobil on Wednesday. In an interview of Kansas Senator Sam Brownback on "American Morning," co-host John Roberts was amazed over the Republican’s opposition to the tax proposal. "There were a couple of other provisions in this bill. One of them were to roll back the $17 billion in annual tax breaks so that these five biggest oil companies get. Together, they made... $36 billion in profits in the first quarter this year. Why do they need $17 billion in tax breaks?" Later, during "The Situation Room," host Wolf Blitzer returned to his laser-beam focus on ExxonMobil as a particularly "guilty" part of "big oil." He asked former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, "Explain why it's appropriate at this time of rising gas prices, for ExxonMobil, for example, to get additional tax cuts."
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer pressed McCain campaign adviser Carly Fiorina about oil companies "awash in record profits" on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room." The CNN host used ExxonMobil as an example five different times in his questioning. "...ExxonMobil has got these billions and billions of dollars in record profits. They can afford to not necessarily get additional tax cuts."
After Fiorina outlined McCain’s proposal to lower the federal business tax rate at the beginning of the segment, which began 14 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer took a persistent stance in asking if the reduction in taxes included "big oil." First, the CNN host asked, "Would that reduction of the tax rate also include, as Obama says, ExxonMobil and the other big oil companies, who are awash in record profits?"
CNN’s "American Morning," following-up on their segment last Friday with Gail Sheehy on whether sexism factored into Hillary Clinton’s loss, asked "pioneering feminist" Gloria Steinem about the issue on Monday morning. Steinem placed the blame squarely on "misogyny and the culture at large, and especially in the media." "[N]o candidate in history has been asked to step down by the media. She was. The average time that it takes for a loser to endorse a winner in this situation is four months -- four months. She did it in four days, and look how she was criticized, you know, for not doing it the very same night. It's outrageous."
Following Veronica de la Cruz’s use of the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos as sources for a story on Thursday, CNN’s Kyra Phillips read an excerpt from a recent piece by The Nation’s Betsy Reed during a segment on Friday’s "American Morning" about Hillary Clinton’s future. After her guest Gail Sheehy of Vanity Fair argued that Clinton "spoke so strongly, so -- with such assurance about world affairs and who was a tough warrior," Phillips lamented, "And it wasn't easy. Just to take -- Betsy Reed put this together for ‘The Nation.’ I want to get your reaction.... ‘She’s been likened to Lorena Bobbitt, a hellish housewife, described as witchy, a she-devil, anti-male, a strip teaser. Her loud and hardy laugh has been labeled the cackle, her voice compared to fingernails on a blackboard. And as one Fox News commentator put it, when Hillary Clinton speaks, men hear take out the garbage.’"
CNN’s Veronica De La Cruz pulled her scoop on Thursday’s "American Morning" straight out of the left-wing blogosphere. The network’s Internet correspondent cited both the Huffington Post and the Daily Kos in her short segment on the brand-new changes on John McCain’s presidential campaign website.
De La Cruz first zeroed in on McCain’s new slogan. " His new slogan reads ‘a leader we can believe in,' 'a leader we can believe in.' If it sounds somewhat familiar, you probably know that Barack Obama always used the slogan 'change you can believe in.’" She then used an image from the Huffington Post to make her next point. "And if you take a look at this image, we are looking at this. This is found on huffingtonpost.com. You see that, when you put the two Web sites up next to each other. There's one on top, you see Barack is up there, McCain's new logo also looks similar to Barack Obama's as well."
BET founder Bob Johnson, despite his consistent support of Hillary Clinton, placed an unequivocal importance on Barack Obama’s election as President during a segment on Wednesday’s "American Morning." "I believe that if Senator Obama leads this country the way he ran the primary, it will become a historic event for African-Americans, probably greater than the Emancipation Proclamation, which was signed in 1863."
This statement, which he made during an interview at the top of the 7 am hour of the CNN program, was a drastic change of tune for the media mogul. Earlier this year, Johnson hinted at Barack Obama’s drug use during a Clinton campaign rally. "Hillary and Bill Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues -- when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book." CNN contributor (and thinly-veiled Obama supporter) Roland Martin blasted both Johnson and Hillary Clinton for the remarks on "American Morning" itself at the time.
CNN senior political analyst (and former Clinton adviser) David Gergen, responding to Todd Purdum’s recent Vanity Fair article on Bill Clinton during a segment on Monday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," acknowledged that the former President "does have a temper, and he goes off like Mount Vesuvius," but then went on to criticize Purdum’s article, that it "does not give enough weight to what he has done in the non-profit sector," specifically referring to the Clinton Global Initiative.
Clinton had called Purdum a "scumbag," "sleazy," and a "really dishonest reporter." He also accused the Vanity Fair editor of trying to "nail Hillary for Obama. It's the most biased press coverage in history."
CNN’s Kyra Phillips and Suzanne Malveaux fretted over Barack Obama’s recent decision to leave his "controversial church" during a segment on Monday’s "American Morning." During her introduction to Malveaux’s report on the decision, Phillips lamented, "You know, he's getting criticized -- okay, he acting like a typical politician.... He's bailing out of the church. Well, he would have been accused of the same type of things if he stayed in the church. He can't win." Malveaux responded, "The things is, you know, Kyra, this was a personal decision. It was a political decision, but also a personal decision. When I interviewed Michelle Obama, they talked about the kind of pain that -- actually disassociating themselves from Reverend Wright...."
Both before and after her report, Malveaux guessed that the fact that the Obamas "had no control over the church" contributed to their decision to leave.
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer made little effort to hide his liberal viewpoint during an interview of Scott McClellan on Friday’s "The Situation Room." After asking the former White House Press Secretary about his "revival" of the question of whether President Bush used cocaine as a young man, the CNN host followed-up by asking, "I guess the question is, is the President -- this is a blunt question -- in your opinion, a serial liar?"
Earlier in the interview, which began 12 minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, Blitzer addressed the issue of supposed "war crimes" related to the Iraq war. First, Blitzer played a video question from a viewer who asked McClellan, "Would you now consider testifying about your colleagues at a war crimes trial?" After listening to McClellan’s answer, Blitzer replied, "Knowing what you know now, do you believe war crimes, as this I-reporter suggests, were in fact committed?"
Prior to the airing of the video question, the on-screen graphic hinted at what was going to be asked: "‘Propaganda’ on Iraq: Were Crimes Committed?"
CNN congressional correspondent Jessica Yellin, during a segment on Wednesday’s "Anderson Cooper 360," accused her former bosses -- presumably those at MSNBC, where she worked prior to joining ABC in July 2003 -- of pressuring her to run positive stories about the Bush administration before the invasion of Iraq: "When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation... and my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president's approval ratings... the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the President."
[Yellin repeated her "patriotic fever" line in a clarification posted Thursday at CNN's AC360 blog.]
CNN correspondent Carol Costello, covering the reaction to McClellan’s new "tell-all" book about the Bush administration on Thursday’s "American Morning," added some liberal-leaning psychoanalysis to the obligatory quotes from current and former administration officials and a clip from Rush Limbaugh. "Unflattering kiss and tells about the Bush administration are a dime a dozen. Spilling the beans: former Treasury secretary Paul O'Neill, former Iraq Envoy Paul Bremer, and former Senior Economic Adviser Larry Lindsay. From a psychological standpoint, that's not surprising. Analysts say the Bush administration demanded loyalty and suppressed dissent -- a perfect recipe for rebellion."
Costello included a clip of Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, who noted that McClellan’s book "appears to be an act of revenge" done "in a potentially very self-destructive way." Because of this, she concluded that "you have to wonder about the guilt that they feel," because "they're asking for punishment, in a sense."
Howard Kurtz, the Washington Post's media writer and a CNN contributor, contended on Wednesday's "The Situation Room" that in the lead-up to the Iraq war, "anti-war voices had limited access, it seems, to the airwaves, while administration officials, of course, were on every day pounding on that message [in support of going to war in Iraq]." He also claimed that "[i]t was only when violence surged in Iraq and public opinion began turning against the war that ABC, CBS, NBC, and the rest of the media turned more skeptical."
Los Angeles Times media critic Tim Rutten, in his latest column titled "The rebirth of abortion," voiced his dismay that social conservatives are reviving the issue of abortion in the 2008 presidential campaign. "If there's one issue that epitomizes the culture wars that have so deeply divided American politics over the last eight years, it's abortion. That's why those who benefited most from those wars are desperate to revive abortion's single-issue virulence in this presidential cycle." He continued that "some on the right think they see an opportunity to hammer once more on the abortion wedge."
Rutten also launched an attack one key member of the so-called "hard cultural right:" Robert Novak. At one point, Rutten suggested that if Novak used a phrase like "abortion industry" to describe abortionists and their supporters, it would be legitimate to use a term like "under the sway of neo-fascist clericism" to describe Novak and his pro-life fellow travelers.
CNN’s John Roberts wasted no time to herald Scott McClellan’s "revelation" on how the Bush administration supposedly used "propaganda" to push the Iraq war. After reading an excerpt from McClellan’s book on the issue, Roberts responded, "He finally articulates what we all came to believe... and further goes on to say that this war was unnecessary."
Roberts, who, during McClellan’s time as White House Press Secretary, was the White House Correspondent for CBS, made the comment during an interview of the Politico’s Mike Allen, who broke the McClellan story on Tuesday. Allen, like Roberts, was a White House correspondent during McClellan’s time as Press Secretary, first for the Washington Post, and then for Time magazine.
Allen, in reaction to Roberts’s commentary on McClellan, replied, "Well, John, I think that's right, that these aren't particularly novel observations." He continued that McClellan "has put on a new hat. He's put on a historian's hat. He's not an administration flack anymore...."
Time magazine managing editor Richard Stengel made an open confession about the mainstream media’s pro-Obama leanings on Monday’s "The Situation Room." " I would be a liar if I said that there hasn't been a certain amount of glee in the press corps about Hillary Clinton not doing that well. To use a very fancy word, there's some schadenfreude among the press." Despite this candor, he then went on to say that the press doesn’t "play favorites," almost contradicting what he had said earlier about the press coverage of Hillary Clinton.
CNN correspondent Carol Costello compared Cindy McCain to a "Stepford Wife" due to her "low key" role in her husband’s campaign so far, in a segment on Wednesday’s "The Situation Room." Costello, detailing Mrs. McCain’s recent photo spread in Vogue magazine, stated the feature "projects an image quite unlike the Cindy McCain we see on the trail," and a talking head described this "Cindy McCain we see" as "low key... taking the traditional role of standing by her husband's side at events." Costello then quipped, "A role critics say makes Mrs. McCain look like -- well, Glenn Close in the movie ‘The Stepford Wives.’" [audio available here]
On the other hand, Costello described Michelle Obama’s Vogue spread more glowingly: "...Michelle Obama chose a traditional black dress with pearl earrings for her Vogue spread. As The Washington Post described it, it was if Michelle Obama was saying 'I am not some scary other.... I am Camelot with a tan.'"
"American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips pressed former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani on the Iraq war on Wednesday, asserting that her liberal talking point was a fact. When Giuliani defended President Bush’s legacy, that he "will go down as he has protected us against terrorism when nobody thought it could be done," Phillips retorted, "But the Iraq war is not about protecting us from terrorism. It's been the most unpopular and controversial war." When the former mayor challenged this statement as her opinion, Phillips became rather defensive. "Oh, I’m not saying that. No, no, no, I'm not voicing my opinion.... I'm voicing what's out there. I’m voicing the realities" [audio available here].
Lou Dobbs, during an interview on Monday evening with James Rubin, challenged the Clinton campaign advisor over his accusation that John McCain was a "hypocrite" and a "flip-flopper" in terms of dealing with Hamas, noting that CNN’s own interview of McCain contradicted Rubin’s charge. Dobbs chastised, "I would not have taken it as far. I would not put it as forward-leaning as you on the issue."
CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, during a discussion of President Bush’s recent trip to the Middle East on Monday’s "American Morning," cited her discussion with unnamed "analysts and experts," and concluded " it's hard to discern any evidence of any success on this trip whatsoever." "American Morning" substitute co-host Kyra Phillips, following-up to Amanpour’s analysis, remarked, "Well, critics have come forward and said, okay, whether it's his policies in Iraq, Lebanon, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he's failed everywhere."
CNN contributor Roland Martin, asked about Democrats’ low poll results concerning national security on Friday’s "Election Center" program, answered using his best Barack Obama impression. "...John McCain, you're a war hero. You served. But you also voted for the war that's led to the death of 4,000 Americans. We have spent billions of dollars and, frankly, it has not stabilized the Middle East.... He's [Obama] going to put the cost of the war and how it has not done what it was supposed to on his back and say, you know what? Explain that, Mr. War Hero."
Twenty-four hours after CNN started giving covering fire for Barack Obama in response to President Bush’s "appeasement" remark, the network has now aided the Democratic spin machine in attacking John McCain as a hypocrite with regards to Hamas, based on a 2006 video clip provided by Clinton adviser James Rubin. In the excerpt, the Arizona Senator appeared to be endorsing negiotiations with the terror group. But CNN conducted its own interview of McCain at the same time, January 28, 2006, in which he insisted that Hamas "renounce this commitment to the extinction of the state of Israel. Then we can do business again." So CNN is trusting Rubin as the authority on what McCain’s stance was two years ago, instead of their own archival video [see video clip below]
UPDATE, 6:30PM ET: National Review's The Corner has a post up indicating that the full Rubin-McCain interview from 2006 also seriously undercuts Rubin's claims of hypocrisy.
Throughout the day on Thursday, CNN carried the water for the Democrats and portayed President Bush’s "appeasement" remarks before the Knesset in Israel as an attack on Barack Obama. "The Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer began his program by stating that "President Bush slams Barack Obama from Israel." Senior political analyst Gloria Borger quipped, "I know that the White House press secretary says they were not talking about Barack Obama, but of course they were." Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin remarked, "I think this is straight out of the usual Republican playbook." Jack Cafferty struck hard: "He is beyond irrelevant and he's not going to scare anybody. He just babbles away like Eliot Spitzer talking about matrimonial fidelity. It's a joke." CNN’s other senior political analyst, David Gergen, reminisced, "I can't remember as brazen a political shot by a President overseas in a political race back home... an especially jagged kind of criticism."
Just when you thought the "green" hype couldn’t get any worse, Thursday’s "Newsroom" program on CNN introduced the world to the latest celebrities to jump on the "environmentally-friendly" bandwagon: rocker Tommy Lee of Motley Crue, rapper Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, and Johnny Colt, the bassist for the pop group Train. Co-host Tony Harris interviewed the three for seven minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour of the CNN program so the new trio could promote their upcoming "reality" series, "Battleground Earth" on Discovery Network’s new "green" channel. This brings up the inevitable question, will the Church of Scientology sue for copyright infringement for the show’s title being so close to L. Ron Hubbard’s pulp sci-fi novel "Battlefield Earth"?
Harris, as might be expected, didn’t ask the three any hard-hitting questions, though the celebrities did seem like they were stumped by some of the softballs the CNN host lobbed at them. For example, Harris asked the celebrities about the presidential election and their favorite candidates. Of course, two of them endorsed Obama.
Minutes after President Bush began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, CNN quickly channeled outraged Democratic reaction to his "false comfort of appeasement" remark. "American Morning" co-host John Roberts, in a brief on the speech, claimed the President was "suggesting that Senator Barack Obama and other Democrats are in favor of appeasing terrorists in the same way that U.S. leaders appeased the Nazis in the run-up to World War II," though the President did not mention any Democratic official or the Democratic Party.
The graphic on the screen also reflected this belief that Democrats were being unfairly smeared: "Pres. Says Obama, Other Dems Want ‘Appeasement of Terrorists" and "Pres. Bush Compares Dems’ Stance on War to Appeasement of Nazis."
CNN’s Campbell Brown, participating in a panel discussion on CNN’s special coverage of the West Virginia primary on Tuesday evening, agreed with the liberal members of the panel and rejected a Republican strategist’s opposition to the idea that John McCain has been receiving a "free ride" over the past weeks. "We can argue he’s [McCain] also not getting a lot of attention right now."