Multichannel News reports that Robert Redford's putting his politics where his money is, producing an environmental propaganda offensive on his Sundance Channel on cable. It's called "The Green." Viewers can download an "eco-tips" guide that offers suggestions on "pro-environment" lifestyle changes consumers can make.
Redford also filmed customized public-service announcements for affiliates that have agreed to host The Green material on their broadband portals. Participants include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and DirecTV.
The effort is supported on air with a weekly programming block that will debut April 17. The lead-off program is Big Ideas for a Small Planet, a 13-episode series on lifestyle areas in which individuals can make a difference. For instance, an episode titled "Drive" will discuss hybrid and electric cars.
In TV personnel moves, Howard Kurtz reports CNN has dumped its American Morning anchors Miles O'Brien and Soledad O'Brien (not related or married) for former Dan Rather heir apparent John Roberts and former Fox & Friends regular Kiran Chetry. (The Post also reported CNN anchor Paula Zahn is calling it quits on her 20-year marriage.)
Jim Benson in Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Rosie O'Donnell is saying she will decide in May whether to stay with ABC's crew on "The View" or cash in: "word comes that she is in negotiations about a potentially rich overall studio deal," and her asking price is "believed to be $40 million annually." He adds: "With O'Donnell's View contract ending in June, and recent boycott threats against Disney and ABC over her Sept. 11 conspiracy theories, rumors about her future plans are flying."
The redesigned Time magazine is lending itself to selling the letters and quotes that are pleasing to liberals. In the Inbox section, letters praising Al Gore and Caroline Kennedy are in bold letters, as is a letter demanding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales should have been canned along with Donald Rumsfeld when CBS broke open Abu Ghraib in 2004. In the Verbatim section, only two quotes were in bold type: from Elizabeth Edwards and Bush-bashing Sean Penn.
Next to a picture of Al Gore came the bolded letter: "Whatever Al Gore's electric bill is, he has alerted the public to global warming. Gore doesn't have to live in a cardboard box to be right on this issue." -- Bruce Rider, Grapevine, Texas.
A caption underneath the picture and letter pitches Gore as a "leading light of environmentalism."
One sign that a news outlet is liberal is how they can find nothing controversial in peace protests by long-time avant-garde hippies like Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon. The Washington Post greeted her latest publicity stunt in DC with an honorific article on the front page of the Style section headlined "Yoko Ono's Peaceful Message Takes Root." Jessica Dawson didn't mention how this alleged peacemaker caused the War Among the Beatles that broke up the band. Dawson could only produce awe for her celebrity and for her care for all humanity: "Yes, that was Yoko Ono whispering into the bark of a cherry tree at the Tidal Basin yesterday morning. The artist, performer and widow of John Lennon visited Washington on Sunday and Monday to bring her 'Imagine Peace' project to the city."
Ono encouraged public participation in art by having people write their wishes on a piece of paper and tie it to one of her peace trees. How scribbling a wish on paper is "art" is anyone's guess. Is it art if you bring your calligraphy pen? The Post account continued this press release for peace:
Over at Opinion Journal, Mark Lasswell has an article about how ABC seems to be competing with The Daily Show for political comedy, at least when George Stephanopoulos talks about U.S. Attorney firings:
How else to explain those hilarious skits when Chief Washington Correspondent George Stephanopoulos reports on the brouhaha over the Justice Department's firing of eight U.S. attorneys while the proverbial elephant in the room is lurking just off-camera?
Mr. Stephanopoulos doesn't mention his own valuable expertise on the subject of fired federal prosecutors, the kind of expertise that might help place the current mess in context. Mr. Stephanopoulos was the Clinton White House communications director in 1993 when the Justice Department cleaned its slate of all 93 U.S. attorneys, and he was central to the administration's finessing of the episode--just the sort of insider experience, presumably, that prompted ABC News to hire Mr. Stephanopoulos fresh out of the White House in 1996.
Conservative college journalism students might want to consider a summer internship with Katie Couric and the CBS "Evening News." Aspiring journalists are invited to submit print or video entries bringing a local perspective to a global issue. CBS lists three categories: climate change, "social entrepreneurs," and Iraq War veterans. Will the most compelling presentation of liberal bias win the internship, or could a conservative effort start someone's career? You'll be able to see the results online. The online ad (with a big pic of Katie) says:
Launch your journalism career -- while earning course credit -- with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work directly with Katie Couric and the staff of CBS News. It's all part of SPRINGBOARD, an exciting new journalism program sponsored by CBS News and U-Wire.
SPRINGBOARD invites aspiring print and broadcast journalists to provide a unique local perspective to a global topic, and submit the print or video result for consideration by the journalists of CBSNews.com and CBS News. We'll post the best submissions online, and award one entrant with a summer internship at CBS News in New York City.
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) began its spring season of announcing its annual GLAAD Media Awards for pro-gay journalism last week at the Marriott Marquis in New York (thanks in part to 100 donors, including "Platinum Underwriter" Time Warner). Other ceremonies will follow in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami, but the bulk of their awards were celebrated in New York. Among the big winners: Rosie O'Donnell for her "All Aboard!" HBO documentary touting her gay and lesbian family cruise. She was there to accept the award with filmmaker Shari Cookson, and gave a nod to tennis legend Billie Jean King, subject of another nominated documentary, saying "if it hadn't been for Billie Jean King, there wouldn't have been a gay movement."
Also honored in the awards, offered to journalists and entertainers GLAAD thought were "fair, accurate, inclusive, and impossibly glam," were the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, ABC's "Nightline," and especially The New York Times, which won three.
Via Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog, let us reflect on the National Organization for Women issuing a report finding deeply ingrained sexism in the coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The NOW gang resents candidate profiles "that trivialize female politicians by focusing on their clothing, hair, or taste in home décor, and those that position gender as her most important characteristic, playing on gender stereotypes in order to call into question her ability to provide strong, effective leadership."
Let's take the second complaint first. Since when has NOW -- which even endorsed the hapless Carol Moseley Braun for president in the 2004 cycle when she had as much chance of being elected president as write-ins like Ryan Seacrest did -- ever failed to position gender as a woman's "most important characteristic" when deciding between liberal candidates? (We understand they would never vote for Phyllis Schlafly.)
With the Democrats back in
power, network anchors are dwelling lovingly on congressional hearings
now with liberal stars like Al Gore and Valerie Plame. They've shown no
loss of appetite for hearings on the U.S. Attorney-firings scandal,
deemed a “constitutional crisis” by NBC Wednesday night. But ten years
ago, when a Republican Congress prepared subpoenas for the Clinton
White House on receiving political contributions from China, viewers
heard the networks sing a very different tune.
wondered whether subpoenas and hearings weren't democracy in action,
but a waste of America's resources. On the April 10, 1997 World News
Tonight, anchor Peter Jennings promoted a story: “When we come back,
two investigations of fundraising abuse, two of them on Capitol Hill.
Is it a waste of time and money?” Reporter John Cochran underlined the
problem of GOP partisanship: “Dan Burton is a hard-charging partisan
and has resisted investigating anyone but Democrats.”
On Friday morning's "Early Show," CBS co-host Harry Smith was hot on the tornado beat. "As we've reported, a huge storm in the middle of the country is blamed for four deaths in three states. The storm caused 65 tornadoes in just one day. It's just the beginning of tornado season, but we have already seen more than 300 of them and it is likely to get even worse as we get into April and May, the prime tornado months."
He brought on Warren Faidley, who he said "calls himself an extreme weather journalist. He's been chasing tornadoes for some 20 years now and he joins us this morning." Smith asked vaguely why the increased tornadoes, but when the answer he wanted wasn't obvious enough, he pounced: "You talked about El Nino. It's hard to talk about climate and not talk about global warming. Do you think that has anything to do with it?
MRC's Matthew Balan discovered on Friday's "Today" that the latest conventional wisdom among the liberal news manufacturers at NBC is that Rudy Giuliani's struggling under a wave of forthcoming media frenzies, while John Edwards has made an Elmer's Glue bond with the American people with his "60 Minutes" interview with his wife about her cancer. First, the decline and fall of Rudy:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: “I want to switch gears here, Tim, and talk about the 2008 campaign. Two candidates, in particular making news this week, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards. Let's start with Rudy Giuliani, if we can. Reports today, that when he was mayor of New York City, he knew that Bernard Kerik had a relationship with a company suspected of ties with organized crime, or to organized crime, before he appointed him as New York City police commissioner. He also said in an interview that if he is elected to the White House, he could see his wife Judith having a role in Cabinet meetings. How would assess his campaign at the end of this week? Headed in the right direction?”
Monika Scislowska of the Associated Press reported on Warsaw rallies in support of a complete ban on abortion in Poland. It's restricted now to the first 12 weeks and only in the cases of rape, incest, or the life of the mother. But look at the labeling contrast AP employed, the usual stereotype of the epic political battle between the ultraconservatives and the nonpartisans:
The two marches were organized by an ultraconservative Roman Catholic radio station and a right-wing political party. Mostly elderly demonstrators attended a Mass and marched through central Warsaw carrying Polish and Vatican flags. One banner had an image of a baby and the words, "Can you really kill me?"
Elsewhere in the capital, about 700 mostly young people held a rally with music and balloons in support of abortion rights.
Those who remember how quickly the leftists drove conservative blogger Ben Domenech out of the Washington Post blogging corps after three days (with no conservative replacement) should know that the liberal cast of bloggers remain untouched (and perhaps, in some cases, unread). I've been tipped to one Emil Steiner today, taking off after Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy for supporting a marriage-protection bill in Illinois. This, to Steiner, makes him akin to the religious folks who brought 9/11, not to mention foolish religious advocates of "racial purity, ethnic cleansing, and drinking the Kool Aid." Most importantly, Steiner thought Dungy's position showed him to be a traitor to his race:
Brent Bozell's culture column is early this week, since the MRC HQ is buzzing and bustling toward our big 20th anniversary gala on Thursday night. If you want to see it live, we will have a webcast. Brent's column mocks a new compilation of essays titled "South Park and Philosophy," edited by Robert Arp, a professor at Southwest Minnesota State University. You know the drill: take a crude and simplistic pop-culture phenomenon and try to make it sound philosophically deep. It's like standing in a mud puddle and pretending it's the Pacific Ocean. Here's a sample:
How do professors like this stoop to the bizarre idea that children can be enlightened by a show that labors to fit 160 uses of the S-bomb into a half-hour? A show that delights in having Jesus Christ defecate on President Bush with his “yummy, yummy crap”? How can you elevate that into the idea that watching “South Park” should really be seen as a correspondence course, like Newt Gingrich’s “Renewing American Civilization” series?
When Rosie O’Donnell wasn’t urging the Googling of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident on ABC's "The View" on Monday, she was boasting of her knowledge of the Old Testament, based on her weekly private Bible study. She told Elisabeth Hasselbeck she could whip her in Jeopardy on the Bible.
The topic was teaching the Bible in public schools, as discussed in newspapers (and in this week’s Time magazine cover story). Like many secular journalists, Barbara Walters asserted "I know nothing about the Bible, and I think most people don’t." Joy Behar insisted "you can’t teach it as nonfiction. You have to teach it as fiction in many ways." When challenged about how the Bible could be taught, Behar blurted out: "People masturbate anyway."
The creator of the Discovery Channel’s sensationalistic documentary supposedly finding the lost bones of Jesus is rushing his flick to DVD, since the cable channel yanked its repeats and otherwise downplayed the film after it drew harsh criticism for its extremely sketchy claims. TV Week reports that Simcha Jacobovici said one of the yanked reruns was supposed to be his "105-minute special edition, which included re-enactment scenes such as showing a pregnant Mary Magdalene" that Discovery executives deemed too "sensitive" for U.S. audiences. Maybe because it's not exactly a "re-enactment" if it's fictional? Doesn't he know The DaVinci Code is already on DVD?
"This may be the most talked-about documentary ever," Mr. Jacobovici said. "The fact that nobody has been able to punch a hole in our reporting is a testament to how well we’ve done our homework. Even if it’s only a 50-50 chance [of being Jesus’ tomb], it’s still the biggest story on the planet."
During his online "Critiquing the Media" chat on Monday, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz agreed with criticism that today's story on immigrant "victims" of mortgage lenders didn't seem to assume that borrowers are in any way responsible for failing to make their mortgage payments. He even agreed with the online questioner's suggestion there was "subtle racism" in the tone of the story:
Northern Virginia: Howard, question regarding the headline and terminology used in today's Post story on foreclosures. In both the current washingtonpost.com headline and the lede the term "victim" is used. The word implies predation and an I see an implication that these people aren't smart enough to understand what they're signing when they apply for mortgages. Am I reading too much into this or is there a subtle racism to writing about immigrant "victims"?
The top right-hand corner of Monday's Washington Post sounds like the return of Hurricane Katrina. "Foreclosure Wave Bears Down on Immigrants" is the headline. Reporter Kirstin Downey begins: "Immigrants are emerging as among the first victims of a growing wave of home foreclosures in the Washington area as mortgage lending problems multiply locally and across the country."
But the "victims of a wave" line fails to ask the question: at what point are people who make bad financial decisions responsible for their own fate? The heart-breaking individual stories Downey tells could have been avoided if the struggling homeowners had stared harder at the numbers.
There is no more consistent stack of baloney in the national media than Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom Watch" manufacturers claiming they represent what all of Washington is thinking -- instead of the liberal fraction of Washington. This week's edition (called the "Executive Privilege Edition") begins with a typical down arrow for President Bush: "Conditions for aides to meet Congress: No oath or transcripts. Sounds like one of Cheney's covert ops." They compare Bush to Nixon, but not to Bill Clinton, who also tried to block congressional ans special-prosecutor investigations with executive privilege claims. But there are three "Up" arrows for Democrats:
One of the nice things about having a television and newsletter archive at MRC is being able to bring up the old newscasts and recall how very different the tone and approach of the news was when a Democrat was in the White House. The U.S. Attorney-firing scandal is a strong example of how the network news can on one hand, sell a scandal as incredibly damaging for a political party it does not support, but downplays scandal as damaging to democracy and the people when it affects the political party it favors. Our latest Media Reality Check reminds readers of how different the news sounded ten years ago, when a Republican Congress investigated illegal foreign donations, mostly to national Democratic Party accounts. Take NBC:
NBC theorized that the media were too Clinton-scandal obsessed in 1997. On June 17, 1997, Today co-host Katie Couric asked reporter Bob Woodward: “But are members of the media, do you think, Bob, too scandal-obsessed, looking for something at every corner?”
Brent Bozell's culture column this week explored the outer reaches of the movie ratings system, and how the movie industry is looking hard at creating a more "respectable" adults-only rating of NC-17, which is often considered for movies featuring topless Nazis, toothy private parts, and grossly obese men chewing on babies.
Katie Couric was a guest on Thursday night's "Colbert Report" on Comedy Central. Her answers seemed rehearsed, just as if her Hillary-hand-me-down media consultant Matthew Hiltzik prepared her for the mock-hardballs. Two questions stood out as the most insulting: whether she had a "new hatchet" for anti-Bush hatchet jobs, and which job prepared her better for the anchor desk, being a cheerleader or a sorority sister. First, the hatchet exchange:
COLBERT: You're in -- you're in the desk. This is the -- in my opinion -- this is the news desk of news desks, CBS Evening News. Are you literally in Dan Rather's old chair? Do you sit in that chair?
COURIC: I sit in it, and I usually smell it before the show.
President Bush won't address the American Society of Newspaper Editors convention next week in Washington, but the journalists will hear from liberal Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and Spike Lee, most recently infamous for spreading the theory that the government exploded the levees in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to drown the poor black folk. Last year, ABC promoted his conspiratorial vision, as Lee declared "As an African-American in this country, I don't put anything past the government."
The Washington Post can never decide whether its Page Two columnist Dana Milbank is writing news stories or editorials or "news-itorials." But his "Washington Sketch" on Al Gore's Wednesday testimony is artistic indeed, casting Gore as the "champion of scientific thought" and conservative Sen James Inhofe as the William Jennings Bryan character in "Inherit the Wind," the sad back-woods Bible-thumper arrayed against the wisdom of modernity:
Al Gore, star of an Academy Award-winning film, was in town for a double feature on Capitol Hill yesterday. But instead of giving another screening of "An Inconvenient Truth," the former vice president found himself playing the Clarence Darrow character in "Inherit the Wind."
Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold attempted to highlight a liberal rally against global warming that "drew several hundred people to the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol yesterday," but he seemed unclear on its historic significance:
The event, called a Climate Crisis Action Day, was billed in advance as Washington's largest demonstration ever on global warming. It was unclear whether that turned out to be accurate, but those attending said they sensed a powerful momentum building behind calls to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
Earth to the Post: if you hold a rally against global warming and "several hundred people" show up, it's a little strange to pass that helpfully along as "Washington's largest demonstration ever" and as a sign of "a powerful momentum building" behind the liberal agenda.
On Tuesday morning's Good Morning America, ABC co-host Robin Roberts announced they would be airing a special town hall meeting about health care and veterans care with Hillary Clinton next Monday, March 26. In 1999, as First Lady Hillary Clinton prepared to run for the Senate, GMA handed over most of their broadcast to gun control and kids on June 4. This special included 45 minutes with Bill and Hillary talking to high-schoolers town hall-style about the horrors of school violence. Hillary's Senate opponents, Rudy Giuliani and then Rep. Rick Lazio, were never awarded comparative feasts of free air time. Roberts promoted their new broadcast gift to Hillary like this:
“And we want to tell everybody about a special event on ‘Good Morning America’ that’s coming up this Monday. It’s the first in our series of GMA town hall meetings leading up to next year’s election. And Senator Hillary Clinton will be here live to answer questions about health care and veterans care in a live town hall meeting that actually will be held in Des Moines, Iowa. That’s next Monday, only on GMA.”
You wonder just how much is too much of "The View" on ABC. Justin McCarthy not only captured the Hugo Chavez part of yesterday's discussion, but transcribed a discussion of a topic Elisabeth Hasselbeck was allowed to bring up, teaching love of country to your children. She talked about teaching her daughter the Pledge of Allegiance, but allegiance wasn't Topic A.
Predictably, Joy Behar and Rosie O'Donnell quickly equated patriotism with protest. Rosie said: "I grew up watching sit-ins on television. I grew up feeling that if you were a real patriotic person you would protest and stand in the streets and yell and scream until the government which really works for you represents you." Behar oddly claimed that "to be totally patriotic is almost not being patriotic in a way." From there, Rosie complained the weekend's "peace" protests were "hardly even covered on the news," and Joy complained that nobody's asked Americans to sacrifice with gas rationing. When Hasselbeck discussed having soldiers on the show, Rosie recommended focusing on a New York Times story on a soldier who hung himself.
In Monday's Los Angeles Times, reporter James Rainey raised the issue of a conflict between political reporting and family ties: "Some of America's most prominent political journalists are, quite literally, wedded to the 2008 presidential race: Their spouses work for one of the candidates." Rainey made a short list of four of the conflicted:
The Washington Post is so enamored of the idea of getting Attorney General Al Gonzales to resign for firing a few U.S. Attorneys that it's even seeping into the Sports section. In their attempted-humor column called "Starting Lineup," Dan Steinberg and Desmond Bieler mock underperforming Washington Redskins cornerback Adam Archuleta this way:
"Let's get this straight, a prominent Washington organization wants to shed one of its troublemaking employees because of performance-related issues? Um, paging Alberto Gonzales."
In their report on Saturday’s Pentagon protest, New York Times reporters David D. Kirkpatrick (formerly assigned to cover the conservative movement for the Times) and Sarah Abruzzese offered readers several things the Washington Post did not. Their story used the "liberal" label (twice), explained that the ANSWER Coalition was affiliated with the Workers World Party, noted the ANSWER signs celebrated communist icon Che Guevara, and quoted Cindy Sheehan’s speech (typically) calling out President Bush and Vice President Cheney as "war criminals."
Unlike the Post, the Times story was not featured on Sunday’s front page (and I can’t tell from the website whether it made the print edition at all.) The headline was unremarkable: "In March, Protesters Recall War Anniversaries." The Times duo quickly applied the liberal label to protest groups: