Diane Sawyer granted an interview for the May issue of Reader’s Digest. In it, Sawyer said she is eager to interview North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, and would jump at the chance to interview Osama bin Laden. The interviewer, Sara Davidson, did not press Sawyer on the question of whether she was too soft or light in her interviews with anti-American heads of state (as with asking Syrian dictator Bashar Assad whether he has Shania Twain on his iPod). But Sawyer did use the words "fanatic extremists" and "horrific terrorists," which doesn’t always emerge first in journalistic conversations.
RD: Who else are you most eager to interview? Sawyer: Kim Jong-il. I think he is unlike anyone else in a leadership position in the world right now, and North Korea is such an intriguing country.
If a high-ranking member of the Taliban told Al-Jazeera that the recent attempted assassination of Vice President Dick Cheney was devised by Osama bin Laden, would you expect the media to report it?
In reality, after this interview, the claim was largely discredited. However, one has to wonder why Mullah Dadullah’s (the believed leader of the Taliban in southern Afghanistan) statement made last Wednesday went largely ignored.
Was this an attempt by a media seemingly always interested in downplaying the war on terror to keep the public from even considering that bin Laden could have been involved?
Update (15:33): MRC/NB's Rich Noyes will be on Fox News at 4:15 p.m. to discuss this. Look for a new post shortly thereafter with video.
In a debate packed with silly
questions and ones matching left-wing attack points on GOP candidates, in
the first “Interactive Round” of questions submitted by the public on
Politico.com, a co-sponsor of the debate, Mitt Romney got the most
bizarre. The Politico Executive Editor Jim VandeHei, a Washington
Post political reporter before jumping to The Politico earlier
this year, found this one worth posing: “Daniel Dekovnick [sp phonetic] from
Walnut Creek, California wants to know, 'What do you dislike most about
America?'" Romney responded: “Gosh, I love America. I'm afraid I'm
going to be at a loss for words...”(More questions below)
clip of VandeHei posing the “what do you dislike most about America?”
question and Romney's response (45 secs): Real (1.3 MB) or Windows Media (1.5 MB),
plus MP3 audio (260
Read past the jump for more oddball questions and a huge blog roundup.
CBS Radio might be about to get a very expensive lesson in contract law, for terminated former “shock-jock” Don Imus has just hired topnotch legal counsel in what could be the most-watched trial since O.J. Simpson’s.
Don Imus is suing CBS Radio for more than $40 million. He is suing for vindication, according to a media expert, who said “(Imus) wants his name cleared.”
The former talk show host hired one of the country’s top First Amendment trial lawyers to sue CBS for firing him over racial and sexual on-air comments. But Imus points out his contract calls for “irreverent” and “controversial,” and his “nappy-headed ho” remark was certainly that.
Hmmm. That was in the contract? It appears CBS somehow forgot:
One-third of Americans say
they have a negative view of Katie Couric, her personal popularity
lagging behind rivals Charles Gibson and Brian Williams just as her
evening news program trails in the ratings.
For the past two and a half years, the page has been run by an Obama
supporter from Los Angeles named Joe Anthony. At first, that
arrangement was fine with the Obama team, which worked with Anthony on
the content and even had the password to make changes themselves.
as the site exploded in popularity in recent months, the campaign
became concerned about an outsider having control of the content and
responses going out under Obama's name and told Anthony they wanted him
to turn it over.
Over the past few days, Gates of Vienna discussed a very troubling story about Finnish blogger Mikko Ellila, “who has been summoned by the police for a hearing next week, all because of the content of his blog posts.” Mikko posts in Finnish but contacted several people in English about this, such as the Australian blogger Prodos, who owns the site that hosts the potentially criminal blog. Mikko explained to Prodos why he is going to be questioned by Finnish police:
According to the letter, I am suspected of “hate speech” merely because I have pointed out that Islam is a fascist ideology that advocates killing Jews, atheists, homosexuals etc.
Fellow Finnish blogger Vasarahammer explained more about Mikko's problem:
The liberal leadership of the leftist media, Columbia Journalism Review, cries because of the column they landed on in some Army person's Powerpoint slide deck. The context, that this is just someone's Powerpoint, is conveniently left out of CJR's complaint.
It looks like it's official: the United States Army thinks that American reporters are a threat to national security... Make no mistake, this is a very big deal, and every American citizen, not just reporters and soldiers, needs to understand the implications of the Army's strict new policy...
Except the strict policy in question says no such thing. The journalists from the esteemed CJR assume as much by interpreting their location on a Powerpoint slide. The bigger question for CJR is why shouldn't the military treat them as the enemy? After all, they work with our enemies to obtain videos of our soldiers being killed, they run terrorist messages without vetting through the military first, and they take every opportunity they can to attack our government officials, they've also proven that they'll run nearly any secret they can obtain.
New York Times reporters can'tstand it when President Bush actually has the nerve to speak in front of supportive crowds, and neither did the headline writer to reporter Jim Rutenberg's Thursday story, "Outing Finds Bush in the Thick of Softball Season." The text box reads: "In a challenging time, the president turns to a friendly audience."
That "friendly audience" would be the Associated General Contractors of America. Rutenberg, as if in disbelief, quoted chapter and verse the often-religious, positive bent of some of the audience questions to Bush.
A “promising” new drug could save lives of people fighting osteoporosis, but neither ABC “World News with Charles Gibson,” nor CBS “Evening News” even mentioned the drug’s manufacturer - Novartis Pharmaceuticals (NYSE: NVS) - in May 2 broadcasts.
Zoledronic acid “may be just what the doctor ordered,” according to Katie Couric. The broadcasts cited a new study that found a 70-percent decline in spine fractures and a 41-percent decline in hip fractures among the patients studied.
Yesterday, NewsBusters executive editor Matthew Sheffield passed along how bloggers had picked up on Virgin Airlines screening the 9/11 conspiracy documentary "Loose Change" as an in-flight movie selection.
Andersen reminds her readers that "one simple phone call" can make all the difference, as was the case with Wilkow's producer complaining to Virgin. I suspect, however, that a large, irate blog readership also had a role to play. Over 15,000 hits came up for my "loose change" search on Technorati, while over 600 hits came up when I looked for "Virgin Airlines" on the blog search site.
Hundreds of thousands of potential airline passengers are not worth messing with, after all.
For two straight days, "Good Morning America" featured interviews with Dina Matos-McGreevey, the ex-wife of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey. For both segments, co-host Diane Sawyer peppered Mrs. McGreevey with questions about homophobia and whether people should feel sorry for her former, now publically gay, spouse.
During Wednesday’s interview, Sawyer mentioned a subject that arose in custody hearings for the couple’s children. Apparently Jim McGreevey, who resigned after his homosexual affairs and hiring of grossly unqualified individuals became public, kept a rather large photograph of a naked man in his apartment where the children could see, much to the horror of his ex-wife. Sawyer prefaced this by calling the issue one where people "will come down, maybe, on two sides of it." She also wondered if homophobia could be a reason the governor’s wife reacted so negatively:
It's commencement speech time again at colleges and universities across America. Goshen College is one of the few to have already graduated its class of 2007, and CBS producer Greg Kandra took notice. Kandra plugged a speech by the Rev. Joy Carroll Wallis* at Goshen College:
In the days to come, we'll be reading a lot of snippets from
commencement speeches. 'Tis the season. Some will be hilarious. Some
dreadful. A few will actually say something that make you put down your
morning coffee and think. This speech is one of those.
Print it. Save it. Share it. It's worth it.
So I'm following Kandra's advice. I printed it (should I buy a tree-offset too?) and I'm sharing it with you. Unfortunately it contains the usual liberal platitudes you hear in a college commencement speech. Here's a sample:
Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin at the Washington Examiner's gossip page report that ABC is dialing back its D.C. prostitution scoop, and reporter Brian Ross is an unhappy camper:
Yeas & Nays hears that, as of this writing, the segment will reveal only two new names and is currently slotted for a mere seven minutes at the end of the hour-long broadcast (you'll recall that Palfrey turned over nearly 15,000 phone numbers to ABC News back in March).
Interviews with both Palfrey and former deputy secretary of state Randall Tobias (who left the State Department last week after being interviewed by ABC News for the "20/20" piece) are currently scheduled, leaving precious little time remaining for much else (and for all of those salacious details you¹ve been waiting for). Sources tell Yeas & Nays that Ross, who had anticipated a far juicier piece, is none too happy with the final results, especially after he and the network promoted this story for weeks.
Oftentimes, a journalist will defend his/her industry with the claim that people are not influenced by the media. This is true for some things--things that a person has direct knowledge about--but not for other things such as the national economy, events in other countries, and many others. On these issues, a person trusts the media they follow. You think what your media diet is in other words.
The unfortunate thing about this is that there is a subset of media out there which is devoted to promoting ridiculous conspiracy theories. It's scary whenever you encounter a story about actual people who believe them, the biggest being the idea that al Qaeda wasn't behind the 9/11 attacks. Unfortunately, since a Republican was in office when it happened, this means many on the kook left (such as Rosie O'Donnell and apparently at least a few people at Virgin Airlines) are more likely to believe it.
Still, it's always disturbing when you read about or talk to someone who is "that way." That was my reaction when reading about many of the potential jurors in the Jose Padilla trial. Many of them have "no opinion" when it comes to who caused 9/11. Others marked that they thought it was Osama bin Laden "because that's what the news said."
Are you a liberal supporter of withdrawing American troops from Iraq ASAP? Wondering why your side couldn't get it done? Read this Los Angeles Times piece (and the excellent comments of Ed Morrissey about it):
For almost three years, training the Iraqi army has been among the top
priorities for the U.S. military. And for nearly that long, U.S.
officials have considered it among their chief frustrations.
Now, with President Bush under steady pressure to begin pulling
U.S. troops from Iraq, the administration once again is emphasizing the
need to train Iraqi forces to take over the country's security.
But despite some signs of progress, both Iraqis and their American
advisors at this training range are blunt about how much work remains:
If a U.S. pullout comes anytime soon, most say, the Iraqi army will
For several years as oil and gas prices have exploded, a frequent media commentary has been to blame the problem on President Bush.
Either he didn’t do enough to stop a hurricane from hitting New Orleans, or it’s due to the war in Iraq, or he should talk to Iran, or it’s due to Cheney’s having run Halliburton – whatever the specious connection, the White House has been routinely at fault.
Yet, along comes Reuters on Wednesday cautioning drivers about upcoming record-high gas prices with a cause that, mysteriously and quite remarkably, had nothing to do with President Bush.
The Washington Post made a big splash today with a story linked by almost everyone that said congressional Democrats had backed down on Iraq withdrawal timetable after their failure to override President Bush's veto which struck it down.
In a possible continuance of the congressional Dems' jostling with the Washington Post after their complaints against Post columnist David Broder, Democratic leaders are denying that they have caved to liberal blogger Joshua Marshall:
[T]he offices of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are denying a Washington Post
story today saying that Congressional Democrats have backed down to the
White House by offering to remove Iraq withdrawal language from the
now-vetoed Iraq bill.
Michelle Malkin noticed that comedian Roseanne Barr wrote recently on her blog that she's too biased against Israel to be hired for the Barbara Walters daytime gab-fest. Here's what Barr wrote:
In reality, I could never host that show, or any network show, because I have opinions that are not sanctioned by the powers that be who refuse to allow even one dissenting voice over the airwaves of television(in this a "free" country).
I truly believe that millions of jews are not zionists, and that even if they are, they do not support Israeli occupation. I believe that Jews all over this planet choose peace in the middle east over the never ending death machine of hatred and division and terror that exists there now.
Or call it the liberal wince of the day. From Laurie David, wife of someone and producer of the Academy Award-winning mockumentary An Inconvenient Spoof Truth.
2 What was it like to work with Al Gore?
By the time I was done working with him, I was begging him to adopt me. He's like a father figure to me,
one of my heroes. He's so charming and lovely and smart and funny. He
makes fun of himself; he's got a great sense of humor. He's dry and he
laughs at other people's jokes.
Is there any better indication of how biased a publication is than who it perceives to be the most influential people in the world?
If such is indeed the case, Time magazine has given us quite a glimpse into its predilections with its annual “100 People Who Shape Our World” list.
Most notably, although he is the most powerful man on the planet, and his nation is in the middle of a war on terror that could end up having profound international effects for decades nay centuries, President George W. Bush was conspicuously absent.
Isn't that special?
*****Update follows with a little history of this list.
Yet, the following “Leaders and Revolutionaries” were honored:
Tucker Carlson is a self-described libertarian who mentioned more than once this morning that in he has in the past supported fellow libertarian Ron Paul for president. Little wonder, then, that Carlson takes a live-and-let-love attitude toward the escort-service scandal that is threatening to rock Washington.
For those who have not been following the case, Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the so-called "DC Madam," owner of an escort agency, turned her clients' phone numbers over to ABC. On tomorrow's "20/20," ABC is apparently planning to disclose the names of some of those clients, who are reported to include Bush administration officials, prominent lobbyists, CEOs and the head of a conservative think tank.
To discuss the ethical issues involved, Carlson had as guests on the early-morning version of his show today the owner of the legal-in-Nevada Moonlight Bunny Ranch, Dennis Hof, and two of his employees, Audrey and Brooke. MSNBC has shaken up its lineup today to provide all-day pre-game coverage of tonight's GOP debate.
The highlight of the segment was this exchange between Carlson and the two women.
Here's another sign that public broadcasters aren't worried about the appearance of Democratic favoritism. National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg -- legendary (or infamous) for championing Anita Hill's unsubstantiated sexual harassment charges against Clarence Thomas, and then yawning at all harassment claims against Bill Clinton -- is hiring the daughter of liberal Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards as a summer intern, and her NPR bosses "gave the green light, since the election is still 18 months away."
The Washington Post gossip column that broke the story couldn't even get word from NPR as to whether Cate Edwards will stop making campaign appearances during the internship. Here's what the "Reliable Source" column by Roxanne Roberts and Amy Argetsinger passed along:
The brief taped appearance of the President and First Lady on Tuesday's American Idol, to thank the viewers who contributed $70 million the week before to the show's “Idol Gives Back” fundraising effort on behalf of children's health charities, enraged the ladies Wednesday on the ABC daytime show The View and led them into some unusually bizarre -- even for them -- claims. Rosie O'Donnell ridiculed Bush's charity endeavor by comparing it with money spent on Iraq (“$500 billion in Iraq, but he wants to thank America for the $70 billion,” really million) and linked the appearance to how “all of the pundits who are pro-Bush are on the Fox network.” But Joy Behar made O'Donnell look well-informed, by comparison, as she insisted that President Bush “has access to all the money that we pay taxes for. He is able to do whatever he wants to do with that money.” When Elisabeth Hasselbeck pointed out that Congress must approve spending and it is controlled by the opposition party, Behar remained undeterred by reality: “He could do it though, he could do it.”
Last month, Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton likened the Catholic Church in Los Angeles to "an ugly old political attack dog" and suggested that the state legislature reexamine its tax-exempt status for property. Why? Because Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles spoke out during a Mass against a proposed bill in California that would legalize physician-assisted suicide. He also singled out Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, who calls himself a Catholic, for supporting the bill. Skelton hyperventilated over the episode and claimed it was a "collision of church and state." He also clamored that Mahony's comments regarding Nuñez "cross[ed] the line."
Meanwhile, presidential candidate Barack Obama made an appearance at South-Central Los Angeles' First AME Church last Sunday (4/29/07). According to the Times, Obama addressed the congregation and "drew a sustained ovation when he rebuked the Bush administration." The paper covered the event with over 1,100 words and a very generous photo. (See an image of the article here.)
In addition, KTLA5 television in Los Angeles reported, "[Obama] said times are changing and a brighter day is ahead -- especially if he is elected president ... Obama danced and sang with the choir and the congregation prayed for him to become president."
The May 1 Variety reported that Warner Independent Pictures has snapped up the domestic distribution rights to Leonardo DiCaprio’s "documentary" "11th Hour," with Warner Brothers Pictures International scooping the overseas rights. The supposed documentary is produced and narrated by the former teen idol turned environmental activist, and based on what he said at a Natural Resources Defense Gala that I blogged about here at Newsbusters, the “message won’t be diluted by our having to yell over oil-company-funded ‘scientists’ .” It will be another so-called “documentary” disguised as propaganda (docuganda) like “An Inconvenient Truth” that is portrayed as legitimate evidence of anthropogenic global warming. Who needs to waste time endlessly debating AGW, when a slickly packaged promotional movie can change more minds? Variety describes the film:
Docu (sic) explores what it will take for humans to make a difference ecologically before it is too late. A variety of leading scientists, thinkers and leaders are interviewed in the film, including Stephen Hawking, former CIA topper James Woolsey and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.
In case you haven't heard, the entire Senate Democratic caucus sent a letter to the Washington Post complaining about a column that David Broder, the paper's respected moderate liberal columnist wrote criticizing Democratic leader Harry Reid for saying the Iraq war is "lost."
We've talked about it quite a bit here at NB (here and here for some of our coverage) but today's New York Sun makes a point worth posting today:
"The episode illuminates how thin-skinned and intolerant the left is in this country of a press corps that is anything less than completely pliant. It began with the Democratic presidential candidates refusing to participate in a presidential debate that would be aired on the Fox News Channel, a network so reflexively right-wing that its regular paid contributors include Michael Dukakis's campaign manager Susan Estrich, National Public Radio's Mara Liasson, and the 2006 Democratic candidate for Senate in Tennessee, Harold Ford Jr. First they came for Fox News Channel, then they came for David Broder."
That's exactly right. The problem Broder is encountering is that even though he is a liberal, the fact that he has crossed the far left on its most important agenda item (surrendering in Iraq) has made him anathema. Same with Joe Lieberman.