Here's an open thread for this Friday. As a starter, let me bring to everyone's attention our little "Editors' Picks" box in the sidebar. It's a place where NB's staff keep links that we think are of note on this blog and others around the web.
Media: Keith Olbermann wants a raise (despite still remaining in fourth-place). The champion of the people is gunning for $4 million a year. TV reporter Max Robbins says CNN is purportedly interested in hiring the left-wing commentator but I doubt that.
"Why did CNN and MSNBC give air time to David Duke? What purpose did it serve the viewers?" Media columnist Jon Friedman asks today. Easy answer: Because to them, Duke represents two useful commodities: 1) he pisses people off, and 2) he represents what the right "really" thinks about race, in the view of the average liberal producer (HT: TVN).
Of course, when it comes to racists, if you're a non-American willing to bash President Bush, it earns you a suck-up interview in Time magazine and such accolades from that same magazine as "global Everyman," "champion of the dispossessed.
Politics: Illinois senator Barack Obama is being hyped so much, but if he's smart he won't believe it, John Fund argues.
Tennessee governor Phil Bredensen is under fire for putting a "young Muslim woman" on his official Christmas cards. Apparently it was some sort of goodwill gesture gone horribly awry.
Check out the top ten politically incorrect words of 2006.
In case you haven't heard, Sylvester Stallone actually has gone forward with his attempt to resurrect his Rocky character. The result isn't pretty, trailers for the movie "Rocky Balboa" are eliciting laughter in theaters across the country. Stallone, meanwhile insists he's done well: "I'm proud of the way it came out. It's pretty close to the real deal."
I've heard a lot of mixed reviews of Mel Gibson's latest foreign-language effort, Apocalypto. The Weekly Standard likes it, though.
Media: After resigning from CNN after
making baseless accusations that American soldiers were deliberately
trying to kill journalists, Eason Jordan has resurfaced as the head of a new Iraq war news site. Among other things, the site will attempt to find the mysterious AP source and purported Iraqi policeman Jamil Hussein. Michelle Malkin will be going there to look for him as well.
John McCain is trying to sell himself as the GOP establishment candidate this time around, according to Robert Novak. Ed Morrissey doesn't think it's working, at least at this point. John Kerry, meanwhile, is going to visit Iraq.
Regret the Error, a blog
corrections has released its annual
list of funniest mistakes, apologies, frauds, hoaxes, and
embarrassments perpetrated by and on the self-styled arbiters of the truth.
Some of my favorites:
Reuters, the news agency that brought you the fraudulent
Adnan Hajj, also makes real mistakes. In an Oct. 25 story about bees,
it mistakenly said that Queen Elizabeth has "10 times the life
expectancy of workers and lays 2,000 eggs a day."
In the dubious sources category: "Don Spille -- A man who
told the Tallahassee Democrat that he lost
everything in Katrina – including his father. Ed Spille Sr.,
father, later contacted the newspaper to disagree. 'I might be dead to
him,' he said. 'At 80 years old, I’m dead to a lot of
student newspaper at Purdue University had a real scoop about Supreme
Court justice Samuel Alito during his nomination process: "His motive
for shooting John Paul in the abdomen on May 13, 1981, remains
unclear," the paper asserted in a caption of Alito being sworn in at a hearing.
NewsBusters has been nominated for the 2006 Weblog Awards in the "Best Media Blog" category. Help NB win by going to the page and voting for us. Right now, the far left blog Raw Story is ahead. You can vote multiple times, although only once per day.
Update 12-14 14:00. NB has moved up but still is in second. Keep those votes coming! Today is the last day. Also, please help Little Green Footballs beat the Daily Kos in the Best Blog category.
Update 15:44. Apparently leftist Raw Story followers are trying to cheat their way to victory. At least one of their readers appears to have constructed an automatic voting script to artificially drive up their numbers. They also seem to bedoing the sametrying to drive up Daily Kos's numbers against LGF.
Media: Court hearings on FCC's reinvigorated anti-profanity policy will be televised, meaning the argument over naughty words on TV will be shown on TV. The Christian Science Monitor damns conservative milblogger Bill Roggio with faint praise (Bill, and Karl at PW respond). Patterico ponders copyrights today, wondering who would own the rights to an answering machine message left by a singer during a concert.
Politics: A BBC report out of Ukraine says that newborn babies may have been killed for the purpose of taking their stem cells.
In Iraq news, Gallup's pollsters
are starting to ask people if they're confident elected officials will
"do the right thing in Iraq." Of course, that question is rather
meaningless unless you define right, something few would agree on. John at Power Line
also notes an interesting fact: 81% of the public trusts the military
to do the right thing. Related: Yet another Islamic militant leader takes pride in the GOP's 2006 defeat: "It seems that every bullet that mujahedeen had fired toward the
Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan has turned into a vote against Bush."
Society: Democrats get religion (or at least start paying consultants
for it). Conservatives, meanwhile are being shut out of the academy.
One of the lonely righty profs details just how in a lengthy,
informative Chronicle of Education article here.
Regarding the recent death of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, David Frum
notes many lefties are incensed that the U.S. supported Pinochet but
seem today to be arguing against the idea of promoting democracy in
I almost did a double take when reading this editorial knowing it came from the Washington Post. Kudos to the staff of the editorial page for printing something very politically incorrect about deceased former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, and acknowledging the horrible truth that Fidel Castro, the aging communist ruler of Cuba, has not been sufficiently denounced.
Castro-worship (and really Fidel is just a cipher for any leftist dictator) is an amusing thing. I once encountered a college professor who was so enamored of him, he even defended Castro's systematic murders and imprisonments of gay Cubans, despite having previously denounced the right for being anti-gay just weeks before. The further irony was, that this guy taught ancient political philosophy and history and yet was forever going on about how wonderful Fidel was.
And now to the excerpt:
It's hard not to notice, however, that the evil dictator leaves
behind the most successful country in Latin America. In the past 15
years, Chile's economy has grown at twice the regional average, and its
poverty rate has been halved. It's leaving behind the developing world,
where all of its neighbors remain mired. It also has a vibrant
democracy. Earlier this year it elected another socialist president,
Michelle Bachelet, who suffered persecution during the Pinochet years.
secretary Tony Snow has changed the rules of the
daily briefing. No longer will the president's media representative hem
and haw while being attacked by leftist reporters. Not every reporter
likes this, though, as you can see from the Dec. 6th news conference
where NBC's petulant White House correspondent David Gregory got upset
when Snow dared to challenge him by accusing the NBC reporter of
framing the Iraq Study Group's report "in a partisan way."
It all started with Gregory asking whether Snow could see the
report as "anything other
than a rejection of this President's handling of the war?" The White
House has a video of the entire conference which is available in a
streaming Real Video here (fast forward to 3:50 into the clip for the relevant part). The NBCer asked this question after reading aloud three out-of-context setences from the report.
question and the little back and forth (see past the jump for the
transcript) is yet another example of how news conferences have become
less a question of providing useful information to the public and more
about the media asking captious, leading questions that no public
spokesperson is ever going to answer. This is not to say that reporters
cannot ask a tough question, but to put on a show as Gregory very
clearly tries to do at each and every conference insults the
intelligence of everyone involved, be they reporter, government
representative or a person at home sighing in exasperation.
Arab countries are seeing the Iraq Study Group's
report as proof
President Bush has failed. Arab countries aren't the only ones cheering
the report, though. The American press has been positively giddy about
it, even though it's been ill-received by conservatives and liberals who actually study foreign policy.
Australian women plan "bikini protest" of imam's comments that the everyday attire of women in that country makes them nothing more than "uncovered meat."
Democrats' 2006 victories seemed to have purged the Republican party of its moderates. Democrats, meanwhile, are alleged to have secretly met with the terrorist group Hamas. Not everyone believes this, though.
RIP: Megan McClung,
a press officer for the Marines stationed in Ramadi, Iraq. She was
killed trying to fill an information request.
O'Brien, during a more wakeful momentAs alreadynotedhere on NewsBusters, the Senate held a hearing today examining the role of the media in promoting climate alarmism. With others covering the newsmaking part of the discussion, I decided to drop by to observe things from a blogger's point of view.
I went into the hearing expecting it would be more interesting than your typical congressional hearing and wasn't disappointed. Dr. David Deming, a geophysicist from the University of Oklahoma recounted an experience he had with an NPR reporter who hung up on him after he declined to say that he thought global temperature increases were human-caused.
Apparently I was not joined in my assessment of things by CNN "American Morning" anchor Miles O'Brien who fell asleep during the discussion, according to several witnesses. Only a colleague's nudge prevented the slumbering former science correspondent from missing the entire discussion. One would think that O'Brien could have scared up some more interest considering his ongoingfeud with Sen. Inhofe. The two have tangled on O'Brien's CNN show and both have denounced each other from their respective platforms.
The much-hyped Iraq Study group has finally released its report. Hot Air has a nice roundup, you can read it in HTML form via NZ Bear. LGF looks at the group's conclusions regarding Israel and finds much to dislike. Related: Wacky lib bloggers are upset with incoming Democratic congress's lack of desire to impeach President Bush.
In other news, OpinionJournal has an interesting op-ed by a sister of one of the pilots who was killed on 9/11 about the topic of airline security and the Muslim imams who were ejected off a U.S. Airways flight recently.
In lighter fare NRO has a funny joke about God's profession that I won't reveal the details to; Reason Magazine has an interview with the creators of South Park (hat tip: NB reader sarcasmo) in which Matt Stone and Trey Parker comment about a number of subjects including their unsuccessful campaign to air an innocuous cartoon depiction of the founder of Islam Mohammed. At least they weren't fired or threatened with death, though.
Referring to the last time Dan Rather made assertions without documentation, Bill O'Reilly said Dan Rather should produce proof after claiming that Fox News got "talking points" from the White House.
Said Rather on HDnet:
I think it's fair to say, Bill, in fact I know it is, that FOX News operates in at least a somewhat different way than every other news organization that I know, that they have their "talking points," in which somebody in the hierarchy, whether this is Roger Ailes who runs the place or not, we know that they get talking points from the White House. And they can say well, we don't always take those talking points, but I think it's pretty clear that they had wished the election had gone another way.
O'Reilly said he had previously defended Rather during the Memogate scandal, but once again it appears he has no proof for his assertions.
Mr. Rather's assertions are nonsense, untrue, seriously dopey. I've been here from the beginning, and have never seen a White House "talking points." — And I don't know anyone else who's seen one either.
I asked senior management if they have ever seen a White House talking points. No one had.
So we called Dan Rather to ask for some "documentation." He's on the road, but said he'd come on “The Factor” next week to explain. Can't wait.
Oklahoma Republican senator James Inhofe has been one of the lone bright spots in Washington when it comes to media accountability, specifically on the issue of global warming. He's continuing his hard-hitting approach Wednesday with a congressional hearing examining how the media has been been trying to scare the public into siding with climate change alarmists:
Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow on "Climate Change and the Media."
The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said.
"Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions."
The global warming crowd must be getting desperate judging from a very threatening letter that some senators sent to ExxonMobil telling it to "end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or
individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but
unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth." Sounds more like a protection racket than a policy debate to me.
The Supreme Court is hearing a case about forced integration and whether it should be permitted. Patterico and La Shawn Barber have coverage.
On the Iraq front, The Anchoress blog has a lengthy essay on where Iraq is right now and what it means. An excerpt: "Damn Bush for getting us into this corner where all options suck, eh?
Well, maybe. But sooner or later someone was going to have to do this.
9/11 made it imperative and regardless of what they say now, the whole world (at that point) believed Saddam had WMD.
He was ignoring the UN, violating no fly zones and had threatened to
assassinate a former president - a clear act of war which, btw, had it
been answered back then, might have made our current reality quite
Like NB's Mark Finkelstein did last month, Bill Roggio is blogging from Iraq. Most of the troops there are far from happy with the press's coverage of the war: "In nearly every conversation, the soldiers, Marines and contractors
expressed they were upset with the coverage of the war in Iraq in
general, and the public perception of the daily situation on the
ground. The felt the media was there to sensationalize the news, and
several stated some reporters were only interested in 'blood and guts.'
They freely admitted the obstacles in front of them in Iraq. Most
recognized that while we are winning the war on the battlefield, albeit
with difficulties in some areas, we are losing the information war.
They felt the media had abandoned them."
The furor sparked by NBC News's self-important declaration that Iraq is now in a "civil war" is further proof that for all the chest-beating new media types sometimes do about displacing the MSM, the "dinosaur media" still matter. David Zurawik writes at the Baltimore Sun:
The bellowing began Monday when NBC announced that it had decided to call the conflict in Iraq a civil war.
24 hours had passed, discussions about what constitutes a civil war was
being debated on Capitol Hill, parsed on the front pages of newspapers
nationwide and discussed on TV and radio talk shows.
if network news is a dinosaur, it still has a huge audience - an
aggregate that can be matched nowhere else in the media - and that's a
fact often overlooked," said Philip M. Seib, Nieman, author of Going
Live: Doing the News Right in a Real-Time Online World (Roman &
"The lesson of the week is an
unmistakable reminder that national broadcast networks can still have a
profound effect on political discourse in this country in a way that no
single newspaper, with the possible exception of the New York Times,
can hope to have."
Indeed the network wasn't the first media
organization to make such a decision: The Los Angeles Times, one of the
nation's largest and most influential newspapers last October began
referring in its pages to the conflict in Iraq, with hardly a blip in
either media or national debates.
But NBC's decision was
announced by co-host Matt Lauer on the Today Show, the highest-rated of
the network morning shows, and reached a daily audience of 5.7 million
Media: Back during the NYT's fanatical crusade about women's golf, the paper repeatedly stopped its columnists from criticizing its support to get women allowed into the Augusta National club on the grounds that doing so would send a discordant editorial voice. Many newspapers have similar policies. Apparently not the Minneapolis Star Tribune, though, where the paper printed a Sunday editorial that explicitly undercut a columnist who had argued that the staging of a play critical of the Roman Catholic church was hypocritical and wondered whether a similar play would be produced taking Islam to task. Scott at Power Line has the details.
Politics: Is Nancy Pelosi using the media to nudge Democrats she doesn't prefer out of the limelight? John Bolton resigns. Will the Bush Admin make another push to secure Baghdad? Ed Morrissey looks at how the sudden Obama-mania might be a sign of desperation among anti-Hillary Democrats.
Non-Californians probably haven't heard much about the case of a former Los Angeles firefighter Tennie Pierce's lawsuit against the city over an incident in which a colleague tricked him into eating dog food. According to Pierce, who is black, it was a racist act for which he is demanding compensation of $2.7 million.
That, however, isn't the full story. But if you're a reader of the Los Angeles Times, you'd never know it, despite the fact that the paper has covered the case with numerous reports.
What the Times refuses to tell readers is that Pierce is a big guy, 6 feet 4 inches, whose self-described nickname is "Big Dog" and that during volleyball matches, he would often tell teammates to pass him the ball or "feed the Big Dog."
The Times has had many opportunities to mention these facts but has (as documented by Patterico here) never once told the entire truth. The readers of the Times deserve better. But don't hold your breath expecting that.
The winner of the 2008 presidential election will be the candidate who uses the internet the best according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
After listing several examples of politicians who were victims of highly effective internet campaigns, Schmidt elaborated on why the web is important:
"This is going to happen over and over again as people use these new media to communicate," Schmidt said at a speech to the Republican Governors Association in Miami. "The ones that take advantage of this most effectively will be the ones that will be the winners of the next election.
Anonymous cable news exec: "Everyone has an agenda [...] All reporters are biased. Why not be open about it, transparent? We shouldn't pretend. The audience is looking for honest opinions, for opinions they can relate to."
The military and the AP are disputing the authenticity of a man, Jamil Hussein, claiming to be an Iraqi government official. The AP says he's the real deal, the military says he's a terrorist tool.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune is currently investigating how one of its editorial writers has been taking portions of New Yorker magazine editorials and inserting them into his own articles. The Power Line blog raised one of the allegations and has the details.
Earlier this year, a woman killed herself after being interviewed by CNN Headline News host Nancy Grace over the apparent abduction of her son. At the time (see this September NB posting for background), the relatives of Melinda Duckett were blasting Grace for her alleged role in driving the woman to suicide. They've since taken things a step further and launched a lawsuit against Grace:
Her parents in Lockport were outraged
by the talk show hosts harsh, accusatory line of questioning. The
segment aired just hours after her death.
Jerry Eubank: "It was 3-4 hours after I heard that Mindy died and I'm
watching this woman banging the table, and screaming about why aren't
you telling us this, I mean she was judge, jury and executioner."
mother, Beth Eubank: "She physically makes me ill. The night she aired
the show on September 8th, it was less than four hours since Mindy's
death, family members had not even been notified."
Today's starter: With the congressional elections out of the way, the presidential race is starting to get more serious, at least on the Republican side where Mitt Romney said in an interview that it's a three-man race between John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and himself.
It seems that way at the moment but 2008 is still a long ways away. Who do you think are some of the dark horse candidates?
Oh, and how many of you are having trouble with making links, etc. now that we have different ads on the pages?
Update 13:34. I've taken down the ads. Too many performance issues for now.
Here's an interesting bit of irony: Knowledge of the media's ongoing fauxtography scandals has gotten so widespread that now entertainment shows are starting to make plots based on journalists faking the news. "CSI" recently ran an episode about it.
The success of the left-wing Jon Stewart at capturing the young news viewer hasn't gone unnoticed in the television business. Fox News Channel is prepping a show with a similar format, and with a non-liberal perspective, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program
with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January,
with the possibility that it could become a weekly show for the channel.
The half-hour show is executive produced by "24's"
Joel Surnow and Manny Cota and creator Ned Rice, who previously wrote
for "Politically Incorrect" and "Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson"
through This Just In Prods. It would take aim at what Surnow calls "the
sacred cows of the left" that don't get made as much fun of by other
"It's a satirical news format that would play more to
the Fox News audience than the Michael Moore channel," Surnow said. "It
would tip more right as 'The Daily Show' tips left."
The show was pitched as "This Just In" when it first
got life as a 20-minute pilot presentation for Fox Broadcasting Co.'s
late-night division. But when that network passed, Surnow said it
attracted the attention of Fox News Channel chief Roger Ailes.
"I showed it to Roger, and he really liked it and
thought it could work on Fox News if we could make it conform to some
of the restraints" of a cable news channel. Fox News Channel confirmed
that talks were going on.
Today's starter is a delightful bit of media hypocrisy: "Movie production tops hotels, aerospace, and apparel and semiconductor
manufacturing in traditional air pollutant emissions in Southern
California, according to the UCLA study, initially prepared for the
Integrated Waste Management Board. The industry is probably second only
to petroleum refineries, for which comparable data were not available."
Republicans are in the news today with some GOP dissent over the appointment of Florida senator Mel Martinez to head the Republican National Committee. In 2008 news, Rudy Giuliani formed an "exploratory committee" for a presumptive presidential run.
Unsatisfied with American domination of the international news market, a French company is getting ready to launch a cable/satellite news channel.
The staff of France 24 insists they'll be different than CNNi, BBC, and others, but in one respect they're perfectly similar. Just like their American counterparts, they pretend they're objective. They also appear to have trouble perceiving reality. Regarding the Iraq war, managing director Gerard Saint-Paul says:
"Our image will be more panoramic as compared to other channels – but
that doesn’t mean that the other channels are bad at all. Let me give
you an example to better illustrate: Concerning coverage in Iraq, which
constitutes a cornerstone in media coverage, I find that CNN conveys an
American-directed message to a large extent, and more precisely one
that is in favor of President George Bush. What we will offer is a
wider vision that is different from what others present, and this of
course, will be affected by the historical and emotional relationship
between France and Lebanon, as well as the closeness of the relations
between France and the Arab world."
This is, of course, the news channel that actually is more anti-conservative and critical of the United States than its American counterpart. I guess Saint-Paul prefers a more Pravdaesque approach to covering international news.
I also can't help but note the hypocrisy in that France 24 has its country of origin in its name (and likely is benefiting from French subsidies as well) and talks about how its mission is to bring the French approach to news and culture to the world. Somehow this is OK but bringing an American approach is bad.