Today's Chicago Tribune carried a brief analysis of the new team on "Today." Wrote staffer Maureen Ryan:
"(Meredith) Vieira and (Matt) Lauer are an inspired pairing. They were even able to turn her flubs into jokes, the true sign of on-air chemistry. Early on, she messed up a line leading into a commercial. 'Redo! Redo!' Lauer yelped.
"No need. The warm Vieira fit right in with 'Today's' mix of frothy celebrity updates, tabloid stories and bits and bites of actual news."
Earlier in the piece, Ms. Ryan noted that "Hiring Vieira was clearly a smart move."
Such enthusiasm at the Tribune is usually reserved for Democratic Senator Barack Obama and other selected liberals.
It hasn't taken Katie Couric long to tailor the CBS Evening News to her liking. The New York Observer reports the Perky One has replaced medical correspondent Elizabeth Kaledin with Dr Jonathan LaPook, Ms. Couric's gastroenterologist.
What makes that move even more interesting is that the good doctor's father-in-law is longtime liberal activist Norman Lear. According to the Web site Newsmeat, the physician has contributed to the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Wesley Clark, and Al Gore.
Don't be surprised if the CBS Evening News begins reporting on stories relating to matters such as the health dangers of global warming and the desirability of socialized medicine.
The front page of today's Chicago Tribune carries the headline: "Bush's vows after Katrina go unfulfilled, Critics: Washington `all windup, no pitch.'"
The principal critic cited is the dependably liberal historian Douglas Brinkley of Tulane University. "'The Bush administration, post-Katrina, has been all windup and no pitch. It's a low point in Bush's tenure,' says Brinkley."
The professor's credentials as an impartial observer are questionable. Here, after all, is a man who claims that Jimmy Carter "is seen as a national treasure - even by people who didn't like him as president." A man who asserted: "I think he'd (John Kerry) make a first-rate president." A man who wants to see Bill Clinton's reputation rehabilitated and says, "Hopefully, we'll have a fuller view and also understand that he's had a great many important strengths."
"He's a role model for all of Africa," a Kenyan playwright effuses. The story is typically glowing as is much of the coverage Obama has gotten about his trip from the American media.
Yet Charles Thomas, a reporter for Chicago's ABC affiliate WLS-TV who is accompanying the senator, sees less enthusiasm in Kenya than here: "Producer Janet Hundley and I spent all of Wednesday in Nairobi and were somewhat surprised by the lack of 'buzz' surrounding the only African-American U.S. Senator's visit to his ancestral homeland. As the newspapers make little mention of it the television news programs make even less."
On the Chicago Tribune's front page today is the story of an illegal immigrant who's taken refuge in a Chicago church to avoid deportation. The headline is "Act of faith, defiance" and the article includes a color photo of the woman and her son.
Yesterday's Tribune coverage on the event noted: "The church's pastor, the Rev. Walter Coleman, said his congregation decided to offer Arellano refuge after praying about her plight.. . . 'She represents the voice of the undocumented, and we think it's our obligation, our responsibility, to make a stage for that voice to be heard,' he said."
Walter Coleman? Could that be Walter "Slim" Coleman, a longtime left wing activist? Yes, it is.
Today's Los Angeles Times includes an extended obituary on Dorothy Healey, described as "a onetime labor organizer, civil rights activist and Marxist radio commentator." The newspaper found nothing but praise for the old comrade. According to an acquaintance: "She was always so fiercely partisan for working people. Yes, of course, she cared about war and peace and women's issues, but she was always concerned about working people."
A college historian credits her union activism with leading "her to become an advocate of black and Chicano rights at a time when few other people were speaking out on such issues."
The Chicago Tribune may not be, as its competitor the Chicago Sun-Times can boast, a "proud sponsor of Gay Games VII," but you wouldn't know it by its coverage.
Last Sunday, the Tribune featured eight articles referencing the Gay Games. On Monday there were five and today there are three. In fairness, some of the articles have more to do with the weather than the games, but some pieces leave no question as to where the writer stands.
Columnist Mary Schmich, for example, writes: "It's been a generation since I knowingly met a gay person for the first time. A generation since the Gay Games started. A generation of huge, encouraging changes. And still not enough has changed."
According to Wallsten, the campaign be difficult for the congressman from "liberal Memphis," but "Ford argued that the old labels do
not apply -- not to this centrist, pro-war, anti-gay-marriage, deficit
hawk of a social conservative. . . "
Centrist? Let's see. For 2005, Mr. Ford received a score of 100 percent in the National Education Association's ratings. He was also perfect with the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees. The National Organization for Women gave him an 86, the AFL-CIO awarded him an 83 and he received a solid 80 from the Americans for Democratic Action.
In today's Chicago Sun-Times article, "Controversial judge plans to retire," the newspaper writes: "A judge who once upheld a speeding ticket given to a woman in labor, told two young girls they would 'go to hell' if they lied on the stand and denied a woman a bathroom break before she soiled herself is stepping down from the bench."
Three sentences later, the retiring judge is identified as a Republican. OK, fine, that's relevant and should be reported.
The problem is the newspaper doesn't do that consistently. Less than two years ago, a Cook County Democratic judge was temporarily removed from the bench by the chief judge who, after reviewing a court transcript,said he "was exceedingly troubled by (the judge's) lack of respect for the high office which he holds and for those individuals present for the proceedings." The Sun-Times reported at the time: "After (the judge's) outburst-- which included the judge using the 'F' word twice -- Chief Judge
Timothy Evans reassigned him and took him off the bench 'until further
Henry Winkler won fame on the old "Happy Days" comedy. He played Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli, also know as Fonzie or the Fonz.
In real life, Winkler certainly isn't the tough guy he portrayed. He is an ardent liberal who over the years has made campaign contributions to Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, John Kerry and many of the usual suspects.
Wednesday night on CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck show he made an appearance to plug his new movie. He was asked by the host: "So now if you saw -- I mean, if you had, you know, a remote control, like they have in 'Universal Control,' or as you like to call it, 'Click,' what part of your life would you skip past?"
Winkler chose to answer not that question, but one he would have preferred: "You know what? The first thing I would do would -- I would end the war in Iraq. I`d just kind of click it." He then went on, "And the second thing I would do, I would mute Ann Coulter."
Today's Chicago Tribune editorial, "How do you spell futility? FEMA," rightly condemns the estimated $1.4 billion in Hurricane Katrina relief funds that were wasted on items such as "jewelry, Caribbean vacations, pro football tickets, pornographic videos, divorce lawyer fees and a sex-change operation." It points out that Government Accountability Office auditors say that almost one in every six dollars targeted for aid ended up in the hands of swindlers.
The Tribune fails to mention that one possible reason for fraud was harsh criticism that FEMA wasn't dishing out the bucks fast enough.
An example of that was a September 8, 2005 Tribune editorial titled "When governments fail citizens." The editorial noted: "The initial federal response, through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was a tangle of red tape." Moreover, it stated that help was delayed "while FEMA bureaucrats dither(ed) over paperwork."
Friday on CNN Headline News' Showbiz Tonight, a segment was devoted to celebrities getting political. Host Sibala Vargas began with, "From coast to coast and TV movies and music, stars are speaking out loud and clear." The Dixie Chicks, Jon Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Merle Haggard and Paul Simon all oppose the war and the President, the program noted.
Rocker Neil Young, whose recent musical contributions include the toe-tapping ditty "Let's Impeach the President," was asked by Miss Vargas: "Are you concerned that some might think that you`re unpatriotic?" He replied, "Oh, no, I`m not concerned about that in the least. I feel like I`m exercising my right of free speech which is what our boys are fighting for the Iraqi people to have."
Today's ABC News: The Note suggests viewers of this evening's televised joint news conference of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "watch closely the nuance, the body language, the bonhomie, and the sheer homo-eroticism."
The next sentence is: "(We are sort of kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)"
Thank heaven they're only "sort of kidding about that last one." It would have been a terrific shock to their wives.
Still, it would have been more politically correct to have added that, if there were any homo-eroticism between the two leaders, there'd be nothing wrong with it.
Included on today's Chicago Tribune's front page is the article "Hillary." In it, national correspondent Lisa Anderson speculates on the possibility of Senator Clinton transferring her apparent popularity in New York State to the 2008 presidential election.
One of the people interviewed is the director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. He points out: "19 percent (of those polled) think, right now, that she's doing a poor job. The Hillary-haters are still there. The people who were willing to give her a chance, she won over."
Also quoted is a Baruch College professor who states: "There's going to be an irreducible number of Hillary-haters, no matter what she does. Whether she changes water into wine or parts the Red Sea, they ain't voting for her."
Today's Washington Post carries the article "Religious Liberals Gain New Visibility." Religious liberals are intensely organizing and alliance-building, "according to scholars, politicians and clergy members."
One of the scholars quoted is Clemson University political scientist Laura R. Olson, who states: "Organizationally speaking, strategically speaking, the religious left is now in the strongest position it's been in since the Vietnam era."
Things must have turned around quickly. Less than six months ago, the same professor wrote in Newsweek: "Yet there are practical reasons to believe that religious progressives on the ground are not well connected either with each other or with the elite-level organizations that share their policy agenda. The religious Left may also be stymied by its diversity and the fact that many of its leaders endorse what might be termed 'scriptural relativism.'
In this morning's special "Situation Room" covering General Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings for his appointment as CIA Director, CNN national security correspondent David Ensor said that Hayden could expect questions "about really the most fundamental point for a top intelligence officer. This one, who's been so loyal to the president, when the chips are down and the intelligence doesn't fit what the president wants it to fit, will he speak truth to power?"
Speak truth to power? That vague, usually meaningless catchphrase is a favorite of many liberals. Dan Rather speaks truth to power. Cynthia McKinney speaks truth to power. John Kerry speaks truth to power. And now CNN national security correspondent David Ensor anticipated questions about speaking truth to power.
The Washington Post's Web site on Friday posted the Reuters' dispatch, "At 74, Ted Kennedy still roars." The piece was largely favorable, lauding the Massachusetts senator for "speaking out on such trademark issues as civil rights, education and health care." It's noted that Time magazine recently named Kennedy one of America's ten best senators and that he "has helped enact legislation to protect civil rights, expand health care, upgrade schools, increase student aid and crackdown on discrimination."
Naturally, no mention is made of the costs associated with Kennedy's initiatives or their impact on expansion of Federal power. There are two references to Chappaquiddick, identified as the "scandal that tarnished his reputation and prospects of becoming president." Later, the article states: "Kennedy was dogged by personal problems early in life, most notably a 1969 accident in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, that took the life of a young woman who drowned when his car plunged off a bridge after a night of partying."
On April 3, the New York Times reported (Man Hit by Car; Witnesses Say He Was Chased) on a young man who was seriously hurt (and later died) after darting into a busy Harlem intersection. Witnesses to the incident, according to the Times' account, said it appeared the victim was being chased by several young men. No reference to the race of the victim or the young men pursuing him was mentioned.
Today's New York Post Online Edition reports on the same incident: "The NYPD hate-crimes unit is probing a report that a
white NYU student killed by a car in Harlem was fleeing a gang of black
teenagers screaming 'Get whitey!' sources said yesterday."
Saturday's Washington Post front page featured the Michael Powell story, "Near Paul Revere Country, Anti-Bush Cries Get Louder." The article begins by noting that three of the ten Massachusetts congressmen have called for an investigation and possible impeachment of President Bush.
It then reports that four Vermont villages have, at town meetings, voted to impeach the president. The piece asserts that it's too early to anticipate the Bush presidency being toppled, "But talk bubbles up in many corners of the nation..."
Then mentioned is last month's vote by the San Francisco board of supervisors urging impeachment. Moreover, the state Democratic parties New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin have done the same thing.
In today's Washington Post, E.J. Dionne's column is titled, "In Charge, Except When They're Not."
"Is President Bush the leader of our government, or is he just a right-wing talk-show host?
The question comes to mind after Bush's news conference this week in which he sounded like someone who has no control over the government he is in charge of. His words were those of a pundit inveighing against the evils of bureaucrats.
'Obviously,' said the critic in chief, 'there are some times when government bureaucracies haven't responded the way we wanted them to, and like citizens, you know, I don't like that at all."
"Yes," writes Dionne, "and if you can't do something about it, who can?"
According to today's Drudge Report, the executive producer of the weekend edition of "Good Morning America," John Green, sent an email in which he flatly states, "Bush makes me sick."
The producer went on to write, "If he uses the 'mixed messages' line one more time, I'm going to puke."
Drudge cites the comment of a Green friend: "John feels so badly about this email. He is a straight shooter and great producer who is always fair. That said, he deeply regrets the sentiment expressed in the email and the embarrassment it causes ABC News."
No doubt Green deeply regrets the embarrassment to ABC News. Once again, here's evidence of the bias permeating much of the mainstream media.
Earlier this month, the New York Times wrote about a Katrina evacuee, Donna Fenton. The story focused on the difficulties the woman had encountered in receiving assistance, highlighting her frustrations with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Yesterday, the woman, who had falsely claimed to be a Katrina victim, was arrested for welfare fraud and grand larceny. Today's Times reports that story, and notes its previous coverage appeared "more than a month after Brooklyn prosecutors, prompted by suspicious officials at the city's welfare agency, began investigating her."
ABC News' Internet site yesterday reported on summaries of four Iraqi documents from Saddam Hussein's government that were released by the U.S. government Wednesday. The first is an Iraqi intelligence service document tracing a relationship between Osama bin Laden and Hussein's government.
ABC News then added an "Editor's Note," which in part states:
"While the assertions contained in this document clearly support the claim (of a bin Laden-Hussein connection), the sourcing is questionable — i.e. an unnamed Afghan 'informant' reporting on a conversation with another Afghan 'consul.' The date of the document — four days after 9/11 — is worth noting but without further corroboration, this document is of limited evidentiary value."
On Saturday the Associated Press ran a story on the 2006 National Black Peoples Unity Convention held in Gary, Indiana. It begins: "Entertainer Harry Belafonte renewed his criticism of President Bush and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urged education reform during the second day of the 2006 National Black Peoples Unity Convention."
Portraying Belafonte, who had his last big hit record half a century ago, as an entertainer is stretching it. He would much more accurately be described as a propagandizing dupe.
Here's a man who has raised money for the Rosenberg Fund, named after atomic bomb spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Who hailed Fidel Castro as "an example of keeping the principles the Rosenbergs fought and died for alive." Who participated in pro-Communist "peace rallies" in Europe.
On this morning's Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer asked Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama about ethics reform, which the anchor said "looks like it's just almost about to slide right off the table."
Senator Obama responded: "Well, I'm not going to let it slide off the table." He went on to say that "We're going to try to see if we can ban some of the corporate jets that are being used and perks."
Mr. Schieffer could have followed up with a question concerning the senator's own practices in that area. Last month in "The Hill," reporter Lynn Sweet wrote: "In 2005, Obama took 23 such private aircraft flights, some to attend fundraisers he headlined."
Saturday's Chicago Tribune includes a front page story titled, "The Bill they can't stomach: Voting Clinton's boyhood home a historic site too much for these 12 angry lawmakers." The article, written by senior correspondent William Neikirk, doesn't support the headline.
Yes, twelve Republican congressmen did vote against a bill, which passed with 409 votes, to name the former president's birthplace a national historic site. But characterizing them as "angry" isn't justified, at least not by anything appearing in the article. The closest thing to "angry" was a comment made by one opponent of the Clinton site that, "Maybe it should be a landmark. He is only the second president to be impeached." But that ranks pretty far down on the anger scale.
Today's CNN.com carries the AP story "'Daily Show' humor befuddles governor." The article centers on Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who made a recent appearance on the program and now claims he didn't realize it is a spoof. "'It was going to be an interview on contraceptives ... that's all I knew about it,' Blagojevich laughingly told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a story for Thursday's editions. 'I had no idea I was going to be asked if I was 'the gay governor.'"
Blagojevich, who is running for reelection this year, is not identified in the CNN/AP article as a Democrat. Yet the same show also featured an appearance by an Illinois state legislator. He is identified as a Republican.