The liberal-media establishment at the Poynter Institute delights in the supposedly scandalous appearances of conservatives in the media, as its Romenesko website featured liberal PBS complainers on Wednesday:
National Review editor Rich Lowry recently filled in for David Brooks on "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" during the Friday week-in-review segment. Some viewer reactions:
"Please rethink having such a callous, offensive 'reporter' on PBS again."
"He gives journalism an ugly face not to mention the total disregard this young man has for democracy."
"The remarks of Rich Lowry were shameful and deeply disturbing."
As the networks try to ignore the good news coming out of Iraq, conservatives may soon believe it's time to revisit the Left's swaggering notion that they alone were living in Reality and the stay-the-course Iraq-liberation movement was living in Fantasyland. So now with all the bias by omission, which side is in danger of looking like it's sticking its fingers in its ears and singing "la la la"? (Frank Rich, to name just one Reality Riverdancer, is still too busy applying Nazi metaphors to the Bush team to notice any good news.)
On the Swampland blog, Time correspondent Jay Carney responds to the Michael Crowley New Republic piece by noting that while Hillary's people use to admire the Bush team's manhandling of the press, they are now wise enough to avoid "losing touch with reality" by emulating them too closely.
In a recent CBN News report by Melissa Charbonneau on the Fairness Doctrine, jaws dropped across the conservative-Christian segment of America at this section:
Liberals, such as radio host Bill Press, say it's only fair for government to rein in right-wing broadcasters who dominate the airwaves licensed by the government.
"Conservatives rule talk radio," Press said. "Conservatives have their own powerful television network: the only one, the most powerful in the country, the most watched. Liberals have none. Conservatives rule the op-ed pages of all the newspapers."
I was invited in to discuss our PBS Special Report on how there's not exactly a Fairness Doctrine ruling the increasingly liberal taxpayer-funded network. It's a good thing I wasn't in the middle of a glass of water when that quote aired.
Anchor Lee Webb asked me to respond to Press, and I simply said that's not the way conservatives see it. Maybe I should have just said "Bill Press knows better."
After reading an excerpt from our new book "Whitewash" at National Review Online, the Hillary lovers are fighting back. In his "Horse's Mouth" blog at Talking Points Memo, liberal blogger Greg Sargent accuses us of "amusing mendacity" for taking former Time reporter (and gushing Hillary fan) Margaret Carlson out of context. We wrote in the book (and the NRO excerpt):
They have shamelessly served as cheerleaders for Mrs. Clinton from the moment she emerged on the national scene in 1992, with Time’s Margaret Carlson describing her as "an amalgam of Betty Crocker, Mother Teresa, and Oliver Wendell Holmes."
Sargent asserted: "Wow -- did Margaret Carlson really describe Hillary in such gushing and cringe-worthy terms? Well, no, as it turns out. No, she didn't. The original article Carlson wrote is still online," and he used a larger quote:
Michael Crowley’s New Republic piece on our masochistic press – how Hillary brutalizes them and they love her anyway – begins with how Team Clinton disliked a New York Times puff piece on Barack Obama playing hoops: "If grumbling about a basketball story seems excessive, it's also typical of the Clinton media machine. Reporters who have covered the hyper-vigilant campaign say that no detail or editorial spin is too minor to draw a rebuke. Even seasoned political journalists describe reporting on Hillary as a torturous experience." [UPDATE: FNC's Brit Hume on Tuesday night highlighted Crowley's take. See below.] He also writes:
Despite all the grumbling, however, the press has showered Hillary with strikingly positive coverage. "It's one of the few times I've seen journalists respect someone for beating the hell out of them," says a veteran Democratic media operative. The media has paved a smooth road for signature campaign moments like Hillary's campaign launch and her health care plan rollout and has dutifully advanced campaign-promoted themes like Hillary's "experience" and expertise in military affairs. This is all the more striking in light of the press's past treatment of Clinton -- particularly during her husband's White House years -- including endless stories about her personal ethics, frostiness, and alleged Lady Macbeth persona.
Michael Crowley's takedown on Hillary and the media in The New Republic is fascinating -- and in some cases, overdoes the hostility between the two forces. But liberals should note that even The New Republic forwards the notion that David Brock's Media Matters collective is a transparent proxy for Team Hillary, and brings numbers to the table:
Many reporters also suspect the Clinton camp of employing outside proxies to attack troublemakers in the media....Many in Washington believe the campaign feeds material to Brock's site, as when Media Matters went after New York Times reporter Anne Kornblut last July after Kornblut misrendered a quote that led to an erroneous story claiming Hillary had criticized fellow Democrats. Not only did Clinton aides fume to the paper's editors, but Media Matters pummeled Kornblut and the Times for several days. (A count of Media Matters stories from October found 39 headlines defending Clinton, compared to 15 for Obama and just one for John Edwards. A Media Matters spokesman strongly denied favoritism.)
Crowley goes on to recount how Hillary likes to intimidate reporters on her beat like Kornblut, now with the WashPost:
Laura Ingraham was in a groove on Monday's "The View," spurring protest from Barbara Walters by asking if the talk-show gang there really wanted America to win in Iraq. (Walters protested probably not only for her colleagues on the chat show, but her colleagues at flag-pins-are-verboten ABC News). Video of the exchange is available here. On what I'm guessing was Ingraham's last appearance on "The View," on January 22, 2003, our Jessica Anderson captured how the radio host handled a cast of putative feminists who defined feminism as offering women the choice to have a completely elastic and plastic marriage for political gain:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: I know that you wrote this book called The Hillary Trap, Laura, and in it you sort of blast Hillary – or not even sort of, you do – for the way she handled her husband's infidelities, and basically make the point that she is not a good role model.
It might be highly predictable than the media elite would favor a green sheen on Time's Person of the Year debate, but Brian Williams has taken his "Mother Earth" campaign to a whole new level of goo on his Daily Nightly website:
I made my annual pilgrimage to the Time magazine luncheon designed to narrow down the nominees for "_____ of the Year" on the cover of Time. Forgive the blank, but over the years it's been a noun, a pronoun, a proper noun -- it's been a lot of things. My nominee was a woman -- a victim of abuse. A strong, resilient woman who is a constant topic of discussion these days: Mother Earth.
The 40th anniversary issue of Rolling Stone interviewed several top actors on their political views. Meryl Streep and George Clooney each disparaged conservatives in different ways. Streep compared the Bush administration to the Nazis, and Clooney compared conservatives to the Salem witch burners. In line with Streep's current role in the flop Lions for Lambs, Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers asked about playing the part of "the hated, compromised media," and she replied:
The dilemma of the journalist is everybody’s dilemma. The Constitution and the Bill of Rights protected the Fourth Estate so vehemently because we rely on these voices. And if we don’t have them, then God bless Sean Penn for speaking up. God bless the people who put themselves on the line to be fodder for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh’s next raise. We all have to be citizens first, and then whatever our job is.
The Nazi comparison came when Travers asked: How to do things change for the better?
Planned Parenthood is at it again -- lying about its construction plans. Catholic News Agency reports the Catholic bishops of Colorado (Denver, Pueblo, and Colorado Springs) are calling out the abortion industry giant's tactics:
The bishops write, “In early November, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) broke ground on a new headquarters and clinic in northeast Denver.” They “purchased this property secretly under the guise of Fuller 38 LLC.”
“Planned Parenthood told the Denver Post that PPRM planned to complete the entire project in secrecy to avoid protests and delays that other Planned Parenthood buildings have encountered around the country.”
The Independent Television Service (ITVS) is a left-wing "independent" film-makers collective funded through our tax dollars (the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, to be exact). "Independent" isn’t really the right word. These filmmakers may be outside a corporate or studio system, but any glance of the ITVS grants shows there are no conservative filmmakers in America today making anti-Michael Moore films that celebrate capitalism or anti-abortion films or films against illegal immigration with government subsidies provided by ITVS.
ITVS lives up to its leftist values by adding political activism. It has a community-organizing emphasis. It shows its films not just on PBS stations, but also organizes free community showings in theaters. It also has hired organizers to "leverage" its leftist films to "build stronger connections" and spur on a more aggressive fight for "social justice."
For Rolling Stone’s 40th anniversary magazine, one of the celebrities interviewed was the atheist, leftist HBO comedian/pundit Bill Maher. Even as Maher has long professed his support for Bill Clinton's sexual freedom (remember this gig as Clinton's talking little Willy?), he still says of Hillary, "F— them and their Clinton baggage...when the Democrats want a sure winner, John Edwards looks like it." Whoever wins for the Democrats, Maher hopes they’re good at lying to the voters:
ROLLING STONE: What’s your best case scenario for the future?
MAHER: First of all, some Democrat better win it in 2008. Then that person should go for broke and say to the people, "Now I have to tell you the truth. I couldn’t do it when I was running, because you are a bunch of babies who can’t take the truth, and you know damn well you wouldn’t have voted for me if I said that. But we’re going to take these painful measures."
The sad part of it is, the money is there to do almost anything we want. It’s not as if you’d have to raise taxes so much. If you took the money being wasted on Iraq, corporate welfare and the drug war, you would have trillions of dollars to work with. That’s the core of it. Whoever is the next president has to get at this corporate state we’ve found ourselves living in.
The Washington Post front page on Friday morning highlighted a "Historically Low Tally" in the Senate to confirm Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Reporters Dan Eggen and Paul Kane, who pounded away at the U.S. Attorney scandal that undid former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, highlighted his narrow (hollow?) victory in gloomy terms:
The final tally gave Mukasey the lowest number of yes votes for any attorney general since 1952, just weeks after lawmakers of both parties had predicted his easy confirmation. Mukasey takes the place of Alberto R. Gonzales, who left under a cloud of scandal in September.
He avoided defeat only because a half-dozen Democrats voted in favor of the appointment along with Republicans and Democrat-turned-independentJoseph I. Lieberman (Conn.).
Time editor Richard Stengel pronounced at the annual Person of the Year debate luncheon that he’d like a winner with a face, not some nebulous concept, like last year’s "You" mirror cover. WWD.com reports "Most attendees at the event felt the same way, save for NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams, who has served on the panel for several years, and The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg. Both backed Mother Earth and the word "green," respectively." You can’t say Brian isn’t a good "Green Is Universal" company man.
Time's "10 Questions" feature has readers question former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw about his new book on the 1960s. Brokaw's historic hero is apparently still Gorbachev:
Who was the most influential person of the past 40 years? —Heath Urie, Boulder, Colo.
Mikhail Gorbachev, internationally, was critically important. Ronald Reagan had a big impact on American life. So did Osama bin Laden. You can't ignore that.
NPR personage Garrison Keillor loans his public-radio voice – hailed by liberals at Slate as "a breathy baritone that seems precision-engineered to narrate a documentary about glaciers" – to a feature called "The Writer’s Almanac," which usually features a poem and and some literary and historical notes of the day. On Thursday, Keillor recounted how Democrats once regretted demands for an early withdrawal and ended up looking like the party of surrender:
It was on this day in 1864 that Abraham Lincoln was elected to his second term as president of the United States, one of the few elections in world history to be held in the middle of a civil war. Lincoln might have tried to cancel or postpone the election until the war was over, but he said, "If the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us."
In the November 15 Rolling Stone, the hippie mag interviews a pile of politicians, media stars, and rockers to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, was interviewed by Jeff Sharlet of The Revealer. In a strange interview he unloaded the usual criticism on Ann Coulter, but praised old American socialists Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. Coulter came up as Stewart tried to say that no one mocking the government today is a "Soviet dissident," that our discourse is free enough that "It's very difficult to shock anybody any more. I'm not even sure what the subversive edge is." This exchange followed:
ROLLING STONE: Ann Coulter suffered repercussions from calling John Edwards a faggot.
JON STEWART: As a businessperson, she has made a choice: "Even if I narrow my audience to true believers, there’s enough money there. I have to keep pushing until it’s just me and one other crazy person with a lot of money." Maybe she’ll be hired by a crazy billionaire, just her and him, and he’ll go, "Say something about lesbians! Heh-heh! 9/11 widows! Gimme another!"
The front of Thursday’s Washington Post Style section carried a report from Monica Hesse on how the toy makers at Lego were a little embarrassed that one of their "Creativity Awards" was handed to an eight-year-old who would like President Bush impeached:
That last one's winners were announced last week, and Bethesda's Kelsie Kimberlin, 8, got the nod. The judges of Lego's first annual Creativity Awards got more than they bargained for. When the third-grader is asked to describe her winning entry to Lego's Creativity Awards, her explanation -- with just a little prompting from her dad, Brett -- is on message: "I don't want kids to lose any parents in the war."
Later in the article, the youngster added: "I don't like Bush because he sends people to be killed." Hesse explained the YouTube video that Kimberlin and her father made (which the Post also placed on its website for viewing):
PBS personalities can certainly come across as full of themselves, even boasting of how they can dare to do news programming that almost nobody wants to watch. Take Jim Lehrer’s recent speech at the University of Texas, as reported by the Austin American-Statesman:
He warned against the "spicing up" of news with entertainment programming and partisan commentary. "You want to be entertained? Go to the circus, please. Do not watch 'The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,' " he said.
The typically straightforward face of "NewsHour" relayed humorous tales from his education at Victoria College and the early days at his 32-year-old show, which took a while to hit its stride.
"We did 30 minutes comparing naturally grown tomatoes to unnaturally grown tomatoes," Lehrer said. "Don't ask me why we did it.
"We did 30 minutes on the Portuguese elections that not even the Portuguese cared about."
The Independent Television Service was established by Congress in 1988 with legislation directing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) to establish ITVS with "a national coalition of independent producer groups." Currently, CPB awards $15 million a year to ITVS, a one-sided, left-wing "independent" filmmakers’ organizing center. ITVS saw its purpose to be "a catalyst for change, a way for independent producers to participate in and define the cultural dialogue of public television." Today, that "cultural dialogue" is being defined from Nancy Pelosi’s congressional district, at 651 Brannan Street in the city of San Francisco.
When it comes to sexual politics, the tax dollars funneled into ITVS have long been used to promote the libertine left, beginning in the early 1990s with the films of the late Marlon Riggs, a gay black filmmaker and the maker of the explicitly gay film "Tongues Untied," and a liberal darling who drew taxpayer funding from a plethora of government "arts" agencies. That history of left-wing advocacy against social conservatives funded and promoted by ITVS continues to the present:
The book tour continues for CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin and his Clarence Thomas-bashing, Barack Obama-boosting routine. Last Friday, Toobin made his tour of nearly every NPR and PBS interview show complete with an appearance on Tavis Smiley, where he reprised his take on Thomas as bitter, isolated, and ultraconservative. (Thomas was isolated because he was interviewed by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham on his book tour. It also makes him a "highly partisan figure.") Smiley complained that in the Thomas interview on 60 Minutes, CBS’s Steve Kroft "basically rolls over the guy," and asked Toobin if it’s time to consider an end to lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.
The two liberals also had a cozy chat reconsidering how conservative justices were overtly partisan in the way they decided Bush vs. Gore in 2000, which Smiley found to be an "extreme" where the Court was "out-and-out too political."
I spent a small smidgen of time on Monday at Fox News discussing the Oprah Winfrey struggle with sex abuse allegations at her South African school for girls. Why is this story so big? In part, it's because Oprah made it so big, inviting massive coverage of her philanthropy, as I said to Martha McCallum on her show Live Desk:
Part of the problem is the way she built it up in the first place. As you have just described, she put an enormous amount of money in here, built this thing, hand-picked the students, and when you have that much involvement in it, when something goes wrong, people are going to look right at you. They're not going to look at, "well, she was just the billionaire philanthropist who paid money and did not have anything to do with it." Now the media can turn around and say everything that goes wrong to these -- with the students that she selected becomes her problem, and she is obviously getting very aggressive in trying to meet it head on.
So what can she do to remedy the abuse allegations? She's obviously aggressive in her PR, but I suggested she was overpromising:
As part of the publicity push for their left-wing movie Lions for Lambs, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Tom Cruise sat down with Time’s Richard Corliss for an article titled "The Lions Roar." But these lions have a very typical Hollywood Left message. In America, it’s very tough to speak out against war. "Standing up is very, very difficult," said Streep. "We vilify the people that do speak up. You're told you're not supporting the troops." Redford added: "If you're against us, you're not patriotic." They also say the American people don’t care so much about war as they do about celebrity dirt, and according to Streep, we face the tragedy of the unheeded peace-loving left: "we went forward, in the face of all sorts of warnings that are now proven to be the truth. Americans have been anesthetized by good fortune."
The Washington Post might have surprised its "pro-choice" base on Tuesday morning with a front-page story headlined "Teen Wins Fight for Antiabortion Club at School." (The "anti" theme continued with the headline on A-12: "Antiabortion Club Might Be First in Region at Public School.") Reporter Theresa Vargas noted that Stephanie Hoffmeier started the "Pro-Life Club" (not the Antiabortion Club) at Colonial Forge High School in Stafford, Virginia. School officials there first refused her request to start the club, and Hoffmeier and the Alliance Defense Fund sued in federal court. The high school looked at the legal case and then allowed the club to meet.
"Representatives for NARAL Pro-Choice America, an abortion-rights group, did not respond to requests for comment," Vargas also reported.
Bias is everywhere in the Washington Post. In the Sports section Monday, a capsule of one-paragraph NFL game summaries concluded with Dallas drubbing Philadelphia, 38-17 on Sunday night. The Post broke out its satirical whack-Limbaugh stick:
This game was overshadowed a bit by Eagles Coach Andy Reid's family troubles. His two sons are in jail, and a raid of Reid's house turned up so many pills that a judge described it as a "drug emporium." As someone who has had his own high-profile problems with prescription drugs, Rush Limbaugh was asked to comment; he declared it a tragedy for Reid that Donovan McNabb was so overrated.
TV Newser sums up the Brian Williams gig on Saturday Night live here. NB fans probably would have found it interesting (if not so funny) that Williams opened a presidential-debate skit by telling the Democratic also-rans several times that Sen. Hillary Clinton will appear in the center of the stage, since "all of us in the media want her to be the nominee!" The joke also included that she would get a 15-minute interview to herself before the event started, since the media so favored her.
Inside the media, the reviews were chummy. Tom Shales of the Washington Post offered a thumbs up:
Brian Williams neither took nor gave a pie in the face when he made history this weekend as the first network anchor to host NBC's "Saturday Night Live." Williams is NBC's, too, and the gig was supposed to help loosen up and polish up his image, making him not just an anchor but a friend.
Organizers of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing have published a list of “prohibited objects” in the Olympic village where athletes will stay. To the surprise of many, Bibles are among the objects that will not be allowed. According to the Italian daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, organizers have cited “security reasons” and have prohibited athletes from bearing any kind of religious symbol at Olympic facilities.
This sounds contrary to what the communist government was promising just a few weeks ago. See Reuters:
It's always eyebrow-raising to see liberals denounce Team Bush for blatant "fear-mongering" about the terror threat from al-Qaeda or Iran, then watch them turn around and do blatant "fear-mongering" about global warming. A new report from Arthur Max of the Associated Press helpfully relays a crystal-ball report from several think tanks:
At the very least, the report said, the U.S. can expect more population migrations, both internally and from across its borders; a proliferation of diseases; greater conflict in weak states, especially in Africa where climates will change most drastically; and a restructuring in global power in line with the accessibility of natural resources.
Left unchecked, "the collapse and chaos associated with extreme climate change futures would destabilize virtually every aspect of modern life," said the report, comparing the potential outcome with the Cold War doomsday scenarios of a nuclear holocaust.
One day after former Time reporter Nina Burleigh warned against the "cruelty" of evaluating the Clinton marriage in a book review of Sally Bedell Smith's For Love of Politics for The Washington Post, Sally Smith showed up for an online chat at washingtonpost.com on Friday afternoon and promptly trashed the Post's taste in book reviewers:
I [w]as quite stunned that the Post assigned someone to review my book who had so discredited herself when it comes to the Clintons. Nearly a decade ago Nina Burleigh wrote that while she was a reporter for TIME magazine in the early 90s she had been sexually aroused by what she described as Bill Clinton's ogling of her during a game of cards. She said that if he had asked her to his motel room she would have been "quite willing to let myself be ravished by the President."
We have a new Special Report posted on the main MRC Web site on the ideological sandbox we call PBS. In previous years with Democratic control of Congress, PBS has played a more activist role within the media, dragging the rest of the national media further to the left and spurring more aggression and ill will against conservative and Republican leaders. Just as 2007 has been a year for a "surge" of troops in Iraq, it's also been a year of "surging" activism within PBS.
At the same time, Democratic congressional leaders now in the majority have been entertaining the idea of reviving a federal "Fairness Doctrine" which would require private broadcasters to comply with notions of balancing out each station's daily schedule of news, talk, and public-affairs programming. These same Democrats have been highly offended at the idea that anyone outside or inside taxpayer-funded broadcasting would monitor PBS content for fairness or balance.
National Public Radio’s "Car Talk" program is a popular weekend show, as Tom and Ray Magliozzi (or "Click and Clack") trade light banter over what can go wrong with your Chevy. But even the "Car Talk" guys are acting out as liberal activists. In a letter to the House Select Committee on Global Warming, the NPR hosts gleefully sign up as part of the "barrage of lobbying" around higher fuel-economy standards, and knock the automobile industry:
The onslaught of "we can’t…it’ll ruin us… you’re denying Americans a choice of vehicles" begins every time we the people—through our elected representatives—try to bring the auto industry, kicking and screaming into the modern era. And every time, their predictions of motorized-skateboard futures have failed to materialize. Let us repeat that, because the historical record bears it out to a tee. Every single time they’ve resisted safety, environmental, or fuel economy regulations, auto industry predictions have turned out, in retrospect, to be fear-mongering bull-feathers. Isn't it time we (you) stop falling for this 50 year-long line of baloney? [Emphasis theirs.]