The Washington Post continued to attack Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell on Thursday, highlighting the Republican’s 1989 thesis three times and bringing the paper’s grand total to nine articles in five days. The Post, which recycled George Allen’s "macaca" moment 112 times in the 2006 campaign, featured this headline in the Metro section: "McDonnell's Thesis Is Relevant, Deeds Says: 1989 Paper Highlights Candidates' Differences, Senator Says." [Emphasis added.]
So, the Democratic candidate for governor wants to hype a 20-year-old master’s thesis on the family structure and that automatically makes it news for the Post? Staff reporters Rosalind S. Helderman and Anita Kumar used the Metro section article to parrot comments from the Creigh Deeds campaign on the importance of the thesis:
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, for the third time in two years, Sam Champion interviewed an extreme environmentalist who shunned toilet paper for a year as part of a project to be carbon neutral. Colin Beavan, also known as "No Impact Man," appeared on the show to promote a new documentary and book on his experience. This time, however, Champion downplayed the bizarre elements of Beavan’s life.
The host made no mention of the fact that, in addition to not using amenities such as elevators, cars and electricity, Beavan also stopped partaking in the practice of using toilet paper. (This aspect was noted on ABCNews.com.) Champion did refer to the project as a "year-long experiment in living extreme green."But, the ABC weatherman skipped any discussion of the left-wing nature of Beavan's life. The full title of the environmentalist’s book is "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process." [Emphasis added] (The book title did appear briefly as an on-screen graphic.)
Of the three morning shows, only ABC’s Good Morning America on Wednesday highlighted just how quickly and severely Barack Obama’s approval ratings have fallen. In a report on the subject, correspondent Jake Tapper bluntly explained, "Since taking office, President Obama's approval ratings have fallen more steeply than any other newly-elected president in modern history."
In contrast, CBS’s Early Show charted the middle ground in a segment on the network’s new poll. Correspondent Bill Plante observed that Obama has lost some popularity over health care, but spun: "The latest CBS News poll shows that approval of the President’s handling of health care reform has slipped six points since July, even though his overall job rating for that period is down only slightly."
The Washington Post on Wednesday increased its frenzied attack on Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell, featuring two stories in the paper’s Metro section, an op-ed and a cartoon. Including opinion pieces, the Post has delivered six articles in four days on the Republican's 1989 master’s thesis about families and government policy.
In an article with the loaded title "McDonnell Tries to Salvage Women’s Votes," Rosalind S. Helderman and Sandhya Somashekhar described how the candidate is trying to "help rebuild his relationship with the key voting bloc, damaged in recent days by the publication of his 1989 master's thesis." Helderman and Somashekhar highlighted that McDonnell "wrote in the thesis that working women and feminists had been ‘detrimental’ to the traditional family and criticized federal tax credits for child care because they made it easier for women to be employed outside the home."
Making sure to tout supposed growing outrage over the thesis, the Post reporters featured this liberal protestor:
On Saturday's Good Morning America, ABC touted a German city that has rid itself of all cars. Complimenting the citizens of Vauban, reporter Jim Sciutto cheered, "And residents don't mind one bit." GMA weekend co-host Bill Weir wistfully introduced the segment by musing, "What if you could start everything over? Making over, not just your home, but your entire town?"
Describing Vauban, which relies on bicycles, Weir enthused, "Getting rid of all the carbon emissions, the energy wasters, even the cars?Well, one town has found a way to do it." Neither journalist explained the potential downside to not having automobiles. (What is one to do in the event of a heart attack?) Instead, Sciutto tried to find lessons for America: "So, what can we learn from here that would actually be followed in the States?"
On Sunday’s "Good Morning America," weekend host Bill Weir highlighted the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and insisted that the storm "really tainted the Bush legacy." The GMA anchor talked to liberal author Jason Berry and asked if there was an intentional effort to not rebuild poor neighborhoods in New Orleans. "Is that a deliberate political move," he asked.
Attempting to draw a contrast between former President Bush and Barack Obama, Weir speculated, "But talk about the change in the presidential administration. You know, the response to Katrina really tainted the Bush legacy. But have you noticed any change in tone, any optimism under President Obama?" (Weir is the journalist who hyperbolically insisted during the President’s inauguration that "even the seagulls must have been awed" by the event.)
ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl on Sunday hyperbolically declared that the Kennedys are "America’s family." Reporting on the funeral of Ted Kennedy for Good Morning America, the reporter read a letter from the Senator to the Pope about his Catholic faith and how it sustained him in life. Karl opined, "...Kennedy did a better job summing up his own life than any of the other hundreds of eulogies we have heard over the last days."
Describing the assembled clan at the funeral, Karl boldly asserted, "In the front, the Kennedys, America's family. Four generations shaped by the man who bore the torch when his brothers fell." Certainly, there are many independents, Republicans and non-Democrats who would disagree with bestowing such a label on the liberal Kennedy family.
Newsweek columnist and editor Jonathan Alter appeared on Friday’s Hardball and slammed Rush Limbaugh as the "great blowhard of our time." Host Chris Matthews prompted the quote when he discussed how Limbaugh had criticized him on his radio show for calling Barack Obama the "last brother" of the Kennedy clan. Referring to Ted Kennedy's death, Matthews snarled, "What is the matter with these people? Can't they take a week off, Jonathan? Just take a week off. It's a funeral."
Responding to the Hardball anchor’s complaint, Alter attacked, "If Ted Kennedy is one of the great senators of our time, Rush Limbaugh takes the crown as the great blowhard of our time." The Newsweek editor derided, "There's nobody who would have criticized Rush Limbaugh if he had talked about a brother because there's so many other things to criticize him for, other outrageous things that he says almost every day on the radio."
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Friday used an interview with former Vice President Dan Quayle to gratuitously highlight Lloyd Bentsen’s famous 1988 slam, "You're no Jack Kennedy." Although Quayle appeared on "Andrea Mitchell Reports" to share his reflections on the passing of Ted Kennedy, the cable anchor sniped, "One of your toughest moments was during the debate with Lloyd Benson when you compared yourself to John F. Kennedy..."
As though Quayle was unfamiliar with what happened 21 years ago at the vice presidential debate, Mitchell recounted, "And Lloyd Bentsen memorably said, you know, 'I knew John Kennedy. I served with John Kennedy and you are no John Kennedy.’ What happened after that?"
Finally getting to some sort of Kennedy-related query, she quizzed, "I know it was a big hiccup in the road for you. You ended up being elected in any case, but how did Ted Kennedy reach out to you?" Quayle, not surprisingly, didn’t seem to enjoy the question and talked about how nice the Senator was to him during the ‘88 campaign. The former Vice President asserted that people who knew him, understood that he was up to the job. He then zinged Mitchell: "And people that didn't [know me], would sort of parrot what those of you in the media said at the time."
In the early hours of Wednesday, reporter John Donvan narrated a tough, comprehensive look at the life of Ted Kennedy, one that went so far as to assert that the Senator was sometimes "a let down, an embarrassment to his family, to his party, to himself." However, this eight and a half minute segment, which looked into Chappaquiddick, Kennedy’s cheating at Harvard and other scandals, aired at 2:30 (11:30 on the west coast) in the morning, during a special, late night edition of Nightline.
A much shorter, sanitized version of the piece was replayed on the August 26 edition of World News With Charles Gibson. It left out the harsh words about being a "failure," the accounts of public intoxication and affairs, all of which were featured in the Nightline segment.
On Thursday’s Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer and other ABC journalists spun liberal legislation by Ted Kennedy as gifts to the whole country. While bills related to the senator appeared on-screen, Sawyer gushed, "Can you see this going by? It's a scroll. And it's going to continue. We will not finish it before we take a break, because it's Senator Kennedy's legacy."
Correspondent John Berman uncritically enthused, "If you're in a wheelchair, that ramp is thanks to Ted Kennedy. If you earn the minimum wage, you make more because of Ted Kennedy." Certainly he championed the legislation, but is Kennedy solely responsible for individuals making the minimum wage today?
ABC’s Terry Moran on Wednesday spun Ted Kennedy’s political career as one of a "happy warrior" who should be looked to for direction in "these bitter times." However, it’s hard to square this description of Kennedy with the vitriolic speech the Senator made in 1987 condemning Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Reporting on Kennedy’s death soon after it was announced, Moran noted that Kennedy was a liberal and rhapsodized, "He was in many of those battles a divisive figure because of his beliefs, but never because of his heart. He was a happy warrior." The Nightline anchor closed out his report by cooing, "And in these bitter times when anger and contempt seem to become the language of our politics, maybe it’s the old fashion joy Ted Kennedy brought to politics that we miss the most and need now."
Old fashioned joy? Kennedy certainly sounded bitter and angry when he took to the Senate floor on July 01, 1987 and trashed Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s America as a place were "blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters" and "rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids."
MSNBC News Live hosts David Shuster and Tamron Hall on Tuesday embraced a contrarian notion that the tide is shifting in favor of liberal health care reform. Interviewing a Democratic strategist-turned-left-wing columnist, whose political affiliations went unidentified, Shuster tried to be optimistic: "...If the anti, sort-of, reform crowd on the right owned the early part of August, you almost get the sense that things are starting to pick up on the left, as far as the last couple of weeks in this month."
Shuster talked to David Sirota, whom he identified simply as a "syndicated columnist." The cable anchor left out the fact that Sirota is a former Democratic/far-left operative who previously worked for, among others, socialist Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. One MSNBC graphic hopefully speculated that the country may be seeing a health care "momentum shift." Another touted, "Is Tide Beginning to Turn on Health Care Reform?"
During an interview with John McCain on Sunday’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos practically begged with the Arizona senator to repudiate "death panel" claims by former Governor Sarah Palin. Speaking of the health care bill, Stephanopoulos attacked euthanasia worries and lobbied, "[Obama] called that an extraordinary lie. And he is right about that, isn't he?"
The former top Clinton aide turned journalist reworked the same query four more times. After McCain referred to the fact that a Senate panel dropped a provision on end-of-life counseling, Stephanopoulos interrupted, "I don't think that's correct, Senator. The bill, all it said was that if a patient wanted to have a Medicare consultation about end of life issues, they could have it, at their request. And the doctor would get reimbursed for it. No panel."
New York Times book critic Dwight Garner on Wednesday enthused over a new biography of Friedrich Engels, cooing that Marxism is "back in vogue" and adding that the founding communist comes across as a "jovial man of outsize appetites" in Tristram Hunt’s new biography "Marx’s General."
Garner opened the review by insisting that decrying capitalism is now hip again: "Thanks to globalism’s discontents and the financial crisis that has spread across the planet, Karl Marx and his analysis of capitalism’s dark, wormy side are back in vogue."
According to the New York Times’ Douglas Martin and Jacques Steinberg, the "often churlish," "pugnacious" Robert Novak "could not always document" his scoops. Littered in the August 19 obituary of the conservative journalist are other snide remarks and asides.
Discussing the political column that Novak co-wrote for 30 years with Rowland Evans, the reporters worried, "For all its influence, though, the column could not always document its scoops. In April 1972, Mr. Evans and Mr. Novak reported that Senator George S. McGovern, the Democratic presidential candidate, favored abortion rights, legalization of marijuana and amnesty for draft dodgers — positions that crippled his standing with most conservative voters."
Nation magazine sports editor Dave Zirin appeared on MSNBC’s News Live on Tuesday to discuss college football and ended up trashing Sarah Palin. Talking with host David Shuster about a new SEC regulation stopping fans from using social networking sites at games, Zirin frothed that odd sports rules are like "Sarah Palin considering herself a college graduate. Just ‘cause you call yourself that, doesn't mean it means anything."
Is there no subject too unrelated for MSNBC or one of its guests to use to slam the former Alaska governor? Perhaps it’s not surprising that the left-leaning cable network would feature a man who covers sports for the very liberal Nation. But, couldn’t they find someone from Sports Illustrated, ESPN or any non-partisan sports outlet?
New York Times Magazine critic Deborah Solomon conducted an all-over-the-map interview with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, alternating between conservative "terrorism," lesbianism and Girl Scout cookies. At one point she wondered, "But do you think certain radio and television hosts are feeding intolerance and even terrorism?"
Solomon’s interview, which will appear in the August 16 print edition of the Times, also included an attack on Glenn Beck of Fox News. After repeating the host’s contention that President Obama "has a deep-seated hatred for white people," the journalist derided, "Do you think a statement like that incites hate crimes?"
Of the three major networks, only CBS has managed, thus far, to ignore controversial comments from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that compared America’s disputed election in 2000 to political corruption in Nigeria. ABC, however, highlighted the August 12 remarks on Thursday’s Good Morning America. GMA news anchor Chris Cuomo challenged, "Now, did [the comments] cross the line?"
Co-host Robin Roberts chided, "Hillary Clinton in the hot seat. She compares Nigeria’s politics to the controversial Bush/Gore election here in the U.S. Did she go too far?" Clinton, who was in Nigeria at the time, said this: "Our democracy is still evolving. We had all kinds of problems in some of our past elections, as you might remember. In 2000, our presidential election came down to one state where the brother of the man running for president was the governor of the state, so we have our problems, too."
In addition to GMA, ABC played the remark on the previous night's World News. CBS avoided the comments during Wednesday’s CBS Evening News and Thursday’s Early Show. Brian Williams briefly reported on the quote for the August 12 NBC Nightly News, featuring the remark and labeling it "another off-the-cuff comment" for the Secretary of State. NBC did not discuss the story during the four hours of Friday’s Today show.
On Tuesday’s World News, for the second day in a row, ABC delivered a "fact check" on the health care bill, offering up perspectives sympathetic to the sweeping legislation. Confusing opinions for facts, David Wright spun that it was "true" that "95 percent of the people" would be able to keep their current plan. However, Politifact has labeled this claim a half truth.
An August 11 posting conceded, "[Obama’s] plan seeks to build on the system we have now, where most people get health insurance through their employers." However, it goes on to add, "But the plans also introduce new ways of regulating health insurance companies that will surely change the current health care system. That could prompt employers to change their health plans..."
The political debunking site concluded, "It's not realistic for Obama to make blanket statements that ‘you’ will be able to ‘keep you health care plan.’" [Emphasis added] So, why is Wright using blanket statements for his fact check?
ABC’s Kate Snow, who early on Monday couldn’t find time to show any Republican opposition to a controversial provision in the health care plan relating to end-of-life care, reversed course on World News and briefly highlighted a GOP voice. Congressman Thaddeus McCotter appeared and asserted, "And there should never be any doubt as to whether your end-of-life decisions are influenced by its effect on the United States Treasury."
Snow was filing a piece for Monday’s World News about a section in the House health care bill that reimburse doctors for discussing end-of-life care with their patients every five years. And although the segment was billed as a "fact check" to debunk incorrect claims, this report at least looked into something that her earlier piece on Good Morning America didn’t, Republican opposition.
On Monday, I asked Snow about this on her Twitter page. She justified the absence: "We often cut down pieces to fit time allotted. But always aim to include all pov's. On end of life v impt [sic] to fact check too."
MSNBC’s graphics department on Monday provided some visually obnoxious examples of media bias, fretting about "unhinged" conservatives and "health care hysteria." Throughout the morning, the left-leaning cable network featured on-screen texts promoting the Democratic agenda. At 11:35am, MSNBC News Live host Carlos Watson anchored a piece urging liberals to get tough in supporting universal health care. The graphic screamed, "Are Liberals Being Too Weak?"
At the beginning of the 12pm show Dr. Nancy, Nancy Snyderman discussed whether or not conservatives such as Sarah Palin are frightening the elderly over health care. This time, the on-screen visual spun, "Health Care Fight: Scaring Seniors?"
ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday presented an extremely one-sided take on the controversial end-of-life provisions in the health care bill, decrying all the "screaming" and "shouting" at town hall meetings. Reporter Kate Snow featured no Republican voices (other than of people yelling) in the segment and instead focused on combating the "incorrect claims" about the legislation.
The network correspondent began by proclaiming, "We wanted to better understand all the shouting." She then went on to describe a provision in the House health care bill that would reimburse doctors for speaking to patients every five years about end-of-life decisions. Despite mentioning at the end of the segment that "there are clearly very strongly held views on the other side," Snow failed to highlight GOP or conservative voices who could have explained why some oppose the provision.
An online version of the article on ABCNews.com featured Republican Congressman Thaddeus McCotter protesting, "You see when discussion about whether or not the continuation of one's life has a nexus with the U.S. treasury saving money, that's a very dangerous recipe for those who can often time be the most vulnerable amongst us." McCotter did not appear in Snow’s GMA piece. Instead, she briefly summarized the conservative argument.
ABC’s "Nightline" on Thursday celebrated Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court as a "Jackie Robinson moment" and also highlighted cheering crowds at an event put on by the left-wing Puerto Rican Legal Defense Fund (PRLDF). Correspondent John Donvan failed to identify the liberal bent of the organization, which has vociferously lobbied for abortion rights, though he did note that Sotomayor served on the group’s board.
In addition to comparing Sotomayor’s confirmation to Jackie Robinson’s entry into baseball, Donvan actually brought on Democratic operative-turned-ABC journalist George Stephanopoulos to reference what it was like for Greek Americans when Michael Dukakis ran for President in 1988. Stephanopoulos enthused, "There was something that trumped the politics, the partisanship. I knew a lot of Republican Greeks who were supporting a Democrat for first time just because he was one of them."
Donvan described the Greek American Stephanopoulos as "somebody who should know" what it felt like. But he failed to specifically mention that the ABC host also worked for the Dukakis campaign at the time. Earlier in the piece, Donvan raved, "And while this is definitely a Latino thing, it is also, we should say, an American thing....Call it a Jackie Robinson moment, to borrow a lesson from sports."
An article in Thursday’s Washington Post lashed out at the viral Obama-as-the-Joker posters, attacking them as promoting "coded," "racially charged" images. Art critic Philip Kennicott smeared the images, which have been showing up in Los Angeles, as flat-out bigoted: "The charge of socialism is secondary to the basic message that Obama can't be trusted, not because he is a politician, but because he's black." [Emphasis added]
In the August Style 6 piece, Kennicott provided this incendiary take on the poster campaign: "Obama, like the Joker and like the racial stereotype of the black man, carries within him an unknowable, volatile and dangerous marker of urban violence, which could erupt at any time." The Post writer did acknowledge that a similar image deriding Bush as the villainous character appeared in the Vanity Fair in 2008. But he spun this Joker poster as somehow worse:
Of the three network morning shows, only ABC highlighted a new study by the Heritage Foundation that reported how the federal government's massive spending will average almost $34,000 per household in 2009, up $8000 from last year. On Monday, Good Morning America news anchor Chris Cuomo also appeared amazed at wasteful, bureaucratic errors: "Seventy two billion dollars spent by our government to the wrong people in either double payments or mispayments."
He marveled, "Can you believe that? It’s true." NBC’s Today and CBS’s Early Show have, thus far, not reported on the Heritage study. The report explained, "The 2009 version of ‘Federal Spending by the Numbers’ shows spending and deficits surging at a pace not seen since World War II."
Various Good Morning America reporters knocked Rush Limbaugh’s new diet and weight loss on Monday, with ABC’s Yunji de Nies deriding, "Rush Limbaugh is big. Big voice, big audience, big opinions and simply a big guy. But the radio giant is getting smaller." Skeptical of the diet’s chances for success, she condescended, "Like the host, many in his audience are undoubtedly looking for a quick fix."
In a second segment, ABC medical contributor Dr. Marie Savard predicted failure. Chiding Limbaugh, who has lost 80 pounds through the Quick Weight Loss Center program, for not exercising enough and for a severe cut in calories, she prognosticated, "He's not going to keep that off. Sustainability is the ultimate bottom line. He can't do it with that type of diet."
MSNBC News Live substitute host Donny Deutsch frothed about "right-wing racism" on Thursday and trashed Rush Limbaugh as a both a "moron" and a "putz" and Glenn Beck as a "super moron." The former CNBC anchor talked with liberal journalist Joan Walsh about her Salon.com column and quoted her asserting that "Limbaugh and Beck continue to ratchet up their alarming and increasingly racist hatred for the President."
Deutsch began the segment by solemnly wondering, "Is right-wing racism on the rise?" And yet, he later responded to Walsh's complaints about Limbaugh by deriding, "Well, as long as he’s throwing slurs, I’m going to throw a Jewish slur and call Mr. Limbaugh a putz."After playing a clip of the conservative radio star labeling Barack Obama "race-obsessed," Deutsch, whose program on CNBC has was cancelled in 2008, angrily denounced, "Joan, you know, obviously we have got morons like Limbaugh calling Obama an angry black man. Super morons like Glenn Beck saying that he's a racist and he hates white people."
UPDATED: 2009-07-31 10:30:18 -0400 ABC’s Pierre Thomas landed an exclusive interview with Eric Holder on Wednesday’s Nightline, quizzing the Attorney General on race relations in America. Somehow, however, the reporter managed to completely ignore Holder’s incendiary remark from February that America is a "nation of cowards" when dealing with race relations.
One would assume such a statement might be relevant to Thomas’ questions about the ongoing controversy involving the arrest of Harvard Professor Henry Gates by a police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Instead, the correspondent ignored the context, even as he explained, "[Holder] said the controversy in Cambridge proves more needs to be done in race relations." Thomas queried, "Have we reached the point where law enforcement is color blind?"
ABC’s newly hired senior medical editor is also an Obama donor, having contributed $400 to the Democratic presidential candidate in 2008. TV Newser reported on Thursday that Dr. Richard Besser, the director of the Centers for Disease Control, would assume the position in September. A search on the website Open Secrets finds two donations by Dr. Besser on August 22, 2008.
As senior health correspondent, Dr. Besser can be expected to play a major role in ABC's coverage of the health care debate this fall.
Dr. Tim Johnson, who currently holds the position for ABC, has long been an advocate for government-run solutions to the health care problem in America. Going back to the last big push in the early '90s, he told then-First Lady Hillary Clinton on July 19, 1994: "So at least from the physicians represented here, you get a 100 percent vote, including mine, for universal coverage." Johnson will become the "chief medical editor" for ABC News.