The Washington Post website is not usually a place someone would go to find conservatives. But the Post has created a new Discussion Groups area, and one of those areas is "Right Matters" -- with National Review writer and deep-thinker Ramesh Ponnuru. Ramesh is also the author of the recent book Party of Death, which has some neat data on abortion and media bias.
Liberals still have plenty of options at the new area, including discussions moderated by Post columnists E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson. The Washingtonpost.com people have also added "Rights Watchers" from the left-leaning Human Rights Watch, and "The Secularist's Corner" with "Freethinkers" author Susan Jacoby, for the many Post subscribers who think God is an angry comic-book character manufactured by the vast right-wing conspiracy.
Newsweek political reporter Jonathan Darman provided a preview of sorts to the August 9 Democratic debate on the gay Logo cable channel with an article on Democrats seeking votes on the gay left playfully titled "Show ‘Em Whatcha Got: Conscious of their community's financial clout, gay activists want action on equality issues, not just talk." Nowhere in Darman’s story is there a single ideological label that would place gay supporters of the Democrats on the left. But a June story on the state of the Republican presidential race after Jerry Falwell’s funeral was studded with 12 uses of "conservative" or shifting "rightward" or "religious right."
Darman’s story in the August 13 edition began by touting how progressive Hillary’s been on the gay issues and has been "eager to bask in the gay love," but how gay activists are demanding more of a revolution:
Over at TimesWatch, I've posted a short list of the parts of the recent New York Times front-page story on Chelsea Clinton that aren't completely and transparently flattering -- such as how she's entered her personal "Decade of Greed."
The author of that puffy baked Cheeto of an article, Jodi Kantor, was for a time the Arts and Leisure section editor of the Times, and before that, she was one of several people the Times enticed away from the liberal website Slate.com, the online "magazine" started by Microsoft in 1996 and bought by the Washington Post in 2004.
Can a radio station owner submit an obscene set of call letters for his station and have it approved by the Federal Communications Commission? Brent Bozell's culture column passes along that two prospective stations in Hawaii were granted the call letters KUNT (and KWTF), which the station owner quickly apologized for submitting. But the FCC, for its many millions in expenditures, has no living, breathing human checking to make sure that embarrassing call letters aren't included in their usual online submission process. Brent elaborates:
On Friday night’s "Inside Washington," panelists trashed Ross Buettner’s story in the New York Times playing up a close relationship between Fox News boss Roger Ailes and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani. Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said "I think this was the New York Times thinking that Ailes is Darth Vader, because they made him out to be this monster who’s given all this time to Giuliani, but the story itself and the graphics supporting it didn’t support the story." Others agreed. "There’s nothing in this story," said columnist Charles Krauthammer. Colby King of the Washington Post scornfully added, "This is exactly why newspapers in trouble," and said they acted like a tabloid. Thomas concluded, "It says more about the paranoia of the New York Times than anything else."
If liberals can blame a hurricane on President Bush, it's impossible they won't blame the Minneapolis bridge collapse on conservatives. At Radio Equalizer, Brian Maloney reports that Air America's Randi Rhodes was swinging wildly:
"The bridge collapse is the result of wasting a trillion dollars in Iraq. Basically what you saw there in Minneapolis and what you’ve been watching all day, last night, the whole thing.
"What you’re watching, should have the chyron underneath, instead of it saying Governor Tim Pawlenty, or news conference on bridge collapse, or recovery or whatever, you know what it should say underneath there? 'Your tax cuts at work!' That’s what it should say.
"Please make a note of it and call CNN and MSNBC, Faux News, yeah call them all and tell them, 'hey, you’ve got the wrong chyron!'"
In Friday's Washington Post, Howard Kurtz reports that the new John Edwards campaign against any Democrat accepting Rupert Murdoch contributions has a slight flaw:
"John Edwards will never ask Rupert Murdoch for money -- he won't accept his money," said a statement e-mailed to supporters. Not so fast, Murdoch's people say. His publishing unit, HarperCollins, paid Edwards a $500,000 advance -- and $300,000 in expenses -- for his 2006 book "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives."
"We assume the senator is going to give back the money from his advance," News Corp. spokesman Brian Lewis said.
Jebediah Reed at Radar Online interviewed Cindy Sheehan about, among other topics, her treatment on CNN. The woman CNN hailed and promoted as the "Peace Mom" was outraged that anchor Anderson Cooper had the audacity to bring on two men who disagreed with her after an interview: "I just thought that was really uncalled for." Apparently, what’s called for is Cindy Sheehan being awarded an unopposed platform to spew against the Iraq War and President Bush. Here’s an excerpt:
You're also not a fan of Anderson Cooper. What did he do? He came down to Camp Casey to do a hit piece on me. It was just handled very badly. He had me on, and then he brought on some people right afterwards—a father whose son died in Iraq and a Dallas talk-show host—who just said some despicable things about me. I just thought that was really uncalled for.
If anyone in the media blames the Minnesota bridge collapse on "cheap Republicans" who like tax cuts, it would not be the first time. In 1989, after a memorable San Francisco earthquake, an interstate highway bridge collapsed and killed hundreds. Media figures demanded new taxes, and some even suggested the Proposition 13 ballot initiative may have caused unnecessary deaths. We reported in the November 1989 MediaWatch:
As aftershocks rumbled through the San Francisco Bay area, media figures began calling for more taxes. On the October 18 Nightline, Ted Koppel asked an agreeable Democratic politician from California: "We all remember a few years ago Proposition 13 which rolled back taxes. And at the same time the point was made you roll back the taxes, that's fine, but that means there are going to be fewer funds available for necessary projects. Any instances where the money that was not spent because of the rollback of Proposition 13 where money would have made a difference?"
If you have trouble imagining the establishment media speaking at CPAC -- although I do remember a slick Tim Russert and a prickly Ted Koppel attending one at the invitation of Accuracy in Media ten years ago -- it's not as hard to imagine "objective" reporters at the second annual lefty-blogger Yearly Kos convention, this year in Chicago. Mike Allen of the Politico (formerly of Time), Matt Bai of the New York Times Magazine (formerly of Newsweek) and Time deputy Washington bureau chief Jay Carney will all be speaking at the Chicago event. At the Huffington Post, blogger Ari Melber explains he will be moderating a let's-kiss-and-make-up panel on Friday between the media and bloggers featuring Allen and Carney:
I'm moderating a panel that will pair bloggers Glenn Greenwald and Jill Filipovic with The Politico's Mike Allen and Time magazine's Jay Carney, to discuss whether media-blog relations can evolve towards more constructive interactions. We're calling it "Blogs and the MSM: From Clash to Civilization."
In one of her one-minute "Katie Couric’s Notebook" speeches on her Katie & Co. blog, CBS anchor Katie Couric came lecturing to Hillary Clinton’s defense on August 1 over Robin Givhan’s Washington Post fashion review of her cleavage on C-SPAN2, but she never mentioned the Post, just how the story "dominated cable news for days, and it’s disgraceful." She sounded the feminist alarm: "By focusing on this display of decolletage, it seems we’ve plunged to a new low. What’s next? Studying a candidate’s too-tight jeans?" She said this election was too important for trivia: "If we focus on the issues, we could judge the candidates not on the color of their clothes, but on the content of their character." She acknowledged some fashion issues were "fair game," when the targets were men: the John Edwards $400 haircuts and how "Dick Cheney was slammed for wearing a parka when he visited a concentration camp."
Democratic catfights are usually papered over on liberal networks. But NBC’s Wednesday morning coverage of the ongoing battle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama over his goofy declaration to meet with America-hating tyrants without preconditions came jam-packed with words of praise for Bill Clinton, the "peacemaker" of the duel. Matt Lauer began: "Now to Bill Clinton, peacemaker. Every president would like that label but they don't normally get it for keeping the peace between their own party's candidates, especially when one of them happens to be his wife." Lauer later added that Clinton is an "elder statesman" and "experienced voice of reason" within the Democratic fold.
In David Gregory’s story, viewers witnessed the usual Bill-adoring lingo from John Harwood, CNBC's chief Washington correspondent: "One of the things that we know about Bill Clinton is that his political instincts are second to none, and if he thinks that there's a dangerous point in this fight with Barack Obama that's a pretty good sign that Hillary Clinton ought to back off a little bit."
Rival newspapers are not calmly reporting the news that Rupert Murdoch has sealed the deal to buy The Wall Street Journal for a royal sum. The Washington Post front page headline today makes Rupert sound like he came in with tanks, not just cash: "Murdoch Seizes Wall St. Journal In $5 Billion Coup." Liberals must really see this tycoon as some sort of press-baron version of Pinochet.
In New York, competing papers made it sound more like Rupert won another prize, like he bought a new yacht. "Dow Jones Deal Gives Murdoch a Coveted Prize," wrote The New York Times on its front page. "Rupe takes the prize: Wall Street Journal owners selling out to peddler of Post" was a headline in the New York Daily News.
Helen Thomas, the Hearst columnist and long-time scourge of Republican presidents as UPI White House correspondent, was "miffed" at Doonesbury cartoonist Garry Trudeau because he joked that the rumors were that she was Harry Truman's lover: "I wished he said I was Jack Kennedy's lover."
If that makes Thomas sound like a liberated woman, that would be in line with her recent Planned Parenthood luncheon speech in Iowa, where she claimed conservatives would love to deny women even their right to vote: "It seems now, more than ever, the Supreme Court is prepared to put Americans -- especially women -- back in the 19th century if not earlier...Women, in particular, have to be more vigilant. They can never let go and think that the battle is won. There has been a chipping-away at every advance we've had. Pretty soon they'll be taking aim at the vote."
Mark's post on new Washington Post editorial writer Jonathan Capehart caused me to stumble across this news from a few days ago: The gay cable channel Logo and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay-left lobby, have announced that Margaret Carlson, a former White House correspondent and deputy Washington bureau chief of Time magazine, will moderate the August 9 Democratic candidates debate on Logo, and Capehart will join the questioning panel.
Carlson was a major booster of Hillary Clinton when she reported from the White House for Time. Capehart is a longtime member of the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Here's the official press release language:
The Clinton campaign's attempt to raise money off a Washington Post fashion report on her cleavage drew a very odd sports comparison from CNBC/Wall Street Journal pundit John Harwood on Sunday's Meet the Press: "for her to argue that she was not aware of what she was communicating by her dress is like Barry Bonds saying he thought he was rubbing down with flaxseed oil, okay?" NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell played her usual role of Hillary defender, saying "This was so marginal. This was microscopic evidence of...inappropriate attire." She told Harwood "Sometimes a blouse is just a blouse." Mitchell also claimed it could be a political plus" if Hillary "can connect with women and say, 'You see what we have to put up with? This is the way they trivialize us,' it helps her on—in just about every level."
Women outraged at Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan's article on Hillary Clinton's cleavage on C-SPAN2 are writing angry letters and making angry phone calls to the Post. Several want this kind of private-parts coverage extended to male crotches. In Saturday's Post, the paper printed a pile of outraged letters, including this from Dolores B. Ruth of Annapolis:
I am not a fan of Hillary Rodham Clinton, but I was appalled at the article on her "cleavage." What's next? An article on viewing men's crotches generally or seeing a difference when they are watching her speak?
Erick at Redstate reports The Washington Post seems to have a new way of punishing young reporters whose factual sloppiness draws the repeated notice of the Corrections editor and the ombudsman – they send them to Iraq. The reporter in question is one Amit R. Paley, a recent Harvard graduate and former Post summer intern in 2004. Fishbowl DC found an internal memo boasted:
Amit has been breaking story after story this year on the national education beat, including the disclosure of improper searches of a massive federal database of student records and extravagant spending by a non-profit loan company.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week begins with how the disgusting dog-fighting allegations surrounding football star Michael Vick have united everyone -- conservatives and liberals, theists and atheists, meat-eaters and vegetarians, you name it -- against Vick and his vile animal-killing buddies, if half of that federal indictment is true. They found 17 dog carcasses on his property near Williamsburg, Virginia. Like many, Brent believes new NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will keep Vick off the field this season until he can attempt to clear his name at trial. But, sadly that isn't the only scandalous news out of the sports world:
In the New York Post, gossip columnist Liz Smith previewed some of the charges in Ed Klein’s book on CBS anchor Katie Couric, due at the end of August. It seems the Katie camp is already trying to do damage control and insist that the scoops that are leaking out are not really scoops, they’re all yawners. (See what happens when you hire a Hillary publicist like Matthew Hiltzik? Your media strategy suddenly sounds exactly like Hillary’s.) The only scooplet that Smith thought had power: "‘But the majority of people at 60 Minutes, including the correspondents, dislike her intensely. They think she's a lightweight.’ Well, that probably hurts, but Katie has to ignore it."
The Washington Post website reports that Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign has sent out a fundraising letter protesting Post fashion critic Robin Givhan’s article about being disturbed by a small glimpse of Hillary’s cleavage on C-SPAN. Longtime Hillaryland fixture Ann Lewis fussed: "Now I’ve seen some off-topic press coverage – but talking about body parts? That’s grossly inappropriate." She even tries to sound like a social conservative: "Take a stand against this kind of coarseness and pettiness in American culture."
Insert your own comment here on how odd it is to assume that Bill and Hillary Clinton are the very antonym of public pettiness or coarse personal misbehavior.
Nepotism alert! Tim Russert’s college-age son Luke – yes, the youngster with the XM satellite radio sports show with James Carville – was sitting in as one of the wise-cracking sidekicks on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday, and Joe Scarborough was mocking him and his "New Age parents" for drinking green tea from Starbucks. Apparently, "morning joe" humor is required, considering the show name. Channeling the spirit of Don Imus, with his regular drug jokes, Luke quipped: “Starbucks are legalized opium dens, and I agree with that.” He’s obviously joking, but you wouldn’t want to run for office and have Tim Russert put that quote up on screen, would you?
Newsweek’s Jonathan Darman lamented this week that the John Edwards poverty tour/publicity tour didn’t passionately grip America, that it did not immediately become a mythic event, like filthy-rich Bobby Kennedy's poverty tour in 1968. In a dramatic flourish, the young Harvard-educated whipper-snapper blames this tragedy on not-very-compassionate America:
"There is something tragic about Edwards's failure to break through. Today, 37 million Americans live below the poverty line, 12 million more than at the time of Kennedy's death. And yet Edwards's call of conscience has not resonated. By all rights, Edwards, the son of a millworker, should have an easier time talking about poverty than did Kennedy, the son of a millionaire. His difficulty speaks to the candidate's inability to connect. It also speaks to the nation's inability to be moved."
In a letter sent far and wide to anyone (including the MRC) who criticized his hour-long tantrum tub-thumping for the impeachment of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney on July 13, PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers lectured PBS ombudsman Michael Getler that PBS was created to disturb the "official consensus" and praised his two pro-impeachment guests, a "liberal" and a "conservative scholar who reveres the Constitution," for "they made a valuable contribution to the public dialogue, as confirmed by the roughly 20:1 positive response to the broadcast. Of course I could have aired a Beltway-like 'debate' between a Democrat and a Republican, or a conservative and a liberal, but that’s usually conventional wisdom and standard practice, and public broadcasting was meant to be an alternative, not an echo."
She may no longer be spreading wild 9-11 conspiracy theories on ABC's The View, but Rosie O'Donnell's still using her blog to push wildly inaccurate theories, like this amazing one under the headline "scary plus":
Bush Outlaws All War Protest In United States
In one of his most chilling moves to date against his own citizens, the American War Leader has issued a sweeping order this week outlawing all forms of protest against the Iraq war.
Say what? On July 17, President Bush issued an Executive Order with the legalese title of "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization in Iraq." (A bit more rhetorical finesse might have been in order on the headline.) It's meant to try and stop "charitable" aid to Iraqi terrorists. But on Rosie's blog, the commenters are crazed, with lots of "WTF" and "Holy S---" ranting about the end of democracy as we know it. This one's priceless:
It’s amazing how supposedly liberal and feminist publications that enjoy roasting conservative Christians will turn around and honor Islamic traditions as the latest rage. Witness Time’s promotional coverage this week of the "Burqini," the head-to-toe women’s swimsuit. If this was a Pat Robertson idea, they’d be bowled over laughing. But it’s Islamic, so it’s surprisingly chic. The front page of the Life section promoted Time’s Laura Fitzpatrick writing "The Burqini swimsuits allow women, Muslim or not, to choose comfort over conformity." Obeying Islamic dictates of modesty is not conformity? On a 90-degree day, a head-to-toe suit is the definition of comfort?
On page 50, the story’s headline was "The New Swimsuit Issue: Modest beachwear for Muslim women is taking off with secular swimmers too." Fitzpatrick began:
Move over, Tankini. Since the full-coverage swimsuit dubbed the Burqini (as in burqa plus bikini) hit the international market in January, devout Muslim women have been snapping them up.
One way you can tell the media roots for liberal Democrats is by how it can’t choose just one for president. They’re all still viable, so...they’re all still fabulous. Trying to say one is better than the others seems just impossible for some reporters. And what about when the candidates fight each other? The fights are minimized, since Democratic party unity is important for their electability.
As Matthew Balan has mentioned, CNN has offered praise to all the Democratic candidates, but to me, political reporter Candy Crowley seemed a perfect example of that telltale Praise Everybody Syndrome. On Tuesday’s American Morning, Crowley asserted, that Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama, "all did really well in getting their points across," even when they were fighting each other. From Crowley, this sounded a bit repetitive – because she also spread praise all over the candidates – and a few candidate spouses – last Friday morning, and even as anchor John Roberts explained their recent spats, she refused to elaborate on the fights and turned the subject back to praising Democrats all around.
After Diane Sawyer’s fawning interview last Thursday morning hailing his work to "save a continent," ABC’s Good Morning America returned to praising the African philanthropy of former president Bill Clinton on Monday. Traveling with him, ABC’s Kate Snow sounded less like a reporter and more like an overnight infomercial spokeswoman: "In Africa, they seem to be on a first-name basis with the former president, shouting ‘Bill! Bill!’"
Every soundbite in the story was Clinton or Clinton’s supporters explaining all the wonderful things Clinton is trying to accomplish, how he’s impatient in his struggle to save lives. Without any skeptical note that his private foundation might create a thicket of conflicts of interest, Snow simply relayed without questioning that Clinton would continue his foundation activities if his wife won the White House. Snow could only coo: "He may redefine the role of first spouse in America."
For all of those lefties who were enraged at Howard Kurtz granting publicity to conservative blogger Michelle Malkin a few months ago, they can now rest easy. On the front page of Sunday’s Washington Post, reporter Nick Miroff warned that a conservative "mouse-pushing crackpot" was tapping into ire against illegal immigrants – or more precisely, Miroff writes that he can’t be dismissed as a crackpot if he’s actually shaping public policy in suburban Prince William County. (This is the same Nick Miroff who couldn’t find the Democrat party label on the local mayor charged with running a brothel.)
The targeted blogger was Greg Letiecq, who runs a blog called Black Velvet Bruce Li. Consider as you read Miroff’s copy: can you imagine the Post using words like "crackpot" and "extremist" to describe positively anyone who stands on the opposing side to Letiecq? Would anyone who thinks the borders of the United States should be erased and that capitalism needs to be eradicated in America be subjected to a front-page story like this, with a message of: "Don’t look now, but hateful blogging kooks are running your local government!" (Here’s a hint: for a look at how the radical left gets covered in the Post, see Sunday’s cutesy gossip column item on the radicals with Code Pink "agitating for peace" and looking for a wardrobe at the Marshall’s discount shop.)
Tammy Faye Messner -- who became infamous as Tammy Faye Bakker -- died Saturday of cancer. Jim Bakker and his wife were rich fodder for the liberal media as their "PTL" televangelism empire collapsed in 1988 and their financial excesses were exposed, right down to the air-conditioned doghouse. Liberal media types found the Bakkers to be the very model of Reagan's Decade of Greed, as we noted in Notable Quotables: