Joel Stein of the Los Angeles Times wrote an op-ed today (hat tip to the Drudge Report) entitled “Warriors and Wusses.” In it, he made his feelings about the war in Iraq quite clear in the opening sentence: “I don't support our troops.” In the heart of his piece, he elaborated:
“But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.”
Stein then had the audacity to suggest that America’s support for the troops is actually keeping them in Iraq longer:
All three major broadcast networks this evening covered President Bush’s speech in Kansas today concerning the domestic spying program. They all included the same quote of the president saying, “If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?” And, they all referenced statements made today at the National Press Club by Deputy Director of National Intelligence and former National Security Agency director Gen. Michael Hayden. Unfortunately, none of them did justice to the extraordinarily compelling description of the NSA eavesdropping program offered by the general, or his explanation of errors and omissions that have been quite common in media reports on this issue.
Regardless, what was conspicuously absent from the “NBC Nightly News” report on this subject was the most compelling statement made today by Gen. Hayden: “Had this program been in effect prior to 9/11, it is my professional judgment that we would have detected some of the al Qaeda operatives in the United States, and we would have identified them as such.”
To be sure, it couldn’t have been a time issue that prevented NBC from including this key segment of Gen. Hayden’s statement. After all, toward the end of the broadcast, Brian Williams had plenty of time to discuss the person in the Kansas State University audience who asked President Bush if he had seen the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” as well as show footage of the president’s answer (from closed captioning): “I hadn't seen it. I would be glad to talk about ranching but I haven't seen the movie.” In fact, there was even time for Williams to speak glowingly about the film (also from closed captioning):
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos invited former presidential candidate John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) on “This Week” yesterday to discuss a variety of pressing issues facing the nation. Primary amongst them was how the senator felt about domestic spying, and current revelations revealed in a New York Times article last month. During the discussion, Kerry made a rather glaring contradiction (hat tip to reader “JDW”) that should have set off alarm bells in any investigative reporter. Instead, Stephanopoulos gave Kerry a pass.
As the discussion moved in the direction of NSA wiretaps, Stephanopoulos played a clip of Karl Rove saying: “President Bush believes if al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why. Some important Democrats -- some important Democrats clearly disagree.” Stephanopoulos said: “He must have had you in mind. You've called the program a clear violation of the law.” To which Kerry replied: ‘We don't disagree with him at all. It is a violation of law and we don't disagree with him at all and this is exactly what Karl Rove does.”
In a piggyback of a previous NewsBusters report concerning Hollywood producing less films in the near future, The Times Online is reporting (hat tip to the Drudge Report) that movie stars are going to take less money for their services to assist studios in becoming more profitable:
“Facing declining cinema audiences, Hollywood is trying to persuade its top actors to set an example by cutting back a lucrative arrangement known as ‘first dollar’, under which the director, producer and stars receive a share of a film’s box office take regardless of whether the studio has covered its filming costs.”
Apparently, this is going to impact some of Hollywood’s top stars:
Facing declining sales and declining interest from a population that is increasingly shunning their product, Hollywood studios have apparently decided to release “substantially fewer films” over the next year or two. Not only that, but Hollywood is also less interested in footing the bill for motion pictures.
The folks over at Rasmussen Reports recently released results of a new poll with some rather stunning findings that are not likely to make their way into mainstream media reports. Apparently, not only aren’t Americans shocked by the activities of former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, but they hold such a lowly view of members of Congress that they perceive used car salesmen as being more ethical:
“Forty percent (40%) of Americans say that used-car salesmen are generally more ethical than members of Congress. A Rasmussen Reports survey finds that just 27% believe the nation's elected representatives are more ethical.”
The Associated Press is reporting an outpouring of support for al Qaeda in Pakistan, and, in particular, for Osama bin Laden as a result of America’s attack on al Qaeda operatives over a week ago:
“Sympathy for al-Qaida has surged after a U.S. airstrike devastated this remote mountain hamlet in a region sometimes as hostile toward the Pakistani government as it is to the United States.
“A week after the attack, villagers insist no members of the terror network were anywhere near the border village when it was hit. But thousands of protesters flooded a nearby town chanting, ‘Long live Osama bin Laden!’"
In the new millennium, articles describing the intellectual differences between the genders have been altogether too commonplace. As a result, it wasn’t difficult to presage from the cover of Newsweek’s most recent issue where the editors were going with a headline like “The Boy Crisis.” In fact, once inside, the featured piece, “The Trouble With Boys,” turned into just another in a long line of “exposes” depicting girls as being smarter than boys.
After a pleasant introduction, author Peg Tyre began her laundry list of male deficiencies:
“By almost every benchmark, boys across the nation and in every demographic group are falling behind. In elementary school, boys are two times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with learning disabilities and twice as likely to be placed in special-education classes. High-school boys are losing ground to girls on standardized writing tests. The number of boys who said they didn't like school rose 71 percent between 1980 and 2001, according to a University of Michigan study. Nowhere is the shift more evident than on college campuses. Thirty years ago men represented 58 percent of the undergraduate student body. Now they're a minority at 44 percent.”
Harry Belafonte is at it again. The Associated Press reported last evening (hat tip to the Drudge Report) that the entertainer, in a speech to the Arts Presenters Members Conference, “compared the Homeland Security Department to the Nazi Gestapo on Saturday and attacked the president as a liar.”
The article quoted Belafonte as having said, “‘We've come to this dark time in which the new Gestapo of Homeland Security lurks here, where citizens are having their rights suspended.’” Belafonte once again had nothing but disdain for America’s current president: “Bush, he said, rose to power ‘somewhat dubiously and ... then lies to the people of this nation, misleads them, misinstructs, and then sends off hundreds of thousands of our own boys and girls to a foreign land that has not aggressed against us.’"
MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews got himself into some hot water Thursday evening when he suggested that Osama bin Laden in his recently released tape sounded “like an over-the-top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore” (video link to follow). On last night’s installment, Matthews invited on MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough to discuss this issue in greater detail (video link to follow).
After being asked by Matthews if bin Laden was playing politician, Scarborough moved the discussion in a media direction: “You look at, like, for instance, him saying that George Bush went to war because of -- because he wanted to help his buddies out, his oil buddies out. Well, that sounds a lot like not only Michael Moore, it also sounds like Ted Kennedy who said this whole thing was invented, this war was invented in Texas by Karl Rove to help his political supporters out.”
As reported yesterday by NewsBusters’ Mark Finkelstein, Katie Couric of NBC’s “Today Show” wondered aloud on yesterday’s program if Osama bin Laden might be getting information from the New York Times. It turns out that Couric isn’t the only media representative asking this same question. A just released Editor and Publisher article reported on more such media opining. First, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson said the following on that network’s “Scarborough Country” Thursday evening (full transcript to follow):
“By the merchants of war who financed Bush's presidential campaign, in the words of Osama bin Laden and many on the left. In other words, Halliburton is responsible for this war, every single talking point. I hate to think of Osama bin Laden reclining in his cave in Waziristan, reading the op-ed page of ‘The New York Times.’ But, clearly, he is. He's got every talking point. It's uncanny.”
According to E&P, Carlson wasn’t the only one to suggest that Osama is paying attention to the American press:
According to the Associated Press (hat tip to the Drudge Report), Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday “challenged Europe to take back the Jews who emigrated to Israel, adding that no Jews would remain in Israel if Europe were to open its doors.” Strangely, a thorough Google and LexisNexis search identified that, until now, no major American media outlet has reported this new round of anti-Semitic statements by the controversial Iranian leader who is also threatening to expand his country’s nuclear activities. (The New York Times published an online AP story Friday evening at its website that included this information. However, it appears that this did not make their Saturday print editions.)
The first time AP logged this report was via its Worldstream unit at 10:25PM GMT Friday. That calculates to 5:25PM Eastern Time. Yet, according to Google and LexisNexis, not one American media outlet besides the Drudge Report is covering this story:
Joe Klein of TIME magazine fame wrote a fabulous piece recently entitled “How to Stay Out of Power; Why liberal democrats are playing too fast and too loose with issues of war and peace.” In it, the typically liberal Klein offered a typically liberal readership a side of the domestic spying issue that must have made many subscribers wonder if their mailman had accidentally put a copy of the National Review in their mailbox.
Klein began by addressing the hypocrisy of a letter that House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) recently released that was supposedly written on October 11, 2001 to then National Security Agency director General Michael V. Hayden. “In it she expressed concern that Hayden, who had briefed the House Intelligence Committee about the steps he was taking to track down al-Qaeda terrorists after the 9/11 attacks, was not acting with "specific presidential authorization."
The Wall Street Journal’s Sarah McBride wrote an article in today’s edition addressing the increasing number of network news “stars” leaving television to become a part of National Public Radio. In an environment where ratings for most news programs are declining, and newspapers across the country are reducing staffs amid shrinking circulations, NPR’s audience is continuing to grow. As a result, as reported previously by NewsBusters, the largely government sponsored radio station has been attracting folks like former CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite and former ABC “Nightline” host, Ted Koppel. Potentially the most fascinating aspect of this article is what it said about the current state of television media:
“Network news is increasingly generating prospects for NPR in part because some broadcast journalists think the networks are veering away from serious, in-depth reports. Many television journalists say they are fed up with the move toward consumer-friendly news-you-can-use and away from weightier subjects like foreign affairs and government. And many also see news of any sort as an increasingly low priority for their employers. For example, ‘Nightline’ came close to losing its perch in a humiliating 2002 episode when ABC brass unsuccessfully tried to lure in David Letterman's nightly comedy show to replace it.”
In many respects, 2005 was the strongest economic year the United States has experienced since 1999. The Gross Domestic Product continued its uninterrupted string of consecutive 3-percent or better quarterly increases – 10 quarters in a row, the longest streak since the mid-’80s. The nation added 2 million new non-farm payroll jobs. The average net wealth of the citizenry reached another all-time high – a total of more than $51 trillion – by the third quarter of 2005. And, as the Labor Department just reported on January 18, inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index was virtually the same in 2005 as it was in 2004, while rising at the core level (excluding energy and food) at the average rate for the last decade.
Yet, regardless of the continuous stream of positive economic news, CNN financial reports were normally quite bearish all year, in particular asserting that wages weren’t keeping up with inflation, causing the average worker to lose ground financially. Phrases like “falling wages have turned an assault on the middle class into a war on the middle class” and “The new jobs that are being created are by and large low-wage jobs” were uttered on a fairly regular basis during CNN broadcasts throughout 2005. A Free Market Project analysis of CNN’s newscasts on wages and inflation throughout the year revealed that journalists touted the relationship between wages and inflation as a cause for concern, instead of the positive sign of economic recovery that it really was.
You can’t swing a dead cat lately without smacking into an article concerning Congressman John Murtha’s (D-Pennsylvania) view of the necessity to withdraw American troops from Iraq. In fact, as reported by the MRC’s Brent Baker, Murtha is going to be on CBS’s “60 Minutes” discussing exactly that on Sunday with none other than Mike Wallace. However, for some reason, that same demised feline has little chance of ever coming in contact with a report of the Congressman’s proclivities to take funds from Washington lobbyists. Today, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke ranks from the mainstream media in this regard.
In an article entitled “Santorum Reaps Money From Lobbyists,” the Post-Gazette’s Maeve Reston led with the revelation that Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) has taken more money from Washington lobbyists in the 2006 election cycle than anyone else on Capitol Hill. However:
As has been widely reported by NewsBusters, the media have been actively misrepresenting the burgeoning Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal as being exclusively a Republican problem. Today, Jim Abrams of the Associated Press logged a report dealing with House minority leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-California) assertions Thursday that Republicans have created "one of the most closed, corrupt congresses in history." Yet, in a ten-paragraph article, Abrams devoted six of them to Democratic ties to Abramoff, as well as Republican efforts to craft new legislation dealing with the problem.
Certainly, one has to get past the headline – “Pelosi Wants Probe of 'Corrupt Congress'” – as well as the sub-headline – “House Democratic Leader Pelosi Urges Investigation of Republicans Linked to Lobbyist Abramoff” – and the lede – “House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi on Thursday said Republicans had created 'one of the most closed, corrupt congresses in history' and urged the House ethics committee to investigate GOP lawmakers linked to lobbyist Jack Abramoff " – to find the balance. Yet, once there, the reader is treated to a side of this story that few in the mainstream media dare to disseminate:
ABC News’ Martin Bashir last evening on “Nightline” brought on an Arkansas “abortionist” to sell America the virtues of this oftentimes ghastly procedure, while making a political statement against the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Bashir even suggested that those who have abortions are “born again.” The piece began with Bashir sharing some abortion statistics – with graphics – to demonstrate how commonplace it is in our society (ABC News video link to follow):
MARTIN BASHIR: (Off-camera) For anyone who thinks that abortion is not a daily ritual of American life, then consider these statistics.
GRAPHICS: 1 IN 4 PREGNANCIES END IN ABORTION
MARTIN BASHIR: (Voiceover) One in four pregnancies ends in abortion. And at current rates, a third of all American women will have an abortion by the age of 45.
GRAPHICS: ONE THIRD OF AMERICAN WOMEN WILL HAVE AN ABORTION BY AGE 45
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Massachusetts) has been largely preoccupied and extraordinarily concerned about potential Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito’s apparent affiliation with a conservative, all-male organization while he attended Princeton...and America’s press are eating it up. A perfect example is Dana Milbank’s column in today’s Washington Post:
“It looked to be a second dreary day in the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court pick Samuel Alito, as the senators droned and the nominee dodged. Then, just before lunch, the old lion roared.
“Actually, it started as a growl. The gray-maned Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) read quotations published by a conservative Princeton group to which Alito belonged, protesting that blacks, Hispanics and women ‘don't know their place’ and suggesting medical experiments for gay Princeton students.”
Yet, the delicious irony that Milbank and most of the media failed to inform the public is that Kennedy himself was a member of an all-male social club when he attended Harvard. As reported by the Washington Times (hat tip to the Drudge Report):
In a new column just posted at MSNBC.com, Newsweek’s Michael Hirsh offered some truly defamatory comments concerning America’s current president. In fact, much of this article could have been written by Harry Belafonte.
“In fact, [Iranian President] Ahmadinejad, who has piled idiocy upon idiocy in a series of offensive remarks that have alarmed the world, has achieved a truly amazing feat. He has made George W. Bush look like a statesman.”
Gloria Borger on the “CBS Evening News” tonight demonstrated some humanity and compassion that is quite rare and sorely lacking from most members of the modern American media. In her report today about the Samuel Alito confirmation hearings, Borger stated that Mrs. Alito crying behind her husband “may be the picture that people really remember from these hearings.” Furthermore, she twice stated that Democrats might have gone too far with their questioning today (video link to follow).
In the middle of a fairly balanced presentation of the day’s events, the screen showed Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) questioning Judge Alito, and facetiously asking him if he was a bigot:
The magazine to the stars, Variety, called the New York Times’ James Risen a “journalistic hero.” In an article about the problems that Risen’s new book, "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration," might pose for the Times, Variety reporter Michael Learmonth began by offering great praise for the author: “After years of entanglement with Judith Miller, the New York Times can celebrate a true journalistic hero in James Risen, the reporter who uncovered the NSA eavesdropping story.”
“The book also indicates Iraq had abandoned its nuclear weapons program shortly after the first Gulf War, but that information was ignored by the neocons selling an invasion of Iraq. Those on the selling end of the equation had the ear of Miller, whose W.M.D. stories got most of the headlines when it mattered.”
Learmonth concluded by expressing concern for the future of this new “hero”:
The Associated Press reported that American singer Harry Belafonte, as part of a delegation visiting Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez that included actor Danny Glover and Princeton University scholar Cornel West, publicly stated that President Bush is “the greatest terrorist in the world.”
“‘No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people … support your revolution,’ Belafonte told Chavez during the broadcast.”
NBC’s Tim Russert invited the New York Times reporter who broke the NSA eavesdropping story three weeks ago onto “Meet the Press” this morning. Despite the obvious controversial nature of the guest and the subject matter, Russert asked no truly compelling or interrogative questions of James Risen, and, as a result, produced an interview that not only didn’t challenge Risen about the fortuitous timing of the article’s release, but also offered the viewer no new information concerning this matter.
For instance, Russert chose to ask Risen:
MR. RUSSERT: Amid much speculation as to why the The New York Times held this story, you had written it, you had finished it, you knew it was—what reflected what your reporting had shown. It may have played a role in the election of 2004 if it had been published in October. Why was it held?
However, here’s a list of potentially more provocative and important questions that Russert chose not to ask his controversial guest:
On a regular basis, economic data released by the various government agencies responsible for doing such things is depicted negatively by America’s mainstream media. From unemployment to inflation to housing prices, regardless of the facts, the press typically report nothing but gloom and doom.
Robert Samuelson in this week’s issue of Newsweek candidly informed readers why. After giving a synopsis of positive forecasts for 2006, Samuelson said, “All this good news is, of course, bad for the news business,” and asked, “Could anything darken the outlook and, coincidentally, feed journalism's appetite for misfortune?”
Samuelson then presented five economic cataclysms to cheer up the doomsayers:
Media Mantra: Unhappy Holidays Pessimism about holiday sales went right through Christmas this year.
Were consumers cheerful shoppers or Scrooges this Christmas season? The final sales data aren’t out yet, but the media have scared the dickens out of economy-watchers with the latter theory.
As reported by the Free Market Project in October and December, the media’s annual Christmas shopping gloom-fest started in August this year, well before back-to-school sales had ended. Phrases like “Consumers are pinched” and “Retailers are squeezed” were being uttered on news broadcasts before Labor Day.
National Public Radio released a poll recently with some rather startling results that the media are likely not going to share with the public. After months of focusing America’s attention on “scandals” surrounding Valerie Plame, I. Lewis Libby, Tom DeLay, Jack Abramoff, and Bill Frist, the nation’s mainstream press outlets must have been very disappointed to see the following numbers concerning the citizenry’s view of politics and ethics. The pollsters asked 800 Americans the following question:
"Now I would like to read you a list of issues and for each one please tell me whether you think George W. Bush or the Democratic Party would do a better job handling that particular issue. Improving ethics in Washington, D.C."
The results? 43 percent answered “George W. Bush,” while 41 percent said “the Democratic Party.”
It’s been more than two weeks since the New York Times broke the National Security Agency eavesdropping story, and despite a media barrage on this subject, it appears the nation doesn’t feel the Bush administration is doing anything wrong. A survey released by Rasmussen Reports last week identified:
“Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.”
Despite the media’s efforts to paint a picture that this program is something newly hatched by the current administration, Americans aren’t buying it:
The Zogby and Rasmussen polling organizations released some interesting survey results before Christmas that the mainstream media will certainly not report to their loyal customers. Taken in their totality, these polls show:
President Bush’s job favorability numbers are back to the levels they were at well before hurricane season began
The revelations of NSA eavesdropping are not having a negative impact on the president
Americans are feeling better about the War on Terror than they have since more than a year ago
Americans are feeling better about things in Iraq than they have all year
First, Rasmussen released presidential job favorability numbers on Saturday:
It seems like a common pattern lately. A mainstream media outlet publishes a bombshell story, and within days, the whole thing unravels quicker than a cheap sweater swarmed by kittens. Such is beginning to look like the case for The New York Times’ eavesdropping controversy, which is showing a lot of wear and tear for its age.
Wednesday wasn’t a very good day for the ongoing health of this story, or for members of the media hoping that the recent revelations concerning National Security Agency espionage tactics could lead to impeachment proceedings against President Bush.
The day started with a former member of the Clinton White House voicing strong words of support for the Bush administration’s behavior. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed entitled “President Had Legal Authority to OK Taps,” former associate attorney general John Schmidt refuted media protestations concerning the illegality of the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens who are in contact with known members of al Qaeda without a court order allowing it to do so: