The same day CNN’s Allison Flexner, an one-time producer of Cuban stories, apparently issued a memo instructing how the "resignation" of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro was to be covered, CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour neatly matched one of the points made in the memo during two segments on Tuesday’s "American Morning."
During the first segment, which was six minutes into 7 am Eastern hour, Amanpour heralded Cuba being "a leader in many things such as education, health care -- all of those things that it has been able to bring to its people, but not the fundamentals" such as "openness, freedom, the ability to have enough wherewithal, and, you know, the same kind of bread and butter issues that everybody all around the world wants."
On February 18, the Zenit News Service reported that the apostolic nunciature in Caracas, Venezuela - the Holy See’s equivalent of an embassy in the country - was bombed on Thursday [February 14]. The bombing "caused only minor damages. The facade of the structure was also vandalized by political graffiti." The Zenit story was one of only four items on the bombing that came up during a Google News search.
Two other recent bombing in Caracas have also gone under-reported by the media. On Monday [February 18], The Earth Times website reported that there was an explosion "in front of a mercantile court and congressional offices in Venezuela's capital. The blast caused some damage but no casualties and was the third explosion in Caracas in a week."
CNN contributor Roland Martin, commenting on the results of Super Tuesday on Wednesday’s "American Morning," advised Barack Obama to indirectly play-up his liberal credentials in order to do better in upcoming caucuses and primaries. One such item was Obama’s visible support of the pro-illegal immigration marches in 2007. "[H]e has to be able to take the Hispanic supporters and say, look, this is a guy who we are behind.... [H]e did make the point that he was only one of two U.S. senators who actually marched in many of those immigration marches around the country. People probably forget that. If you don't make the point, they don't know."
Three years after the media firestorm over the sad case of Terry Schiavo, a similar battle being fought in the state of Delaware is currently flying under the mainstream media’s radar.
The Wilmington [Del.] News Journal, which is owned by Gannett, reported on Thursday that the parents of 23-year old Lauren Marie Richardson, whose brain was damaged by a heroin overdose in August 2006, are in court battling over whether to remove her feeding tube. Richardson was pregnant at the time of her overdose, and she was kept alive with the feeding tube and a respirator until the birth of her daughter in February 2007. Since then, Richardson has recovered enough that she no longer required the respirator.
CNN’s "American Morning" co-host John Roberts and CNN senior political correspondent Candy Crowley gushed over the "historic" nature of the Obama and Clinton race for the Democratic presidential nomination. Roberts seemed almost giddy over the coming primaries on Super Tuesday. "Yeah, it is going to be a transformational primary here on the Democratic side of things. Do you get a sense that people are recognizing this idea of the grandeur of history involved here?"
Roberts echoed his colleague at CNN Wolf Blitzer, who began the debate Thursday night by declaring, "This is truly an historic moment for the Democratic Party. It's the first time that we will see a woman and an African-American vying for the Democratic presidential nomination."
Doyle McManus, Washington Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, and one of the three members of the mainstream media who asked questions at Thursday night’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN, neglected to mention Hillary Clinton’s previous waffling on the subject of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants when he asked the former First Lady about the issue. "Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has said that he favors allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, and you opposed that idea. Why?"
As CNSNews Editor-in-Chief Terry Jeffrey noted after the November 15, 2007 Democratic debate (where Clinton answered that she did not support licenses for illegal immigrants), Clinton, with that answer, contradicted what she had said in an interview with the Nashua [N.H.] Telegraph on October 17, 2007, almost a month earlier. In the interview, Clinton voiced support for New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s plan to give illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, stating that "it makes a lot of sense." When Tim Russert asked Clinton about the issue at the Democratic presidential debate in Philadelphia two weeks later on October 30, she gave, as Jeffrey put it, "a long and apparently contradictory series of answers about whether to give illegals driver's licenses."
CNN’s John Roberts, in the course of two interviews of presidential candidates in the month of January, directed substantive questions to both candidates, but was tougher on the Republican candidate. On Tuesday’s "American Morning," Roberts questioned Rudy Giuliani on the decision during his tenure as mayor of New York City to locate the Big Apple’s primary emergency command center in the 7 World Trade Center, which was destroyed on 9/11, an issue that has turned up regularly in the course of Giuliani’s campaign. This contrasted with Roberts’ January 8 interview of Hillary Clinton, in which he didn’t press the former first lady on any controversial decisions from her past.
Roberts quoted from the New York Times as he asked Giuliani about the 7 World Trade Center issue.
Over the course of at least nine months, CNN’s John Roberts has regularly labeled the troop surge in Iraq, the amassing of 28,000 additional troops in the country, the "so-called surge." Liberals, such as George Lakoff, have objected to the term "surge" in the past, since using the term would "subscribe to Bush’s misleading frame." Roberts' latest use of the phrase took place on Monday’s "American Morning." He posed the following question to White House Press Secretary Dana Perino. "The President is also going to be talking about Iraq tonight, Dana. He'll be talking, I guess, about the so-called surge, progress that's been made in terms of security and safety there. But there still has been little political progress. What's the President's message to Nouri Al-Maliki and the people who are in charge there in Iraq going to be tonight?"
This isn’t the first time Roberts has used the "so-called surge" phrase in an interview with Perino. In an April 20, 2007 interview with then-Deputy White House Press Secretary, Roberts asked, "You say that this so-called surge is working, that things are getting better. There are 182 people killed the other day in Baghdad, is that really getting better?"
In contrast to Robin Roberts’s fawning interview on "Good Morning America," CBS’s Harry Smith directed some tough questions to Hillary Clinton during her appearance on Friday’s "The Early Show." In his first question, Smith referenced The New York Times’s endorsement of the former First Lady, and their advise for her to "take the lead and changing the tone of the campaign."
In her response, Clinton brushed off the reference to the continuing war of words between her campaign and Barack Obama’s campaign, and emphasized that she has been "trying to keep us focused on the real differences between the Democrats and the Republicans [and] the legitimate contrast between me and my opponents."
Smith did not miss a beat and pressed her on the tone of her campaign, essentially endorsing the advise of the New York Times. "But Senator, would you at least then take responsibility for the ugly tone that has turned here in the last couple of weeks?... [I]t's gotten to the point where there's almost a black backlash against this, especially your husband's tactics."
CNN correspondent Carol Costello’s report on Thursday’s "The Situation Room" would have you believe that Rush Limbaugh and conservative talk radio have "lost influence," and the supposed proof is John McCain’s success up to this point in the Republican race for the presidential nomination.
During the report, which aired at the bottom of the 5 pm Eastern hour, Costello proclaimed that Republican primary voters have "betrayed" conservative talk show hosts, and the evidence that this is the case is John McCain’s primary victories in New Hampshire and South Carolina. She used a sound bite from former Republican Congressman Bob Barr to reenforce her point. Barr opined that McCain’s success is "a sign that no one or two talk show hosts really wield the influence that they did two or three [election] cycles ago."
An article in Wednesday’s Albany Times-Union carried the deceptive title "35 years pass, but not debate: Demonstrations mark 1973 high court ruling affirming right to abortion." Instead of covering any of the various pro-life or pro-choice demonstrations over the past few days, the Times-Union spent the bulk of article discussing a ceremony at a new Planned Parenthood facility in Albany where local clergy "blessed" the clinic. Only two sentences mentioned that "Capital Region activists joined voices with their counterparts nationwide to mark the day" and that the annual March for Life was being held in Washington, DC.
The article, written by Times-Union staff writer Carol DeMare, quoted several "pro-choice" clergy who took part in the "blessing" ceremony. Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady, New York's Emmanuel-Friedens Church described the new Planned Parenthood center as "sacred and holy ... where women's voices and stories are welcomed, valued and affirmed; sacred ground where women are treated with dignity, supported in their role as moral decision-makers ... sacred ground where the violent voices of hatred and oppression are quelled."
Cafferty, who commented on the study during his regular "Cafferty File" segment eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, bluntly referred to the supposed "false statements" made by these officials as "lies." He also repeated a line from the study that the "lies" "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." With that last phrase, one cannot doubt the political leanings of these "nonprofit journalism groups," as Cafferty referred to them.
In a report on the upcoming Nevada caucus, CNN reporter Chris Lawrence highlighted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s outreach to Latino voters, and while he did mention the issue of "immigration reform," he did not do the elementary thing a reporter should do: explore what the candidates are saying to Latinos about their immigration proposals.
The report, which aired 21 minutes into the 6 am Eastern hour of Thursday’s "American Morning," featured a committed Obama supporter who was once an "undocumented" immigrant (and is described as a "child of immigration reform"), and a Nevada talk radio host who claimed that Hillary Clinton’s experience made her more capable to handle the immigration issue than Obama. But did they talk about amnesty?
David Crary of the Associated Press, in an article asking if sexism or racism is more "taboo" in the context of the recent war of words between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, concluded that "both are alive and well." It appears, though, judging by the use of quotes from feminists including Gloria Steinem and Kim Gandy, it seems that Crary is taking the apparent sexism against Hillary Clinton more seriously.
The first half of Crary’s article focused on the sexism component of the discussion. Crary quoted Steinem’s claim in a recent New York Times article that "gender is 'probably the most restricting force in American life' — more so than race." He then quotes Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich, who "suggested there was little point in ranking them," and NOW president Kim Gandy, who is of the view that while racism may be "somewhat coded," there’s still "an awful lot of explicit sexist stuff."
Crary then spent six paragraphs on criticism of Hillary Clinton that has apparent sexist overtones.
Roland Martin, a CNN contributor and talk radio host out of Chicago, blasted Hillary Clinton and some of her supporters on Monday’s "American Morning" over recent comments they made about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama. Martin, responding to Clinton’s comment that MLK’s dream " began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964," countered by bringing up the former First Lady’s youth. "[H]ad Hillary Clinton's choice for president in '64 actually won, you never would have had civil rights bill, because she was a Goldwater girl." Throughout the segment, Martin sounded like an Obama supporter.
Taking a page out of Chris Cuomo’s play book on covering Barack Obama and race, CNN’s Carol Costello on Friday’s "The Situation Room" speculated whether Obama can continue to get whites to vote for him, or whether his second-place finish in the New Hampshire primary points to "the undercurrent about race that exists in this country."
Costello repeated a theory proposed by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Research Center, that Hillary Clinton’s victory could be partially attributed to "poor, uneducated whites who don't participate in polls and who often don't vote for blacks." She also pointed out the fact that there are nine female governors, but only one black governor in the United States; as well as the fact that there are 16 female senators, but Barack Obama is the only black in the Senate.
CNN’s Alina Cho, in a report which ran twice on Friday’s "American Morning," described Michelle Obama in nothing but glowing terms. When she introduced the report during the 6 am Eastern hour, Cho described the wife of Barack Obama as a "fascinating woman," and went on to call her "funny, fiery, and blunt ."
During the report, Cho used sound bites from Valerie Jarrett, a friend of the Obama family, and CNN contributor Roland Martin to reinforce the overwhelmingly positive profile of Mrs. Obama and her role in drawing black women to vote for her husband. Martin put it this way: "She's going to tell them [black women] point blank -- look, I'm you. My daughters are you. And so, my husband is going to be thinking about you every single day because he's looking at you every single day."
Reuters, in its headline for a story reporting the death of Philip Agee, a former CIA agent turned traitor, labeled Agee a "CIA whistle-blower" ("CIA whistle-blower Philip Agee dies in Cuba"). As the blog Little Green Footballs put it, Agee was "the traitor who exposed fellow CIA agents to violence and murder by revealing their names" in his 1975 book "Inside the Company: A CIA Diary."
Agee, who had worked for the CIA for 12 years both in the United States and in Latin America, resigned from the Agency in 1968 after expressing "disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America." Reuters then went on to say that Agee "became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world." He died on Monday in Havana, Cuba, where he had settled in the 1980s.
During an interview on Wednesday morning with the Democratic victor in the New Hampshire primary, CNN’s Kiran Chetry asked Hillary Clinton if there was a hint of sexism in the response to the senator’s apparent show of emotion in the lead-up to the vote. "Do you think it's a double standard or a little harder because you're a woman to show you're a strong leader, but also be able to show some of your human side?"
In addition to this emotion/gender issue, Chetry, like her co-host John Roberts had done two days earlier, questioned Hillary about the Iraq war, specifically about the success of the troop surge. "You opposed the troop increase when the president proposed it, even introduced legislation to try to reverse it. Since then though, the attacks have fallen by 60% and a lot of the observers say that the surge is working. Do you acknowledge that the surge is working now?"
Clinton acknowledged the recent downturn in violence, but then went on to claim that "that was not the purpose of the surge. The purpose of the surge was to try to convince the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that, so far, it has not made. So, I don't believe that that is a real justification, and we've had such a terrible year in the loss of American lives."
CNN’s Jack Cafferty went out of his way to compliment Hillary Clinton for "becoming emotional at a diner in New Hampshire" on Tuesday’s "The Situation Room." " In a brief, unguarded moment yesterday, Hillary Clinton gave us a peek behind the curtain, and it was terrific." He went on to say that Hillary "became one of us, just for a minute."
Cafferty’s lauds for Clinton came eight minutes into the 4 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room" during his regular "Cafferty File" segment. Besides offering these words of praise, Cafferty leveled some criticism of how Hillary had handled herself up until that "unguarded moment."
Instead of focusing on Hillary Clinton’s third-place finish in Iowa, her struggling poll numbers, or the typical horse-race questions, CNN’s John Roberts asked the former first lady about a number of issues, including the Iraq war, Social Security, and the principles that she would "stand on in good times and bad times." In his last question, Roberts asked Clinton, "What will be the underpinning of your decisions?" Her answer: "The United States Constitution first and foremost."
The first segment of the Roberts/Clinton interview aired 22 minutes into the 6 am hour of Tuesday’s "American Morning." Roberts first asked Clinton about her choice to go back to the "aggressive style of compare and contrast" that she last used before the Iowa Caucuses. She highlighted the apparent need that the Democratic candidates be compared and contrasted.
Instead of leading with the Iowa caucuses, Wednesday’s "The Situation Room" began its broadcast covering attorney general Michael Mukasey’s decision to open an investigation into the destruction of interrogation tapes by the CIA. Host Wolf Blitzer, during a segment with CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, compared this investigation to the investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald that led to the obstruction of justice conviction of Scooter Libby. "Whenever they [Bush administration officials] have to go testify, whether before a grand jury or to the FBI, and tell what they know... they fall into that dangerous area where they might not necessarily tell the whole truth, and then they could be charged with a cover-up, if you will, sort of along the lines of Scooter Libby."
CNN’s senior political correspondent Candy Crowley, in a report on Thursday’s "Newsroom" program about college student participation in the Iowa caucuses, featured two supporters of Democratic presidential candidates, one for Barack Obama, and the other a supporter of Hillary Clinton. While host Kyra Philips, in her introduction to the report, highlighted how "all presidential supporters want all the support they can get, and that includes the under-30 crowd," the report did not feature any young supporters of Republican candidates.
Crowley’s report, which aired 16 mintues into the 1 pm Eastern hour, focused on the Obama campaign’s outreach to the "under-30 crowd," and described him in glowing terms. "Barack Obama is a hit on college campuses. He's young. He's new. He campaigns against status quo politics."
Prior to her "tear" question, which Mika Brzezinski asked only minutes before on MSNBC, CNN’s Kiran Chetry did direct one tough question to Hillary Clinton on Monday's "American Morning," concerning the Boston Globe’s endorsement of Barack Obama and the paper’s criticism of her campaign. "'The Boston Globe' endorsed Senator Obama, saying about you, in fact, 'her approach is needlessly defensive, a backward glance at the bruising political battles of the 1990s.' Is 'The Globe's' statement fair?"
Hillary tailored her response to make it about the debate over the economy.
CNN’s Carol Costello, in a segment on Thursday’s "The Situation Room," highlighted the reaction of some fans of Oprah Winfrey who expressed anger at the TV host’s endorsement of Democrat Barak Obama. At the beginning of the segment, Costello voiced her surprise to this development, and all but deified the daytime TV star. "Who knew that Oprah Winfrey, super celeb, might suffer the same fate as mere mortal celebrities -- backlash."
The segment, which aired 43 minutes into the 5 pm Eastern hour of "The Situation Room," focused on the racial component to the issue. Costello opined that the Oprah viewers’ comments were "telling about how many Americans feel about African Americans, even those popular among all races." She later went on to say that some comments left on Oprah’s website were "especially interesting," because some said Oprah was "pitting white against black, because of how she stumped for Obama."
Following up on Al Gore’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, Carolyn Washburn of the Des Moines Register asked the Republican candidates several questions on the issue of "global climate change" and related topics. At the beginning of the debate, Washburn stated "we won't talk a lot about issues like Iraq or immigration. They're important issues, no doubt, but Iowans say they know where the candidates are coming from on those." But Washburn gave no indication that Iowans actually wanted to hear more about the Republican candidates’ stance on climate change.
Cafferty, quoting from a piece by Bloomberg’s Albert Hunt, went on to say that the same focus group found that if Hillary won the presidential election, she would be "demanding, difficult, maybe even a little scary." Hunt’s piece also described some apparent "political strains" within the Hillary’s campaign, such as Bill Clinton "bouncing off the walls" at her campaign’s "ineptitude."
CNN International’s Jonathan Mann, during an hour-long "love fest" in honor of Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reception of the Nobel Peace Prize, gushed over the former vice president. "You went from being 'Ozone Man' to 'The Goracle.' This became -- the Nobel Prize became 'The Goronation.' You must be conscious of the change in perceptions about you in particular because of that film [An Inconvenient Truth]."
Later, at the very end of the program, Mann speculated that Gore’s prize could actually be shared with all those who contribute to the planet-saving cause. "We may not all agree about the politics of global warming or about the big solutions, but we can all do our own little part, and it will add up. And for that reason, this year, for the first time that I can remember, we can all share the Nobel Prize."
CNN, in a report on the Centers for Disease Control’s finding that the teen birth rate increased in 2006, focused attention on what liberals surmise is a partial cause of the increase - President Bush’s advocacy of abstinence-only sex education. CNN correspondent Mary Snow, in her introduction to her report, noted that, "no one is saying for certain whether the rise in teen pregnancy is in fact a trend, but it is bringing attention to abstinence-only programs, and the roughly $176 million the federal government spends on them each year."
The report, which aired during the 4 pm Eastern hour of Thursday’s "The Situation Room," featured three sound bites from both sides of the debate. Two came from Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood, whose political leanings are never mentioned. The third came from Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation, which is described as a "conservative think tank."
[Update, 12:20 pm Eastern: Kristen Fyfe of MRC's Culture and Media Institute pointed out the biased reporting of the New York Times and the Washington Post on the CDC report.]
In the wake of the new National Intelligence Report which found that Iran apparently halted its nuclear weapons program, some in the media rallied around a single word to describe the revelation - "embarrassment"
‘Face the Nation’ anchor Bob Schieffer, in a conversation with anchor Russ Mitchell following President Bush’s press conference on Tuesday, thought the finding rose to a level higher than embarrassment.