Quick note: the NB forums are having some issues on the tech side so they are disabled temporarily.
That's coincidental given the huge flamewars we've seen develop on them over people arguing for/against various religions in forum posts. I don't like the divisiveness that we've had from this and am half-way thinking that perhaps we should just not have religion discussions here on NB considering the mission of the site is about media bias, not promoting or attacking various religions (or lack thereof).
Update 07-10 15:47. After giving an amount of time for those interested to comment. I've settled on the policy.
Howard Wolfson has become the latest prominent Democrat to join forces with Fox News Channel during the general election, hailing it for its "comprehensive and fair and evenhanded" coverage during the primaries.
That's quite an endorsement coming from one of the Democratic party's biggest communications mavens, and not one known for being especially soft-gloved. It's the equivalent of MSNBC suddenly getting endorsed by the likes of Mary Matalin or Ari Fleischer, something which is far less likely to happen. New York Times reporter Jim Rutenberg broke the story:
Howard Wolfson, who was a top strategist for the presidential campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is going where some Democrats were unwilling to go during the early days of the election season: the Fox News Channel. [...]
Mr. Wolfson is joining a network that Democrats shunned for a time, complaining that its coverage was unfair. But aides to Mrs. Clinton came to view Fox News as distinctly fair to her in a news media climate that they believed favored Senator Barack Obama.
Jodi Miller is on vacation this week, please help us give "NewsBusted" guest host Al Sonja Schmidt a warm welcome!
Topics in today's show: Barack Obama's flip-flops, "24" supposedly paving the way for a black president, Rush Limbaugh's big contract, and Jessica Simpson's latest award. Click the "Play" icon in the video to the right to watch.
As you might expect, the first outbreak was on MSNBC where liberal commentator and screenwriter John Ridley wondered whether McCain's coincidental presence in Colombia during the recent daring hostage rescue was really a publicity ploy:
"We know that John McCain was down there fortuitously. We know that someone on his staff who was a lobbyist for Colombia. It just seems all very convenient right before the Fourth of July.We know that John McCain was down there fortuitously. We know that someone on his staff who was a lobbyist for Colombia. It just seems all very convenient right before the Fourth of July."
In the years since he began working at FNC as host of its "Fox News Sunday" program, Chris Wallace has come to realize he was wrong for earlier thinking that the elite media are politically neutral.
"When I was in the mainstream media, when I was working at NBC and ABC [...] I thought we were fair and balanced. But since coming to Fox four and a half years ago, I have come to see things a little differently. And I, in fact, do believe there is a bias in the mainstream media and that is something I was only able to understand when I was outside of it," Wallace said in an interview with a Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts newspaper.
Even if you don't believe Fox is objective, you should be glad it's out there, Wallace added, if only for pluralism reasons:
The American press is seemingly against reporting positive Iraq news so it is refreshing to see some new reporting out of the country from the German magazine Der Spiegel which notes the "astonishing" pace of things there:
There is an unexpected air of normalcy prevailing in Baghdad these days, with consumption flourishing and confidence in the government growing. The progress is astonishing, but can it last?
Pork is available in Baghdad once again. Not just in the Green Zone, where US diplomats can enjoy their spare ribs and Parma ham, but also across the Tigris River, in the real Baghdad, at "Al-Warda" on Karada Street. Bassim Dencha, 32, one of the few Christians remaining in Iraq and the co-owner of Baghdad's finest supermarket, has developed a supply line from Syria. As a result, he now has frozen pork chops and bratwurst arranged in his freezers, next to boxes of frozen French fries and German Black Forest Cakes. And the customers are buying.
Great news for free speech fans that likely won't get reported much of anywhere outside the rightosphere: the national Canadian "Human Rights" Commission has declined to prosecute a "hate speech" allegation against columnist and author Mark Steyn and the magazine Maclean's.
The allegation, brought against Steyn as part of an effort by the Canadian Islamic Congress (that country's resident apologists for radical Islam comparable to CAIR here) to use the government to censor critics of Islam. It was the second of three motions before three separate bodies to be dismissed; Steyn still awaits the decision of the British Columbia provincial commission.
The national commission did not announce the dismissal publicly so here's the Maclean's reaction:
You likely didn't notice but my posting volume has been lower of late. This is in part because of my work on a new theme for NewsBusters but also because over the past few days, I've been at the Personal Democracy Forum, an internet technology conference where I was asked to speak on the topic of online video based upon my experience as executive producer of our comedy show "NewsBusted."
Despite being the lone center-right panelist in a room full of liberals, the experience was quite enjoyable. My thanks to Micah Sifry of PDF for inviting me to join in.
On the panel with me were Steve Grove of YouTube who served as moderator (see his excellent summary of the discussion here), Josh Marshall of the Talking Points Memo blog, and Robert Greenwald, a left-wing producer of films attacking "the corporate media."
We're back up. A network connection switch to our servers broke which caused them to be unreachable. The machines themselves were unaffected.
The problem is nothing to do with the domain issue earlier, fyi.
Consider this today's open thread.
The New York Times, crib sheet of the MSM, let the cat out the bag this morning on the subject of gas prices, saying that while it's unfortunate that high gas prices harm the average American, they're good in the end because they might provide more support for 'long-term' environmental causes.
It’s hard to convince most Americans that there is a silver lining to $4-a-gallon gasoline. But General Motors provided a nugget of good news when it announced that it would shutter much of its production of pickups and sport utility vehicles — and might even get rid of the Hummer, the relative of the Abrams tank unleashed on the streets in the cheap-gas days of the 1990s.
It’s hardly the solution to global warming, or the country’s dependence on imported oil, but it’s a start. [...]
Expensive gasoline is not good news for most American families. In some rural areas where people must drive long distances, and a pickup is more of a necessity than a lifestyle choice, filling up the tank can eat up nearly 15 percent of a worker’s take-home income. Pricey gasoline is acting as a brake on the economy and pushing up the price of food and other goods.
Here's an interesting little experiment from Vanity Fair: A guide to the blogosphere that isn't broken down by left and right but by news/opinion and high/low-brow.
Click image above to view it. You'll find NewsBusters around the middle of the right side. The descriptions skew leftward as you might expect from VF, but the chart itself is pretty accurate. Your thoughts?
Typically one does not associate the word inquisition with our neighbors up north in Canada, and yet that is pretty much what is going on there to conservative author and columnist Mark Steyn. Minus the violence, Steyn is being subjected to a twisted court system that always finds defendants guilty and conducts itself in an utterly capricious way.
Steyn's crime? Daring to criticize radical Islam, an offense that many in this country would would no doubt love to criminalize. For his temerity, Steyn and the Canadian magazine Maclean's (which printed Steyn's essay, an excerpt from his book) are being put on trial by the "human rights commission" of British Columbia, one of several such bodies both Steyn and Maclean's have been forced to deal with by the Canadian Islamic Congress. Incredibly, the group claims that its human rights were violated because Maclean's did not allow one of its members a chance to respond in the publication.
What to do about this outrage? The editors at National Review have a few suggestions:
Today's starter: Right now I am sitting on a panel at the Talkers Magazine yearly convention where the fur is flying at combined panel featuring talk hosts Jim Bohanon, Monica Crowley, Thom Hartmann, Lars Larson, Lionel, Steve Malzberg, Mancow, Alan Stock, and Tom Sullivan.
Lots of topics were covered but a couple of things stood out: the first is that everyone thought that John McCain will be the winner of the 2008 presidential race with the one exception of Hartmann.
The fairness doctrine also came up and an excellent point was made by Lars Larson that the best way to kill any left-wing support of the idea is to make it apply to news programs too.
My thanks also to Steve Malzberg for the plug for NewsBusters as an "excellent source of evidence about the media's overwhelming liberal bias" during the panel.
Another day and another Marine acquitted of charges from the so-called "Haditha massacre" that left-leaning journalists (doing the bidding of Democrat Jack Murtha) insisted actually happened.
Bob Owens has the story you won't be seeing on tonight's ABCNNBCBSMSNBC shows:
A military jury has acquitted 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson of all charges that he helped cover up the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha following the IED ambush of a Marine patrol.
Grayson, a Marine intelligence officer, had been accused of having a military photographer erase digital photos of the dead Iraqis. Grayson had turned down a plea deal to face charges on five counts that could have led to a maximum of 20 years in prison. An obstruction-of-justice charge against Grayson had been dismissed by the judge earlier in the week. [...]
Although today his book is being touted by left-wing reporters and pundits, his initial plans for the project show former White House press secretary Scott McClellan intended to take a much different approach, one that was more sympathetic to President Bush but also quite hard on the "liberal elites" of the Washington press corps and their "hostility" toward the administration.
Reading through McClellan's original book proposal, obtained by Politico.com, it is clear that before his editor Peter Osnos took the book on a sharp leftward turn, McClellan wanted to turn the tables on foes in the press gallery including far-left columnist Helen Thomas and NBC correspondent David Gregory.
"I came to know and respect those who were assigned to the White House beat. They are solid professionals, but rarely scrutinized or put under the microscope. I will take a look at notable personalities in the White House Briefing Room, including David Gregory and Helen Thomas. I anticipate an entire chapter about the former," McClellan writes in his proposal.
According to McClellan, America's elite journalists have a dramatic problem with political diversity which in turn leads them to skew the political debate in a leftward direction. The media are in a "constant state of denial" when it comes to admitting this.
The past few days have brought some good news for people frustrated by the elite media's systemic liberal tilt: First we had the Project for Excellence in Journalism admitting that Democratic presidential candidates get better coverage than their Republican counterparts, then came the news that left-wing blowhard Keith Olbermann was exposed (yet again) as a hypocrite for failing to pay taxes.
Now here's some more good news for your Sunday afternoon: The center-left Washington Post editorial page calls out the foreign policy Chicken Littles who've been eager to pronounce Iraq a failure from the start. In an editorial headlined "Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war," the paper presents some essential facts:
There's been a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. While Washington's attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now."
What is it with liberal pundits and taxes? MSNBC blowhard Keith Olbermann has become the latest liberal political figure to get in trouble for failing to pay his government dues, our friends at Olbermann Watch report:
New York State has issued a tax warrant against Keith Olbermann for failure to pay taxes on his humbly named personal corporation, Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc. Olbermann is listed in legal records as the President of Olbermann Broadcasting Empire, Inc.
A call to the Albany County Clerk's Office in upstate New York confirmed that the warrant is still outstanding and that Olbermann has still failed to pay his back taxes. State records show that Olbermann's company failed to pay $2,269.50 in state taxes. A judgement was entered against Olbermann last summer (Docket Date: 8/21/2007), just weeks before Olbermann closed on a a luxurious $4.2 mm condo at Trump Palace, at 200 East 69th Street.
Olbermann also had some troubles California where he was held in judgment for failing to pay the state over $77,000 in back taxes.
Aside from President Bush, one of the left's favorite boogeymen is Rupert Murdoch, CEO of News Corporation, owner of the Fox television networks and myriad newspapers around the globe. Murdoch, as the story goes, is deliberately foisting a far-right ideology upon the world, intent upon making it to support his personal political agenda.
In order for that to be true, however, paranoid lefties have to ignore a lot of evidence that Murdoch's words and deeds are hardly those of a consistently conservative person. The media exec demonstrated that once again today by heaping praise upon "rock star" Barack Obama while heavily criticizing his Republican rival John McCain as ignorant about economics, "unpredicable," and having "a lot of problems."
"I want to meet Obama. I want to know is he going to walk the walk. Have you read his education policy, what it is? It's just great. [...] I just hope that he's as good as he promises."
Over the course of this presidential campaign, we've released a number of studies showing how the Democratic presidential candidates have received softer coverage compared to Republicans, it's refreshing to see however, when a left-leaning journalism foundation admits the truth as the Project for Excellence in Journalism did in a comprehensive study released today:
If campaigns for president are in part a battle for control of the master narrative about character, Democrat Barack Obama has not enjoyed a better ride in the press than rival Hillary Clinton, according to a new study of primary coverage by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University.
From January 1, just before the Iowa caucuses, through March 9, following the Texas and Ohio contests, the height of the primary season, the dominant personal narratives in the media about Obama and Clinton were almost identical in tone, and were both twice as positive as negative, according to the study, which examined the coverage of the candidates’ character, history, leadership and appeal—apart from the electoral results and the tactics of their campaigns.
What should the conservative movement do online? What issues and political battlegrounds should be our focus in the years ahead?
These questions are some of the things being discussed over at the Next Right, a new blog you should put into your daily rotation. They launched yesterday but I've been so busy with stuff that piled up following my wedding I wasn't able to give them the plug they deserve.
The Next Right is the brainchild of web veteran Patrick Ruffini, former Fred Thompson web outreach guy Jon Henke (who is also behind QandO), and Soren Dayton, the blogger unjustly fired by the John McCain campaign for daring to link Barack Obama to his leftist nutjob former pastor.
You're welcome to register and post your thoughts about the future. Anyone can sign up and blog so feel free to head over and check it out. I'm already signed up and will be contributing.
Current White House press secretary Dana Perino released the following statement regarding her predecessor Scott McLellan's new book:
Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House. For those of us who fully supported him, before, during and after he was press secretary, we are puzzled. It is sad — this is not the Scott we knew.
The book, as reported by the press, has been described to the President. I do not expect a comment from him on it — he has more pressing matters than to spend time commenting on books by former staffers.
The future of conservatism is something which has become something of a hot topic. It's become evident to many that the historical moment that made the so-called Reagan coalition possible has passed, raising the inevitable question: where do we go from here? Has the right lost its way? Should conservatism be dependent upon the Republican party? What sorts of ideas should 21st century conservatism project?
These are just a few of the topics I asked Jonah Goldberg in Part II of our NewsBusters Interview with the author of "Liberal Fascism." See the partial transcript below or download an audio copy. Here's Part I in case you missed it.
Along with racist, the word fascist is one of the most common epithets you hear tossed around. Has the constant repetition of the word made it lose its meaning? Does anyone really know what it means? These are questions that Jonah Goldberg seeks to answer in his #1 best-selling book "Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left, From Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning."
If you haven't picked up a copy yet, this is one book you need to buy.
As part of our tradition of bringing you in-depth interviews with America's political leaders, I took the opportuntity to speak by phone with Goldberg about "Liberal Fascism." Our conversation is quite extensive but well worth the read. Given the length of the interview (which is available in audio format as well as transcript), I've broken it down into two portions: the first in which Goldberg discusses his many leftist critics including his confrontation with comedian Jon Stewart, and the second in which Goldberg discusses conservatism and where he believes it's headed. This is the first installment. Read the transcript below or download an audio copy.
Left-leaning journalists don't just pull their punches when it comes to criticizing liberal politicians, they also seem paradoxically inclined to do so when it comes to discussing radical Islam. This curious phenomenon (curious in that modern liberalism is highly secular and radical Islam decidedly is not) has repeated itself many times over the years and is really one of the most bizarre behaviors I've seen in politics.
As strange and morally obtuse that we on the center-right believe the western liberal press to be on this issue, surely the more frustrated people have got to be clear-thinking liberals like Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens who face the task of trying to get their ideological compatriots to stand up for rationality and civil society. It's a difficult task made even more frustrating by the high degree of self-censorship among liberal media elites. Writing earlier this week at the Huffington Post, Harris (an equal opportunity critic of all religion) recounts how the Washington Post refused to run an article he wrote on the "Fitna" movie that the paper deemed "too critical" of Islam.
Such behavior originates in not just the usual double-standard westernized religion faces but in a very real fear among left elites that criticizing Islam is a physically dangerous endeavor. Unfortunately, as Harris writes, this behavior just exacerbates the problem: