The Laura Ingraham radio show began Wednesday morning with a red-hot burst of outrage at yesterday's National Public Radio debate with the Democratic presidential candidates. She called it "an underreported treasure trove of idiocy" and said the broadcast completely lived up the boutique-liberal NPR stereotype -- which is why it was underreported by the rest of the media.
The show began with an NPR question on why America is so hated in the Muslim world, which couldn't be a bigger softball to Joe Biden, and the rest of the candidates, who quickly blamed the Bush administration for the unsettled Muslim world.
The lead-in to NPR's evening newscast All Things Considered last night was all ‘crazy neocon’ Iran quotes last night from the candidates. (They play the theme song, and then you get that featured soundbite or set of soundbites). Sadly, that’s not on the NPR website, but the two-hour debate is here.
Hillary Clinton, victim of an unfair press? Bill certainly thinks so. Associated Press writer Philip Elliott reported: "Bill Clinton said Tuesday that if reporters covered the candidates' public records better, his wife's presidential bid would be far ahead of her rivals. During a campaign stop on behalf of his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former president said he can't understand why so much of the media coverage of the campaign ignores her experience—and, without naming him, the relative lack of experience of her closest Democratic rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama."
Press coverage aside, if this Democratic race was really about experience, wouldn’t Joe Biden and Chris Dodd be the two front-runners? It is amazing and shameless that the Clintons can complain that the 89-percent pro-Clinton press isn’t pro-Clinton enough, that if the press did their job correctly, Hillary would have an enormous lead, as if media professionalism was defined by how well the media elite realized and established for the public that she is just what the country desperately needs. Elliott continued with Bill’s mighty whine about the media being rude to his wife (as if he’s never been):
CNN Washington Bureau Chief David Bohrman appeared on Sunday’s Reliable Sources to defend the CNN selection of liberals and Hillary supporters in disguise as questioners at the CNN-YouTube debate. Bohrman made several odd claims. They Googled Gen. Keith Kerr, the gay endorser of Hillary Clinton, but didn’t find the Hillary campaign documents, which was allegedly new to Google when it was found in minutes during the debate. They stopped investigating Kerr because he had a "great question...regardless of where he was from." Bohrman took the same position with the Edwards supporter they used. CNN does not agree that investigating the backgrounds of alleged grass-roots questioners is important. And in the wake of the Kerr backlash, CNN wishes they’d decided on a different Victim of Social Conservatives: "Let's use the gay linguist from Guantanamo who was dismissed."
Former Time reporter Nina Burleigh is unhappy she was criticized on NewsBusters for her Clinton-defending review in The Washington Post of Sally Bedell Smith’s book For Love of Politics. She lamented on The Huffington Post on Saturday night that before many could even read the review, "an apparently insomniac internet goon named Tim Graham had penned a screed dissing The Washington Post for having me review the book. Graham is the lifetime College Republican running ‘Media Research Center,’ one of the most persistent groups to express shock and awe over what one of the newsweekly wags called my "quote of the century." Those unfamiliar with my sarcastic remark need only google my name and the word blowjob."
Other than Nina recalling her infamous quote about fellatio for abortion-rights presidents, just how much of this is wrong? I don’t "run" the MRC; I work several levels below the pinnacle. I was never a College Republican, although I did work at the RNC as a minimum-wage phone fundraiser in the late 1980s in my first years in Washington. I did post my critique at 6:35 in the morning, but I sleep like a rock, so that should at worst make me a "early-rising Internet goon." A longer look at Burleigh’s article also strangely calls me part of the "self-righteous and supposedly apolitical establishment" that rules Washington. What a strange passage, in which I am also a troll:
In Monday’s Washington Post, media reporter Howard Kurtz is noting how Rudy Giuliani uses the "liberal media" as a foil in his campaign, and also offers the latest in a trend of adding prominence to his old WashPost colleagues at The Politico website for their scoop on Giuliani’s use of public money (for his security detail) for his messy private life (visits to his mistress in the Hamptons). Giuliani called the story "totally false," five years old, and a "debate-day dirty trick."
Kurtz did not ask about that "liberal media" and their double standard: that the public moneys wasted on enabling adultery was always a distasteful right-wing trash-for-cash story when the Clintons were in the spotlight (Troopergate, anyone?), and that a five-year-old Clinton adultery story was always something the liberal media would regard as news no one needed to read. Kurtz went to his long-time Post colleague John F. Harris for a rebuttal:
The Washington Post "Reliable Sources" gossip column led off in the upper left-hand corner on Monday with shocking comments from Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean "razzing his journalist hosts" at the Saturday night Gridiron Club dinner:
Fox News said, 'Stalin thought he was right when he did the same thing.' That was painful.... If anybody knows about Joseph Stalin's tactics, it would be the people at Fox News....
It's not the first item in the online version, perhaps because it's a quote, and not a written report. But it's definitely shocking, even from Howard Dean. Does he think that Roger Ailes has his own KGB, and maybe a Gulag in the basement?
The subject was how Dean suggested that if people don't want politicians to talk in sound bites, you could bar the press. (Nothing gets the press upset faster than the words "bar the press.") Here's the complete Dean quote as it appeared in the column by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts:
I enjoy reading long-time Washington Post book reviewer Jonathan Yardley, and one thing he does that’s interesting is write about reading a classic book a second time. This week, he revisited the 1931 book Only Yesterday, a very popular history of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen.Yardley explained that his book had "a hint of Mencken in it, but Allen was his own man and resisted the mere apery to which so many tinhorn Menckenites of his day succumbed. Allen was a fair man, as it must be admitted Mencken really was not, and though he had his own sharp opinions, he sought balance and understanding rather than invective."
But the paragraph he quoted before that balanced-without-invective claim looks a lot more like invective against "a pestilence" of anti-communists of the time than it looks like "balance and understanding"on the subject of the "Red Scare." In fact, the words "Red Scare" betray a lack of balance. He wrote:
As Sen. Jim Webb prepares for his Sunday interview on Meet the Press, let's note the well-placed word that demonstrates that The Washington Post still relishes the moment that young S.R. Sidarth first launched the "Macaca" boat. In a small Wednesday item reporting Sidarth now works for Bill Richardson for President, reporter Michael Shear -- who with Tim Craig beat every bush to spread alleged racial bigotry all over George Allen's face -- displayed his opinion by saying "Alas," young Sidarth "is not reprising the role" of opposition camcorder agent.
Here's most of Shear's small item:
The young man whose video helped bring down former senator George Allen of Virginia has resurfaced in the presidential contest that Allen once hoped to be part of.
Brent Bozell's culture columns in the last two weeks have tackled some very contemporary topics, from new MTV star Tila Tequila to CBS's "reality" fest "Kid Nation" to Fox's "Family Guy" even working itself into submarine sandwich commercials. The latest column explored how MTV keeps looking for a new sexual barrier to cross on its "reality" shows:
The twist in the series is that Miss Tequila is bisexual. As the new MTV star tells it, "They found out about my lifestyle, and said ‘How would you feel about putting it on MTV?’" Viacom thought it was time for America’s youth to watch a bisexual dating show. So the show’s plot called for inviting 16 straight men and 16 lesbians to compete for her physical attention. Neither the men nor the women were informed of the other gender’s presence so they could look shocked for the cameras.
Here’s an update on the St. Petersburg Times report on CNN’s snarky response to conservative bloggers. Eric Deggans, one of the reporters on the CNN-YouTube debate, brought his own skepticism on Friday to CNN’s responses to the secret Hillary Campaign questioner on his blog The Feed. (Deggans is not a conservative, as my earlier Koulter Klan blog illustrates.)
Deggans mentions the anti-CNN complaints of bloggers on both sides, but suggests the liberals should consider how they would respond if the shoe was on their foot: "even though some liberal bloggers are saying the political background of questioners shouldn't matter, I have a hard time believing they would have tolerated seeing Hillary Clinton asked a tough question on an issue important to conservatives by someone with hidden ties to Rudolph Giuliani or George W. Bush."
The St. Petersburg Times, the "hometown newspaper" for the CNN-YouTube Republican debate, published an interesting story on CNN’s reactions to conservative criticism. Their list of excuses was extensive, and ridiculous. As far as conservatives are concerned, CNN has two choices: either they were extremely cynical in knowingly placing Democratic supporters into a Republican debate, or they were extremely unprofessional in failing to do five minutes of work to prevent the publicity fiasco of allowing Hillary supporters to try and embarrass her opponents on national TV.
CNN is responding by attacking their critics (Michelle Malkin by name) for being stalking horses for Fox News. In their report, Wes Alison and Eric Deggans asked if there wasn’t enough time for vetting (when they’ve been receiving questions for three months?):
Richard Stengel is still a newbie as the top editor at Time, but he’s experienced enough that he ought to know how to mount a challenging interview with a presidential candidate. That’s not what he did in his new Barack Obama interview. (That’s the same one Brent Baker found CBS loved. Scroll down to end.) Here are the softball questions Time published:
You've been engaging with Senator Clinton in a more direct way. Is there a danger of damaging your brand of new politics? (Obama said "you'd be hard-pressed to say that at any point we've been gratuitous, nasty, personal.")
Her campaign just issued a statement saying you had less foreign policy experience than any President since World War II. (Obama: "It seems to get less traction as people hear me talk.")
Here’s a headline that suggests an objective article will not follow: "Hillary Hatred Finds Its Misogynistic Voice." Newhouse News Service reporter Jonathan Tilove, whose beat is usually race relations, indicted John McCain, Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson, former RNC spokesman Cliff May, "South Park," and Facebook groups as historic forces of hatred and vitriol, putting poor Hillary through a punishing gauntlet never run by men: "Thanks to several years of phallocentric history, there is no comparably vocabulary of degradation for men, no equivalently rich trove of synonyms for a sexually sullied male." The story began:
In the coming months, America will decide whether to elect its first female president. And amid a techno-media landscape where the wall between private vitriol and public debate has been reduced to rubble, Sen. Hillary Clinton is facing an onslaught of open misogynistic expression.
On his Daily Nightly blog, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams sent his happy-birthday wishes to liberal comedian Jon Stewart. In a Wednesday blog post playfully titled "Where Have You Gone, Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz?", Williams mourned how the writers' strike has taken Stewart away from his "vital comedic work" trashing Bush. Just like Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams thinks Stewart is an American treasure:
The serious fact is that Jon Stewart and his colleagues in comedy -- along with the writers who support them -- serve an invaluable purpose by skewering the pompous and deflating the egos of the high and mighty. They function almost as a separate branch of government. We need them, and we miss them.
Laura Ingraham brought up Diane Sawyer’s umbrage at Mike Huckabee yesterday for his ad stressing he was a "Christian leader" as somehow crossing a line of decency (see Scott Whitlock's blog here), and how Sawyer pressed Newt Gingrich with Peggy Noonan’s quote that we’re looking for a leader, not a Bible study teacher. After noting that Sawyer doesn't usually find anyone crossing a line on the Angry Left, Ingraham wondered: how often does Sawyer cite Noonan? Is it usually just to prod and poke Republicans?
A quick review of the Nexis database shows that ABC’s Good Morning America has interviewed Noonan quite a bit on her expert subjects, first on her old job of presidential speechwriting, and more recently, on her biography of Pope John Paul II. But in the Bush era, on the few occasions when Noonan’s writing is quoted by ABC anchors or reporters, it’s almost always to prod the GOP.
Ben Bradlee, the longtime executive editor of The Washington Post, sounded off with Radar Online media critic Charles Kaiser. He professed to be unimpressed with Hillary’s team, denounced Carl Bernstein in French, praised Rupert Murdoch’s skill at newspaper publishing, and denounced wars as something America does perpetually "to keep the standing army in good condition." First, the Hillary questions:
What do you think of Hillary? Well, I'm not as against her as some other people under my roof. Sally [Quinn, his wife]—I find the women are really very, very strongly against her.
What's that about? I don't know. I don't think Hillary is a completely sympathetic person. But she is hard-working, she is monolithically devoted to policy—she's a wonk. I'm not terribly impressed with the people around her, though. Some of them I'm actively unimpressed with. You know, you can say about [Bill] Clinton, he had a hell of a good team. And Jimmy Carter had a hell of a good team. And you don't see those around now.
In a Blogcritics interview with Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz on his book Reality Show, Scott Butki asked if CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric really hated the P-word when applied to her:
I wanted you to elaborate on a paragraph on page 254 and whether you think it was fair for the media to caricature Katie Couric and whether she herself ever made that quote attributed to friends:
But she couldn’t stand the way the press invented a shorthand for you, a Velcro label that you could never peel off. The joke among her friends was that Katie had decided what she wanted chiseled on her tombstone, 'Don’t Call Me [expletive deleted] Perky.'
Also, how much of the criticism of Katie came because of her gender?
Newsweek’s Devin Gordon is certainly not objective when it comes to Philip Pullman, the atheist children’s author behind the new movie The Golden Compass. He really appreciates it when the atheist denounces conservative Catholic leader William Donohue as a "nitwit."
In person, Pullman is tall and inviting, with ruddy features and thatchy gray hair, and when he gets going about the attacks on the film, it's a reminder of how enjoyable it is to observe a polite English gentleman properly outraged. Pullman does, in fact, describe himself as an atheist, but his vocation is storytelling, and his only agenda, he said during an interview with NEWSWEEK, is "to get you to turn the page." "To regard it as this Donohue man has said—that I'm a militant atheist, and my intention is to convert people – how the hell does he know that? Why don't we trust readers? Why don't we trust filmgoers?" Pullman sighed. "Oh, it causes me to shake my head with sorrow that such nitwits could be loose in the world."
Whatever Dan Rather does in his post-CBS television career, let’s hope it’s not on shows children watch. In another personality trait echoing his old historical nemesis Richard Nixon, Rather’s interview with Joe Hagan of New York magazine is loaded with expletives (undeleted). The internal CBS report on the story was "pure, unadultered [BS]." When that internal review board included former Bush attorney general Richard Thornburgh, Rather reacted: "Un-f-ing-believable!" Thornburgh was a "total ass." Rather wore a T-shirt on his last night in the anchor chair that said "F.E.A." for "F— ‘Em All." When he called his producer Mary Mapes to commiserate over the fiasco, he identified himself as "Dan Rather plus three," meaning he’d drank three bourbons. That might explain why he claimed no one at the White House denied his story.
Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw took his publicity tour for his Sixties book "Boom!" into (at least somewhat) hostile territory on Monday’s Laura Ingraham show. Ingraham played an old clip in which Brokaw slapped talk radio as "instantly jingoistic and savagely critical" of people questioning war.
Like many other journalists who instantly let conservatives know they haven’t listened to Rush Limbaugh, Brokaw insisted Limbaugh "doesn’t want to hear another point of view, except his." Ingraham disagreed. Brokaw added: "The problem with talk radio is they only want to hear one note...The problem with talk radio is they mock anyone else’s point of view, and they do it often in a mindless fashion." This is rich talk coming from a man whose network hired Bill Moyers as his newscast’s only commentator in 1995, and a man who wrote a syrupy tribute to hot liberal mock-jock Jon Stewart for his "Athenian" ideals in Time magazine. Audio clip (5:05):MP3 audio
One clear theme running through the history of Hillary Clinton is her reaction to her husband’s affairs. Her primary reaction is political, not emotional, as she said to George Stephanopoulos: "We have to destroy her story." So it’s funny to read through old Clinton books, where Bill is quoted saying that Hillary’s just an old-fashioned girl who "doesn’t see any sense to extramarital sex."
The book is The Hillary Factor by Rex Nelson (with Philip Martin), and the scene is set in February 1979, as the new First Lady of Arkansas is trying to sell herself with her maiden name as not a hardcore feminist, just an "old-fashioned girl" with "old-fashioned ideas about the work ethic." Nelson and Martin report:
In a television interview later that month, she said the couple’s dual careers "often do not provide enough time for us to lead private lives, to be with one another, to have a family life, to have time to think."
The website The Black Commentator defined the loony left by calling for the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, since it's apparently an event for white supremacists. This is more about the Internet than the mainstream media, but remember that liberal blacks the news producers treat as sensible pundits -- like Julian Bond of the hallowed NAACP and Julianne Malveaux, the woman who hoped on PBS that Clarence Thomas would die young -- are on this website's board. Here's just a snippet of their anti-Thanksgiving rant:
Carole Simpson was a long-time anchor and reporter for ABC News, and is best remembered for anchoring on Sunday nights for a number of years. She's also remembered for moderating the 1992 presidential debate in Richmond, and especially for suggesting with a little bit of vinegar that President Bush, "the education president," should answer an education question first. Her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president in her post-journalism years is utterly unsurprising (it's more surprising she's now claiming it was some kind of slip.)
Roy Sekoff of the Huffington Post was incredibly lame on Hannity & Colmes arguing that if Carole Simpson supports socialist health care, that's not left-wing, because it polls well. That's like claiming that supporting tax cuts isn't conservative, because it polls well. In truth, Simpson has a long record of liberal commentary with little regard for how it would affect her image as an anchor of hard news. Here's a list of her liberal outbursts, starting with the recent Hillary endorsement:
National Public Radio's arts-and-culture show "Fresh Air" recently displayed how its leftist ideology trumps artistic judgment, especially when it comes to movies designed to get America out of Iraq before our crazed soldiers senselessly kill more civilians. Film critic David Edelstein lauded Brian De Palma's new movie "Redacted" as a "laudable artistic response to an unpopular war," even as he conceded the movie is terrible as a work of art.
Edelstein knew some people hated the exploitative display of Iraqi corpses at the film's end, noting that De Palma thinks rubbing Americans' faces with the collateral damage will get us out of Iraq: "I think most Americans are immune to those techniques, but I respect his impulse. 'Redacted' is a crude piece of work but it's the kind of outright agitprop that rarely makes it to the big screen."
Edelstein also claims the movie centered around savage rape and murder by American troops isn't anti-troops: "But it's an act of sympathy to suggest that soldiers on their third tours of duty in a place where they have no knowledge of the culture, where they can't tell who's on their side and who wants to blow them up, stand a good chance of losing both their moral compass and their minds." Here's the transcript from the November 16 review:
Wednesday's edition of ABC's World News hyped the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finding a dramatic rise in Iowa for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, rising to a near-tie with Mitt Romney, 28 to 24 percent. After noticing that Huckabee attacked Romney as a pseudo-conservative, Tapper challenged Huckabee from the right on taxes and on illegal aliens. When he asked about tuition breaks for illegals, Huckabee sounded like Hillary on the issue: "If you're government at the federal level is so incompetent that it fails to secure the border, you don't then grind your heel into the face of a 6-year-old child over it."
Tapper said "Huckabee appeals to socially conservative evangelicals because he is one. And he cultivates an affable image." But the remarks Tapper quoted weren't affable. They were like that "heel to the face" imagery. Here's the meatiest part of the transcript:
Before Thanksgiving, the Laura Ingraham show had great fun with a Today segment on November 16. As part of a series on "Today Gives Thanks," news anchor Ann Curry expressed her deep love and appreciation for Maya Angelou, the liberal black poetess who delivered the mawkish "rock, river, tree" poem at Bill Clinton's first inauguration.
NATALIE MORALES, co-host: This morning we wrap up our special series "Giving Thanks Today" with Ann's turn to show her gratitude to a great woman. Ann.
ANN CURRY: That's right. You know, words can change your life, and listening to the words of Dr. Maya Angelou in 2002 changed mine. If you're not familiar with Dr. Angelou, you need to stop what you're doing and sit down and listen.A renaissance woman, she is a writer, performer, teacher and an American Poet Laureate...
In the Philadelphia Bulletin, long-time Philly TV consumer reporter Herb Denenberg reviewed our book Whitewash, and easily found how its thesis of paving Hillary's path to the presdiency applied to the here and now. Hillary Clinton is being favored by the liberals at CNN during the current campaign:
I happened to be reading the book when the CNN debate with the Democrat presidential candidates was aired on Nov. 15 and realized that this is another chapter, one of an endless series, proving Mr. Limbaugh and Mr. Bozell's thesis. After Hillary's celebrated meltdown over the question of whether or not she favored driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, that question had to be the number one issue in this debate. But what did Wolf Blitzer, the CNN moderator, do with the question?
He asked Hillary if she favored licenses for illegals and then accepted her one-word answer of "no" without a follow-up question. It is inconceivable that, on a nationally televised debate with over 4 million people watching, Mr. Blitzer would not follow up that answer with further questions on her multiple, ever-changing flip-flopping positions on licensing illegals.
I was the recipient today of several emails from well-intentioned people, telling me I was being attacked in parts of the blogosphere for something I wrote and said on the air in last night's broadcast. It was a closing piece about Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip celebrating their 60th anniversary. I noted this accomplishment, especially in this era when, as I put it, marriage seems "under attack" as an institution. My meaning? Our national divorce rate, which is currently somewhere between 40 and 50 percent. Others took it upon themselves to decide that I was somehow attacking gay marriage. The simple fact is that nothing could have been further from my mind, as many others easily understood. In fact, one comment shared with me today came from a respected member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, who said, "It seemed to me he was talking about the sky-high heterosexual divorce rates. Marriage IS under attack -- by straight people. It had nothing to do with the gay marriage movement."
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers is once again making speeches with tears in his eyes about the wonders of liberalism, which is apparently not an ideology as much as it's about Kumbaya kinship. Moyers touted the socialist vision of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he won a Freedom of Speech award from the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, and his remarks were excerpted by The Nation. He began by mentioning the blue-collar liberalism of his father:
Henry Moyers was an ordinary man who dropped out of the fourth grade because his family needed him to pick cotton to help make ends meet. The Depression knocked him off the farm and flat on his back. When I was born he was making two dollars a day working on the highway to Oklahoma City. He never made over $100 a week in the whole of his working life, and he made that only when he joined the union on the last job he held. He voted for Franklin Roosevelt in four straight elections, and he would have gone on voting for him until kingdom come if both had lived that long. I once asked him why, and he said, "Because the President's my friend."
The amazing discovery that apparent embryonic stem cells can be made in the laboratory without destroying human embryos could be spun as a victory for pro-lifers, who have been mercilessly mocked as the Antonym of Science for suggesting any delay in crushing embyros in the hope of finding other methods that would be less destructive of human life. That media spin hasn’t happened. But look at how some reporters are still skirting around the hard, cold fact of embryo destruction for research. Here’s NBC on Wednesday morning, courtesy of MRC’s Justin McCarthy:
ANN CURRY: There is a potential breakthrough in stem cell research to report this morning. Scientists have found the way to create stem cells without using human embryos. NBC's chief science correspondent Robert Bazell has more now....
ROBERT BAZELL: Many people, including President Bush, are thrilled with the research, because it does not use embryos, which have been the only source of embryonic stem cells.