Janeane Garafalo might be slipping in terms of celebrity when her interview with the Washington Post is for the Express, the free commuter tabloid -- well, not actually, in the tabloid, but on the tabloid's separate website, ReadExpress.com. All there was in Tuesday's paper Express was a photo and the promo that she called Ann Coulter a "clown" and Mitt Romney an "unprintable." She professed that doing cable talk shows doesn't do much for her: "it does nothing but result in my puppet's head getting blown off in Team America." She's at least this smart:
EXPRESS: In the last few years, what drew you into the world of political punditry and led you to take your views public? GAROFALO: Well, it wasn't because I thought I was good at it. And it wasn't because I thought people respected my opinions.
NBC's Today rolled out a rainbow-colored carpet for the gay-left Human Rights Campaign late on Monday morning's show. Eighties pop star Cyndi Lauper appeared to sing her hit "True Colors" and announce the HRC’s fundraising "True Colors Tour." She also bashed social conservatives for being against freedom for gays in America: "you're taught home of the free, you know, except for you guys there, not, not you."
Co-host Meredith Vieira played the publicist alongside her, asking her to explain how a dollar from every ticket goes to "something very important," that being the Human Rights Campaign. Not "something very liberal" or "something very pro-Hillary." When Lauper added other gay-activist groups as sponsors, Vieira could only manage an "Oh, terrific!"
Washington Post arts critic Philip Kennicott is enraptured in Tuesday's paper that an annual lecture sponsored by the federal-arts-subsidy lobby had evolved from "conservative curmudgeon" William Safire to a more traditional "bold and perhaps even controversial speech that included sustained criticism of religious fundamentalism." From who? Former PBS anchor Robert MacNeil, who used to be one-half of the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour. Like your average liberal media anchor, MacNeil wouldn't know a fundamentalist from an evangelical from an orthodox Catholic as he lectured (sigh) that Christian fundamentalists are awfully similar to Islamic fundamentalists:
"It is inevitable that artists should become the targets of such fundamentalist anxieties," he said. "Because it is in the nature of artists to push the frontiers of taste and morality, to show society both its pieties and its hypocrisies."
While I'm traipsing about in the Notable Quotables archive, let's bring some context to the media's enjoyment of Mayan priests purging the "bad spirits" of Bush on his Latin America trip. If the president meets with public opposition on his trips, that can be newsworthy. But plucking out colorful anti-Bush anecdotes can demonstrate that the "news" is sometimes what the reporter is eager to find, and not the whole picture. Ten years ago, the networks were not always eager to find anti-Clinton angles on Latin America trips. Instead, in this case they used a Clinton trip to make the case that America was too obsessed with Whitewater:
Digging around in the archives this morning reminded me that while the liberal activism of the global-warming cover of Sports Illustrated is shocking, it's not really new. In 1995, we noticed this contrast in Notable Quotables (scroll to the end):
"Whatever one thinks of Winslow's positions, it's encouraging to see a Stateside athlete -- particularly one who rose from the squalor of East St. Louis, Ill., to earn a law degree -- engaging himself in the world of which sports is only a small part." -- Sports Illustrated's 'Scorecard' feature on Kellen Winslow's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech supporting affirmative action and racial quotas, August 7, 1995 issue.
Liberal media outlets aren't usually sympathetic to the story of people growing upset at the changing shape of their neighborhoods, often at the arrival of new Hispanic or Asian immigrants. But AP reporter Lisa Leff reports sensitively from San Francisco that the distraught natives who dislike the invaders are gay men are upset at the arrival of -- gasp -- people with baby strollers:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even on a weekday in winter, the Castro district vibrates with energy, most of it male. Men holding hands, walking dogs and lounging at cafes have long been the main attraction in a neighborhood known as a gay mecca the world over.
Brent Bozell's culture column this week unfolds the new polling numbers for the MRC's Culture and Media Institute on the American people's impression of moral decline and the media's role in it:
A new cultural-values survey of 2,000 American adults performed by the polling firm of Fabrizio, McLaughlin & Associates for the Culture and Media Institute reveals a strong majority, 74 percent, believes moral values in America are weaker than they were 20 years ago. Almost half, 48 percent, agree that values are much weaker than they were 20 years ago.
Over on radical Pacifica Radio's "Democracy Now" propaganda-cast, they're still recycling lectures from the big National Conference on Media Reform weeks back. On Thursday, they rebroadcast a lecture from actress Geena Davis on how children's entertainment cruelly stereotypes women, especially back in the Dark Ages of the last century. Is Judy Jetson too thin? And what's up with Smurfette? Davis started a foundation to fight for the image of women in children's entertainment, as she explained:
Do you remember the kinds of stuff that they made for us, for kids, in the oldie old days? Let’s see, the first animation, of course, was Disney's Minnie Mouse and -- where is she? I’m pushing the button -- Daisy Duck, who didn’t really do much at all, except ask to go shopping, I think. There were a lot of Hanna-Barbera cartoons -- Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, George of the Jungle -- virtually no female characters. I had a vague recollection that Yogi Bear had a girlfriend, and I searched and searched, and I finally found her, Cindy Bear, as you all remember.
At The Corner, Mark Steyn notices once again that the liberal media elite's line that they only love a good story, and not any one political party in particular, can only lead one to fits of giggles:
Here’s something I meant to mention yesterday – theunerring news instinctsof the American media . Anyone who wonders why US newspaper sales are heading south should ponder the behavior of the geniuses at The Tennessean. They had the Al Gore electric-bill story a month before the Oscars but somehow never got around to writing anything up:
Under pressure from radical-left activists at MoveOn.org and bloggers like the Daily Kos, the Nevada Democratic Party pulled the rug out from under the Fox News Channel on Friday, canceling a planned presidential debate that had been scheduled for August 14, Politico.com reported. MoveOn launched a petition drive that it said was signed by more than 260,000 people, arguing “Fox is a mouthpiece for the Republican Party, not a legitimate news channel. The Democratic Party of Nevada should drop Fox as its partner for the presidential primary debate.” The group's Eli Pariser also called FNC part of the "right-wing smear machine."
The decision represents a dramatic shift leftward from the presidential cycle four years ago. On September 9, 2003, all nine Democratic candidates went to Baltimore to participate in a debate sponsored by FNC and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute. Dick Gephardt and Dennis Kucinich even missed a close school-voucher House vote for the event. Brit Hume was the moderator, and the panel had three black liberals: NPR's Juan Williams, Ed Gordon (formerly of NBC and BET), and former Newsweek writer (and current NPR host) Farai Chideya. As you can see from the transcript, Hume asked no questions to the candidates, aside from asking Howard Dean what his lapel pin said.
The White House isn't alone in doing advance work for the President's trip to Latin America. Associated Press is already finding negative angles to highlight the Ugly American President's critics. Juan Carlos Llorca writes from Guatemala City:
Mayan priests will purify an ancient archaeological sites to eliminate ‘bad spirits’ after President Bush visits next week, an official with close ties to the group said Thursday.
"That a person like (Bush), with the persecution of our migrant brothers in the United States, with the wars he has provoked, is going to walk in our sacred lands, is an offense for the Mayan people and their culture," Juan Tiney, the director of a Mayan nongovernmental organization with close ties to Mayan religious and political leaders, said Thursday.
CNSNews.com managing editor Patrick Goodenough has a new column reporting that some of the most visible far-left sites attacking Ann Coulter for making a failed "faggot" joke about John Edwards have used their new F-word themselves: "Daily Kos postings have included the word 'faggot' at least three times in recent years, as have other liberal blogs -- without apology, and without generating a furor."
Among the offending bloggers were Melissa McEwan and Amanda Marcotte, the two Christian-bashing bloggers who were hired by John Edwards and then slowly disappeared from his staff.
Does the Washington Post practice bias by omission out of sensitivity to fellow liberals? Open to Friday's Style section, and the bias by omission (and delay) is, at least to a conservative, utterly mind-boggling. As Howard Kurtz covered the story of Rick Kaplan arriving at what seems like his 26th appointment at the top of a liberal network or show, when did Kurtz explain that then-ABC producer Rick Kaplan was an unpaid adviser to Bill Clinton through his first Gennifer Flowers scandal, told him which shows to do and how to be credible? He mentioned in paragraph 16 -- and, um, not at the beginning of paragraph 16 -- Kurtz related "A personal friend of Bill Clinton, he drew some criticism for twice sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom but said it did not affect his journalism." That was it. (Kurtz also never explains Kaplan was his boss at CNN for years.)
But the truly stupendous act of omission was the largest piece on the front of Style, William Booth's big profile of Bill Maher, which does not even mention -- even as the reporter described last Friday's show in detail as he witnessed it live -- Maher's passionate defense of commenters at the Huffington Post who desire Dick Cheney assassinated.
CNN put together a story featuring reporter John Roberts that absolutely hammered Vice President Cheney on Wednesday night’s Paula Zahn Now, concluding with an anonymous Republican suggesting the party needed an "exorcism" to rid itself of all its missteps and corruption.
When the Laura Ingraham show played clips, Ingraham suggested reporter John Roberts should call in – and he did. Roberts protested that the source was a "devout Republican," and not former Clinton aide David Gergen, as callers joked.
He suggested his story was "very narrowly sliced" to deal just with Cheney, and not the Libby trial. It was narrow, alright. (MP3 audio at NRO.)
Remember how Team Clinton always disparaged their enemies as peddlers of "trash for cash," selling their stories to book publishers and movie studios? The liberal media played along then, but not now. The March 5-11 edition of Variety notes that Warner Bros. moved quickly to secure the screen rights to "Fair Game," Valerie Plame’s upcoming memoir of her life at the CIA. Michael Fleming sells it: "It’s a delicious political thriller of secret government power, covert identity and White House manipulation tht would make for a great movie." Fleming doesn’t note the tale is much more "delicious" if you hate Team Bush.
With the story arriving before the verdict, Fleming warned "the path to release is strewn with land mines" with movies based on real life. Plame’s memoir has yet to be approved by the CIA, and sometimes real-life stories take "unpredictable turns." It turns out that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald and the D.C. jury that convicted Scooter Libby enhanced the bankability of Valerie Plame, The Movie.
Just an update from Wednesday night's Hardball: Newsweek's Howard Fineman effusively praised Libby trial juror (#10) Ann Redington on MSNBC, and he did it again Thursday morning in an interview in studio on the Laura Ingraham Show. He called Redington "bright...level-headed...eloquent" and even "probably correct" on wanting Libby to get a pardon.
Of course, he also strained a logic muscle by claiming that Libby messed up in the grand jury room because he didn't realize the special prosecutor who's sending him to jail is somehow his buddy. "Fitzgerald was their friend," said Howard, since he didn't end up convicting anyone under the covert-agent-identity-protection law. Yeah, and Ken Starr was Hillary's buddy, too, since she didn't end up indicted.
NBC's Today has a special attraction to stories "updating" Jesus, going "On The Road" with The DaVinci Code, and just last week, promoting the idea that the bones of Jesus had been located in an ossuary in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, liberal priest, sociologist and author Andrew Greeley, a longtime NBC favorite, came on the air to promote his new book about Jesus and his relationships with women. Father Greeley "updated" Jesus so dramatically that he practically put him in league with NARAL and Planned Parenthood:
Curry: "He, he also, according to you, had very good relationships with women. Very strong friendships with women."
Greeley: "If he were alive today and behaved the same way he would be considered to be a radical feminist."
Tim Russert appeared on Wednesday’s Today to discuss the Libby verdict. Unsurprisingly, anchor Meredith Vieira asked her co-worker no tough questions about his controversial role in the case. The NBC duo underscored how historic and how damaging the verdict was, with Russert asserting it will "connect with people in a large way." Then, in the strangest line in the interview, after blowing Libby’s conviction into the Trial of the Century, when asked about the verdict Russert said he "took no joy in it."
On Wednesday, attorney Victoria Toensing wrote an article for National Review Online suggesting Russert’s pretense that he didn’t know what lawyers did was a good reason for appeal: "The court prevented the defense from impeaching Tim Russert: The NBC anchorman, who has a law degree, testified he did not know a lawyer could not accompany a witness before the grand jury. The defense then exhumed three clips where Russert had said on the air that a lawyer cannot go into the grand jury with his client. The judge would not allow the jury to hear that other honorable people sometimes forget or misspeak when being grilled on the witness stand."
On CBS's The Early Show, anchor Harry Smith tossed softballs at Joe Wilson on Wednesday about how he and his wife greeted the Libby verdict, what the trial showed, whether Libby was protecting Vice President Cheney, and what the Wilsons' civil suit will accomplish. He asked no questions about Wilson lying about his wife lobbying for his Niger trip, or anything else Wilson's critics would want asked. Anchor Hannah Storm asked Bob Schieffer about how much the verdict will help Democrats, and they tied it to Hurricane Katrina and the Walter Reed scandal. "This really is sort of Christmas in February for Democrats," said Schieffer, even though the verdict arrived on March 6.
The Wilson interview was soft as a baby's bottom all the way through:
It had to be a little jarring for viewers of NBC's Today in the first half-hour on Wednesday morning to go from a drumbeat of stories about how the Bush administration was allegedly smearing Joe and Valerie Wilson out of raw war-mongering vengeance to a thinly disguised video news release for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. The only consistency was liberal advocacy. Reporter Norah O'Donnell obsequiously repeated how Clinton's advisers say she has "an unprecedented strategy" to mobilize support from Democratic women on the Internet with her "overtly feminist message." The only sour notes in the story are old abrasive clips of Hillary from 1992, but O'Donnell suggested she's revising her image from "hard-driving professional" to show the "softer, chattier Hillary."
Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday’s network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train.
Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby’s memory. Here’s how the three networks summed it all up:
Over on The Corner, Byron York is puzzled over why Libby's lawyers wouldn't choke on the many conflicts of blabby juror Denis Collins, the former Washington Post staffer who worked for Bob Woodward, partied with Walter Pincus, shared a back yard with Tim Russert, not to mention the book-writing about the CIA:
From the day Denis Collins appeared in jury selection, reporters asked themselves one question: How did this guy get on the jury? From his account at the Huffington Post, he recounts telling the court about his many, almost unbelievable, conflicts:
As we prepare for a network TV onslaught on the Scooter Libby conviction today, remember that on March 2, 2000, an aide to the Vice President was convicted of illegal funneling foreign money to Democrats, crimes that benefited the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. Her name was Maria Hsia (pronounced like Shaw). Vice President Gore at that time was the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for president. Coverage was minimal. ABC gave it 19 seconds and CBS gave it 23 seconds. On NBC, Tom Brokaw skipped it. A few days later on the "Imus in the Morning" show, Brokaw had this telling exchange on Gore.
Imus jumped in: "He acted like he barely knew that this Maria Hsia, didn’t he? Like he was ready to drag her up out of a park someplace." Brokaw agreed: "Oh, I know, yeah, it was: ‘Did I miss that?’ It was as if he were saying, ‘Did she get convicted?’ He said, ‘It's still in the courts.’ It's no longer in the courts! The jury has ruled! Guilty! Five counts! Imus shot back: "Well, if he's watching NBC News he missed it." Brokaw conceded: "Yeah, well that's true." Imus: "And he only saw 19 seconds of it with Dan [Rather]." Brokaw: "Yeah, I know."
Kenneth Walsh of U.S. News & World Report tried to reassure readers of a new, moderating Hillary in an article titled "Crafting the New Hillary."
Is that being done by her handlers, or by the liberal media as well?
Walsh reported she was moving to the center, on economics and even on
Clinton is also trying to come across as more cautious and centrist, if often ambiguous in her policy stands, to reassure independents and conservatives. In an interview with CNBC's Power Lunch
last week, she urged Bush to address fundamental problems in the
economy, such as soaring foreign debt and massive budget deficits. She
called the stock market plunge a "wake-up call" and encouraged the
administration to find some "sensible and reasonable" answers.
Over the years, the liberal media has often insisted that Hillary
Rodham Clinton is a centrist, even a conservative when it comes to
traditional values. That's why it's important to know that when
evidence unfolds quietly that instead, Senator Clinton is solidly and
passionately on the left-wing vanguard promoting the widest possible
berth in America for abortion and homosexuality, the media will stay
New video of Hillary speaking and being passionately
supported on Friday, March 2, at a board meeting of the Human Rights
Campaign, the nation's largest radical gay-left group, is now on YouTube.
In her speech, Hillary takes after social conservatives who fought for
a Federal Marriage Amendment to prevent "gay marriage" from being the
new and emerging law of the land: "This amendment was wedge politics at
its worst. It was mean-spirited. It was against the entire forward
movement of American history. It was the first time that anyone was
proposing that we amend the Constitution to deny citizens rights,
rather than widen the circle of rights and opportunities."
In the March 5-11 edition of Variety, film critic Scott Foundas hailed "Everything's Cool," a new documentary from the Sundance Film Festival featuring Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel and former Boston Globe-nik Ross Gelbspan (the man who believes global warming will soon ruin professional baseball.) Foundas asked: "Can a movie about global warming be called lighthearted? If so, Daniel B. Gold and Judith Helfand's "Everything's Cool" comes as close as one imagines possible, essaying yet more inconvenient truths about the future of our planet in the same buoyant, irreverent style the filmmakers brought to their last activist docu, 'Blue Vinyl.'"
Time magazine is not going to play to the stereotype of only praising Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. They can find obscure Democratic presidential campaigns to praise. The infamous Joel "I Don't Support Our Troops" Stein has filed a piece praising fringy Dennis Kucinich, the candidate who would create a Department of Peace. Stein acknowledges he's on the outer edges of political feasibility, and yet there's something so right in his "progressive" idealism:
"And yet the universe has been going his way lately. Even his old kooky ideas are looking pretty good these days. His decision to allow Cleveland to default instead of selling its electric-utility company cost him re-election and landed him in a book about the worst mayors in American history, but he was later honored by the city council for refusing to sell, a move that saved customers nearly $200 million over 10 years. More inconceivable, less than two years ago, his office was visited by a stunning 6-ft.-tall Julianne Moore look-alike 31 years his junior, a Brit who was working for the American Monetary Institute. After some smooth wooing on his part ("I gave her a copy of my Department of Peace legislation and my e-mail address") and one date (at MacLaine's house), she agreed to marry him. If that happened to you, you'd think you could be President too."
NBC may no longer employ Kennedy family journalist Maria Shriver, but NBC's favorite historians can still be accused of being big Kennedy fans. A new book from RFK's daughter Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who lost a run for governor of Maryland to Bob Ehrlich in 2002, slams the religious right and warns of mixing God and politics. In a book ad in the Book World section of Sunday's Washington Post, her book boasts three promotional blurbs: one from Bill Clinton, one from perennial NBC/MSNBC guest Doris Kearns Goodwin, and one from Michael Beschloss, listed in the ad as "bestselling author and NBC News' presidential historian."
The book's title is "Failing America's Faithful: How Today's Churches Are Mixing God wth Politics and Losing Their Way." I doubt Mrs. Townsend would ever write a book about Martin Luther King Jr., lamenting how he mixed God with politics. But if the cause is conservative, then the religion is spoiled. The book summary on Amazon explained:
When liberals try to deny that National Public Radio is a taxpayer-funded media sandbox for liberals, there’s nothing like reading liberals writing about NPR to rebut it. Michael Tomasky, a leading liberal and editor-at-large of The American Prospect, recently wrote in anguished protest when WETA-FM in Washington dropped its relatively new news-talk format to return to its classical-music roots. This left him without "Weekend Edition Sunday," anchored by Liane Hansen.
Tomasky writes of how NPR is always on in the background at his place on weekend mornings, and he can recognized that the tone can be soporific, the hosts can sound self-satisfied, and – "there's that air of genteel, tea-service liberalism suffusing the whole enterprise." He later added, when talking about a vice president at WETA, that "He's the kind of guy you'd like to have a (remembering the medium) chardonnay with."
In his culture column this week, Brent Bozell talks about the rare hawkish corner of entertainment, and finds it a bit troubling that while "24" sends a gung-ho message in the War on Terror, it's starting to look a bit like an FX show. (Remember that episode of "The Shield" with the face-melting-on-the-burner scene?) He starts by noting his mother was always a big John Wayne fan, that standard-bearer of red-blooded patriotism, and salutes that neglected genre of entertainment. But:
The sixth season of “24" premiered on January 14, but this time even otherwise supportive critics are worried that Fox has gone over the top, with plot twists so extreme and brutal that one concludes the network is irresponsibly falling back on the old formula: shock for the sake of shock.