One of the most important things a journalist is supposed to do is check, double check, and sometimes even triple check sources to make sure the news being reported is accurate.
That's not what happened in the case involving George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin, according to Rem Rieder, a former journalism professor and a media columnist for USA Today. Instead, the members of the news media portrayed Zimmerman as “the neighborhood watch captain/'wannabe cop'” who profiled Martin, “an unarmed, hoodie-clad black teenager” out on the streets “simply because he wanted some Skittles.”
In the hours after George Zimmerman was found not guilty on Saturday evening of any crimes in his shooting of the black 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, many famous people quickly expressed their views on the Twitter social website regarding the trial and the verdict.
The celebrities ranged from a conservative columnist who cried “Hallelujah!” to a football star who posted that the members of the jury should "go home tonight and kill themselves." Other messages expressed thoughts of prayer for those involved with the case, as well as fatal predictions regarding the defendant and the six-woman jury.
What does a liberal cable television host do when a guest confronts her with an ugly truth? Why, she cuts off his microphone, of course!
That's what happened on Thursday, when Nancy Grace -- host of a weeknight program on HLN, which was formerly known as the Headline Network -- clashed with Frank Taaffe, a friend of George Zimmerman who stated that black teenager Trayvon Martin had drugs in his system during their encounter on Feb. 26, 2012, in Sanford, Fla.
As the trial to determine if George Zimmerman committed a crime when he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin on Feb. 26, 2012, draws to a close, hundreds of people have threatened to riot over the verdict, and law-enforcement organizations in and around Broward County, Fla., have been coordinating efforts to have “a proper response plan” in case their worst fears are realized.
However, Time magazine columnist Marc Polite claims that the police have everything backwards since the pre-emptive call for calm “may be akin to racial fear-mongering" and “runs counter to recent history.”
CNN anchor Piers Morgan is diverting some of his attention away from his perpetual anti-gun crusade to render his verdict on the trial in which Hispanic George Zimmerman is accused of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin.
While he says he knows “what a lot of people think,” Morgan has been sharply criticized by the left-leaning Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, who claims that the liberal British host is “too lazy, too irresponsible to get even his basic facts right.”
Liberal newspapers across the nation have no problem selling advertising space for pictures of babies to promote such products ranging from diapers to online investment firms. However, three major papers -- USA Today, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune -- rejected an ad from a pro-life organization that showed an infant at roughly 20 weeks' gestation because it's “too controversial.”
An article by Caleb Parke on the Live Action News website stated that the ad featured an illustration of an adult hand holding a 20- to 24-week-old baby with the quote: “This child has no voice, which is why it depends on yours. Speak up.”
The ratings from April through June brought good news for the dominant Fox News Channel, the resurgent Cable News Network and HLN -- which was previously known as the Headline Network -- but that period saw MSNBC deliver its worst quarterly prime-time showing among total viewers and adults from 25 to 54 years of age since 2007.
According to a report released by Nielsen Media Research, CNN reclaimed the runner-up slot from MSNBC for the first time since 2010. Also, the “Lean Forward” network fell 16 percent to third place in prime-time ratings and nine percent to come in fourth in its “total day” numbers.
The transition from Al Gore's low-rated Current TV cable channel to Al Jazeera America will conclude on Tuesday, August 20, when the newest addition to the Qatar-based international news network will be sent into about 40 million homes in the U.S.
Ever since the purchase was made public in early January, Ehab Al Shihabi -- the channel's executive in charge -- has been attempting to hire high-profile staff members, including long-time Cable News Network reporters Ali Velshi and Soledad O'Brien, to draw viewers to the new network, even though it doesn't yet have a chief executive or chief programmer.
After more than eight years since the cancellation of “Crossfire” in June of 2005, the once-popular debate program returned to the Cable News Network on Wednesday as a segment of that evening's “Piers Morgan Live” with a spirited debate about the U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding California's Proposition 8 and the dismissal of part of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The first new debate between conservatives and liberals featured Republican Newt Gingrich stating that the eight million voters who approved the proposition “have a pretty good reason to feel a little more alienated from Washington than they were yesterday.”
It only took a few minutes for the Rev. Al Sharpton, host of MSNBC's weekday “PoliticsNation” program, to denounce the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision to overturn Section IV of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which requires regions to submit new apportionment plans to the Justice Department before any changes can be made.
“What they just [sic] done is really revoke a lot” of what Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “dream was all about,” Sharpton declared. “They just canceled the dream, and the children of the dream are not going to sit by and allow that to happen.”
The main function of a White House press secretary is to distribute information for the administration, which often requires answering difficult questions. Apparently, no one knows this better than Jay Carney, the current spokesman for President Obama.
According to a study by Yahoo News -- which is by no means a conservative outlet -- Carney has dodged answering reporters' questions 9,486 times in the 444 briefings he's held since his first press conference on Feb. 16, 2011, by using 13 different methods, ranging from saying “I don't have the answer … ” 1,905 times to “The president won't tell me … ” on 117 occasions.
Veteran media reporter Howard Kurtz is joining the Fox News Channel on Monday, July 1, to serve as the anchor for a new version of the “Fox News Watch” Saturday program that has looked at media issues.
“I’m excited to be bringing my independent brand of media criticism to Fox News,” Kurtz stated in an article in the New York Times. “The chance to create a revamped program and establish a strong online presence was too good to pass up. I hope to add a new dimension to Fox’s coverage and have some fun while diving into the passionate debates about the press and politics.”
A new poll conducted by the Gallup Organization contains some very bad news for the news industry. The survey indicates that only 23 percent of American adults have “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers and television news, the worst results since 2007.
According to Elizabeth Mendes, deputy managing editor at Gallup, newspapers have been trending downward since 1979, when they reached a high of 51 percent, but TV news bounced up slightly from its all-time low of 21 percent a year ago.
Before Monday morning's debut of the Cable News Network's New Day three-hour program, co-host Chris Cuomo was interviewed by Sam Thielman of Adweek.com in a discussion that ranged from his career choice of journalism over politics to his “tendency to advocate more than people are used to on television.”
Speaking of himself and co-hosts Kate Bolduan and Michaela Pereira, the 42-year-old newsman stated: “We take our jobs very seriously here at New Day, but we do not take ourselves very seriously. If it matters to people, it matters to us.”
One of the most outspoken conservatives in the past few years has been Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska who was the GOP candidate for vice president alongside Arizona senator John McCain during the 2008 presidential election and a contributor on the Fox News Channel from Jan. 19, 2009, to Jan. 25, 2013, when she withdrew from the network staff to focus on “broadening her message of common-sense conservatism across the country.”
Less than five months later, the cable channel announced that Palin will return as a political analyst next Monday, a move that was hailed by Greta Van Susteren, host of the weeknight On the Record program, who wrote in an email to Politico.com that she is “delighted to have her back at Fox” because "it will drive her critics crazy!"
Most press conferences are very serious affairs, with reporters seeking important information to distribute to the public about a wide variety of issues. That wasn't quite the case on Thursday, when John McCormack of the Weekly Standard magazine asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to explain the moral difference between Dr. Kermit Gosnell's murder of infants born alive and legalized late-term abortion.
Not only did the question anger the California Democrat, it also resulted in laughter from other reporters in the room.
During Thursday night's edition of CNN's “Piers Morgan Tonight,” the liberal host harshly criticized President Barack Obama and his administration for allowing the National Security Agency to secretly obtain the telephone records of millions of Americans.
While interviewing Senator Bernie Sanders, Morgan asked the socialist from Vermont if he believed Obama's actions on surveillance are “worse than anything George W. Bush did.”
It's always heartwarming to see non-conservatives who are so concerned about the current state of the Republican Party that they generously provide advice on how the GOP can be more popular and win more elections. Unfortunately, if those recommendations were actually followed, conservatives would have no political party to call home, and all elected officials would be “progressives.”
One such provider of unsolicited advice is David Frum, a contributing editor at such liberal outlets as The Daily Beast who announced his departure from that outlet with more predictable urgings for the GOP to move leftward on such issues as Obamacare and the environment.
Liberals thought their fondest dream had come true on Feb. 29, 2012, when weekday radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh referred to Georgetown University Law Student Sandra Fluke as a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified the week before to House Democrats in favor of forcing insurance companies to pay the full cost of contraceptives.
Democrats quickly urged sponsors to boycott the conservative icon's program, and that hurt advertising for the rest of the year. But Limbaugh's distributor -- Dan Metter -- said on Thursday that the radio host is not only drawing new advertisers, but he's also welcoming back a number of long-time sponsors.
Like a zombie that just won't stay dead, pretentious left-wing talking head Keith Olbermann has somehow managed to find a way to befoul Americans' living rooms once more.
Thankfully, unless you are a baseball junkie, you won't have to witness his bloviations since Olbermann is scheduled to serve as a host for the Turner Broadcasting System's coverage of post-season Major League Baseball playoff games.
Not content with using her roles as managing editor and moderator of the “Washington Week” program and as a senior correspondent for the “PBS NewsHour,” Ifill took her crusade online on Sunday, when she posted on Twitter that it's “Fun to see the same (named & unnamed) folks calling for Holder resignation who always have” and asserted that “people don't want to know the details back and forth” of the IRS targeting.
The role of the White House press secretary is to disseminate information to the media, and that should be an especially important function when the president and his administration are plagued by several scandals.
However, Jay Carney has only held six press conferences in the past three weeks, far fewer than usual. In addition, the press secretary only held two brief “gaggles” during presidential trips to New Jersey and New York. Could this be happening because the people in the usually compliant media are actually asking tough questions and demanding clear answers?
Five months into his tenure as president of the Cable News Network, Jeff Zucker gave a “progress report” on Wednesday by stating that rivals Fox News Channel and MSNBC “are covering politics” while CNN is reporting on “politics and much more.”
“News is how you define it,” Zucker said during a panel discussion in the “All Things Digital” conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, Calif., and “we define it broadly as news and information. Our competition now is two political channels that have actually left most of the actual news coverage to the side.”
After 56 years in broadcasting and more than 50,000 interviews across the U.S., anyone else would be considered a prime candidate for retirement, but that doesn't apply to Larry King, who will launch a “mold-breaking political talk show” in June for the Russia Today online TV network.
Perhaps failed CNN-FOX-MSNBC-Current anchor Keith Olbermann should pay attention. If no one in America will hire you, take your act international.
Just when you thought you'd seen it all, along comes an announcement from The Hub, a low-rated cable TV channel that is attempting to increase its audience of children between 2 years old and age 11 by airing a cartoon featuring a boy who gains super powers by wearing a special ring -- and dressing as a girl.
Set to debut on Saturday at 12:30 p.m., the gender-bending program stars twelve-year-old Guy Hamdon, “an extreme dude who inherits the power ring of his deceased aunt -- the amazing FEMALE superhero SheZow! The ring gives him villain-battling super powers, but was meant to be worn by a girl, and the result is absolutely she-larious!”
If you have any lingering doubts about which way MSNBC "leans," you don't need to look any farther than the cable channel's coverage of President Obama's speech on Thursday regarding foreign relations and national security.
At times, it seemed that each MSNBC host or contributor was trying to outdo the other with fawning cheers over the latest address from the Democratic occupant of the White House, ranging from "momentous" to "remarkable."
A well-known phrase states that “you can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.” That concept was very much in play on Wednesday, when Piers Morgan -- the Britain-born host of a weeknight program on CNN -- banished conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch from his show for being “glib” about the grisly beheading of a London soldier.
The conflict began when Loesch, who has clashed with Morgan in the past, joked about his crusade to ban guns by tweeting: “Was the guy with the machete a member of the NRA?” Venting his anger over the gruesome murder in his native country, Morgan replied: “You think the beheading of a soldier is something to be glib about???”
“When it rains, it pours” is an accurate description of the situation currently faced by the Internal Revenue Service, which is under intense criticism for denying tax-exempt status to conservative groups with the words “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names.
As if that wasn't enough, even though the national media are not drilling down on this, the IRS is now being accused of delaying the application process and seeking an enormous amount of minuscule details before granting nonprofit status to pro-life groups across the country.
Here's a classic from the Obama playbook: Whenever you're in trouble, find a way to blame George W. Bush for it.
That concept was in play on Thursday afternoon's edition of MSNBC's Martin Bashir program, when the liberal host and contributor Joy Reid were able to convince their guest, GOP strategist Ron Christie, to admit that Steven Miller, the former acting director of the Internal Revenue Service, was appointed by “the previous administration,” a phrase used to describe Bush.
During Wednesday's edition of MSNBC's weeknight program “The Last Word,” host Lawrence O'Donnell responded to a statement made earlier in the day by President Obama about the Internal Revenue Service's discrimination against conservative groups seeking non-profit status: “Across the board, everybody believes” what was revealed in the report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is “an outrage.”
“Everybody but me,” O'Donnell insisted. “I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong.”