Arrogance: "a feeling or an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptous claims." – Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.
The word is well-defined in sentences like these from the liberals:
[T]he right’s sustained accusation of "bias" is both a powerful organizing tool...and an effective way of "working the refs." Knowing that they face constant charges of bias, reporters respond by bending over backward to show how tough they can be on progressives and Democrats. In contrast, when Media Matters for America criticizes the news media, it’s for a simple reason: we want them to do their jobs and do them right.
There may be no more profound difference between the left and the right on media issues than this: progressives believe in journalism.
If Democrats predict elections like they predict basketball games, the President's in for a happy November. On the blog of the Democratic National Committee, official blogger Tim Tagaris offered his hot betting tip:
Last night to fill out your brackets. Friendly advice, pick Southern Illinois in rounds one & two then brag to your friends about it on Sunday night.
But the Salukis were crushed, (or as they might say in Morgantown, Pittsnogled) by West Virginia, 64-46.
In this week's Live Chat on the Newsweek website, Howard Fineman came online to chat about the pro-life trend in South Dakota and how that might affect the Republicans. (Their answer: it will hurt them.) Fineman seemed to be having a fine time, claiming "I'm glad to be doing one again. I always learn a lot doing them. As Newsweek's chief political correspondent, I can't do my job by hunkering down inside the Beltway, either literally or digitally." But it wasn't long before the hunkering down occurred:
Hudson, OH: Given the majority of the media is liberal and pro-choice do you expect the media including Newsweek to cover this issue objectively and without personal bias?
Over at TimesWatch on Thursday, Clay Waters tackled a controversy over a postponed play celebrating the life and activism of Rachel Corrie, an American-flag-burning activist for Israel-hating Palestinian terrorism. The third anniversary of Corrie’s death by standing in front of an Israeli bulldozer drew Jesse McKinley to write in the Times about how a Manhattan theatre company was delaying its staging of a British Corrie-celebrating play drawn from her life and writings. As Clay reported:
McKinley presents a false choice on how to take Corrie's activism: "Given the sharply divided opinions of Ms. Corrie -- idealistic or recklessly naive, depending on one's political point of view -- Mr. Nicola said on Monday that the workshop needed ‘more time to learn more and figure a way to proceed.’"
The national media was full of broken hearts last week when Dana Reeve died at 44, after nearly a decade of caring for disabled “Superman” star Christopher Reeve. It was obvious from the coverage that this woman had won hearts and made friendships in the media elite. But something strange happened in all the laudatory waves of coverage. Someone shrunk her activism.
It’s common for reporting on embryo-destroying stem cell research to leave out the embryo-destroying part. But the tear-stained accounts of Reeve’s sudden end often left out the words “stem cell” as well. This week’s Newsweek has a two-page article, largely about lung cancer, headlined "A Legacy of Love and Hope: Dana Reeve dedicated her life to finding a cure for spinal-cord injuries, only to fall victim to lung cancer."
Fresh from his latest stint with Letterman, leftist comedian/radio host/potential Senate candidate Al Franken appeared on Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" on Wednesday night, for yet another course in double-O'Reilly bashing. The transcript reads like a rerun episode of the Keith Olbermann interview on Tuesday:
Colbert: "What do you have against Papa Bear?"
Franken: "Um, let's see, he's, he's a lout."
Franken: "He's a liar."
Franken: "He’s...a moron or an idiot."
Franken: "He's a bully – he’s a hypocrite, he's a huge hypocrite."
Mark Levin's radio show began with a cannon blast at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who claimed in a recent speech that threats against her life from the "irrational fringe" are encouraged by congressional Republican and conservative criticism of the court. (See all the rhetorical highlights on Levin's NRO blog.) AP reporter Gina Holland wrote up Justice Ginsburg's speech with energetic emphasis on Ginsburg's thesis that conservative criticism apparently/inevitably leads to violence:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said she and former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor have been the targets of death threats from the "irrational fringe" of society, people apparently spurred by Republican criticism of the high court.
One tried-and-true way to measure a media bias is to compare and contrast events. The comparisons are rarely perfect, but they can illuminate that the "news" is very much a product of human opinion, and rarely do the major media’s assignment editors seem to consider how they covered something in 2006 to something they covered in 1996 (or sometimes, how they covered something in March compared to December). Today’s experiment: Russ Feingold’s censure ploy versus Rep. Bob Barr making rumbles about a Clinton impeachment in 1997. The WashPost put Feingold on A-1 and A-2 yesterday. What about Bob?
It broke out at exactly this time of year in 1997, when Barr, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, suggested to chairman Henry Hyde that they consider impeachment for Clinton for illegal fundraising from China and other scandals. Hyde was asked about it on "Fox News Sunday," and said they were studying it, but found it a "bit of a stretch." Both the Post and the Washington Times put a few paragraphs in on Monday, March 17. Then the paths diverge.
Marc Morano at our CNSNews.com chronicles how the hard-left "peace" groups are fighting each other and feuding so much that they cannot unify for a big rally on the third anniversary of the beginning of the Allied liberation of Iraq:
...the groups appear to be caught in their own brand of civil war, criticizing each other for management styles, sympathizing with Communist dictators, and pandering to the media. They have bickered over alleged racism and even over issues like who would get more microphone time and pay for the portable toilets at anti-war rallies.
The feuding appears to have precluded any kind of nationally coordinated anti-war rallies from happening on March 19, the third-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Small, local protests are planned by various anti-war groups around the country.
"The souring of the political atmosphere is largely due to ANSWER, which, in our experience, consistently substitutes labels ('racist,' 'anti-unity') and mischaracterization of others' views for substantive political debate or problem solving," reads the open letter issued last Dec. 12, by the group United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ). It marked the opening salvo in a war of words that has been fought on the groups' individual websites and all over the blogosphere.
Comedy Central star Stephen Colbert’s nightly conservative/O’Reilly-mocking show "The Colbert Report" invited on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann Tuesday night to double up on the O’Reilly bashing. It started predictably, before the word "Nazi" came out:
Colbert: "Why do you have a problem with my hero, papa bear Bill O'Reilly? You guys have been going at it, hammer and tongs."
Olbermann: "Well, Stephen, he's an idiot."
Colbert: "You say that like it's a bad thing. I think he sees the world simply, okay? Without all your complicated facts."
Olbermann: "We're both saying the same thing. He's an idiot."
Sen. Russ Feingold's motion to censure President Bush for warrantless eavesdropping on suspected terrorists is drawing major attention -- even if its political chances are roughly zero. The front page of the Washington Post blows the hot air of publicity on Feingold's leftist crusade, but the headline is "A Senate Maverick Acts to Force an Issue." Why are the "mavericks" always to the left of the party mainstream?
Reporter Shailagh Murray does a better job of defining Feingold in paragraph number 12: "a Democratic outsider and iconoclast and a darling of progressives." Although it should be said that a pile of people who don't like this censure stunt are "progressives." This would be better described as an act of an ultraliberal, on the radical left, throwing a bone to the MoveOn crowd and the Daily Kosmonauts. Then she really makes Feingold sound like a weird combination plate:
In acknowledging Mike Wallace's semi-retirement, CBS News President Sean McManus handed out a bouquet of praise: "Mike has completely embodied what good, tough, fair journalism should be over the course of his 60-plus years in the business."
Is that true? Is he Mr. Fairness? No. To the MRC, the record shows that Wallace has been just another well-paid CBS partisan liberal, and more so recently, on the Iraq war. Here's a sampler of Notable Quotables:
What? Wounded Vets Aren't Peaceniks Yet? "I was astonished: Almost all of them support the war, despite the fact that it’s taken such a toll on them. We asked them flat out: Should we be there? And the ones that are the most severely hit believe yes, we should have been there. They are not angry at the President, they’re not angry at the establishment. I promise you, you’ll be astonished if you’re up that late on Sunday night." — CBS’s Mike Wallace on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning February 10, 2006, where he was promoting his 60 Minutes story on four severely wounded veterans of the Iraq war.
The New York Times (via TVNewser) discovered that CBS "60 Minutes" fixture Mike Wallace will retire: "After serving as a correspondent on 60 Minutes since its inception in September 1968, Mr. Wallace said today that he had decided to retire this spring, at the end of the current television season. He said that the move had come at his initiative, and that 'CBS is not pushing me.'"
Conservatives might not want to cheer too loud. TV Newser suggests in the next posting, a tipster told him executive producer Jeff Fager wants more room for refugees from the cancelled "60 Minutes II"...So now there will be more room for former 60 II correspondent Scott Pelley and the rest of the team. "Don't be surprised to see Aaron Brown join, along with the newly recruited Katie Couric...imagine that!," an e-mailer says, adding "now who will replace [Andy] Rooney?" The departure makes some sense, as Wallace just recently sold a new version of his memoirs. And now CBS is off the hook on those gun-control stories Wallace was supposed to skip.
For Wallace-watchers of a more seasoned vintage, perhaps the most-recounted Wallace anecdote didn't appear on CBS, but on PBS. The year was 1989, as MediaWatch recounted an "Ethics in America" panel discussion on war coverage:
From the Cherry Hill, New Jersey Courier-Post, (via Romenesko and Senor Spruiell at NRO), we learn that humor columnist Jim Walsh got a surprising kick out of trying to get Dan Rather to see how journalism is practiced as it's preached...and found his microphone cut off:
I logged another first in my reporting career last week.
Your humble correspondent was booed.
And for that honor, I must thank either my own rude behavior -- or a bunch of folks with no appreciation for irony.
AP reports that actor and legendary soul singer Isaac Hayes has left the role of Chef on the snide adult cartoon "South Park" because he cannot abide its mockery of religion. One of the show's co-creators, Matt Stone, was quick to attack the singer's sudden departure after eight seasons:
Stone told AP he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin...This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians." Last November, "South Park" aired a Scientology-mocking episode where the child Stan is thought to be the second coming of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and Hollywood celebrities come to visit. When Stan mocks Tom Cruise, the actor locks himself in Stan's closet, allowing the writers to make endless gay jokes about Cruise refusing to come out of the closet.
Here's a little more from Brian Lamb's interview with Keith Olbermann on C-SPAN, in particular, more of his denying a liberal bias, lamely vowing he "goes after power," Republican or Democrat, and his explanations for why he has a regular "museum" of VHS tapes of his shows to preserve himself for posterity.
About halfway through the C-SPAN hour, Lamb played a typical "Countdown" clip, with Olbermann mocking Harry Whittington for suggesting the Cheney shooting accident happened on a "Friday" instead of a "Saturday." Lamb was a little blunt:
Lamb: "As you know, anybody watching this will see bias right there."
On C-SPAN’s Sunday night Brian Lamb interview show "Q & A," MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann lit into Fox News Channel in an extended rant, suggesting that its demise was the "best hope of mankind." He could not believe their "fear"-based marketing strategy about being an oasis of balance in a liberal media world, was just agog at "the idea that there are vast [media] structures designed to foment liberal causes."
He also oddly claimed that while now he’s described as a "screaming liberal," no one called him that in his previous MSNBC stint during the Lewinsky scandal. Correction: the MRC gave him an award for outrageousness for comparing Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr to Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler.
John McCain made the front page in both Saturday's and Sunday's editions of the Washington Post. This is the first obvious sign of how the 2008 race will play out: once again, the liberal media will put Sen. McCain on a fluffy bed of pillows and carry his platform around while he feeds them donuts. They never seem to understand that their constant championing of him poisons what mild appeal McCain might have with the conservative base.
Satuday's story by Tom Edsall and Chris Cillizza was headlined "Money's Going to Talk in 2008." McCain's name was not in the first paragraphs of that story, but it was illustrated with a photo of McCain at this weekend's Memphis dog-and-pony show, and the caption explained "The Arizonan praised President Bush and muddied a straw poll by telling his supporters to write in Bush's name instead." (Edsall and Cillizza were talking about the big money-stakes this time around. Dan Balz had the McCain story from Memphis.)
The cover of The Washington Post "Book World" section Sunday preached environmental alarmism, with the headine: "Global Warning: Three New Books Argue That We Are Smothering Our Home." Inside, freelance journalist Thomas Hayden (no, not Jane-Fonda-marryin' Tom Hayden, a different one) touted three books, two of them featuring "objective" media authors: Elizabeth Kolbert, a former reporter for the New York Times, and Eugene Linden, a longtime global-warming soothsayer for Time magazine.
Hayden summarizes that the most discouraging problem is dealing with incredibly cautious media outlets, who have not been passionate enough in their exclusion of annoying and worthless conservatives and skeptical scientists:
In the weekly Friday afternoon roundtable with Cam Edwards at NRANews.com, he brought up three stories he had seen that he doubted had received much national media attention:
1. AP reported a sports-and-politics story from Puerto Rico: "While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: "Down With Fidel," sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with fastball velocity." A Castro stooge was upset with a man with an anti-Castro sign. He was lectured on free speech by the local police.
2. Frank Greve of Knight-Ridder had an unusual story: chronicling something that didn't happen: a teen crime wave predicted by "conservative criminologist John DiIulio." Greve also notes he wrote a book on it with Bill Bennett. Neither man had comment. But there's still a good-news-for-Bush angle in it: "Americans are experiencing the sharpest decline in teen crime in modern history. Schools today are as safe as they were in the 1960s, according to Justice Department figures."
While CBS has its guru Michael "Clinton Rocks" O'Hanlon, ABC's "Good Morning America" today used another current hot morning pundit in New York Times columnist Thomas "In the Tank for Ethanol" Friedman. MRC's Brian Boyd noticed that when asked how Iran could punish America, Friedman grew positively giddy thinking about the whopping economic depression they could give us:
Charles Gibson: "When Iran threatens harm and pain what can they do necessarily? I mean, are they talking about restricting oil sales and cutting off oil and perhaps driving the price of oil up? Are they talking about causing more problems in Iraq for the United States, what?"
The shock waves on Katie Couric's attack on Ave Maria University and its dangerous Catholic culture with its "segregation," its "intolerance," its disrespect for "civil liberties" are spreading. Myrna Blyth picks it up today on National Review, noting the same Katie who whacked the founder of Domino's Pizza as a menace wrote get-cozy notes to the Unabomber to score an interview.
Here's another example of Katie picking on religiously centered towns only when they're Catholic. The town of New Square, New York (population 4,624) floated up to national attention in 2001, after it was discovered that this all-Hasidic Jewish community offered more than 99 percent of their votes for Hillary Clinton for Senate in 2000. On "Meet the Press," Tim Russert noted The New York Daily News reported President Clinton granted clemency to four men "convicted of swiping millions in federal education grants by establishing a fake Jewish school." The clemency came after Clinton held a White House meeting in December 2000 with Senator-elect Hillary Clinton and New Square Rabbi David Twersky. Guess how rough Katie Couric was on that exclusive community, with criminal convictions cleared in a political scandal?
Washington Post book reviewer Jabari Asim writes in a column on the Post website that he hopes the newfound notoriety for the Oscar-winning rap song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" will make the P-word too mainstream, that it will lose its "luster of hipness," and suggests new African-American slang.
My first suggestion: "scholar."
Imagine yourself amid all the men who used to gather aimlessly on street corners, lounge on the steps of other people's houses and hang out with the rest of the worshipful congregations outside package liquor stores -- all of you deeply absorbed in library books.
Except you can top them all by trundling down the street with -- you guessed it -- a wheelbarrow almost overflowing with the latest volumes by our nation's best authors.
AP hyped up the rest of the press last Wednesday about its "confidential" tape it wrongly suggested was evidence Bush lied about no one discussing the breaching of New Orleans levees before Hurricane Katrina. On Friday, AP backed down with a "clarification," admitting "The story should have made clear that Bush was warned about floodwaters overrunning the levees, rather than the levees breaking."
None of this is mentioned in Newsweek, which wraps up its issue on Sunday. Most egregiously ignoring the new AP line was Jonathan Alter's "Conventional Wisdom Watch," which continued its Keith Olbermannesque streak of shameless Bush bashing. Bush received his traditional down arrow with the snarky line: "Falsely claimed no one could have predicted New Orleans levee breach. Let's go to the videotape!"
ABC's Diane Sawyer is the cover girl of the April Ladies' Home Journal, and her interview with LHJ Editor Diane Salvatore has just a few tidbits for news junkies. When asked if she'll see a woman president in her lifetime, Sawyer answered, "Oh, absolutely. No question. I think something shifted. [What, the ABC drama Commander in Chief?] We don't see strength as exclusively masculine anymore. We don't see will as testosterone-laced. We see all of these characteristics in women."
But then it gets more political: "But I do think perhaps that people hope that women will do something about a war-torn world. Now, we don't know that women will be any more or less of anything in office. But I do think there's such a yearning for a less bellicose and territorial world." Here's some other Sawyer tidbits:
If you've already seen Brent Baker and Rich Noyes summarize how ABC downplayed their own Bush approval rating number after reporting CBS's lower number the week before, there's one more angle. How did ABC's partner, the Washington Post, play the poll? Pretty much the same. Tuesday's paper featured a front-page graphic showing 80 percent of poll respondents think a civil war is likely in Iraq. Then on A3, Post pollster Richard Morin highlighted the civil war finding. The headline: "Majority in U.S. Fears Iraq Civil War: Poll Also Finds Growing Doubt About Bush."
But "growing doubt" isn't found in the approval number. In paragraph six, we finally read: "Recent U.S. reversals in Iraq have not dramatically reduced overall support for President Bush, in contrast to some other national polls. His overall job approval rating stood at 41 percent, essentially unchanged from January. Nearly six in 10 disapproved of his job performance, the 11th consecutive survey since last April in which at least half the country has been critical of Bush's leadership." How are these polls slanted? Let us count the ways.
This week's hands-down winner in the Worthless Piece of Air category is Howard Fineman's page in Newsweek puffing up the presidential prospects of Rudy Giuliani. Any political reporter worth his salt knows that pro-gay, pro-abortion Rudy is this cycle's Republican Don Quixote. (Fineman, do you forget Arlen Specter for President? Or Pete Wilson for President? Aren't experienced political reporters supposed to reflect their experience?)
Fineman knows the score: "There are those who think the presence of a pro-choice, pro-gay rights New Yorker would help McCain by making him seem to be a comparative godsend to evangelicals." But then it's more ridiculous (not to mention more than a month old) to hype his January appearance before evangelical pastors in Florida:
After weeks of sounding peppy about Bob Woodruff's recovery, but leaving out one key sign of normal life, ABC brought on the anchorman's brother David to announce that Woodruff is now talking, even speaking some Chinese and German. The Woodruffs are still very dicey about how long recovery could take, but that's good news. His brother also says he smiled when he told him he still has a face for TV.
Even so, you still have to marvel at the logic of ABC News chief David Westin putting his brand-new co-anchor at so much risk with an Iraqi convoy. Here's Westin in the January 29 Washington Post:
"Moving away from the studio -- the hermetically sealed, perfectly coiffed theory of anchoring -- there is risk in that," Westin says. "In my view, the greater risk is keeping it the way it was."
Our man Dickens also discovered that over the weekend on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show," Time columnist (and Clinton-loving "Anonymous" author) Joe Klein disagreed with Matthews on the artistic and political merit of the Best Picture winner, "Crash":
Joe Klein: “You look at these five, you look at these five movies and they are like a right-wing fantasy of what the Democratic Party is all about. It’s, one movie is about blacks, another movie is about Jews, another movie is about journalists, another movie is about a gay journalist and finally you have gay cowboys just to poke an eye in your face. Since all politics is local.”
MRC's Geoff Dickens reported that in the 9 am half hour of "Today," Katie Couric went mushy for "Crash," a movie even liberal critics disliked for its manipulative (and at times unrealistic) plotting. Couric even mentioned how she liked that her daughter's ninth grade class was shown the fictional L.A.-stuffed-with-racism flick to spur discussion about America's unending race problem.
Katie Couric: "And also I think, Chris [Bridges], don't you think that, that the things weren't so black and white, so to speak, in the, in the movie. You know people were very nuanced. They had very different sides to them. So there weren't clear cut lines between bad characters and good characters were there?"