CBS News veteran Harry Smith finally confessed something that the Business
& Media Institute (BMI) have reported for a while and his
colleagues elsewhere in the media have already picked up on: gas prices
are on a downward trend.
"It seems like a month ago we were all screaming with our hair on fire
about the price of gas going over $3, no end in sight. And now it looks
like it's dropping like a stone," CBS’s Harry Smith marveled on the
August 31 edition of "The Early Show."
Sitting in the CNN green room in Washington today and staring at the tube during "Live From" at about 2:10, I noticed a promo for a big show this weekend starring President Bill Clinton. On Saturday and Sunday night at 8 PM Eastern, CNN will air a special edition of "CNN Presents" hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta. It's titled "The Poverty Trap: A Conversation With President Clinton." The Turner press release is headlined "CNN and President Clinton Search for Solutions To Global Poverty." How chummy. The release continued:
From Detroit, Michigan to Mexico and rural Arkansas to Rwanda, CNN explores poverty in communities around the world in places where the statistics are staggering and on the rise. In THE POVERTY TRAP: A CONVERSATION WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON, Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to former President Bill Clinton about how these communities and others can break out of the poverty trap.
"I spent three years hyperventilating about Valerie Plame and all I got was this lousy T-shirt." So says most of the Washington media establishment. But one particular ideologue is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield.
To conservatives, this Armitage disclosure is proof that there never was any effort to smear Joseph Wilson, or to injure Valerie Plame. The Wall Street Journal editorial page Wednesday pointedly asked why Armitage never let Fitzgerald know of his role. The National Review says the whole controversy was much ado about nothing.
But does this put an end to the mater? Liberal bloggers say maybe not. Maybe others were out to punish Wilson and his wife even if Armitage's talk with Novak was wholly innocent.
The text box: "A group of critics says it has found signs of widespread voting irregularities." The phrase "far-left critics" would have been more accurate, but there's not a single label to be found in Urbina's story.
I think it's safe to say that Kyra Phillips's bathroom break embarrassment was not entirely her fault. But you do have to wonder why it took so long for someone to cut off her mic. On his radio show yesterday, Rush Limbaugh wondered if perhaps the whole affair was due to someone not liking the CNN anchor:
What was the techie at the CNN control booth doing for 90 seconds? It's
obvious they weren't listening to the Bush speech. It's obvious that
nobody at CNN was listening to this. Somebody caught her. Oh, the
anchor that was on, Daryn was on, and she finally, when this
conversation finally started getting into sisters and brothers and
control freaks and so forth, while Bush was speaking, "And you're
listening to President Bush, who is talking from New Orleans today,"
and then apparently Kyra came back, she's going to take over at one
o'clock, Daryn is still sitting there and she comes back and her mic is
still live when she approaches the set, because she says, "Well, I'm
here. I'm ready," and that went out.
It got me to thinking.
Does somebody there not like Kyra Phillips? I mean how does this just
happen? How in the world can audio and video go out when nobody intends
for it to? But then when it does, you can imagine... I mean, look, I
know broadcasting and broadcasting is me, and these accidents can
happen. Somebody can bump into a switch. But for 90 seconds nobody knew
it in the control booth at CNN, which means they we were the listening
to what was on their own, quote, unquote, air, which was a Bush speech.
I mean Kyra Phillips is innocent in this. I mean, she just had her
whole personal conversation in a bathroom broadcast all over cable news
yesterday afternoon for a minute and a half.
New York Times reporter David Leonhardt had to make an about-face on the economy in today's New York Times:
What a difference three days make. 72 little hours.
In that time, a New York Times reporter went from tolling the death knell of real wage growth to reporting a 7-percent wage jump over last year after inflation.
"[T]he current expansion has a chance to become the first sustained period of economic growth since World War II that fails to offer a prolonged increase in real wages," The New York Times’ David Leonhardt and Steven Greenhouse somberly noted in their page A6 article in the August 28 edition.
Greenhouse and Leonhardt added a political spin to data showing the "median hourly wage" dipping "2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation."
"That situation is adding to fears among Republicans that the economy will hurt vulnerable incumbents in this year’s midterm elections," the correspondents argued before remarking that "wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product."
But new data released on August 30 pushed Leonhardt to admit the death of wage growth he wrote about earlier might be greatly exaggerated.
Air America Radio is apparently so broke that it is now struggling just to pay for basic news services, the Radio Equalizer has exclusively learned.
Locked into a contract for Associated Press wire services until next year, the much- hyped but floundering liberal talk radio network has recently attempted to negotiate for revised terms, including temporarily disconnecting certain elements of its AP coverage until it can theoretically resume full payments in 2007.
Mike Hornbrook, a CBC journalist on the ground in Lebanon, has popped in over at Snapped Shot, and informs us that from on the ground in Lebanon, that there are no indications that Hezbullah is handing out counterfeit money:
With all respect to bloggers who sometimes discover things missed by mainstream media, this story about Hezbollah handing out counterfeit $100 bills is completely insane!
Unlike any of them, I am on the ground in Beirut reporting for CBC News and have checked it out. We could not find a single person complaining about phony money. Furthermore, the very idea shows a profound ignorance of Lebanon and Hezbollah. Lebanon is a major banking center, every bank has counterfeit scanners and other tools for detecting counterfeits. Not just the banks either, every money-changer and supermarket also has a scanner next to the cash register. From personal experience I can tell you they check out $100 USD bills very very carefully, phonies would be detected in an instant. This would bring outraged complaints from people in desperate circumstances that would be a huge embarassment to Hezbollah. No such scandal has emerged because the phony money story is itself phony. The people circulating the story are doing it for their own reasons, but as a journalist I can tell you they are absolutely, totally wrong.
It can be hard for people working in journalism to publicly talk about the bias that they see in their co-workers every day. There are a number of risks involved when you take sides against the overwhelming majority of people in your industry.
Take a look at this interview with Daniel Hernandez, staff writer for LA Weekly and formerly a journalist at the LA Times. It is an insightful peek behind the curtain of MSM. The LA Times isn't going to be able to write this one off as a crazed conservative. Daniel is an independent thinker and his breadth of writing toes no conservative line.
Forced liberal pity is a common pitfall in well-intentioned journalism, patting your subjects upon the head, regarding others as provincial. I find this highly disrespectful.
I owe The Times lots. They taught me so much. But The Times has a very clear, very rigid tradition on how to report the news.
Shortly after I got there, I started having these long, tortured thought sessions with myself about my participation in the MSM. I saw how the people and places the paper chose to cover were automatically political decisions because for every thing you chose to cover there is something you chose to not cover. I started realizing that the mainstream style on reporting the news that most papers employ is not really concerned with depicting the truth, but concerned primarily with balancing lots of competing agendas and offending the least amount of interests as possible.
I saw how so much was looked at from certain assumptions and subtexts, and a very narrow cultural view. When I raised questions about such things, I was told we were writing for a "mainstream reader," which I quickly figured out is basically a euphemism for a middle-aged, middle-class white registered Democrat homeowner in the Valley. From where I stand today, I had very little in common with this "mainstream reader" and I didn't care to be in this person's service.
On page A-12 of Thursday's Washington Post, they report on "More Immigration Demonstrations Planned." Reporter Karin Brulliard tells her entire story without ever finding anyone to describe as "liberal" in it. She began: "After four months of relative quiet, immigration reform advocates are mobilizing a new round of protests in Washington and other cities to put pressure on a returning Congress and reinvigorate a Latino movement that awakened in massive demonstrations this spring." One of the first marches will be directed straight at the office of Republican House leader Dennis Hastert, which apparently doesn't make you hostile to Republicans.
Liberal groups like the Center for Community Change and CASA de Maryland were cited, but not labeled. Bruillard also exaggerates the spontaneity a little when she writes: "Local organizers said they are improving on spring rallies that were hastily planned amid a spontaneous groundswell of activism."
If 'Today' were ever to air the opinions of a think tank co-founded, say, by a former Reagan administration official and free-market economist Milton Friedman, and funded by large corporations, it's inconceivable that the show would fail to identify the organization's conservative leanings.
Yet Today didn't feel the need to do the obverse when relying extensively - for purposes of talking down the economy - on a liberal think tank founded by a former Clinton official and far-left economists and largely funded by Big Labor.
From a New York Times editorial to a Boston Globe political cartoon, the MSM has been beating the drum this week to talk down the economy in the face of more good economic news. The liberal theme du jour has been that wages haven't risen along with corporate profits.
To judge by the outraged defense of Democrats and the MSM that Matt Lauer and Tim Russert advanced on this morning's Today show, the Bush administration's arguments on fighting the war on terror are hitting home.
NBC reporter Kelly O'Donnell set the tone with this little shot at the president:
"While the president has cautioned not to politicize what he is talking about, he was greeted here in Salt Lake by 2,000 invited members of the public who carried signs, there was music playing - a campaign-style event - and we were told this was intended to counter some of the war demonstrations led by people like Cindy Sheehan."
Preliminaries over, it was on to the main event, the Lauer/Russert tag team.
Call me self-interested, but it seems to me that there is a definite
anti-male bias in much of the media. Commercials, sitcoms, and cinema
often mock dopey, arrogant male figures while lauding spunky women who
can do anything a man can.
This attitude (which got so bad it prompted a book The War Against Boys)
also extends to news coverage. Usually the bias consists of
cheerleading for girls and women, often to the exclusion of men.
Ironically, it's not just female reporters who exhibit such behavior as
ABC reporter John Berman demonstrated on Wednesday's "World News."
His report on this year's SAT scores (available in video or a less-biased text version) ignored many key aspects of the high school test and focused more on how girls did better in a new essay portion than boys.
"Last Days on Planet Earth" was the alarming title of ABC's 20/20 special tonight, a show that presented seven frightening scenarios that could lead to our extinction. But the bottom six in the countdown, things like supervolcanoes and asteroid strikes, nuclear annihilation and superbugs (natural and man-made) were only window dressing for the real point of the show; the number one threat to human existence...global warming.
Hostess Elizabeth Vargas trotted out carefully selected environmental scientists to explain the concept to anyone who has been comatose for the past decade or so, leading up to the star of this 20/20 special - Al Gore. Gore sonorously (and soporifically) intoned his orthodoxy, and declared a fatwah against any heretics who might disagree with his conclusions.
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday night used his Countdown show to deliver a vitriolic personal attack on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “a reality check of Donald Rumsfeld's incendiary speech, a special comment on his attack on your right to disagree.” Olbermann concluded his program with a six-minute diatribe against Rumsfeld: “The man who sees absolutes, where all other men see nuances and shades of meaning, is either a prophet, or a quack. Donald H. Rumsfeld is not a prophet.” Olbermann equated the Bush administration with “the English government of Neville Chamberlain” which "knew that its staunchest critics needed to be marginalized and isolated.” The MSNBC star charged, “The confusion is about whether this Secretary of Defense, and this administration, are in fact now accomplishing what they claim the terrorists seek: The destruction of our freedoms, the very ones for which the same veterans Mr. Rumsfeld addressed yesterday in Salt Lake City, so valiantly fought.” The U.S., Olbermann asserted before concluding with Edward R. Murrow's "we must not confuse dissent with disloyalty," now “faces a new type of fascism.”
Olbermann opened his hour by claiming that during a Tuesday speech before the American Legion convention, Rumsfeld “compared critics of the current war in Iraq to those who tried to appease Adolf Hitler and the Nazis before World War II.” In fact, Rumsfeld simply worried about how not all realize how “we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism” from the Islamic world. Olbermann brought aboard DNC Chairman Howard Dean, proposing to him: “Is it, do you know, technically possible to impeach a Secretary of Defense and have we gotten to that stage after these remarks?” (Transcript follows. I realize Mark Finkelstein beat me on some of Olbermann's rant, but this post has additional quotes and video)
Norah O'Donnell, Roger Simon, and Evan Thomas all seemed to agree on tonight's "Hardball" that there's no way that President Bush actually read The Stranger by Albert Camus and three Shakespeare plays as he claimed in an interview with Brian Williams yesterday. In other words, all together now, "Bush is an idiot." The originality of the criticism of President Bush continues to baffle my mind as I'm sure it does yours as well.
Of the three, Evan Thomas is by far the worst, joking that he "doesn't believe President Bush does read"--which draws a sizable laugh from O'Donnell--and then continues by saying, "but before we get too snooty about this, he does read some and, you know, that's not a bad thing. If there's some intellectual curiosity by the President, it's to be encouraged."
Looking back, it all seems so predictable. The relentless criticism, the countless sneering jabs from Keith Olbermann directed at the Bush administration were building to an inexorable climax. It came tonight. Olbermann flatly accused the Bush administration of representing "a new type of fascism."
Though the denouement was inevitable, the proximate cause of Olbermann's tirade was Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion on Tuesday in which he suggested that opponents of the war in Iraq have adopted the same attitude that slowed a military response to Hitler. Rumsfeld asserted that radical Islam represents "a new type of fascism."
I was watching this video from Fox News' Greg Palkot (click on Video and select "Deadly Airstrike") reporting on the Qana incident when something caught my eye. I got a screen shot of the guy with the torn shirt getting UP from the stretcher to show that he was not "stretcher" material like they presented it when I noticed something in the corner of the video. Here's the screenshot...
Everyone is just kinda standing around. Mr. Checkered Shirt is talking on his cellphone. Not a lot of emotion despite the tragedy that has taken place. Even Mr. StretcherMan looks bored. But look at the top right hand corner. There is Mr. White TShirt putting little Zaynab with the pink shirt on display. There is no scene audio to the video - just Greg Palkot reporting.
In yet another sign of its rapid decline, Air America Radio has just FIRED talk show host Mike Malloy. Although Malloy frequently spouted wild tinfoil hat theories based on no facts, he did have a devout fan club among the extreme left. As a result, Air America radio is about to lose even more listeners as is evidenced by the outrage over this firing in the leftist blogosphere. Some sample comments over the Malloy firing from the Democratic Underground:
"I will not be listening to AAR if mike is not part of their line-up, I love Randi but not enough to tune in to an outlet that is destroying itself from within."
"I predict that Firing Malloy will be the end of Air America."
"Air America is dead to me."
"Shultz, Franken and the rest of the remaining lot ... are nothing but useless boring idiots IMO."
There are many more similar (and more profane) comments of outrage from the leftist blogosphere over the Mike Malloy firing at the DUmmie FUnnies.
Over at the MRC's BusinessandMedia.org Web site, I take a look at how CNN's Ali Velshi delivered a biased broadside against the insurance industry on today's "American Morning."
In between stories of frustrated insurance claimants, Velshi shared that “the insurance industry says that some in the media and CNN in particular haven’t given them a fair shake.” In response, Velshi added that he “invited the CEO of State Farm” and the president and CEO of Allstate were “unable to accommodate our request for an interview either.”
Yet elsewhere in his story, Velshi admitted that one insurance company was unable to talk to Velshi about individual cases, exactly the topic of Velshi’s story: individual cases of frustrated insurance claimants.
On the August 28th edition of Fox New's syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera advocated for an illegal immigrant single-mother trying to fight deportation with the help of a Chicago church. The piece cast illegal immigration foes as almost heartless as Rivera asked Pat Buchanan: "Isn't it impossible almost, not to be sympathetic to this mom and her son?" and "Pat isn't it a kind of bait and switch? We lure the illegals here with the promise of work and now we're telling them, either leave or be arrested?"
Rivera noted the deportation stems from a 2002 arrest of her using a fake social security number but then tried to justify it by saying she paid the taxes: "One quick note about using a fake social security number. The tax is paid into the federal government but it's never paid out. So Elvira was paying taxes." Rivera then went further saying that some compare her "to Rosa Parks and other icons of the civil rights movement."
USA Today reported that gasoline prices could be closer to $2 a gallon by Thanksgiving. The paper sites the end of the summer driving season and decreased demand as causes for this predicted decline. Not surprisingly, CNN’s Jack Cafferty sees something more sinister at work here. Before his daily Cafferty File segment on ‘The Situation Room’ Wednesday afternoon, substitute anchor John King and news reader Zain Verjee discussed this report and cheered on lower gas prices as good news. Cafferty then spouted off the old liberal conspiracy theory connecting Republicans and Big Oil:
Jack Cafferty: "You know, if you were a real cynic, you could also wonder if the oil companies might not be pulling the price of gas down to help the Republicans get re-elected in the midterm elections a couple of months away."
Near the end of Tuesday's "World News with Charles Gibson," ABC's "A Closer Look" segment explored racial tensions in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Reporter Steve Osunsami recycled wild black conspiracy theories about how the levees were blown up in a racist plot, complete with Spike Lee soundbites and documentary footage. Whites were said to be delighted that Katrina would make the city much whiter. Lance Hill, the Tulane University professor ABC selected to describe white opinion, claims the government ordered no food and water be distributed to Katrina victims, and spurred local Holocaust-survivor outrage by comparing the government's Katrina response to Hitler's Holocaust. ABC didn't explain any of that.
This past Sunday on "60 Minutes," CBS correspondent Byron Pitts interviewed New Orleans Mayor, Ray Nagin, about New Orleans’ recovery since hurricane Katrina. Pitts’ hit Nagin with statements full of hyperbole, claiming there are "few visible signs of recovery" in New Orleans, and that there is "tons of debris still scattered about," yet, Pitts offered little in the way of facts and figures to back up his claims. However, a anyone viewing Tuesday’s "NewsHour" on PBS would have heard hard facts that contradict Pitts’ gloomy assertions. For example, Pitts claimed:
"Today, in one of the few visible signs of recovery, the 220 miles of levees damaged by the storm have been repaired by the Army Corps of Engineers."
Now we know, thanks to "Hubris," a new book by Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff and left-wing writer David Corn of The Nation -- someone who bears much responsibility for puffing up the Plame non-story in the first place.
Times legal reporter Neil Lewis reports what everyone who has Internet access already knows -- that Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state under Colin Powell, was columnist Robert Novak's source for the information that Joe Wilson's wife, Valerie Wilson/Plame, worked for the CIA.
On ABC's World News Tuesday night, a story on President Bush's day in New Orleans aggressively underlined the liberal theme that the response to Hurricane Katrina is a scandalous, indelible black mark on Bush's legacy. Reporter Martha Raddatz told viewers "the slow response was indeed a political disaster for the President, from which he is still trying to recover." Raddatz ended the story with an anecdote about a waitress joking to Bush that he wasn't going to turn his back on her, and Bush reportedly replied: "No, ma'am, not again."
Anchorman Charles Gibson began the segment, the second story after a general recounting of how New Orleanians commemorated the one-year anniversary, with a brief mention of responsibility at all levels of government. But as usual, ABC had no time for the Democratic mayor or governor and their failures, even as Raddatz highlighted the Democratic senator slamming the federal response. Gibson theorized:
There has been quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere surrounding this story (note: link has been deactivated) of several days ago:
An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday,
wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors
and residents said.
One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media
organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters
was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.
Bush supporters who think that the MSM's sports pages might offer a respite from Bush-bashing should think again. MSNBC managed to slip a sneak attack on the president into a seemingly innocuous article on the recent collapse of the Boston Red Sox.
Wrote MSNBC contributor Bob Cook, criticizing Sox General Manager Theo Epstein [pictured here]:
"Epstein might be better [sic] keeping his mouth shut for a while. His recent, unfoundedly optimistic pronouncements have him sounding like President Bush on Iraq."