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:
PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler has to be getting uncomfortable for calling out unbalanced liberal programs on the taxpayer-funded network. After he agreed with critics last week that a pro-Kerry editorial was wildly out of place on the show "History Detectives," now he has noticed the incredibly one-sided Bill Moyers Journal hour on impeaching Bush and Cheney and mildly noted it could have used a smidgen of balance. Despite Nancy Pelosi’s promise to avoid impeachment hearings, he wrote, "I would argue that it is still a newsworthy topic. So, as a viewer, I'm grateful that it is being addressed....On the other hand, there was almost a complete absence of balance, as I watched it, in the way this program presented the case for impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney."
The willing "mainstream" media promoters of NBC anchor Brian Williams have touted his credentials as a blogger. He’s so "with it." But NRO’s Greg Pollowitz points out that Brian talked to journalism students at New York University and exposed himself as yet another snob who wants people to know that bloggers are a nerdy stereotype named Vinny in a bathrobe "who hasn’t left the efficiency apartment in two years" and that people who depend on online media for news are "watching cats flushing toilets" – and missing the big stories from NBC’s "oasis" of reasoned, serious news people, no doubt.
If someone tries to say the left-wing radio shows aren't fringy, check out this exchange from Wednesday's Stephanie Miller show. Jim Ward, the show's impressionist (and a pretty good one), is mocked by the other regulars as a conspiracy theorist, but he just throws them in without comment from the others On Wednesday, he suggested Osama bin Laden is on the U.S government payroll, and Miller just rolled along with it. The context was mocking Fran Townsend as she talked about where Osama is:
MILLER: "That would have been good to, what's the word, Fran - kill him, wouldn't it? - that would have been good. If we would have - "
JIM WARD: "Except he's on the payroll."
MILLER: -smoked him out, or maybe even got him, oh, I don't know, I'm going to make an old expression, ‘dead or alive,' that would have been great if we'd done that, wouldn't it?
ABC’s Good Morning America interviewed Bill Clinton on Thursday morning, and while he made the news for saying Iraq is hopeless ("There is no military victory here"), the interview was also notable as another opportunity for ABC to honor Clinton as a global statesman and ask him softball questions for almost nine minutes. Co-host Diane Sawyer reported he was in Africa to see Nelson Mandela and do his AIDS work: "And President Bill Clinton weighs in, speaking out on the war, his work to save a continent and Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign. An exclusive interview."
When the interview began nine minutes into the show, Sawyer lauded his humanitarian foundation work again, saving hundreds of thousands of people: "And we turn now to an exclusive interview with former President Bill Clinton, who is in Johannesburg South Africa this week as part of his life’s work with his foundation which has provided life saving treatment for nearly 800,000 children and adults with AIDS in Africa and also simple solutions like fertilizer to revolutionize agricultural production."
Washington Post fashion reporter Robin Givhan, usually so kind to the fashionably liberal, can’t muster a thumbs-up on Friday as she discussed Hillary Clinton showing cleavage Wednesday afternoon on C-SPAN2. She set the scene: "The neckline sat low on her chest and had a subtle V-shape. The cleavage registered after only a quick glance. No scrunch-faced scrutiny was necessary. There wasn't an unseemly amount of cleavage showing, but there it was. Undeniable."
But Givhan wrote that after Hillary’s spent so many years in the spotlight avoiding a sexy look, it’s profoundly unsettling: "It's tempting to say that the cleavage stirs the same kind of discomfort that might be churned up after spotting Rudy Giuliani with his shirt unbuttoned just a smidge too far. No one wants to see that. But really, it was more like catching a man with his fly unzipped. Just look away!"
White House homeland security advisor Fran Townsend made the rounds of the TV morning shows on Wednesday – except for NBC, which was too busy chronicling the Senate Democrat stunt on Iraq. ABC’s Diane Sawyer pounded Townsend with criticism from former Clinton adviser Dick Clarke and a quip from New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that Bush created a "spa" for Osama bin Laden. CNN’s Kiran Chetry homed in on how critics say Iraq was a diversion from the war on al-Qaeda. On the Early Show on CBS, co-host Hannah Storm pulled a Dan Rather – as in the man who liked to use the words "the group calling itself the Christian Coalition" – and referred to the "so-called War on Terror."
Storm's first question was this: "So we're almost six years after 9/11. Billions of dollars spent on the so-called War on Terror. Thousands of Americans lives lost. And yet we hear this report that we're no safer now than we were then. Why not?"
The "BeliefWatch" column in the front section of Newsweek magazine is often better described as a "Non-BeliefWatch," offering the latest supportive coverage of atheists, humanists, Unitarians, free-thinking leftist dissidents, and "blasphemy challengers." In this week’s "BeliefWatch," Newsweek's Lisa Miller highlights leftist Rocky Anderson, the mayor of Salt Lake City, running down Utah as deluded and denouncing Mitt Romney as a sellout to right-wing handlers.
"There is a culture of obedience in this country, but it's probably no more evident than in most parts of Utah," Anderson told NEWSWEEK in an interview. "That's why we've seen the highest approval ratings here for this entirely corrupt, disastrous presidency." As for Romney, his "opposition to abortion and stem-cell research is a very different Mitt Romney than the one who ran for governor of Massachusetts. I felt that Mitt Romney was a man who could really bring people together in a nonpartisan fashion, who would always stand up for the highest ideals and not worry about the polls ... I can only think this is a man who's caving to what his handlers want him to say."
Monday’s Early Show on CBS picked up on Time magazine’s promotional cover story "How The Democrats Got Religion." Reporter Jeff Glor used two guides to explore how the Democrats would "level the praying field," but didn’t exactly tell viewers that these guides were involved in the drive to help the Democrats. The first expert was Time magazine’s Amy Sullivan, who wrote a "God Gap" essay for the magazine. CBS didn’t explain she was an aide to then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and during her stint with the liberal magazine The Washington Monthly, she advised the Democrats on how to "get religion" in the last presidential election cycle, to no avail.
The other expert was so-called "conservative evangelical" Rev. Joel Hunter, a man eager enough to help the Democrats that he was selected by the people at the left-wing magazine Sojourners to ask Hillary Clinton a question at the CNN/Sojourners Democrat debate (clips of that event were sprinkled throughout the CBS story.) He asked Hillary Clinton a seemingly pro-life question that enabled her to proclaim that she's always been for abortion being very rare. Rev. Hunter’s also written a book titled Right Wing, Wrong Bird: Why The Tactics of the Religious Right Won't Work with Most Conservative Christians.
Newsweek writer Jerry Adler penned an environmental-extremist quote for the ages in the last issue of 1990, writing "It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem." More than 16 years later, Adler’s on the morbid anti-human bandwagon again in this week’s Newsweek with an entire page-long article reporting "If humans were evacuated, the Earth would flourish." The hatred for man’s apparent ruination of the Earth comes right through in his coldly casual discussion of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement:
Environmentalists have their own eschatology—a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us, the 6 billion furiously metabolizing and reproducing human beings polluting its surface.
Apparently, airing 75 hours of free coverage of Al Gore's Live Earth global-panic concerts (complete with children shedding tears over the impending end of blue skies and green grass) was just the beginning of on-air liberal activism by NBC-Universal. They're touting another week of on-air activism this November (during the week of Election Day) for their "pro-social cause" of environmental alarmism. As Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald notes on his blog Changing Channels, "The company press release pointedly includes NBC News and CNBC on the list of company divisions that are participating, not that there's any systematic ideological bias in network news, no sir." The trade magazine Multichannel News adds more detail:
In December of 1999, Katherine Prudhomme created an uncomfortable moment for Al Gore in New Hampshire, one the liberal media never would have dreamed of creating: she asked him about Juanita Broaddick's claim that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978 at a Little Rock hotel. The video from WNDS-TV showed Gore claiming he never watched the Broaddrick interview, and he had no opinion on it. Embarrassing. Along with posting the video, Brent Baker reported only Fox News (and a day later, the Brian Williams show on MSNBC) showed it, while the nets stayed away.
Now, Prudhomme reports on Free Republic (h/t Doug from Upland) that she just tried on Friday to confront Hillary Clinton on the same Broaddrick question at an event in Nashua, and Hillary claimed "I don't know anything about that" and "I don't know what you're talking about." Prudhomme says she was carrying a certified-mail receipt that she's sent the Broaddrick interview on tape to Hillary's office. Since this alleged exchange apparently happened off-mike, it probably won't carry the same delicious video. Will the media follow up on this, or will their usual severe allergy to the Broaddrick issue continue? This is her account of the event:
In his Monday "Media Notes" column in The Washington Post -- for some reason, the whole column was demoted to page C-7 -- Howard Kurtz reported (in his second item) that National Public Radio's FBI reporter, Dina Temple-Raston, recently did a report quoting the American Civil Liberties Union. That wouldn't be shocking, except that Temple-Raston is also co-author of a new book with the executive director of the ACLU on "the dangerous erosion of the Bill of Rights in the age of terror."
Temple-Raston claimed she's aware of the "perception issue," but will try to be "really, really balanced." (So is NPR, which includes the data in her online bio.) This hire is a complete insult to the idea of creating an impression of a fair, nonpartisan public-radio news network. It would be bad enough if an NPR reporter gave money to the ACLU, or attended their fundraising dinners. But this reporter has written a book, cheek and jowl, with the leader of the ACLU, endorsing their leftist worldview on a blooming Bush dictatorship. How on Earth can NPR think it doesn't look transparently partisan from the first broadcast word?
On his page on the PBS website, PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler agreed with e-mailers on an episode of gratuitious liberal bias – a seemingly out-of-nowhere attack on the 2004 ad campaign against John Kerry by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth – on the show "History Detectives." In a brief commentary, Wes Cowan denounced how the group known as "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and funded by a wealthy Republican campaign donor smeared Kerry's military record and possibly cost him the election." When Getler asked the executive producer Christopher Bryson about the claim, he shot back: "In stating that Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ‘smeared Kerry's military record’ we carefully and believe accurately summarized and characterized a great deal of objective reporting by established media organizations, respected media watchdog groups, and an official Pentagon investigation."
Those "objective" reporters included The Washington Post, and the Annenberg Center’s Factcheck.org, which also relied on the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and a Kerry pal’s commentary in the Wall Street Journal. But the "objective" label gets more hilarious when Bryson also cited John Kerry’s incredibly sympathetic liberal biographer and pop-historian Doug Brinkley, and the left-wing Center for Media and Democracy’s online Sourcewatch encylopedia. CMD puts out paperback books with obviously left-wing and partisan titles such as Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on Iraq and Banana Republicans: How the Right Wing Is Turning America Into a One-Party State.
Bruce Fein was a member of the Reagan Administration, but during the Dubya years, Fein sounds a lot like your typical "Bush hater," comparing the president to a long list of historical villains, which makes him a more acceptable guest for Bill Moyers or NPR’s Diane Rehm show. Here are the actual places in the Friday Bill Moyers Journal interview where squeaky-voiced Fein took Bush to the historical dark alley and tried to rough him up:
– Today’s Japanese Internment Camps?
FEIN: Take World War II. We locked up 120,000 Japanese Americans, said they were all disloyal. Well, we got 120,000 mistakes. They lost their property. They lost their liberty for years and years because we made a huge mistake. And that can be true after 9/11 as well.
PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers devoted his entire hour-long Bill Moyers Journal on Friday night to the need to impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney. The stacked hour had two guests, and both were aggressively pro-impeachment: John Nichols of The Nation magazine, author of the book "The Genius of Impeachment," and lawyer Bruce Fein, who Moyers labeled a "conservative," but he compared Bush to King George III, to Adolf Hitler, to the communist autocrats of the Gulag, and to, well, FDR, in suggesting the post 9-11 era could see a mistake like our interning of Japanese Americans. In this conversation, Moyers sometimes played the skeptic, but the overall tenor of the hour was not only anti-Bush, but anti-Speaker Pelosi for being so timid: "Why doesn't Nancy Pelosi see it her duty to take on at least the impeachment hearings that you say would educate the public?"
It’s really something when PBS is so far to the left it’s bashing both parties for not being radical enough, but this is a routine pose for Moyers, where he somehow thinks he’s "objective" when he sounds roughly in sync with the Dennis Kucinch for President campaign. Pelosi came in for whacks several times, first in this early exchange:
Brent Bozell's culture column this week praises CBS and Fox for deciding not to accept ads for Trojan condoms that demeaned men as pigs until they miraculously purchased Trojans in the bathroom and transformed themselves into hunks. But why, he asked, would they have some broadcast standards on controversial sexual matter on commercials, and then air programs that are much more salacious (or profane)?
Since CBS and Fox have accepted Trojan ads before, Brent wondered if there weren't non-moral reasons for rejecting the ads: "It’s possible that two networks rejected this ad not because it was too sexual, but it’s too sexist – against men. Can you imagine the makers of female contraception casting women as farm animals because they haven’t gone on The Pill?"
Pacifica Radio defines the idea of ideological pork barrel. Every year, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting offers community-service grants in the area of about $1 million to Pacifica stations like WPFW in Washington, DC and KPFK in Los Angeles to spew their radical politics. Their flagship show "Democracy Now" celebrated the Fourth of July with an hour with Pete Seeger, the radical socialist folk singer. In this passage, they discussed how Pete's dad was a communist (Pete was a member of the CPUSA after Daddy):
But he, in those early days, linked up with the Communist movement. He and Aaron Copland and Henry Cowell and Marc Blitzstein. They had a thing they called the Composers' Collective. After all, in Russia they had collectives this and collective that. And there, they decided, as skilled musicians, they would compose the new music for the new society. Well, their attempts were laughable. Aaron Copland put music to a poem by Alfred Hayes, same man who wrote "Joe Hill" -- "Into the Streets May 1st." But only a very expert singer could sing it, tremendous range, and only a very expert pianist could accompany it properly. Of course, no proletariat ever sang him.
In an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal, ABC anchorman Charles Gibson plays the scold of newfangled Internet news and citizen bloggers: He "knows people are curious, but he is concerned that when users make their own Internet front pages, those pages will focus on gossip instead of solid information. He thinks old-fashioned journalism is underrated these days." Then there's this:
"It's important to have people with a lot of experience putting together what you need to know," he said. "Maybe I'm sticking my head in the sand, but I still think there is still a tremendous role for mainstream media." He's also a little dubious about self-appointed Internet journalists. He said he was on a panel with retired Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee when someone asked Bradlee what he thought about citizen reporters. Gibson said Bradlee replied, "I don't know. What do you think of citizen surgeons?"
If you’re the kind of liberal elitist who makes untold millions as a precious literary mind on National Public Radio (complete with relentless program-related merchandising), then you are the kind of person who finds the "War on Terror" to be nothing more than the comedic Gift That Keeps on Giving. I’m talking about Garrison Keillor of "A Prairie Home Companion," who takes up space on the left-wing site Salon.com on Thursday with a "comedy" piece headlined: "His stethoscope is loaded: The war on terror must be pursued wherever it leads and right now it points toward people in green scrubs." The recent finding that some terrorist suspects are doctors will no doubt lead to dramatic and tyrannical overreaching by "Secretary Shirtsoff" and the Department of Homeland Security, Keillor suggests:
It doesn’t seem to matter how small it is, a left-wing protest can always draw a national network TV camera. On CNN’s Newsroom program on Wednesday morning, the network founded by Ted "Call No One Foreign" Turner presented a northern Virginia controversy over illegal immigrants through a familiar lens -- highlighting a few hundred protesters charging racism in the supposedly outrageous demand that government officials have the right to inquire into the immigration status of potential illegal aliens in police custody.
A Republican proposal before the Prince William County Board, modified and softened after consulting with county police and legal counsel, was approved unanimously on Tuesday night – but mysteriously, the story by Brian Todd on Wednesday morning was never updated (it also ran late Tuesday). The Washington Post story from Nick Miroff on Wednesday is here. While CNN focused on the small group of protesters, it typically ignored how county supervisors voted unanimously with what they believed the majority of their constituents -- not a minority chanting for TV cameras -- wanted.
Retired Army Major General John Batiste – recently cashiered as an official CBS News expert after appearing in a partisan political commercial for “Vote Vets” bashing Bush for not listening to generals like him – was invited on to ABC’s “Good Morning America” this morning.
Substitute host George Stephanopoulos played the skeptic about the possibly heavy costs of a hasty pullout from Iraq, but General Batiste sounded almost like an official spokesman for Senate Democrats in hailing Carl Levin of Michigan and Jack Reed of Rhode Island: “I had the opportunity yesterday to read the Levin-Reed amendment in the Senate, two pages carefully crafted that makes incredible sense. That is, we need a better plan to get out than what we had to get in. We need to recognize that our all-volunteer military cannot sustain the current cycle of deployments. And this ought to really worry every American.”
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest gay-left lobby, announced yesterday that it will host a one-hour Democratic presidential debate on August 9 on Logo, the Viacom gay channel and sister network to CBS. (CBS News has its own newscast on Logo with gay anchor Jason Bellini, formerly of CNN.) Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have confirmed their attendance. As a colleague joked yesterday about Democrat refusal to acknowledge Fox as a news network: "Oh, so the Democrats won’t go on networks with an agenda."
The debate won’t be moderated by Bellini or any journalist, but by HRC Chairman Joe Solmonese and rock singer Melissa Etheridge. Actually, it’s not so much a debate as a series of interviews, a lot like the CNN/Sojourners magazine event designed to highlight the Democrats’ religious views – except this pander-to-the-libertine-left event ought to cancel out the impression that these candidates are devoted to their Bibles.
For those NBC brass who would lamely insist that there was no "political issue" in their broadcasting of the Al Gore Live Earth concerts all across their channels, Mark Hemingway at National Review Online sat through it and reports that gravel-voiced lesbo-rocker Melissa Etheridge unveiled a new anti-Bush, pro-Cindy Sheehan song. On Monday morning’s edition of the Stephanie Miller radio show, Cindy Sheehan made one of her routine interview stops and said she saw that and loved the song and hoped to use it as her campaign theme song if she ran for Congress against Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Hemingway explained:
6:26 [PM]: Al Gore’s personal troubadour, Melissa Etheridge, takes the stage. Etheridge wrote the turgid theme song for An Inconvenient Truth, and today is premiering two new songs. The first, "Imagine That," near as I can tell, is written from the perspective of Cindy Sheehan. Etheridge is the only musician I’ve seen today that seems really revved up about the cause. Unfortunately, for her there’s really just no way for her to sing lyrics this overtly political and not have it be extremely awkward:
Rebecca Traister at left-wing Salon.com (yes, endure the leftists' commercial) brings the feminist scolding to Katie Couric for granting a whiny, bitter interview to New York magazine, including the odd detail that she slaps male producers for using medical terms for lung mucus. Traister wants to see a "mofo" in action:
Suddenly, the woman who used to refuse to talk to reporters about her astronomical salary and hard-bargaining skills, who unapologetically drove the high rate of turnover among "Today" show producers, and who radiated a steely self-confidence, cannot shut up about everything that's gone wrong since she left NBC for CBS! Oh, girlfriend: Get a grip....
Slam a table; grow a pair; be the mean motherf---er we know you can be.
On Sunday, New York Times economics columnist David Leonhardt reviewed the new book "More Sex is Safer Sex: The Unconventional Wisdom of Economics" by Steven Landsburg, a regular contributor to the liberal site Slate.com. Leonhardt panned the book as too cute and too far afield from the "dismal science" of economics, but the Times book editors gave the Landsburg thesis an excerpt on the Times website. According to Landsburg, people who are chaste and monogamous (who practice "extreme sexual conservatism") cause the spread of AIDS through the "sin of self-restraint." The excerpt begins:
It's true: AIDS is nature's awful retribution for our tolerance of immoderate and socially irresponsible sexual behavior. The epidemic is the price of our permissive attitudes toward monogamy, chastity, and other forms of extreme sexual conservatism. You've read elsewhere about the sin of promiscuity. Let me tell you about the sin of self-restraint.
Katie Couric’s downward publicity spiral has gone from her typical poor-me-America’s-sexist pleading to tales of male beatings. A new profile in New York magazine by Joe Hagan recounts the Woody Allen-esque tale of Couric slapping a producer named Jerry Cipriano repeatedly on the arm in a fight over the word sputum. I kid you not. But not before she plays the diva and whines about all the people that fervently hate her and want her to go eat worms:
"I think that bugs people even more," she says, "that I’m not a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It’s probably disappointing to some people. Because in the arc of the story, that’s what they want to see."
At the end of his Monday "Media Notes" column -- which mostly focused on the Huffington Post, in which former WashPost reporter/new HuffPost hire Tom Edsall acknowledges its audience is "very liberal" -- Howard Kurtz asked NBC about the perception of imbalance created by their massive promotion of the Live Earth concerts:
[UPDATED BELOW with Kurtz's discussion on Sunday's Reliable Sources on
CNN in which the BBC's Katty Kay marveled at “how critical the coverage
was” of the Live Earth concerts and Ryan Lizza of The New Republic
conceded “the environment is one of those issues where the media tends
to skew a little bit to the left. There's no doubt about that.”]
Doesn't this strike a discordant note? Wasn't NBC, whose news division covers the debate over climate change, providing a huge platform for advocates on one side of a contentious issue? And isn't the network helping a prominent Democrat -- who granted "Today" an interview last week in which he was asked again about his presidential ambitions -- raise money?
Dan Harrison, an NBC senior vice president, does not back away from the message. He calls the Gore effort "an initiative we believe in," including parent company General Electric. "I really don't think climate change is a political issue," Harrison says.