Democratic Congressman Bennie Thompson, who is chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus Political Education and Leadership Institute, today made something of a pitch in The Hill newspaper for using the Fox News Channel for presidential debates, citing "the unbiased forum" of a pair of debates shown on Fox four years ago.
This time around, the CBC Institute had planned a Democratic presidential debate to be aired on Fox that leading candidates John Edwards, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have vowed to boycott. A second CBC Institute debate to be aired on CNN will not be boycotted.
In a letter to The Hill printed this morning, Rep. Thompson explained that the debates are the work of his institute, and that “the institute has not been approached by any member of the CBC requesting it to withdraw from the debates on Fox.”
Liberals are engaged in an amazing display of myth-building and revisionism concerning the establishment media’s performance before the war, and it’s not just Bill Moyers. As NewsBuster Tim Graham noted yesterday, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz revealed on CNN’s Reliable Sources Sunday that “everybody at every news organization I’ve talked to said that the media were not aggressive enough during the run-up to war.”
Appearing on the same program, ex-CNNer Bill Press went even further, alleging that the press “gave us this war.” He told Kurtz, “the media, in large part, gave us this war, because they went along and repeated everything that George Bush said without asking tough questions....If they had asked the questions and more — and American people knew what the truth was, as opposed to the propaganda we were getting from the White House, I think there would not have been the support for the war.”
First Time magazine drops the President from the '100 Most Influential' list, and now this: The big front-page photo in Tuesday's New York Times was of Queen Elizabeth (who did make Time's list of important movers and shakers) with President Bush walking past a row of photographers at the White House after her official welcome. But the photo cropped off the top third of Bush's head, and the caption whimsically referred to him only as the Queen's "American escort," as if he was a security guard or State Department flunkie.
Under the headline "Focus Group" (a play on all the cameras present), the Times summarized: "Before an A-list, white-tie dinner, the masses had a chance to see Queen Elizabeth II, with an American escort, at the White House. Page A19."
On Friday's Today show, MSNBC's Chris Matthews defended his ludicrous decision to ask the GOP candidates if it would "be good for America to have Bill Clinton back living in the White House?" Matthews explained the sociological insight: "They all sort of guffawed. Well, that's a particularly Republican response. If I offered that same question up to Democrats...they would be cheering like mad."
So Matthews proved that the ten Republican debaters are not Democrats — was there any doubt? The weird Clinton question was symptomatic of how MSNBC and debate co-sponsor ThePolitico.com spent valuable time asking the GOP candidates questions that reflected the agenda of far-left bloggers, not the concerns of GOP primary voters. A week earlier, while moderator Brian Williams did pose a few right-leaning questions to the Democratic field, most of that debate reflected issues that rate high with Democratic voters. In other words, both debates were dominated by liberal agenda questions.
Left-wing blogs loved it when CNN’s Michael Ware rebuked Senator John McCain a few weeks ago, after McCain suggested he could safely walk through areas of Baghdad. But this morning on CNN, Ware took dead aim at Democratic schemes for pulling out of Iraq, saying that debating a U.S. troop withdrawal was “delusional” and such a step would amount to “giving Iraq to Iran...and al Qaeda. That’s who would own it.”
Ware also provided an interesting insight into how the battle in Iraq has shifted from Anbar province and Baghdad, areas where the U.S. has built up troop levels, to Diyala province, which he described as “the new frontline against al Qaeda.”
Video (1:15): Real (2 MB) or Windows (2.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (392 KB)
Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer story on the troubles at the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric — a story bulging with anti-Couric quotes from anonymous CBSers — included a revealing window into the news network’s intolerant liberal mindset, with the newsroom in “an uproar” after the father of a slain high school student was given roughly 60 seconds to condemn the lack of morality in public schools and said the culture of abortion devalues human life.
“‘There's a difference between free speech and responsible speech,’ an embarrassed correspondent says,” according to Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister.
Undoubtedly, Boris Yeltsin’s finest moment was the courageous defiance he showed in the face of an old guard communist coup in August 1991. Yeltsin was the focal point of those who rallied to defeat the coup, triggering the chain of events that led to dissolution of the Soviet Union just a few months later.
Yet the establishment media in this country tended to sniff at Yeltsin as an unpolished buffoon. U.S. journalists could not conceal their lack of regard for the man who helped bury Soviet communism, favoring Mikhail Gorbachev, the failed leader who futilely attempted to reform communism.
Here are just a few quotes from the Media Research Center’s Notable Quotable archive, illustrating the media’s preference of the communist Gorbachev over the rebel Yeltsin
Al Gore has complained that the media are biased against the inconvenient truth of global warming. "I believe that is one of the principal reasons why political leaders around the world have not yet taken action," Gore told a "Media Ethics Summit" at Middle Tennessee State University back in February. Gore lectured journalists that any coverage of views opposed to his own was irresponsible, calling it "balance as bias."
It's impossible to imagine the big TV networks actually accepting an edict from a conservative politician to report only their side of a major public policy issue, but a new Media Research Center study of ABC, CBS and NBC's global warming coverage finds the networks are giving Gore practically everything he demanded. Not only does nearly every global warming story exclude any contrary voices, but the coverage of Al Gore personally has been exceptionally positive as well.
So it seems the position of left-wing Democrats is to deal with the terrorist states of Syria and Iran -- but don't deal with Fox News because it just gives them "a platform." As noted in an earlier posting, Democratic candidate John Edwards had a fine time and voiced no complaints after participating in a pair of Fox News-sponsored debates in 2003, but now he's boycotting the highest-rated cable news network: (Updates added at the end.)
Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday pulled out of a second debate co-hosted by Fox News Channel, saying the cable network has a conservative slant.
A new report from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press finds the public has relatively little confidence in what the military and the media are telling them about the war in Iraq, although the press has less credibility than the Pentagon.
Interestingly, a majority of self-described Democrats say they are putting their confidence in the media, while Republicans have generally opted to trust the military. In 2005, a major study by the Media Research Center found the vast majority of network news reports highlighted the bad news coming out of Iraq, with few reports detailing the accomplishments or personal bravery of U.S. troops.
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, reporting on Saudi King Abdullah’s condemnation of America’s “illegitimate foreign occupation of Iraq,” decided to gratuitously bring up the fact that President Bush had held Abdullah’s hand when the then-Crown Prince was visiting Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas nearly two years ago, a gesture that resulted in much snickering from media types at the time.
Mentioning Abdullah’s critique, Williams suggested his hand-holding with the President in April 2005 was somehow relevant to his views on Iraq. “You may recall this visit by Abdullah to the Bush ranch in Texas and the closeness the two men displayed then,” the NBC anchor announced over two-year old file footage of the two men at Bush’s ranch.
There’s been no shortage of flattering network stories about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “You are the equivalent of a rock star in politics,” NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira told Obama in October. “You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You’re looking at an American political phenomenon,” ABC’s Terry Moran gushed on Nightline a few weeks later.
“Barack Obama, with his fairy tale family, has personal charisma to spare,” ABC’s Claire Shipman enthused in January. “He does draw on something deeply good about this country. And we will have to see whether he can really deliver,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews announced on Hardball in February.
This weekend, the Chicago Tribune published a long investigative story about Obama’s youth, discovering that the story of his own life that Obama presented in his memoir is sometimes at odds with the facts. “Several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them,” the Tribune’s Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker reported in Sunday’s article, “The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys on Wednesday, telling him that “something does seem fishy here,” suggesting that the Bush White House was punishing U.S. Attorneys who were not pursuing a GOP-friendly agenda.
But as a White House spokesman back in 1993, Stephanopoulos faced exactly the same question over President Clinton’s decision to fire U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens along with the other 92 U.S. Attorneys. “There is also a tradition of permitting prosecutors to remain on cases until current cases are completed,” a reporter told Stephanopoulos in a March 25, 1993 briefing. Referring to the investigation into House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski for embezzling money from the House Post Office, a reporter asked, “Is there any intention to keep Jay Stephens until the Rostenkowski case is finished?”
Today's New York Times has an op-ed from Frank Stewart, a Jerusalem-based professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, warning that the BBC's plans to start an Arabic-language TV station could easily end up making the West look even worse in the Arab world, rather than begin to add some balance. "If the BBC models its Arabic television service on its Arabic radio
service, yet another anti-Western, antidemocratic channel will find its
place on the Arab screen," Stewart writes.
Here's an excerpt:
The BBC World Service plans to start an Arabic television service
this fall, and the BBC knows what it is doing. It has been broadcasting
in Arabic on the radio for more than 60 years and has a huge audience.
new television station might sound like good news for America. Many of
us pick up BBC broadcasts in English, and we respect their quality. But
the World Service in English is one thing, and the World Service in
Arabic is another entirely. If the BBC’s Arabic TV programs resemble
its radio programs, then they will be just as anti-Western as anything
that comes out of the Gulf, if not more so. They will serve to
increase, rather than to diminish, tensions, hostilities and
misunderstandings among nations.
It’s probably not that surprising that some on the far Left were complaining that the Fox News Channel was going to host a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada later this year. They were probably completely unaware that Fox News co-hosted (with the liberal Congressional Black Caucus Institute) two Democratic debates during the last presidential campaign.
What is surprising is that former Democratic Senator John Edwards, who smilingly participated in both of the Fox debates in 2003 (picture at left), decided that he could not participate in a debate hosted by Fox. “I said, ‘Why are we doing Fox?’ I said, ‘No, tell them no,’” Edwards told the Washington Post’s Dan Balz.
Over at TVNewser, Brian Stelter has posted an MP3 of a song that is apparently being played today on WPLJ in New York City, ridiculing the poor ratings performance of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, with lyrics offering several suggestions for Ms. Couric and her producers. Safe to say it's a bit on the cruel side, especially the line about "if you want big success....find Dan Rather's home address."
Here’s a link to the audio file, and what follows is my transcription of the song’s lyrics (although you need to hear the tune to get the full effect):
While journalists howl at the indignity of Helen Thomas being moved about six feet, from the first row to the second row of the new White House press room, there’s been relative silence about the Cuban dictatorship’s expulsion of Western journalists who published stories unflattering to the communist leadership.
[update added at the end of original post]
Today’s Investor’s Business Daily says the expulsion of the Chicago Tribune’s Gary Marx, the BBC’s Stephen Gibbs and Mexico’s El Universal reporter Cesar Gonzalez-Calero “was a minor story, but shouldn’t be.” With these three paying a penalty for reporting the uncomfortable truths about Castro’s dying dictatorship, IBD correctly asks “why the remaining correspondents inside Cuba aren’t red-faced about not being thrown out.”
ABC Nightline co-host Terry Moran helped expose the anti-Christian prejudice of John Edwards’ official campaign bloggers (who’ve since quit the campaign), asking three weeks ago on his ABCNews.com blog whether Edwards condoned “hate speech” by refusing to fire the pair. But Moran himself failed to mention the controversy in a two-segment profile of Edwards on Monday’s Nightline.
Back on February 6, Moran listed some examples of the hostile anti-Christian views espoused by Edwards’ campaign blogger Amanda Marcotte on her own personal site and suggested the issue reflected poorly on Edwards himself:
Questions: What, if anything, does it tell us about Edwards that he's joined up with this blogger? Is Edwards' association with a person who has written these things a legitimate issue for voters, as they wonder--among other things--whom he might appoint to high office if he's elected?
"Hardball" host Chris Matthews lurched even further off the deep end on Wednesday’s "Imus in the Morning." After praising the “great job” Rudy Giuliani did in cleaning up New York City — which Matthews again suggested was done with just “a pinch” of "fascism" — the MSNBC star went on a rant declaring how he’s “sick of southern guys with ranches running this country.”
Losing control, Matthews dropped the F-bomb on national television: “I want a guy to run for President who doesn’t have a fucking — I’m sorry, a ranch.” As host Don Imus began to snicker, Matthews plowed ahead with his Democratic talking points: “Wouldn’t that be good, Don, a guy who wasn’t on the ranch during Katrina, he was on the street corner answering questions?”
In his review of last night’s State of the Union address, Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales praised the performance of Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy, who apparently did a fine job of sitting in his chair and looking senatorial. “He looks so venerable and distinguished by now that it’s hard to get a bad picture of him,” Shales gushed. “In fact he seems more and more to resemble Claude Rains as a veteran white-haired senator in Frank Capra’s classic movie 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.' Life imitating art’s imitation of life.”
Three years ago, Shales was similarly ecstatic at Kennedy’s ability to strike a pose. “The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role,” Shales wrote after the 2004 State of the Union. “Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore.
NBC's Thursday night comedy "30 Rock" took some good-natured potshots at "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams in a scene that depicted his office as rife with liquor bottles, dirty underwear, pornography ("Junk in the Trunk") and wall graffiti declaring "Katie Couric Sucks." (h/t TVNewser.com)
More than a decade after publisher Steve Forbes’s flat-tax platform temporarily vaulted him to the top of the pack of GOP presidential candidates, another prospective Republican presidential candidate is making tax simplification a centerpiece of his 2008 campaign. In announcing his exploratory committee, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback argued “We need a flat tax instead of the dreadful, incomprehensible tax code we now have,” today’s Wichita Eagle reported.
But unlike back in 1996, the media are now confronted with the evidence that the flat tax help boost wealth-producing economic growth. This week’s "Time" reports on the economic boom in the former Soviet republic of Estonia, which like many Eastern European countries has seen its fortunes rise since dumping socialism and instituting a flat tax. “The economy is now one of Europe’s most dynamic, racing along at an 11.3% growth clip,” Peter Gumbel writes this week in his “Letter from Estonia.”
Nearly eleven years ago, "Time" took dead aim at Forbes’s flat tax in a January 29, 1996 cover package, “Does the Flat Tax Make Any Sense,” an issue which hit mailboxes right before the New Hampshire primary.
By the time President Bush delivered his Iraq speech Wednesday night, the news media had spent several days engaged in what the military calls "preparing the battlefield." The media's air war against the plan to try to actually win the Iraq war assured that most of Bush's audience would have already heard journalists claiming the new mission is wrong-headed and doomed to failure. A few examples:
"Like a folly." Last Tuesday on NBC's Today, anchor emeritus Tom Brokaw argued that the way Saddam Hussein was executed revealed Iraq as "a deeply divided country along tribal lines," and that sending more troops would "seem to most people...like a folly." Brokaw added: "I think a lot of people who are raising their hands to join the armed services are wondering, ‘I'm giving my life for that?'"
Responding to a handful of liberal complainers, Monday’s NBC Nightly News basically repudiated a Friday evening story in which a NOAA meteorologist blamed the recent warmer-than-normal weather in the Northeast on an El Nino, an area of warmer than normal water in the Pacific Ocean that forms every five years or so.
After some mean-spirited comments on NBC’s “Daily Nightly” blog site, where writers attacked anchor Brian Williams as a tool of big business for not taking the opportunity to blame global warming, Nightly News flip-flopped. Monday’s newscast showcased a brand new expert, and he argued the El Nino cycle was being exacerbated “by humans using the atmosphere as a free place to dump our tailpipe wastes.” Reporter Robert Bazell suggested that “even the heavy snow in the Rockies this year might be partly caused by global warming.”
This week, the Democrats certainly got their fair share of good press as they took control of the Congress. Looking back at the evening newscasts from the first week of January 1995, it’s interesting that the Republicans got fairly positive coverage on January 4, the day they ended 40 years of Democratic control of Congress. “This was the country at its best, making a peaceful political transition while elsewhere in the world men are killing one another in the name of freedom and unity,” ABC’s Peter Jennings optimistically intoned that night.
But the GOP honeymoon was not long-lasting. The very next night, ABC’s World News Tonight featured an interview with President Bill Clinton where Jennings suggested that the Clinton’s problem was that voters were unaware of the fantastic accomplishments of the Democratic administration. And then-ABC reporter Aaron Brown offered a lengthy report designed to rebut the very premise of the Republican platform, arguing that conservative voters don’t appreciate all the wonderful services they receive for their federal tax dollars.
Someone at CNN needs to buy a dictionary, or at least visit dictionary.com once in a while. Just a couple of days ago, as MRC’s Scott Whitlock noted, 'American Morning' had a major graphic gaffe, showing a headline asking “Where’s Obama” as the anchors talked about the hunt for the most-wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden, not the Senator from Illinois.
Last night on 'Anderson Cooper 360,' as the anchor introduced a tabloid item on the ongoing spat between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell, a giant graphic over Cooper’s shoulder carried the headline “SAME FUED, DIFFERENT YEAR.” If that misspelling of “FEUD” was meant as some kind of an inside joke, Cooper didn’t say a word about it. More likely than not, it was just another embarrassing example of the need for all of the 24-hour cable news networks to slow down just enough to double-check their work.
During the year-end awards edition of his weekly syndicated chat show, Chris Matthews asked his panel to vote on the “Dangerous Despot” of 2006, and then listed the nominees: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il, Venezuelan boss Hugo Chavez, Iran’s nuclear-seeking threat Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — and Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly!
“How in the hell did this guy get in there?” Matthews asked in mock surprise as O’Reilly’s face popped up next to America’s worst enemies. “How did he get in there?”
Later in the same discussion, BBC Washington Correspondent Katty Kay pointed out “there’s a despot missing from this crowd, too, and that’s [Russian President] Vladimir Putin," who is suspected of ordering the killings of political opponents.
“We bumped him for O’Reilly,” Matthews interjected, eliciting laughter from the rest of the panel. “What do you think?”
And the winner of this year’s Media Research Center award for the worst quote of 2006 is...you! Well, only if “you” are Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the liberal activist who is also publisher of the New York Times. Sulzberger “won” for his May 21 commencement address in which he declared abortion and gay marriage were “fundamental human rights” and decried how America was “fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land.”
For our 19th annual Best Notable Quotables issue, the Media Research Center asked a panel of 58 distinguished media observers (top radio hosts, columnists, editorial page writers, etc.) to select their choices for the most outrageous quotes of the year in 16 different categories (such as the “Good Morning Morons” category, or the “Cranky Dinosaur Award for Trashing New Media”).
Amid all of the media excitement of NBC’s choice to grandly pronounce the ongoing violence in Iraq a “civil war,” some (like MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann) are gleefully touting NBC’s editorializing as a “Walter Cronkite moment,” referring to the then-CBS Evening News anchor’s 1968 editorial declaring that the U.S. had become “mired in stalemate” in Vietnam.
In their desire for a U.S. retreat in Iraq, journalists had previously pronounced Cindy Sheehan’s protesting in Crawford, Texas and Democratic Congressman John Murtha’s calling for a withdrawal of troops to be “Cronkite moments” of the Iraq war, each time apparently hoping that the weight of the media's pessimism finally forces a change in U.S. policy.