Despite strong sales of their new album, ticket sales for the controversial Dixie Chicks’ upcoming tour have been very disappointing, so much so that some concert dates might be canceled. As reported by Reuters (hat tip to Drudge): “Ticket counts for the 20-plus arena shows that went on sale last weekend were averaging 5,000-6,000 per show in major markets and less in secondaries, according to sources contacted by Billboard. Venue capacities on the tour generally top 15,000.”
Sales are clearly below projections: “The plug was pulled on public on-sales for shows in Indianapolis (August 23), Oklahoma City (September 26), Memphis (September 27) and Houston (September 30) because of tepid pre-sales in a national promotion with Target stores.”
Despite the disappointments, there are cities which appear to support the Chicks’ political views (this is pretty funny):
Every now and then, a storyline for an article hits you that it is so comical it makes it difficult to type between the laughter. This is one of them.
Drudge is reporting (hat tip from reader Sarcasmo) that former vice president Al Gore’s name has been omitted from the posters that advertise his new film: “Former Vice President Al Gore's name is nowhere to be found on PARAMOUNT's poster campaign for the new 'global warming' movie 'AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.'"
Stopped laughing yet? Well, here’s another punch line: “‘It's not a political movie,’ a top source at PARAMOUNT explained, offering no other explanation on why Gore's name does not appear, even in the film's credits on the poster.”
That’s worth a replay, isn’t it (emphasis mine): “It’s not a political movie.”
There’s an old saying in business: money talks and, well, something that comes out of a male cow walks. In the case of Google, it appears that dollar signs, regardless of the foreign or domestic nature of the currency involved, have been more important than principle in some of its business dealings.
To be more specific, one of Google’s co-founders has admitted that his company caved in to demands from Chinese leaders to censor information available through its search engine to Chinese citizens in exchange for, well, yuan…which is dollars to you and me. As reported by the Associated Press: “Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged Tuesday the dominant Internet company has compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands.”
As Dorfman said in “Animal House,” boy this is great!
The article continued: “Google's China-approved Web service omits politically sensitive information that might be retrieved during Internet searches, such as details about the 1989 suppression of political unrest in Tiananmen Square. Its agreement with China has provoked considerable criticism from human rights groups.”
Curiously, this seems to go against one of the “Ten things Google has found to be true” as expressed in its corporate philosophy statement: “You can make money without doing evil.”
As previously reported by NewsBusters here, here, and here, Google has been canceling its News relationship with conservative websites for what it has deemed as “hate speech.”
Well, let’s see what Google News doesn’t view as “hate speech,” shall we?
With a hat tip to a NewsBusters reader, Google News Saturday morning posted the following article from Capital Hill Blue: “Republicans Return to Their Homophobic, Right-Wing Base.”
Nice headline, huh? And, according to the reader that gave me this tip, this headline was at the Google News main page when he opened his browser this morning. Must have gone down real nicely with his Wheaties, dontcha think?
For those that don't believe Google News would really include such an article in its news crawl, please click here.
But, the best was yet to come, for the piece began:
For Hillary Clinton and her terminally unfaithful husband, last week must have seemed like a Wes Craven version of an old musical comedy reworked and entitled “A Ghastly Thing Happened on the Way Back to the White House.”
With Hillary leading in most polls as the prohibitive favorite to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, many party loyalists and typically favorable media members appear to be jumping off her bandwagon. At the same time, these very folks are falling over themselves to assist in the makeover and revitalization of former vice president Al Gore.
Coincidence? Unlikely. In fact, this is starting to resemble what these same folks did to Howard Dean during his 2004 presidential run.
For those that have forgotten, Dean was riding high in the polls in the winter of 2004. However, few top-ranking Democrats believed that he could beat President Bush in November. As a result, Time and Newsweek both ran cover stories on January 12, 2004 questioning his “electability” beyond the primaries. As Eric Boehlert wrote in Salon on January 13:
Still wondering if there really is a liberal media bias? Not convinced yet? Well, a recently released story by Ron Fournier of the Associated Press may change your mind.
In an article entitled “Democrats Eye November Landslide,” Fournier comes across more as a professional Democratic pollster than a supposedly impartial journalist. As amazing as it might seem, the article began: “Republicans are three steps from a November shellacking each a grim possibility if habitually divided Democrats get their acts together.”
Unfortunately, the cheerleading was just beginning:
“First step: Voters must focus on the national landscape on Nov. 7 rather than local issues and personalities that usually dominate midterm elections.
“That would sting Republicans, who trail badly in national polls.”
Convinced yet? Well, here are paragraphs four and five:
NewsBusters reader Mr. Snuggles has pointed out something conspicuously absent from Google’s various pages today – any reference to Memorial Day.
I’m sure most Googlers are extremely aware of how Google will dress up its logo at its web search or news pages in honor of holidays or special occasions. Google has been known to do this on Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. In fact, here is a display of all the Google holiday logos so far this year, and since 1999. You’ll even find that Google celebrated Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday just a week ago. For those scratching their heads, he created Sherlock Holmes.
Yet, if you go to Google’s home page here, or its news page here, you will see nothing commemorating today’s national holiday. By contrast, Google did honor the Persian New Year on March 21, as well as Louis Braille’s birthday on January 4.
Furthermore, if you go back through the Google archives, you'll find that, although it has over the years commemorated Shichi-go-san being celebrated in Japan, Bastille Day in France, and Korean Liberation Day, it appears that Google has never dressed up its logo for Memorial Day.
Most of you have likely heard this classic version of “America The Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles. Many in the music industry perceive it to be the finest recorded version of this anthem, as well as one of the most memorable from Mr. Charles. It comes to us courtesy of John Condra at GOP Video News.
As you watch this marvelous video montage, I’m sure it will remind you of the true meaning of this holiday. I hope you all have a marvelous day with your families.
Some readers may have forgotten about this. Some may not have been alive at the time. However, thirty years ago this past April, as America was in the process of celebrating its bicentennial, Chicago Cubs centerfielder Rick Monday, a former Marine Corps Reservist, made one of the greatest plays in baseball history…but it didn’t involve a ball, a bat, or a glove.
As protestors were trying to set fire to an American flag in the centerfield of Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, Monday darted by, grabbed Old Glory, and saved her from a disturbing fate in front of a huge Chavez Ravine crowd.
According to Inside Baseball: “This moment and the symbol it represented – freedom, history and those who have lost their lives in battle to save Old Glory – had countless Americans talking; from politicians in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country to military veterans to everyday people. It was ranked as one of the top 100 classic moments in baseball history by the National Baseball Hall of Fame committee and third on Sporting News’ list as the most ‘unusual’ moment to occur on a major league baseball field.”
The following marvelous video (hat tip to reader Airforce_5_0) is a four-minute tribute to the event, including video footage, and interviews with Monday as well as then Dodger third-base coach Tommy Lasorda. Enjoy.
Update: A full transcript of this video along with another picture of the event follow courtesy of MLB.
As MRC’s Brent Baker pointed out Thursday, there appear to be some serious holes in a story reported by ABC’s Brian Ross on Wednesday’s “World News Tonight.” For those with short memory spans, Ross alleged that House Speaker Dennis Hastert is involved in a congressional bribery investigation. Though this has been fervently denied by the justice department, as well as Hastert's office which is demanding a retraction, ABC is standing by its report.
Well, radio host Laura Ingraham (hat tip to Expose the Left with audio link to follow) reported on Thursday that she received an e-mail message from somebody high up in ABC claiming that Ross’s report was “totally bogus” and “reporters in the press gallery were laughing out loud as the story aired on ABC last night.” Ingraham declared: “This is an example of an agenda driven story without fact-checking, and with shoddy sourcing.”
The e-mail message concluded (alluding to CBS’s embarrassing Memogate in 2004): “Maybe this will be Brian Ross’s Dan Rather moment.”
What follows is a partial transcript of this segment, along with an audio link, both courtesy of Expose the Left.
Since NewsBusters first broke the story about Google News capriciously terminating its relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals, and followed (with the help of writer and software developer Marc Sheppard) with a detailed analysis of the ramifications of such unrestrained power, the blogosphere has been abuzz with this issue.
One of the key players in this sad tale, Frank Salvato of The New Media Journal, posted an interesting response to Google’s banishment at his website that included a list of competing search engines as well as his opinion on the issue: “Google News and Google Search Engine are on a campaign of political correctness that sees them denying access to their service to any website - be it news, opinion or a hybrid of both - that dares to address the subject of radical Islam.” Salvato continued:
Something frighteningly ominous has been happening on the Internet lately: Google, without any prior explanation or notice, has been terminating its News relationship with conservative e-zines and web journals.
At first blush, one can easily ignore such business decisions by the most powerful company on the Internet as being routine. However, on closer examination, such behavior could give one relatively small technological corporation (when measured by the size of its workforce) a degree of political might that frankly dwarfs its current financial prowess.
The New Media Journal, formerly The Rant.us, has been removed from Google News and Google Search for what has been deemed “hate speech.” Many readers here might be familiar with this conservative e-zine, and, as a disclaimer, I have been a contributing writer there since September 2004.
(Update: I was just informed by the proprietor of MichNews.com, another conservative e-zine, that he was terminated by Google about a month ago for the same reason. And, the Jawa Report was so terminated on March 29, 2005. In all cases, the offending articles appear to have dealt with radical Islam and terrorism.)
This morning, proprietor Frank Salvato realized that none of today’s content had appeared at Google News or was available through Google Search. As such, he sent an e-mail message to the help desk, and received the following response (permission granted to post):
A number of Canadian news websites are reporting that the Iranian parliament passed a law this week requiring non-Muslims in the country to wear certain insignia identifying them as such (hat tip to Drudge). As reported by Canada’s National Post: “Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims.”
The article continued: “‘This is reminiscent of the Holocaust,’ said Rabbi Marvin Hier, the dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. ‘Iran is moving closer and closer to the ideology of the Nazis.’"
Apparently, this has been confirmed by Iranians now living in Canada: “Iranian expatriates living in Canada yesterday confirmed reports that the Iranian parliament, called the Islamic Majlis, passed a law this week setting a dress code for all Iranians, requiring them to wear almost identical ‘standard Islamic garments.’"
The Associated Press is reporting (hat tip to Drudge) that actress and liberal activist Susan Sarandon has endorsed Jonathan Tasini, a long-shot challenger to Hillary Clinton in the New York senatorial race. According to the article: “Sarandon has been a harsh critic of Clinton's vote on the war, telling a British television interviewer last month that Clinton had ‘crumbled under the pressure of the moment.’ She also told ITV1 that she wasn't enthusiastic about a Clinton presidential candidacy.”
The article continued:
“Announcing Sarandon's endorsement, Tasini called the 59-year old Academy Award winner a ‘passionate advocate for human rights, justice and civil liberties’ and said he was ‘honored’ to have her support.
"'She has never wavered when the call has come for people to stand on the front lines in support of progressive principles that affect the lives of so many people in our country,’ Tasini said.”
So, is this indeed an ominous portent for Hillary’s future with the Hollywood left? Hardly. Sarandon’s views on Sen. Clinton have been all over the map recently:
The Drudge Report is reporting that a high school in one of California’s most prestigious neighborhoods is going to be sending 1,500 of its students to go see Al Gore’s new movie concerning global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth.” According to the report: “On May 24, 2006, 1,500 Beverly Hills High School students will be boarding 30 gas-guzzling buses across town to see Al Gore's new global warming film 'AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH' at the Arclight Theatre in Hollywood, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.”
Networks fixate on tax cuts ‘for the rich’ while ignoring exploding tax revenues.
While Congress hammered out a $70 billion tax-relief bill last week, the media wasted no time spinning it. After the House approved its version on May 10, the “NBC Nightly News” cited “Democratic critics [who said] the overall bill is heavily tilted in favor of the very wealthy.” At roughly the same time, the “CBS Evening News” presented a graphic to its viewers showing “for incomes of $50,000 or less, you’ll average no more than $46 in savings.”
The following day, ABC’s “Good Morning America” team offered a $20 bill to shoppers at a New Jersey mall as a cynical demonstration of how little this tax cut would help some Americans.
All totaled, the broadcast networks did 16 reports on this issue in their three-day blitzkrieg, largely with the same predictable mantra: tax cuts favor the rich. Conspicuously absent was an honest assessment of just how much lower wage earners in America have benefited from the most recent income tax changes, as well as how much the government has benefited from higher tax revenues.
The Truth Hurts Without question, the best thing government can do for low-income families is not burden them with income taxes. Toward that goal, according to a March 30 report by the Tax Foundation’s Scott Hodge, the percentage of Americans not paying any federal income taxes has exploded in the past few years as a result of recent tax changes:
In a cautionary signal for the future of American media, an online poll conducted by Bolt Media indicates some interesting changes in viewing behavior as a result of the Internet. AdAge.com reported on Monday (hat tip to Drudge): “Only one in four 12- to 34-year-olds can name all four major broadcast networks: ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox."
The poll also asked what respondents’ favorite activities were. The number one answer? “That would be surfing the Internet, which 84% said they did during their idle periods.” By contrast, TV viewing got a 69 percent response. Their favorite TV Networks:? “Fox, Comedy Central, ABC, MTV and Cartoon Network.”
The article continued: “‘There's a massive movement going on in people under 30 and how they spend their media time,’ said Bolt President Lou Kerner, who once upon a time was a cable analyst on Wall Street before leaving to run TV.com and then Bolt. ‘Our audience spends lots of time on net, creating their own media.’"
Kerner believes this is a sign of a significant change in media usage habits:
For those of you that hadn’t heard, former vice president and potential 2008 Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore has a movie about – you guessed it – global warming coming out next week. This – no surprise – was a huge hit at the Sundance Film Festival. The film has its own website, with marvelous information about the “science” of this myth (video link of movie trailer to follow).
In the “About the Film” section, the narrative begins (emphasis mine): “Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, we have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything we have ever experienced.”
Just ten years, folks. This coming from climatologists, meteorologists, and scientists that can’t accurately predict whether it will rain tomorrow.
The introduction to the film continues: “With 2005, the worst storm season ever experienced in America just behind us, it seems we may be reaching a tipping point - and Gore pulls no punches in explaining the dire situation.”
Yet, for those who don’t believe Gore is running for president again, it is quite clear this film is a vehicle for exactly that:
ABC chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross, along with colleague Richard Esposito, reported at “The Blotter” blog on Monday that they have been informed by a “senior federal law enforcement official” that their phone calls are being monitored to identify confidential sources: “‘It's time for you to get some new cell phones, quick,’ the source told us in an in-person conversation.”
The blog continued: “Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.”
Why do Ross and Esposito believe they are being targeted? “Our reports on the CIA's secret prisons in Romania and Poland were known to have upset CIA officials. The CIA asked for an FBI investigation of leaks of classified information following those reports.” And: “People questioned by the FBI about leaks of intelligence information say the CIA was also disturbed by ABC News reports that revealed the use of CIA predator missiles inside Pakistan.”
Yet, Ross and Esposito confirmed what the administration has claimed about this program that is contrary to a recent USA Today cover story and most drive-by media reports on the subject:
The outspoken proprietor of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, had some extremely harsh words for senator and presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In a Sunday post entitled “Cracking the Hillary Code,” Huffington used the occasion of the release of the film “The Da Vinci Code” to compare and contrast the recent activities of America’s former first lady: “Unlocking the latest Clinton cryptex, we find not a papyrus map but other kinds of symbolic clues: Making headlines with her warm assessment of Bush. Partying with a Who's Who of the GOP power elite, including Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, Tom DeLay, and Bill Frist. Planning a fundraiser to be hosted by -- wait for it -- Rupert Murdoch.”
Huffington was just warming up, although her next statement has been obvious to many Americans since Hillary and her prevaricating husband first rose on the national scene in 1991: “It doesn't take a dashing Harvard symbologist and a sexy French cryptographer to figure this one out. Hillary Clinton is determined to single-handedly remove every last vestige of authenticity from American politics.”
That’s like saying the sun sets in the West, Arianna. From there, Huffington continued stating the obvious, though it’s always marvelous reading the truth as written by someone from her current side of the aisle:
It must have been a dream come true for the folks at NBC, as well as all those associated with the long-time comedy variety show “Saturday Night Live.” Last night, NBC welcomed former vice president Al Gore to open the show posing as America’s president addressing the American people five years after having "overwhelmingly" won in 2000 (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). In reality, despite the obvious left-leaning bias, this was a good piece of comedy, with Gore doing a very fine job. Some of the highlights:
“In the last 6 years we have been able to stop global warming. No one could have predicted the negative results of this. Glaciers that once were melting are now on the attack.”
“Right now, in the 2nd week of May 2006, we are facing perhaps the worst gas crisis in history. We have way too much gasoline. Gas is down to $0.19 a gallon and the oil companies are hurting. I know that I am partly to blame by insisting that cars run on trash. I am therefore proposing a federal bailout to our oil companies because - hey if it were the other way around, you know the oil companies would help us.”
“On a positive note, we worked hard to save Welfare, fix Social Security and of course provide the free universal health care we all enjoy today. But all this came at a high cost. As I speak, the gigantic national budget surplus is down to a perilously low $11 trillion dollars.”
“There are some of you that want to spend our money on some made-up war. To you I say: what part of ‘lockbox’ don't you understand?”
“There have been some setbacks. Unfortunately, the confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Michael Moore was bitter and divisive. However, I could not be more proud of how the House and Senate pulled together to confirm the nomination of Chief Justice George Clooney.”
What follows is a full transcript of this sketch courtesy of Crooks and Liars, and a video link courtesy of Expose the Left.
House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) wrote an op-ed in Saturday’s Los Angeles Times that should be must reading for all Americans, especially those that believe the leaking of national security information is actually a good thing if it helps your party regain power. In it, Hoekstra practically attacked USA Today for its recent front-page article concerning the National Security Agency collecting domestic phone records:
“WE ARE IN the first war of the Information Age, and we have a critical advantage over our enemy: We are far better at gathering intelligence. It's an advantage we must utilize, and it's keeping us safe. But every time classified national security information is leaked, our ability to gather information on those who would do us harm is eroded.”
Hoekstra continued: “We suffered a setback Thursday when USA Today ran a front-page story alleging that the National Security Agency was collecting domestic phone records. This article hurt our efforts to protect Americans by giving the enemy valuable insights into the Terrorist Surveillance Program, which has been focused like a laser beam on Al Qaeda and its known associates.”
Hoekstra then stepped forward to defend the actions of the NSA and the president:
Reuters reported a startling scientific find on Wednesday that certainly brings into question the current hysteria surrounding global warming (hat tip to Drudge): “Climate shifts were probably responsible for the extinction of the mammoth and other species more than 10,000 years ago, not over-hunting by humans, according to new research published on Wednesday.”
How does this fit into the global warming debate? Well, according to Dr. Dale Guthrie of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, “‘The new patterns of dates indicate a radical ecological sorting during a uniquely forage-rich transitional period, affecting all large mammals, including humans.’"
And what happened during this "ecological sorting":
A stunning announcement was made by the Treasury Department Wednesday. As reported by the Associated Press: “A flood of income tax payments pushed up government receipts to the second-highest level in history in April, giving the country a sizable surplus for the month.”
(Update: At the end of this piece, I predicted this announcement would not be widely reported. Well, though all three broadcast networks addressed the tax cuts agreed upon in the House on their evening programs Wednesday -- with the NBC "Nightly News" and the CBS "Evening News" both doing major segments on the ramifications of the House's decision -- not one of these evening news programs bothered to inform their viewers about April's near-record tax revenues.)
Of course, this quite flies in the face of the regular media carping and whining about the president’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts negatively impacting federal revenues, doesn’t it?
Regardless, the article continued: “In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that revenue for the month totaled $315.1 billion as Americans filed their tax returns by the April deadline. The gusher of tax revenue pushed total receipts up by 13.4 percent from April 2005.”
And which April in history is actually in first place? If you said April 2000, you’d be wrong:
In another example of journalists saying whatever they want whenever they want without regard to accuracy, CBS’s Anthony Mason on Wednesday’s “Evening News” declared erroneously that America’s debt declined during the Clinton years (video link to follow). Certainly, this is a myth that has been purported by the media since Clinton left office…but nothing could be further from the truth.
Before we get to the facts of the matter, here’s the context. In an obvious effort to explain why the tax cuts accepted by the House on Wednesday were a terrible thing, the “Evening News” followed its report concerning this issue with a discussion of the federal debt. Anchor Bob Schieffer passed the baton to business correspondent Anthony Mason who began with an interview with the real estate developer that created the national debt clock near Times Square in New York. After discussing the debt with this gentleman, and an economist, Mason stated: “In the Clinton years, when our debt actually began to shrink the clock was turned off and covered up.”
Well, Anthony, the clock may have been covered up during this period, but the gross federal debt never declined during the Clinton years. Not once. According to the debt statistics at the Office of Management and Budget, the national debt
This one is delicious, and demonstrates quite vividly how today’s journalists say whatever they want whenever they want with total disregard for factual content or historical accuracy (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). During Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon briefing on Tuesday, an unidentified reporter asked, “Mr. Secretary, getting back to the question of the CIA, the last time we had an active-duty military officer heading up the CIA was even before you were in government, 1953 I believe.”
Rumsfeld quickly stopped the reporter in his tracks: “What was Vernon -- didn't Vernon Walters do it? Didn't Studeman do it?”
Undeterred by how wrong he was, the reporter continued: “OK. Well, my point remains -- my question remains the same, is: Do you think it's...”
Rumsfeld brilliantly retorted: “Even though the premise is fallacious.”
The outspoken actor Bruce Willis has taken aim at the press again. According to ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge), Willis has “slammed the media for its poor news coverage, accusing the industry of deliberately ignoring serious news in favour of racy stories.” Willis is apparently “disgusted with the news reports, claiming they are frivolous and superficial rather than informative.”
In Willis’s words: “‘We go for the sensational now in the news. If it's not sensational or tantalising or making fun of someone, it seldom gets into the news.’”
As a result, Willis has banned televised news from his house: