Is NBC News the publicity agency for CBS News? While Thursday's CBS Evening News had nothing on Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's new book, for which he sat for an interview with Mike Wallace set to air on this Sunday's 60 Minutes, the NBC Nightly News led with the “explosive new book” about the Bush administration's “deception” on Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams hyped: “It alleges that attacks by insurgents on coalition forces in Iraq are worse than Americans have been led to believe. It also alleges a kind of campaign of deception on the part of the Bush administration.”
Reporter Jim Miklaszewski read aloud how Woodward “tells CBS's 60 Minutes 'it's getting to the point now where there are eight, nine hundred attacks a week. That's more than 100 a day. That is four an hour attacking our forces.'” Not until the very end of his piece did Miklaszewski relay how “military officials are strongly disputing Woodwards's figures on attacks against Americans in Iraq and just as strongly deny there is any attempt to hide the truth about the war.” But that didn't dissuade Williams from presuming Woodward's accuracy, as Williams proposed to retired General Barry McCaffrey: “Is this now the accurate portrait emerging of what's going on over there?" (Transcript follows)
In Thursday’s Washington Post, deep inside a story on page B-2, the George Allen campaign provided a man named Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Allen’s Democratic challenger, Jim Webb. Cragg said Webb used the N-word "while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s...[Cragg said] Webb described taking drives through the black neighborhood of Watts, where he and members of his ROTC unit used racial epithets and pointed fake guns at blacks to scare them."
The Post puts this in the eighth paragraph of a Michael Shear story on the front of Metro headlined "Webb Denies Ever Using Word As Epithet." The subhead was "Racial Slur Overshadowing All Else in Contest."
A. telling a story in which the n-word is liberally used, or
B. driving through a black neighborhood, flaunting rifles and yelling racial epithets?
I'm going with 'B.' So why did Chris Matthews devote the first half of this afternoon's "Hardball" to the n-word story, and not one second to the driving-through-the-black-neighborhood story?
You don't suppose, do you, that it could have anything to do with the fact that 'A' concerns Republican George Allen, and 'B' his Dem challenger, James Webb?
Matthews opened Hardball with an extended segment featuring Patricia Waring, who in 1978 was apparently the wife of the coach of the University of Virginia rugby club team. She claims that, attending one game, she overheard George Allen telling a story in which he repeatedly used the n-word. She says she confronted him about it, asking him not to use the word.
It's always interesting in a fall election season to see what your taxpayer dollars are buying at the Public Broadcasting Service. Some might call it an "in-kind contribution" to your friendly local Democratic candidate. Liberals would never favor a McCain-Feingold-style bill that made PBS political programs go off the air in the last 60 days of an election cycle. A colleague sent this notice from TV Guide:
"The always-cerebral Bill Moyers looks at diverse topics in this three-part series. The first explores corruption in politics by focusing on the Jack Abramoff scandal."
This new miniseries will air on the first three Wednesdays in October. Screening the videos on the Moyers site, the first episode, titled "Capitol Crimes," focuses on Abramoff, with a heavy emphasis on the lobbyist in pictures with Ronald Reagan and Tom DeLay. Is there anything more mind-numbingly predictable than Bill Moyers raging against lobbyists? (Unless they're lobbyists for PBS fat cats.)
New York Times columnist (and former Times reporter) Maureen Dowd appeared on the "Tavis Smiley" show on PBS on Wednesday night with her typical take on the news: Bush and Cheney are suffering from testosterone poisoning, and she urged the media to keep pushing because "checks and balances is what Dick Cheney is trying to destroy." But Hillary Clinton is too cautious, "fetches coffee for older male Senators," and needs to be more outspoken: "I would love to see Barack Obama and Hillary speaking out more."
Smiley asked Dowd about if it was tough to write her column: "The first couple of years I had the column, I was curled up in a ball on the floor of my house, crying a lot." (Like Linda Greenhouse? Is this a standard practice for New York Times reporters?) She continued: "But as a student of literature and Shakespeare, you know that power can be poisonous. And in the case of Bush and Cheney, testosterone can be poisonous. And it’s just my job to tweak them and say before the Iraq war, we should not be ginning this case up to go to a war unless we’re sure that we understand the culture, and we didn’t. So I feel that journalism has a really important place in checks and balances, without being corny about it. And checks and balances is what Dick Cheney is trying to destroy. So I feel that it’s important that we keep pushing."
With one of his inimitable montages, Rush Limbaugh documented today the way in which the MSM got hung up on a handshake - one the media reported didn't come off between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf during their recent White House visit.
Though WH spokesman Tony Snow has reportedly indicated that the pair did shake hands off-camera, the media tea-leaf readers seemingly imbue The Handshake That Didn't Happen with dire implications for the achievement of US goals in the region. Ironically, on the very same day, the MSM has yet to report on a major, positive development in the region - one that would bring a smile to the lips of even a Nancy Pelosi or a New York Times editorialist - were they not solemnly sworn to ac-cen-tu-ate the negative from now till Election Day.
Last night all three network newscasts did story's on a proposed ban on trans fats in New York City restaurants. Katie Couric practically made out trans fat to be a lethal lipid stalking the stainless steel kitchens of the Big Apple's finest eateries
“New York, New York is getting ready to lead the nation in evicting a killer from restaurants,” teased Katie Couric at the intro to the “Evening News.”
Yet oddly enough, it was her correspondent's report that was the most balanced of the three networks, as correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi reported the price tag accompanying the ban for any restaurants holding on to offending cooking oils: $2,000 per violation.
Last night Bill O'Reilly had on Democratic activists James Carville and Paul Begala. The two guests engaged in Fox News-bashing for the entire segment. The exchange got testy at one point when O'Reilly said "you're both stupid" for relying on left-wing blogs for conspiracy material.
O'REILLY: With us, two close Clinton confidants, James Carville and Paul Begala, the co-authors of the paperback book right now, "Take it Back: A Battle Plan for the Democratic Party". Look, you have been running around hot-shotting this FOX News and you're empowered or you're thrilled or whatever you are. We're fair to Bill Clinton here. Wallace worked for ABC for 25 years. He didn't turn into a werewolf when he was hired over here. OK? You want to pick on somebody, pick on me or pick on Hannity, but not Chris Wallace, OK? This is ridiculous. There were legitimate questions. Wallace grills Rumsfeld. I grilled Rumsfeld. And come on.
It's good to know where your friends are. Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter denounced the detention of Iraqi AP photographer Bilal Hussein. (Michelle Malkin has more on the Hussein case.) He is accused of aiding terrorists and for doing activities one would not expect from a mere photographer.
A Democratic congresswoman on Wednesday cited the case of an Iraqi Associated Press photographer imprisoned by the U.S. military during debate on a prisoner treatment bill that she considers too harsh.
In a House speech, Rep. Louise Slaughter referred to Bilal Hussein, who has been detained in Iraq for more than five months.
David Reinhard writes in the Oregonian that the New York Times' leak of the National Intelligence Estimate report on terrorism is suspicious for several reasons. All the sources are anonymous, the leak was timed right before the election, and the Times only released a "paraphrased" version of what was in the report, not any actual words.
One was the fact that all sources in the story were anonymous. Maybe it's too much to expect named sources in such a story, because anyone leaking classified material is committing a big no-no. But the fact that the sources were all anonymous raised questions that they may be leaking -- and giving a slanted view of the report -- for political reasons. So did the fact that the leaks are coming a half-year after the report's completion -- and a half-year closer to November's election.
Another red flag was the lack of any actual quotations from the NIE. The paper just used characterizations by people who had either seen the final draft or helped produce earlier drafts.
The bottom half of today's Style section front page of the Washington Post screams "Hopelessly Transparent Liberal Newspaper." The goo-fest is at its most gooey in "The Democrats Charisma Doctor," David Montgomery's latest left-wing valentine, awarded to "superstar" Sen. Barack Obama and his "seductive lassitude."
If you see a fellow walking down the block on his hands today, you can be pretty sure he's a Democrat. For, at least from now till Election Day, Dems inhabit a topsy-turvy world in which good news is bad and bad news is good - unless the bad news is very bad, which would be bad. Got it?
By now we're all familiar with BDS - Bush Derangement Syndrome. In recent weeks, a new, virulent strain has mutated: GPDS. No, not a virus affecting the positioning gizmo in your car permitting men to achieve nirvana - never again having to ask for directions. We're talking about Gas Price Derangement Syndrome in which Democrats - depressedly deranged by dropping gasoline prices - blame the good news on a diabolical plot concocted by Karl Rove and carried out in the covens of Exxon-Mobil and company.
ABC hired reporter Jake Tapper from the partisan left-wing website Salon.com in 2001. On Wednesday night's World News, Tapper patted his old employers on the back by publicizing their unsubstantiated charges "by at least five" accusers that conservative Sen. George Allen used the word "nigger" in his college days at the University of Virginia. (He made no mention of the old signers of his paycheck.) Tapper let Allen deny it, but Allen's accusers weren't rebutted by Allen's first wife or college teammates. Mimicking all the other liberal reporters, Tapper recounted it as part of a weeks-long narrative about racial and ethnic gaffes, and professed that the best Republicans "can hope for is that he survives this November's election."
Since the other threads got full on tonight's posts, I'm opening up another thread for comments. I also want to point everyone to a new project: the NewsBusters FAQ. It's the place to go to get all your questions answered about NB. It's nowhere near complete so please post your thoughts.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MNBC's Keith Olbermann attacked Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes during his regular "Worst Person in the World" segment because Ailes criticized Bill Clinton's angry response to Fox News host Chris Wallace's question about why Clinton failed to capture Osama bin Laden. Olbermann, who just days ago conducted a sympathetic interview with Clinton, attacked the Fox News president for calling Clinton's reaction "an assault on all journalists" as the Countdown host referred to Ailes as "Ming the Merciless," the villainous character from the Flash Gordon series." Olbermann also personally insulted Ailes as "having achieved the perfectly circular shape" as the Countdown host awarded the night's top "Worst Person" dishonor to Ailes. (Transcript follows)
Fox News president Roger Ailes blasted former president Bill Clinton in an interview with AP reporter Dave Bauder:
Fox News chief Roger Ailes says former President Clinton's response
to Chris Wallace's question about going after Osama bin Laden
represents "an assault on all journalists."
Ailes said Clinton had a "wild overreaction" in the interview,
broadcast on "Fox News Sunday." Hundreds of thousands of people
subsequently watched clips over the Internet, with Fox foes rallying
"If you can't sit there and answer a question from a professional,
mild-mannered, respectful reporter like Chris Wallace, then the hatred
for journalists is showing," Ailes said in an interview with The
Associated Press on Wednesday. "All journalists need to raise their
eyebrows and say, `hold on a second.'"
During the September 27 edition of "Situation Room," CNN host Jack Cafferty went on a rant over the Bush administration’s handling of the war on terror. After noting that Presidents Musharraf and Karzai, of Pakistan and Afghanistan respectively, are publically feuding over dealing with the terror issue, Cafferty "spoke" the words he believed the two men wish to say, but can’t:
Cafferty: "...I think both of these guys are probably reluctant to say, ‘You know President Bush, you’re part of the problem. You decided to invade Iraq. You had the Taliban on the run. You had killed a lot of the people in Al Qaeda. You had, uh, uh, what’s his name, Osama bin Laden cornered in Tora Bora. You had all these people in your gun sights when all of a sudden, Afghanistan became number two on your priority list because you wanted to run off and wage war against Saddam Hussein.’ But nobody’s going to say that, ‘cept maybe me."
On Monday night's syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera compared George Allen to Mark Fuhrman. Rivera, in his final commentary, aired the allegations of racism by Allen critics but never quoted Allen supporters. Teasing the segment Rivera made the Fuhrman comparison:
"Stand by everybody. What does the senator from Virginia have in common with the cop in the O.J. Simpson case? We'll be back in a flash with what may be the beginning of the end of a promising political career."
The following is the entire transcript of Rivera's segment from the September 26th edition of Geraldo At Large:
Rivera: "Do you remember the moment, the very moment that O.J. Simpson beat that murder rap, despite the mountain of evidence against him? I'll give you a hint it had nothing to do with the murders but everything to do with a lie. Watch."
On his weblog at TVWeek.com, Washington Post television critic Tom Shales defended Bill Clinton's "exhilarating kind of tension" to his fight with Chris Wallace, hoping the ex-President would "pop him one." Clinton was "energized and galvanizing; he spoke with force and finesse" and was "smart to come armed with articulate and persuasive responses." Wallace was a "baby" and "behaved like a sissy-pants" when he was attacked. Somehow, within a few sentences, Shales was attacking former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg as "yelping like a dog" at his critics, and then Shales weirdly compared him to a radical Muslim: "It’s like the Islamic extremists who, if you call them prone to violence, threaten to kill you for insulting them."
As you may have heard already, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) cited a recent study by the MRC's Business & Media Institute entitled "Fire and Ice," a look at the media's persistent bias and misreporting on global climate change.
You can see his speech at the Republican Senate Conference Web page. Just click here and then click on "Senator James Inhofe, Hot and Cold Media Spin Cycle: A Challenge to Journalists who Cover Global Warming" and "Senator James Inhofe on Media Hot & Cold Hype Since 1895."
As I mentioned on September 25, CBS News terror analyst Michael Scheuer pounced on President Clinton and asserted the Clinton administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden, as Clinton had claimed on "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace. That sentiment was echoed by MSNBC analyst and Congressional Medal of Honor winner, Colonel Jack Jacobs on Wednesday’s "Imus in the Morning." Jacobs maintained Clinton’s response to Chris Wallace was "pure fiction;" he accused the Clinton administration of not even trying to kill bin Laden, and described President Clinton as "...basically a junk yard dog with a little bit of polish and a lot of hair."
Colonel Jacobs first discussed the erosion of the nation’s intelligence capabilities and described it as having been broken for "a very long time. Decades as a matter of fact," and was critical of the way intelligence funds are spent now because it’s not "in an organized fashion, before airing his criticisms of President Clinton. Jacobs declared:
This one is too funny, folks, and requires all drinking vessels to be placed at a safe distance from computers, keyboards, and monitors. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday (hat tip to TVNewser) that Fox News's tenth anniversary celebration will include live broadcasts in full view of CNN’s headquarter facility:
Fox, which actually turns 10 next week, plans to broadcast three shows Thursday at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce building on the edge of Centennial Olympic Park. The public can watch Fox stars Shepard Smith and Greta Van Susteren broadcast live at 3 p.m., 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. EDT as part of Fox's 10-city "Thank You America" tour.
Presumably, so can the folks working just across the park in the CNN Center on Marietta Street.
"We'll have this lovely view of the CNN building, and I'm sure they'll have a lovely view of us," said Thom Bird, Fox's executive producer of news specials.
David Folkenflik's NPR story on the crying-at-Simon-and-Garfunkel speech at Harvard in June by New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse displayed a stunned Daniel Okrent, the first Times "public editor"; a troubled editor of the Oregonian newspaper; a supportive Jack Nelson, her former "Washington Week" colleague on PBS, who admits he wouldn't be as supportive if Greenhouse were spouting pro-Bush sentiments; and a set of Times editors who will not comment on the record. Chickens.
Folkenflik's story on NPR.org (not an exact match with the story aired on NPR Tuesday) claimed that "charged commentary" wasn't common in our mainstream media:
Jon Stewart, during a September 26 interview with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, discussed Middle East policy and used the opportunity to trot out his standard, "Bush-the-Moron" material. Sitting across from a valuable American ally, the "Daily Show" host couldn’t resist making this unflattering comparison:
Stewart: "Let’s say, if there were an election held in Pakistan today...And we put up two candidates, George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden, be truthful, who would win a popular vote in Pakistan?"
It’s one thing to acknowledge that, in some extremist areas, bin Laden may have greater popularity, but Stewart appeared to state this concept with glee. He also attempted to goad Musharraf into criticizing the effort in Iraq:
Jon Stewart: "Welcome back, we’re here with President Pervez Musharraf. In your book, it's an incredible autobiography of a life, a very interesting life. There's no mention of Iraq. Is that because you felt like it was such a smart move and has gone so well that to mention it would be gloating?"
Start your TV tuners: NewsBusters senior editor Rich Noyes will be appearing on MSNBC at 2:42 Eastern to discuss leaks of classified material and the role of the news media. Post your comments here.
Update, 3:05pm: Rich was delayed by non-news "Breaking News" on Terrell Owens and a shooting in Colorado, which was semi-news, but he made it on at 2:50 Eastern and had a solo interview for nearly three minutes. Video will be added in about 15 minutes.
MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann flipped out when he opened his home mail yesterday. The acerbic host of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" was terrified when he opened a suspicious-looking letter with a California postmark and a batch of white powder poured out. A note inside warned Olbermann, who's a frequent critic of President Bush's policies, that it was payback for some of his on-air shtick. The caustic commentator panicked and frantically called 911 at about 12:30 a.m., sources told The Post's Philip Messing. An NYPD HazMat unit rushed to Olbermann's pad on Central Park South, but preliminary tests indicated the substance was harmless soap powder. However, that wasn't enough to satisfy Olbermann, who insisted on a checkup. He asked to be taken to St. Luke's Hospital, where doctors looked him over and sent him home. Whether they gave him a lollipop on the way out isn't known. Olbermann had no comment.
Rush Limbaugh just mentioned that the Dems' latest strategy to keep the NIE story bubbling is to make a hullabaloo over the Bush administration's decision not to declassify and release the entire NIE report. I then turned to the Yahoo News page, and what do I find but an Associated Press article with this headline and lead paragraph:
White House refuses to release full NIE
WASHINGTON - The White House refused Wednesday to release the rest of a secret intelligence assessment that depicts a growing terrorist threat, as the Bush administration tried to quell election-season criticism that its anti-terror policies are seriously off track.
After weeks of CNN entertaining the notion of a gas price
conspiracy and one day after the Dow Jones had it’s second highest close, CNN’s
Andy Serwer flatly told viewers to ignore the idea that Republicans were
artificially boosting Wall Street.
“There’s the conspiracy theory that says that because we’re
coming to an election, the GOP is making the market go up, which, don’t believe
it. If they could do that, they would be on Wall Street getting really, really
rich, instead,” Serwer added in his “Minding Your Business” briefing of the
September 27 “American Morning.”
Here’s something you don’t see every day – a member of the Hollywood elite saying something bad about former president Bill Clinton. Somebody pinch me. Not possible, right?
Well, here it is at HuffnPuff, screenwriter and director Nora Ephron of "Sleepless in Seattle" fame speaking negatively rather than glowingly about Clinton’s recent meltdown on “Fox News Sunday”:
So Bill Clinton was sandbagged by Chris Wallace. By Chris Wallace? And he lost it. And he wasted a television appearance - when he could have been talking about taking back Congress - talking about (no surprise) Bill Clinton. Poor Bill Clinton.
That was only the beginning, for it got much better:
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich says Bill Clinton's "outburst" to "Fox News Sunday" host Chris Wallace was no accident. He rallied the base for the election with Fox-bashing and tough talk on terrorism.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich believes former President Clinton's blow up during an interview on "Fox News Sunday" — and the escalating war of words over whether he or President Bush mishandled opportunities to catch or kill Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks — was premeditated to shore up support for Democrats ahead of the November midterm elections.
"I think that as the most experienced professional in the Democratic Party, he didn't walk onto that set and suddenly get upset," Gingrich said. "He probably decided in advance he was going to pick a fight with Chris Wallace."