After years of "holidays" being used to describe the Christmas season, some cracks in the politically correct dam have begun to open as some retailers like Wal-Mart and Macy's are beginning to use the term "Merry Christmas.
Ironically, as the Associated Press reports this news, it can't retrain its political correctness:
This holiday season, Wal-Mart isn't trumpeting big bargains only. It's also bringing "Christmas" back into its marketing, after several years of playing down the term.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Christmas cheer seems to be a hot trend this season as several other retailers including Kohl's Corp. and Macy's, a division of Federated Department Stores Inc. , are also stepping up their Christmas marketing. The moves respond to mounting criticism from religious groups that staged boycotts against Wal-Mart and other merchants after they eliminated or de-emphasized "Christmas" in their advertising.
"We learned a lesson from that. Merry Christmas is now part of the vocabulary here at Wal-Mart," said Linda Blakley, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman.
Wal-Mart said Thursday that it will launch its first Christmas-specific TV ad in several years, feature Christmas shops, previously called Holiday Shops, and increase the number of seasonal merchandise labeled "Christmas" instead of "holiday" by 60 percent.
Macy's is adding Christmas signage in all of its department stores and Kohl's is playing up Christmas this year in its TV, print and radio advertising, according to Vicki Shamion, a Kohl's spokeswoman.
As the internet becomes more and more a news source for everyone, formerly dominant media outlets have seen news consumers shift online to look for news. Just like radio was harmed by TV but still continues to survive because it changed how it did things, the magazine business is at a similar crossroads.
With more magazines than ever out there to say nothing about the web, older general circulation magazines are having to adapt. Up until just recently, though, there hasn't been anything too drastic. That might be changing as the weekly Time seems willing to start changing things.
On the political side, the magazine has in the past reached out to left-wing bloggers to write for it. Now, it seems the management has realized that, amazingly enough, conservatives read political news online as well. To that end, it's essentially purchased the conservative blog Real Clear Politics.
The following story is printed in today's New York Times so you would hope that word of it will get out to rest of the liberal media: Bush did not get rid of Rumsfeld because of the Republicans' electoral losses. It was only a question of when, not if:
President Bush was moving by late summer toward removing Donald H. Rumsfeld as defense secretary, people inside and outside the White House said
Thursday. Weeks before Election Day, the essential question still open
was when, not whether, to make the move.
ultimately postponed action until after the election in part because of
concern that to remove Mr. Rumsfeld earlier could be interpreted by
critics as political opportunism or as ratifying their criticism of the
White House war plan in the heart of the campaign, the White House
insiders and outsiders said.
Just as television is hypocritical when it comes to diversity (both political and otherwise), many newspapers which are run by liberals are equally hypocritical when it comes to how they structure shares of their stock.
The New York Times is the best example of this--editorially, the paper puts forth an image of empowering the powerless and standing up for the little guy. But when it comes to its own finances, the paper is decidedly in favor of the elites, refusing to let the majority of stockholders in the New York Times company have a voice in who its board of directors are. Instead, these shareholders must defer to a small elite--primarily comprised of members of the Sulzberger family--who own the voting Class B shares.
What this boils down to is that the Sulzberger family, led by the ranting leftist Arthur "Pinch" Sulzberger, is trying to take money from investors and remain completely unaccountable about how it runs the Times company into the ground. It's a classic case of having your cake and eating it too, and in this case, it's harming the company severely.
Fortunately, some Times investors have had enough of this offensive situation. The investment firm Morgan Stanley has stepped forward and said that it can't continue:
We've often noted here on NewsBusters the astonishing and undisputed lack of political diversity at the highest levels of the media but it's also true that despite the fact that liberals dominate the media, they are decidedly hypocritical when it comes to non-political diversity, something liberals supposedly value.
That hypocrisy was manifested in spades Tuesday night for any television viewer flipping through the channels to see. Despite all the media's odes to diversity, when it comes to the highest levels of power, women need not apply, especially when it comes to television.
As New York Times tv critic Alessandra Stanley noted yesterday, "On a night that crowned Nancy Pelosi as the first female speaker of the House and Hillary Rodham Clinton as the Democratic front-runner for the 2008 presidential race, the tableau of men talking to men all across prime time was oddly atavistic — a men's club from around 1962."
Starter topic: Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer on the election's impact: "There are some people who want to argue that ... this was what the
Republicans needed, a kick in the pants [...] But it’s also a
shift of responsibility to the Democrats. They now have to join in the
government in a very hard situation in Iraq and elsewhere. If things
don’t go well, they will share in the blame."
At 12:33 ET, a very reluctant Chris Matthews gave an update on the Tennessee Senate race, unwilling to call the vote (even though it was complete) for Republican Bob Corker. He was overruled from the control room, but still was clearly disheartened that Tennesseans did not vote his way.
Even after being corrected, Matthews continued to express skepticism that the Republican had defeated his preferred fellow Democrat.
We just got word now that the count is complete now in Tennesee and we're not making any projections yet officially as NBC now but as you can see up on the board now [pauses as screen comes up showing Corker projection]
Well we are I guess right now. NBC is--we're projecting that Bob Corker has beated [sic] Harold Ford Jr. after a very, very courageous [voice trails off] It's an apparent winner rather than a projection.
20:40. Wolf Blitzer continues framing his coverage in what the Democrats need to do to win.
"Just to be precise. Thirty-three senate seats are up for election this time around, a third of the senate. If Democrats are going to be in the majority, they need to capture 6 and not lose any of their own. They're a little bit of the way there because they didn't lose in New Jersey..."
Jeff Greenfield continues the line, saying journalists are competing to come up with the best cliche to describe what Dems need to do, get an inside straight, etc.
Around 7:10EST, CNN's Wolf Blitzer continued to frame his coverage from a Democratic perspective, stating, "the Democrats need just 7 seats to become the majority party in the U.S. Senate" he did the same for the House as well.
That is the standard fare for the press, frame things from what the Democrats can do to get things going.
Update 19:20. CNN is highlighting its coverage of its blog party. Each time the network listed liberal bloggers first. Liberal bloggers interviewed: 1. Conservatives: 0.
Update 19:24. Paula Zahn and Bill Schneider surprised that Iraq was not the #1 issue. Schneider pronounces as well: "voters are not rewarding the Republicans for the economy."
19:31. CNN cuts to a live feed of Democratic National Committee. The TVs are tuned into CNN. Blitzer: "Which is encouraging that people are watching."
19:34. John King, asked if he was surprised by an apparent GOP loss of Ohio governorship "I'm not surprised because Ohio is a cesspool--this year. The current governor, the Republican incumbant Bob Taft, has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, that's where Bob Ney the congressman pleaded guilty to corruption charges--"
Anderson Cooper: Bob Taft was term-limited though so he had to --
King: Yeah so he couldn't. Yeah but the whole environment is just horrible--anti-Republican.
20:23. CNN continues pushing things from Dem perspective in calling India House race for Dem Ellsworth. "One down fourteen more to go," Jeff Greenfield pronounces.
Michael Steele, the Republican candidate in Maryland's Senate race, victim of the Washington Post's desire to keep him out of the Senate tore into the liberal newspaper on "Fox News Sunday."
Transcript continues below the fold. Video available here.
Lieutenant Governor, the Washington Post endorsed your opponent, Ben
Cardin, over the weekend, and they had some very harsh words for you.
Let's put them up on the screen.
"Despite his efforts to construct an image as an independent-minded
newcomer, there is nothing in Michael Steele's past — no achievement,
no record, no evidence and certainly no command of the issues — to
The Post says that as lieutenant governor for the past four years, you have had marginal influence.
I know. Isn't it a shame? Well, you know, Chris, that is pitiful.
government leader in Iraq's Kurdistan region has told Gold Star
Families visiting U.S. troops in the Mideast that the news media's
coverage of the situation in Iraq is terribly biased.
International and Al Jazeera are equally bad in their coverage of the
situation in Iraq," said Nerchivan Barzani, the prime minister of Iraqi
I was in the United States recently and read the negative news in the
Washington Post, New York Times and in the network TV broadcasts, I
even wondered if things had gotten so bad since I had left that I
shouldn't return," he said.
Later today, NewsBusters will host its first ever live chat for the 2006 elections. To take part, you'll need to download and install a program capable of accessing IRC chat servers.
For Windows users, we recommend Trillian which can be downloaded here. Mac users should try Colloquy which can be downloaded here. Linux users likely already have a favorite so I won't suggest one immediately.
The goal here is to move as much of the discussion into an instant form that allows everyone to talk in real time about the election, and to shift a lot of the non-media bias chat into these places, thereby easing the load on our web server for everyone.
Election Day is upon us which means it's time for an official NewsBusters predictions thread.
Unlike other places, though, there's an actual prize for being correct. The commenter who most closely predicts the margin of both houses of congress will win a free Apple Ipod Nano. Entries must be submitted before 11:00 AM Eastern time. (Please do not post anything other than numeric predictions on this thread.)
Update 16:42. Comments are reenabled on this post. The chat server is also available at live.newsbusters.org.
Of late, we've been treated to the sound of careless political reporters and analysts tossing around figures of Democrats taking back the House by varying degrees of hugeness.
In many cases, these predictions are simply wishful thinking on the part of left-wingers eager to see Republican evil (the only kind there is) beat back by the forces of good. Some of our prognosticating pundits are basing their predictions on actual polling, however.
Trouble is, their math, based somewhat on faulty "generic ballot" polls and primarily on the work of political analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Charlie Cook, is downright horrible.
With marketing decisions like this you have to wonder why MSNBC is even bothering to compete with Fox News: Left-wing commentators Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann will be anchoring the network's Election Night coverage.
What better way to get non-liberal viewers to tune in to your channel than to have an anchor duo headed up by a former Democratic staffer who couldn't stop smiling at the thought that his fellow party members will take Congress and a genuine leftist who routinely calls Republicans nazis, fascists, terrorists, liars, and everything in between?
As always, we'll be watching so you don't have to (Hat tip: Extreme Mortman).
How accurate are polls at predicting a winner? Not too. So long as a candidate is within 10 points, most polls shouldn't be readily relied on as predictors for who will win. Charles Franklin, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin has an interesting post today about just how important the "margin of error" really is.
On a graph, Franklin compares poll results with actual election results, resulting in several observations, one of which is the importance of realizing that polls cannot reliably predict races that are less than 10 points apart.
One interesting feature is that a margin of zero (a tied poll) produces
a 50-50 split in wins with remarkable accuracy. There is nothing I did
statistically to force the black trend line to go through the
"crosshairs" at the (0, .5) point in the graph, but it comes awfully
close. So a tied poll really does predict a coin-flip outcome.
probability of a win rises or falls rapidly as the polls move away from
a margin of zero. By the time we see a 10 point lead in the poll for
the Dem, about 90% of the Dems win. When we see a 10 point margin for
the Rep, about 90% of Reps win. That symmetry is also not something I
forced with the statistics-- it represents the simple and symmetric
pattern in the data.
More practically, it means that polls rarely miss the winner with a 10 point lead, but they DO miss it 10% of the time.
5 point lead, on the other hand, turns out to be right only about
60-65% of the time. So bet on a candidate with a 5 point lead, but
don't give odds. And for 1 or 2 point leads (as in some of our closer
races tomorrow) the polls are only barely better than 50% right in
picking the winner. That should be a sobering thought to those enthused
by a narrow lead in the polls. Quite a few of those "leaders" will
lose. Of course, an equal proportion of those trailing in the polls
So read the polls-- they are a lot better than
nothing. But don't take that 2 point lead to the bank. That is a
failure to appreciate the practical consequences of the margin for
Today's Wall Street Journal online edition features an important essay by sociologist James Q. Wilson examining how the American press has turned into an unpatriotic and anti-war entity. He also explains why this matters: because educated people are likely to be swayed by the media's coverage of events, whether that coverage is accurate or not.
A few excerpts:
We are told by careful
pollsters that half of the American people believe that American troops
should be brought home from Iraq immediately. This news discourages
supporters of our efforts there. Not me, though: I am relieved. Given
press coverage of our efforts in Iraq, I am surprised that 90% of the
public do not want us out right now.
Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005,
nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news.
More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times
as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories
reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of
American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress
in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.
One of the side effects of the left's control of the media is that Democratic politicians often have trouble dealing with criticism because they aren't subjected to the 24/7 scrutiny that Republicans usually face. This leads them to fall apart when they come into contact with a reporter that doesn't defer to them like usual.
Minnesota's Democratic nominee for the governor's office, Mike Hatch, provided an example of this yesterday in the face of questioning about his running mate's apparent lack of knowledge about the subject of the gasoline additive ethanol.
Mike Hatch’s aggressive reputation showed through Thursday for one of the few times in this year’s heated gubernatorial race.
Writing at National Review, Byron York recounts the story behind the recent incident where a left-wing activist was tackled at a George Allen campaign event after asking a question about the senator's ex-wife:
The question might not make much sense to
anyone who hasn’t kept up with both the race between Allen and Democrat
James Webb and the commentary of the left-wing blogosphere. If you have
kept up, you know that left-wing bloggers have been agitating for the
release of the records from Allen’s divorce from his first wife, Anne.
There is a rumor among those bloggers that the records will reveal an
allegation that Allen spit on Anne Allen, and the bloggers have been
angry that press outlets have not reported the story.
week, when the Allen campaign pointed to sexually exotic passages in
Webb’s novels, some of those bloggers saw an opportunity. On Thursday,
Josh Marshall, of TalkingPointsMemo, wrote that Allen had crossed some sort of line by “mining Jim Webb’s novels for sex scenes.”
“If Allen really wants to play rough,” Marshall wrote, “maybe it’s time
for some Democrats to start going on the shows and asking about that
sealed divorce records of Allen’s. All those reporters have a pretty
good idea of what’s in there. But Sen. Allen (R-VA) just won’t agree to
let them see it.”
In his syndicated column, political demographer Michael Barone looks at some of the pratfalls of polling. He also makes some important points about how most media polls are overcounting Democrats:
In 2004, the electorate that went to the polls or voted absentee was,
according to the adjusted NEP exit poll, 37 percent Democratic and 37
percent Republican. In party identification, it was the most Republican
electorate since George Gallup conducted his first random sample poll
in October 1935.
But most recent national polls show Democrats with an advantage in
party identification in the vicinity of 5 percent to 12 percent. Party
identification usually changes slowly. Historically, voters have
switched from candidates of one party to candidates of the other more
readily than they have changed their party identification.
Just as we figured, a liberal was behind the first published leaks of the Mark Foley emails. The New York Times, amazingly enough, broke this story.
But the headline writers at the Times couldn't bring themselves to inform readers of the politics of the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights group that is very liberal on issues not pertaining to sexuality, and the former employer of the still-anonymous individual who started the blog stopsexpredators.blogspot.com.
It's also worth noting that not a single Republican or conservative media figure is quoted in the story denouncing Democrats for their personal attacks or gutter politics, something the Times certainly would have done had a Democrat been the victim. (HT: several readers.)
The national press corps is justifiably looked upon with suspicion by conservatives and in dire need of reform if it wishes to regain their confidence, especially since that's a sound business strategy.
Those are the words of ABC News political director Mark Halperin who on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" provided a resounding endorsement of the idea that the elite American media needs to stop being liberally biased. (Video available in WMV or Real. MP3 audio also available, transcript is after the jump.)
In a followup to an Oct. 19 internet posting in which he sarcastically implied that reporters take their cues from Democrats and liberal activists, Halperin stated that the press should use the 2006 elections as an opportunity to regain the public trust:
"In this country, we've got these old news organizations, the major networks, ABC, where you [O'Reilly] used to work, the New York Times, the Washington Post. These organizations have been around a long time, and for 40 years conservatives have looked with suspicion at them. I think we've got a chance in these last two weeks to prove to conservatives that we understand their grievances, we're going to try to do better, but these organizations still have incredible sway, and conservatives are certain that we're going to be out to get them. We've got to fix that."
This story from the PRC's propaganda wire, Xinhua won't likely get much play in the leftist world which believes that Chimpybushitlerhalliburtonfoleyisgay is the real threat to world-wide free speech. China is continuing its crackdown on opposing free speech, this time,
signaling that it will move toward forcing anyone who wants to make a
blog do so under their real names, making it easier to crack down on
NANCHANG -- With widespread online rumor saying China will implement a blog
real name system, the Internet Society of China (ISC) has clarified that so far
the Ministry of Information Industry has not officially made any related
However, a real name system will be an unavoidable choice if China wants to
standardize and develop its blog industry, Huang Chengqing, ISC secretary
general, told Xinhua on Sunday.
An official with the ISC confirmed on Thursday that the society is working on
a real name system for Chinese bloggers, which attested to netizens' longtime
guess about it and triggered a hot controversy.
Huang said some reports on the Internet about the implementation of the real
name system are not "very accurate."
The ISC, affiliated to the Ministry of Information Industry, was entrusted by
the ministry to form a blog research panel to provide solutions for the
development of China's blog industry.
"We suggest, in a recent report submitted to the ministry, that a real name
system be implemented in China's blog industry," Huang said.
Under such a system, a netizen has to register with his real name to open a
blog, but can still write under a pseudonym, according to Huang.
When media outlets publish militarily significant information and make it known to a wider audience (something they seem to do with more frequency during Republican administrations), they generally excuse their actions with claims that they are fulfilling an obligation to the public's "right to know."
Aside from the question of whether the public has a right not to know something, another question presents itself: are journalists obligated to be "neutral" observers, even to the point of endangering the lives of fellow Americans?
Marc Danziger raises that question in an editiorial at the D.C. Examiner:
I’ve blogged about the “journalist vs. citizen” thing. Let me explain through an anecdote:
1987, PBS sponsored a colloquium called “Under Orders, Under Fire” as a
part of their great Ethics in America series (many episodes can still
be found at www.learner.org/resources/series81.html). While the episode
was about military ethics, the bombshell was a sidebar on journalism
between Peter Jennings and Mike Wallace.
Jennings was asked what
he would do if he was embedded with forces fighting U.S. soldiers - and
became aware they had set an ambush for him. He replied, from a James
“If I were with a North Kosanese unit that came
upon Americans, I think that I personally would do what I could to warn
“Even if it means losing the story?” he was
asked. “Even though it would almost certainly mean losing my life,”
Mike Wallace, however, disagreed: “I think some
other reporters would have a different reaction,” he said, obviously
referring to himself. “They would regard it simply as a story they were
there to cover.”
This story is just rich. After the efforts of Oklahoma Republican senator James Inhofe have brought greater public scrutiny to the media's global warming hysteria, Newsweek has finally admitted that, yes, it had played a big role in hyping "global cooling" back in the 1970s.
Despite this, though, you should believe the magazine and all the rest of the media who previously tried to scare up circulation numbers by predicting a global ice age because, well, this time they're right:
1975, in an issue mostly taken up with stories about the collapse of
the American-backed government of South Vietnam, NEWSWEEK published a
small back-page article about a very different kind of disaster. Citing
"ominous signs that the earth's weather patterns have begun to change
dramatically," the magazine warned of an impending "drastic decline in
food production." Political disruptions stemming from food shortages
could affect "just about every nation on earth." Scientists urged
governments to consider emergency action to head off the terrible
threat of . . . well, if you had been following the climate-change
debates at the time, you'd have known that the threat was: global