Eleanor Clift, Newsweek's resident genius, had another stroke of brilliance
Sunday with a column on the many similarities between Hillary Clinton
and Ronald Reagan. Aside from that very arguable point, I couldn't help
but notice this gem that somehow worked its way through Newsweek's
legions of fact-checkers:
The late great Jerry Garcia
used to say the Grateful Dead were like black licorice. People who
loved them loved them a lot. People who hated them really hated them.
"Hillary Clinton is black licorice," says a Democratic strategist.
"There's a huge upside, and there's a huge downside. And we don't know
how it will balance out."
When was the last time we had such a
dominant front runner this early who raises such anxiety about
electability? The answer is Ronald Reagan. It took a leap of
imagination to believe an aging grade-B movie actor with orange hair could win the presidency.
For comment on the substance of the piece (such as it is), head over to Captain's Quarters.
Today we're starting a new tradition here at NewsBusters, the weekend captionfest. Basically, we post a picture from the news and NB readers post alternative captions to it.
Our first picture is of now former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's last day on the job. The original AP caption for this photo reads as follows: "White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan waves as he leaves the podium, Friday, May 5, 2006, after finishing his last briefing at the White House."
The story hasn't been on the media radar much of late, but the legal
team of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the former Bush admin official at the
center of the Valerie Plame Wilson leak investigation, came out
swinging this week, landing a number of blows against reporters and
news organizations in a court filing defending Libby's desire to compel
them to submit evidence he deems essential to his defense.
After the Libby team began poking holes in the stories of journalists
Tim Russert, Judith Miller, and Matt Cooper and others, the press
hasn't been especially interested in following the story. There are a
few blogs doing a good job of chronicling the battle between Libby and
special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. One such blog is JustOneMinute,
which has provided a PDF version (and some cogent
analysis) of Libby's most recent filing in two parts, here
The American Thinker has a great
summary of the filing by attorney Clarice Feldman:
been granted a window on the struggle between Lewis
“Scooter” Libby and
the elite media over his access to their internal documents. Libby is
charged with federal crimes because his versions of conversations with
reporters differ from the accounts of the media people. He seeks
evidence from their files about what they knew and what they privately
wrote at the time. In a “he said/she said”
confrontation, access to
supporting evidence becomes critical to the ability to mount a
Fox News Channel was bound to succeed and did so even faster than its founding president Roger Ailes imagined.
just one of several interesting statements made in a recent interview
by Roger Ailes, president and founder of FNC with WorldScreen.com:
WS: When the channel first launched, did you expect it would overtake the competition as quickly as it did?
I try not to get into any race or any fight that I don’t think can be
won. I don’t expect it to be easy, however, and that’s the difference.
I don’t do suicide missions, but I don’t mind difficult assignments.
This was a difficult assignment, because we were taking on G.E. and
Microsoft [MSNBC] and Time Warner [CNN] with about 30 percent of the
resources and staff. So it was a pretty tough hill to climb. I thought
we would tie them in five to six years.
I linked to a Wall Street Journal editorial
about the elite media's double standard on leaks, especially how leaks
to the New York Times and Washington Post that damaged the Bush admin's
anti-terrorism efforts are awarded prizes while syndicated columnist
Robert Novak is condemned for revealing the occupation of an outspoken
Bush critic. Today, the Journal prints a letter from NYT executive
editor Bill Keller which responds to some of the editorial's charges.
Unsurprisingly, Keller makes no mention of the Valerie Plame Wilson
matter, a scandal which his paper's news and editorial pages have
overhyped since its inception. Instead, he focuses exclusively on leaks
which he does find not only acceptable but praiseworthy, that is the
disclosure that the U.S. may secretly be imprisoning suspected
terrorists (leaked to the Washington Post), and that Americans said to
be communicating internationally with terrorists are being spied on by
the NSA (leaked to the New York Times).
Keller bristles at the Journal's suggestion that the Times's and Post's sources are partisans:
Today's starters-- Media: Reacting to Muhammed cartoon controversy, student newspaper prints offensive Jesus toons, nothing
follows. Popular blog web presence provider Hosting Matters is down at
the moment, taking a number of popular blogs down with it. Tonight is
opening night of "Flight 93;" in it's scoring 94 percent positive in Rotten Tomatoes online reviews (HT Roger Simon.)
Fired CIA officer Mary O.
McCarthy went on offense Monday, denying through her lawyer that she
has done anything wrong. But the agency is standing by its claim that
she was dismissed last week because she "knowingly and willfully shared
classified intelligence." It has been reported that one of her media
contacts was Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who just won a
Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the so-called "secret" prisons that
the CIA allegedly used to house top level al Qaeda detainees in Eastern
We're as curious as anyone to see
how Ms. McCarthy's case unfolds. But this would appear to be only the
latest example of the unseemly symbiosis between elements of the press
corps and a cabal of partisan bureaucrats at the CIA and elsewhere in
the "intelligence community" who have been trying to undermine the Bush
Having unintentionally (and unwillingly) elevated blogging as a media form, former CBS anchorman Dan Rather made some noises recently that he may be interested in joining the new media if he leaves CBS, which he says tells employees not to blog.
Of course what I wanted to talk about is Rather becoming a blogger.
He said that his employer discourages it. I was surprised, more news
organizations are encouraging their reporters to blog, it makes
economic sense to do so. I thought that CBS especially would be
thinking this way because they were so rocked by bloggers in 2004. He
said that large companies like to control what’s said about them, and
that CBS is part of a large company (Viacom) [sic].
President Bush announced today that radio host Tony Snow will become his new press secretary. Here's how the blogosphere is reacting:
Dean Esmay: "He's intelligent, well-spoken, and funny. He can even take on a vicious demagogue like Bill Maher and come off looking intelligent and reasonable."
Captain's Quarters: "From his years of radio duty, Tony knows how to talk extemporaneously
and engage in debate on a moment's notice. It would be hard to imagine
Tony being at a loss for words or failing to present the best case for
any position in which he believes.
Hotline: Bush and Snow's "mutual respect stems from several sources. One is -- both are evangelicals. That link binds together their
worldview and most especially, their view of their place in the larger
scheme of things. Another is -- Snow seems Bush as a political gambler, in a good way."
Protein Wisdom: "Glib, articulate, comfortable in front of the camera—just the kind of
smiling fascist Press Secretary you’d expect the Bushies to install as
a mouthpiece for their sinister imperialist agenda. Cue: leftwing
apoplexy and the almost ritualistic, frothing invocation of Roger Ailes."
Xrlq: "Scott McClellan was a disaster for [Bush's] agenda. He was completely
inept at explaining Bush's policies, and embarrassingly bad at
everything a press secretary has to do. Every day, he projected to the
entire world a pathetic image of sad sackery– and with the presidential
seal right there under his quacking face. To say Tony Snow would be an upgrade would be the quintessential understatment."
Anyone still intent on believing the nonsensical argument that because most media outlets are corporate-owned this makes them somehow conservative should head over to Michelle Malkin's new web video channel, Hot Air and watch her first episode which talks about the extent to which American companies are assisting the efforts of China's communist government to repress its citizens.
The discussion revolves around Cox's attempts to edit Wikipedia's entry on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann to make it more politically neutral (a stated goal of the site) and to include facts that were left out. Cox contends that his changes were continually discarded by fans of Olbermann who monitor the article, seeking to ensure that it reflects their liberal views, something he believes has happened to Wikipedia articles about partial-birth abortion, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
A new conservative student newspaper, which bills itself as not for
''the faint of heart," hit a snag during its debut this week at
Students running the Northeastern Patriot
distributed about 2,000 copies on Monday, then received a call from
university officials cautioning them that they had to register as a
student organization before distributing another issue or change the
paper's name. The university requires groups with Northeastern in their
name to register.
The Los Angeles Times announced Thursday that it is suspending the blog of a columnist after another blogger exposed him for posting comments under various pseudonyms defending both himself and the newspaper.
The columnist, Michael Hiltzik, had used at least three aliases on a number of sites (including his own blog), occasionally using them to converse with each other. Hiltzik was exposed by long-time LAT watcher Patrick Frey who blogs at Patterico's Pontifications.
"The Times has suspended Michael Hiltzik’s Golden State blog on
latimes.com," the paper said in a posting. "Hiltzik admitted Thursday that he posted items on the
paper’s website, and on other websites, under names other than his own.
That is a violation of The Times ethics guidelines, which requires
editors and reporters to identify themselves when dealing with the
public. The policy applies to both the print and online editions of the
newspaper. The Times is investigating the postings."
The authoritarian government of China is well-known for suppressing free speech and sometimes getting American media companies eager to cash in on a huge emerging market to help it do so. Yahoo, Microsoft, Google, Time Warner, Fox, and others have soiled their reputations assisting the communist regime's crack downs on dissent.
American media companies don't always back down. Sometimes, however, they're censored directly by the Chinese government itself. Such was the case today when a protestor apparently affiliated with the meditation group Falun Gong managed to get herself close to Chinese president Hu Jintao as he was visiting the White House.
As the woman's voice began shouting out before being arrested by Secret Service agents, Chinese television blacked the screen and muted the audio, according to Matt Drudge. After the event was over, when CNN International (the version of CNN seen outside the United States) began discussing the protestor, its signal was abuptly cut off to Chinese viewers, making some wonder what was going on.
TV Newser says Rob Reynolds, a former reporter for CNBC, CNN and NBC, has been hired by Al Jazeera International, the new English-language channel that is having trouble finding a U.S. carrier. Perhaps cable companies are worried about a mass exodus of conservative viewers if they sign on with Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera International has hired former CNBCer Rob Reynolds to be senior Washington correspondent. Here's his bio. Reynolds has worked in Moscow for NBC and London for CNN. He was shown the door at CNBC in February.
There's still no firm word on when the channel will launch, Gail Shister reports. AJI rep Rana Jazayerli said "we expect to be fully ready for a global launch sometime soon," but didn't say what "sometime soon" means.
Scott McClellan, the embattled White House press secretary, resigned his position earlier today.
Karl Rove, Bush's closest adviser, will also be giving up his policy positions, the AP reports.
Fox News host and Bush 41 speechwriter Tony Snow is said to be a possible candidate for the press secretary spot. The Hotline blog throws out some more names including Dan Senor, Dan Bartlett, Victoria Clark, and Ron Bonjean.
Frustrated with nearly five years of declining stock values and increased executive compensation, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, one of the top institutional shareholders of the New York Times is crying foul and demanding major corporate and management changes.
"Over the past several years, the New York Times Co.
has consistently underperformed its peers. Its market value has
declined 52% since its peak in June 2002," the company said in a statement put out by its managing director, Hassan Elmasry.
"Despite significant underperformance, management's total compensation
is substantial and has increased considerably over this period."
The controversy over Comedy Central's decision to censor its show "South Park" continues to heat up. Late Thursday, the network issued a statement admitting that it did refuse to run a scene which featured a cartoon depiction of the Muslim prophet Muhammed.
"In light of recent world events, we feel we made the right decision," the cable channel said.
That decision has sparked howls of protest from fans and critics, making it the most-searched for term on the blog search engine Technorati (ht Michelle Malkin).
The show's executive producer, Ann Garefino, confirmed that the network censored the scene, stating that she believed it did so out of "fear" of protests or violence.
"We were happy that they didn’t try to claim that it was because of religious tolerance," Garefino said in an interview with Volokh.com.
She was not aware of any particular threats being made against the show or Comedy Central had the deleted scene aired.
If you've ever wondered how it is that some ostensibly "independent" photographers and cameramen just happen to be at the right place before terrorists strike in Iraq and elsewhere, head over to Michelle Malkin's blog where she has a lengthy, very well-researched post tracking the story of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein.
Hussein was one of several photogs who have a peculiar habit of being in the vicinity before terrorists launched attacks, causing manybloggerstowonder whether he and others were, in fact, colluding with terrorists.
That allegation may be more than just that, however. According to a Malkin source, Hussein was arrested in Iraq with a cache of weapons in conjunction with the anti-American insurgency. In an email to Malkin, the AP confirmed that it had heard reports of the photographer's detention.
Starters: Yesterday's illegal immigration rallies attracted
a lot of media and blogger attention. Of course, since most of the media favors
unchecked immigration of any kind, they have a tendency to cover up the more outrageous signs
that protesters were sporting Monday. If you're looking for blog coverage of
the protests, head over to Instapundit.com.
Which party will benefit from illegal immigration as it
gains a higher profile in the national debate? The Washington
Times thinks Democrats stand the most to gain. Ace of Spades agrees, arguing
that the Dems' strategy of not offering policy alternatives pays off on at
least this issue.
Media: Bob Schieffer and CBS News accused of racism by fired
producer. "Schieffer has a reputation for bigotry," Raylena Fields
alleges. He "frequently and publicly refers to a newsroom assistant as
'Brownie' due to the complexion of his skin." Fields also claims she saw
the anchor address a black correspondent as "boy." In middle eastern media, Saudi television regularly allows anti-semitic
and anti-American rhetoric on its government-owned airwaves. MEMRI exposes one
of the more virulent
ranters who compares American "neocons" (aka Jews) of being the "closest
thing there is to Nazism." (ht LGF).
How did the media cover guns last week? Alphecca blog's Jeff
Soyer answers that in his weekly roundup of press gun
UPDATE 15:50. Looks like exit polls in Italy may also overestimate left-wing strength at the ballot box just like American pollsters did for the 2004 American presidential election. After appearing behind in earlier exit surveys, center-right prime minister Silvio Berlusconi seems likely to win at this point.
Completely off-topic but since it's a weekend, here goes. It seems as though the "Star Wars kid," a roly-poly French Canadian boy whose awkward copying of a light saber fight made him into an ironic web celebrity, apparently wasn't happy with being made the object of fun. (Or was it that the petition to get him into the third SW prequel failed?)
In any case, Ghyslain Raza, now 18, reached a settlement with three former schoolmates who put out the video which has since spawned scads of derivative works. The deal, whose terms are not known, averted a lawsuit that was supposed to go to trial Monday. Canada's Globe and Mail has the story:
Lawyers for the three schoolmates had suffered a setback after they
were not allowed to introduce as evidence a transcript of a phone
conversation Mr. Raza had with a blogger, Jishnu Mukerji.
The blogger had posted a transcript of the exchange on the Internet.
Conducted a month after the video and parodies of it began
circulating, the conversation has Mr. Raza calling the spoofs
"interesting" but not expressing much distress. [...]
In the transcripts, Mr. Raza said the experience left him unable to attend school.
"It was simply unbearable, totally. It was impossible to attend class," Mr. Raza said.
The American public does not seem to be too thrilled about the prospect of Katie Couric's upcoming move from doing news in the morning at NBC to in the evening at CBS.
In a twist of fate, considering that Couric has reported on polls about politicians for years, a survey commissioned by the Associated Press reveals that most Americans would rather watch her in the morning than in the evenings.
Now that Katie Couric is making the move from dawn to dusk, her legacy and the future of CBS News depends on an audience that, according to a new poll, prefers to see her in the morning.
Asked if they would rather see Couric in her longtime role as "Today" host or as the first woman to anchor a network weekday evening newscast on her own, 49 percent favored the morning and 29 percent said evening, according to a poll conducted this week by The Associated Press and TV Guide.
After 15 years as morning television's queen, Couric confirmed Wednesday that she is leaving NBC's "Today" show to become anchor and managing editor of the "CBS Evening News" this fall. Her audience at "Today" is about 6 million viewers; "CBS Evening News" has about 7.5 million.
A small-time member of Canada's parliament made headlines today by sending out and later retracting a column which called for jail time for reporters who "fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens."
Colin Mayes, a Conservative from British Columbia, issued his remarks in a column sent out to newspapers in his district.
The Globe and Mail has a recap. Full text of the column is after the jump.
In a statement issued Friday, Mr. Mayes said he is retracting the comments "without reservation."
Mr. Mayes adds that he fully respects the freedom of the press and regrets making the earlier comments.
The column was e-mailed Thursday to nine small Okanagan papers, as well as the Vernon Daily Courier, by Wayne McGrath, Mr. Mayes's executive assistant.
"Maybe it is time that we hauled off in handcuffs reporters that fabricate stories, or twist information and even falsely accuse citizens," he writes.
The Courier recently decided not to publish the MP's regular columns.
On Wednesday, David Wylie, the paper's managing editor, published an editorial saying [Canada's new Conservative prime miniser J Harper's media policies were "mimicking the ploys of an authoritarian state ..."
The LA Times reports the "folks at third-place MSNBC have something to smile about."
For the first time in almost five years, the third-place cable news channel had a prime-time victory to crow about, albeit a small one: "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" beat CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" in the key 25- to 54-year-old advertising demographic in the first quarter of 2006, according to Nielsen Media Research.
The MSNBC show drew an average of 164,000 viewers in that demographic to CNN's 156,000, as Olbermann, who has been engaged in a colorful feud with Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, enjoyed an increase of 25% in total viewers compared with this point last year.
If you were surprised by the size of the recent pro-illegal immigration
demonstrations, don't be. Turns out, many demonstrators were there
after being instructed by Spanish-language media on where and how to protest:
The marching orders
were clear: Carry American flags and pack the kids, pick up your trash
and wear white for peace and for effect.
Many of the 500,000
people who crammed downtown Los Angeles on Saturday to protest
immigration legislation learned where, when and even how to demonstrate
from the Spanish-language media.
America, the mass protests in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities have
been surprising for their size and seeming spontaneity. But they were
organized, promoted or publicized for weeks by Spanish-language radio
In a victory for the first amendment, a unanimous Federal Election Commission said Monday that it will not regulate political opinioneering on the internet. The ruling (official link) comes as a defeat for self-described "reform advocates" who see any speech that isn't subsidized by the government as evil.
The decision should give pause to those who would censor the most important form of speech and it ought to do the same to the mainstream media that beat the drums loudly for years for McCain-Feingold but was oddly silent as the commission considered whether to extend the bill to snuff out the new media.
On this issue, both liberal and conservative bloggers appear to be unanimous that, as one Daily Kos poster puts it, "To those who opposed us along the way, know that we have long memories and vigilant friends. Nevermore will we abandon this turf to the 'experts' who fear and criticize what they do not understand."