Declaring he “absolutely” believes “the truth” of his discredited story based on forged memos, about President Bush's National Guard record, on Wednesday's Larry King Live on CNN Dan Rather contended that “we had a lot, a lot of corroboration, of what we broadcast about President Bush's military record. It wasn't just the documents.” Rather then attacked those who dared to expose his misdeeds: “It's a very old technique used, that when those who don't like what you're reporting believe it can be hurtful, then they look for the weakest spot and attack it, which is fair enough. It's a diversionary technique."
A bit later, Rather played the martyr. Reminded by King of how Rather's CBS News was called “the liberal network,” Rather charged: "They call you names when you insist on being independent.” Rather proceeded to insist, clearly talking about himself, that journalists who are “willing to be truly independent, and fiercely independent when called upon, and dedicated to pulling no punches and playing no favorites have become in recent years a bit of an endangered species.” Rather even resurrected how CBS “took on” Senator McCarthy and “led in coverage of the only President in history who resigned as an unindicted co-conspirator in a widespread criminal conspiracy. Now, when you're a reporter involved in those kinds of stories on a regular basis, there are...powerful people who say we've got to get rid of this guy or...we're going to damage him up. And that's when they start hanging the signs around you."
Video clip #1, Rather "absolutely" believes Bush story "true" (43 seconds): Real (1.3 MB) or Windows Media (1.5 MB), plus MP3 audio (260 KB)
Video clip #2, Rather denounces his critics and insists he's "fiercely independent" (2:32): Real (4.4 MB) or Windows Media (5 MB at 256 kbps or 1.7 MB at 100 kbps), plus MP3 audio (900 KB)
Are you like me? Have you assumed that Alan Colmes is an essentially harmless, if misguided, liberal? If so, we might all have to rethink things in light of Colmes' apparent statement on tonight's Hannity & Colmes that he is 'agnostic' as to who is responsible for the destruction of the World Trade Center.
The MRC’s Rich Noyes noticed that a new campaign ad for Congressional Democrats shows a picture of American flag-draped coffins in its vignette (hat tip to Drudge). Given the media outrage concerning President Bush using 9/11 images in his 2004 advertisements, this raises the question as to whether the press are going to be equally disgusted by such imagery when it is employed by Democrats two years later.
The video in question is currently posted at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website, and shows a variety of images including a satellite picture of Hurricane Katrina approaching New Orleans, the devastation caused by the hurricane, lobbyist Jack Abramoff, war pictures from Iraq, and at one point, flag-draped coffins presumably of American soldiers.
As the MRC reported on March 12, 2004, when a campaign ad for the re-election of President Bush that year showed images of the 9/11 attacks on America, the media were quite outraged:
Katie Couric is set to become the new anchor of the CBS Evening News. Before she starts her job, she is going on a "listening tour" of the country. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune says that her entourage visited a city library.
The local Minneapolis CBS affiliate, WCCO, was tasked with finding a venue when Ms. Couric came to town. WCCO also served as the enforcers of the anti-blog policy.
Matt Bartel, owner of the popular MNSpeak blog also was issued an invitation by WCCO, although the station apparently didn't recognize the name Bartel (ubiquitous in Twin Cities publishing circles) or his business, until the event was about to start.
"They pulled me out of the auditorium and told me that they'd become aware of the fact that I had a blog," Bartel said. "They said, 'We don't want you to participate,' " then offered him a choice: surrender his notebook or leave the event.
Wednesday's CBS Evening News ran a story on same-sex marriage which presumed that once enacted -- “resolved” in the term used by reporter Byron Pitts -- it should not be reversed, as Pitts portrayed the issue through the prism of same-sex marriage advocates upset by a move to pass a constitutional amendment in Massachusetts to make it illegal. “The battle has now moved to the only state where it is legal but where,” anchor Bob Schieffer cautioned, “if opponents have their way, it won't be for long.” Pitts demanded of Kristian Mineau of the Massachusetts Family Institute: "How did it get to this point? This is liberal Massachusetts. This state resolved this issue two years ago." After Mineau pointed out that unelected judges imposed same-sex marriage, Pitts trumpeted how “advocates had hoped it was the start of another Massachusetts revolution."
Pitts twice challenged the views expressed by Mineau, but didn't challenge an advocate of same-sex marriage. For instance, when Mineau complained about how “the children of this commonwealth are already radically affected because kindergarten and first-graders that are being indoctrinated into the homosexual lifestyle and into homosexual marriage," an appalled Pitts retorted: "You say that as if homosexuality is something evil." Over a map of the U.S., Pitts fretted: "For supporters of gay marriage nationwide, this proposed amendment in Massachusetts couldn't come at a worse time. Much of that momentum first generated here a few years ago now seems headed the other way. Nineteen states have already adopted a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Six more could have it on their ballot this November." (Transcript follows)
Was it Robert Novak who jolted aficionados of the vendetta-against-Joe-Wilson conspiracy theory, or was the message coming from . . . a Higher Authority? You be the judge, after having a look at the screen capture from this evening's Special Report with Brit Hume on FNC. Yes, that's a lightning bolt. No, it wasn't photo-shopped - it's the real thing.
The bolt hit while the panel was discussing the electrifying implications of Brit Hume's just-aired interview of Bob Novak. Hume questioned Novak about his disclosure of Valerie Plame's employment by the CIA. Novak had revealed Plame's employment in the course of reporting that she had recommended that her husband - Ambassador Joe Wilson - be sent to Niger to look into reports that Saddam Hussein had been seeking to acquire uranium for purposes of constructing nuclear weapons.
Today in the 4:00 et hour, and later replayed in the 6:00 et hour, NewsBusters executive editor Matt Sheffield will speak with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC.
They will discuss Dan Rather's new career as a TV host for Mark Cuban, the controversial billionaire owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks and owner of HDNet, a small network for high definition televisions sets. Rather will host his own show on the network.
Post your comments as you watch the 6:00 ET replay.
UPDATE: Video available in Windows Media (100k and 256k) or Real (255k). Transcript is below the fold.
In a fine example of life imitating a Marx Brothers movie – which should give you a clue as to what should be done with your drinking vessels! – Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works issued a press release Wednesday concerning a documentary that former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw has done for the Discovery Channel about global warming (hat tip to NRO’s Media Blog). No matter how hard you try, you just can’t make this stuff up: “Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s lack of objectivity and balance on the issue of global warming appears to have tainted his upcoming Discovery Channel documentary called: ‘Global Warming: What You Need To Know’ airing on July 16.”
Isn’t this great? The press release marvelously continued: “Brokaw’s partisan past and his reliance on scientists who openly endorsed Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004 and who are financially affiliated with left wing environmental groups, has resulted in a documentary that is devoid of balance and objectivity.” Well, it’s good to see our tax dollars are finally going to good use. Yet, because this is really too delicious to interrupt any further, here is the rest of this release for your viewing pleasure:
Man, does Rep. James Sensenbrenner rub the Times the wrong way. While the conservative Congressman does(lifetime ACU rating 88 out of a possible 100) have a prickly reputation, but so do liberal Democrats like Rep. Pete Stark. Yet Stark and others don’t have their personality traits analyzed on the front page.
Mark Leibovich, who specializes in politician profiles, did a number Tuesday on Sensenbrenner ("'Pit Bull' of the House Latches On to Immigration,") for Tuesday's front page. Sensenbrenner is an easy target of liberal journalists for leading the fight against Bush’s amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. One can hardly imagine the Times being so disrespectful to a Democratic politician embracing a liberal cause.
So now even the Left’s most bizarre fantasies are regarded as "news" by the producers at MSNBC?
No, I don’t mean Keith Olbermann luxuriating in John Dean’s attempt to portray conservatives as leading America to fascism. This morning (Wednesday), MSNBC chose to give a couple of minutes of news time over to a lighthearted recounting of the far Left’s wacky theories about the fate of former Enron Chairman Ken Lay, including the idea that President Bush had Lay murdered.
MSNBC suggested that it was fair to entertain the kooky suggestions, since liberal bloggers “point out right wingers were quick to accuse President Clinton of having White House aide, Vince Foster, murdered back in 1993.”
In his latest column, Thomas Sowell says the media jump at the chance to convict any member of the U.S. military after an accusation of wrongdoing, and that these are the same outlets who are "constantly reminding us that some people under indictment 'are innocent until proven guilty.'"
Unfortunately for the media, "guilty until proven innocent" doesn't even apply. What's more accurate is "guilty and we'll report it, innocent and we'll let the story quietly fade away."
The same newspapers and television news programs that are constantly reminding us that some people under indictment "are innocent until proven guilty" are nevertheless hyping the story of American troops accused of rape in Iraq, day in and day out, even though these troops have yet to be proven guilty of anything....
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated example of media hype of unproven charges against American troops. While military action was still raging in the early days of the Iraq war, there was media condemnation of our troops for not adequately protecting an Iraqi museum from which various items were missing.
Gorbie is wagging his finger at that big, bad U.S.A. and ABC News is helping him do it.
In a piece by Claire Shipman, Mikhail Gorbachev is claiming that we ”Americans Have a Severe Disease” because we see ourselves as “winners”, but that Russia’s attacks on democracy are just “some mistakes” made.
And once again, Ronald Reagan -- the man who REALLY ended the Cold War -- is ignored by a fawning media falling all over itself to genuflect at the feet of failed leader, Mikhail Gorbachev.
The pieces starts with this idiotic paragraph:
“Mikhail Gorbachev is generally regarded as the man who broke down the ‘iron curtain’ that separated the communist world from the West and thawed the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.”
In the "Worst Person in the World" segment on Tuesday night's Countdown, Keith Olbermann poked fun at FOX News' spokeswoman Irena Briganti in an altered image that portrayed her as female version of host Bill O'Reilly. (Video link to Expose the Left to follow)
In a NY Times fluff piece on Olbermann, noted earlier on Newsbusters, Briganti called the MSNBC host a "train wreck waiting to happen" and commented on Countdown's declining ratings. It was clear Olbermann was furious at her remarks and decided to respond to her charge of Countdown's ratings by doing what he is best at, distorting the truth.
During an Opinion Focus live discussion with readers, Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson was asked why it was "so difficult for the MSM to label what is going on in Iraq now a civil war?"
Richmond, Va.: I keep asking The Post political chatters to answer this question, but it doesn't get answered. Why is it so difficult for the MSM to label what is going on in Iraq now a civil war? The administration, of course, can't label it a civil war because it profoundly upends every reason we were supposedly were there in the first place, but surely this IS a civil war, and the MSM seems to follow the administration's desire not to label it as such rather than leading with the realities.
On Friday's edition of "Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason," the PBS omnipresence hosted a discussion more on Greek mythology than religion. The guest in his first half-hour was lesbian novelist Jeanette Winterson, who bitterly mocked her fundamentalist parents and suggested the Christian Bible showed a God and scriptures full of contradictions. Yawn. Standard "transgressive" PBS.
But it took a political turn about 20 minutes in, when Winterson elaborated on how Prometheus stealing fire from the gods for mankind led to suffering and punishment, his liver being ripped out daily by an eagle. To which Moyers responded: "Why do you think we're so fascinated with the stories of heroes and gods brought down by sex? I mean, do you think Bill Clinton wished he had known his mythology when he got into the White House?" It continued:
The "Conservatives Without Conscience" tour continued last night on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart last night. Like Keith Olbermann, Stewart honored Bush-hating author John Dean and his thesis, with softball questions like this: "This book though is almost a scientific approach to where, in some respects, where conservatism is going. Talk about that aspect of it." Stewart spun his thesis that conservatives are ignorant, not evil:
"Do you believe it's a conscious effort on their part? When you say without conscience, that almost suggests that they are willfully ignoring the humanity of people. I sense with this government it's not that. It's more 'we have convinced ourselves of this certainty and rightness of this position and we will not deviate from that even if everything within our five senses tells us that everything we've done is wrong.' [Whoops, applause.] My point is that it's not evil in the sense of without conscience. It's ignorant in the sense of [in sort of a hillbilly voice] 'I did that?' You know, that kind of thing."
Better put your coffee cups down, folks – and your wine glasses for that matter – as Team CNN yesterday provided viewers with quite a knee-slapper. During the 7PM ET installment of Tuesday’s “The Situation Room,” Wolf Blitzer and the boys shared some global warming gloom that must have made sommeliers around the country spit up their merlot.
Blitzer began (with a straight face, mind you!): “Global warming threatening California's multi-billion dollar wine industry, that's the crux of a new study which says as much as 81 percent of the state’s prime growing areas will be unusable by the end of the century.”
81 percent, huh? Are you drunk?
(Update -- For even more laughs, a reader e-mailed me an October 31, 2005 San Francisco Chronicle article reporting that 2005 was expected to be the second-largest grape harvest in California history!!!)
Blitzer then passed the bottle to correspondent Chris Lawrence:
To say that Russian President Vladimir Putin was gruff in his interview with Matt Lauer would be an understatement. While Lauer asked some probing questions, he also offered up an unsolicited critique of Bush administration's rhetoric toward Russia, calling it 'very harsh.' When Putin responded with a nasty jab at VP Cheney over his shooting incident, Matt didn't blink, continuing instead to focus on the tough talk of the Bush White House.
Lauer was in St. Petersburg for the g-8 summit Russia is hosting, and scored an exclusive sit-down with Putin. In the set-up piece, Andrea Mitchell rolled the tape of VP Cheney saying of Russia's energy manipulations: "no legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation or blackmail."
Is university 'journalism' education anything more than training camp for liberal cadres preparing to join MSM ranks? Take, for example, this morning's op-ed in the Seattle Times by Floyd J. McKay, a journalism professor emeritus at Western Washington University.
He spouts straight-from-the-Gore's-mouth alarmism about global warming, going so far as to propose that high school students be forced to view Al's flick. He also takes predictable shots at the Bush administration and talk show hosts, throwing in a particularly nasty swipe at Christian conservatives in the process. Excerpts below.
"Migrations [from farm to city] in India and elsewhere in Africa and Asia cannot be sustained at today's Western standard of living. Even at one car per family, without air conditioning and supermalls, the world's environment cannot survive the onslaught."
"I'd suggest we start by making Al Gore's slide-show movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," required viewing in every high school in the country."
Washington Post TV reporter Lisa DeMoraes reported Wednesday on Dan Rather's appearance before TV critics to promote his obscure new venture on HDNet -- how far the mighty have fallen! -- boasting he would not bow to right-wing pressure groups:
Rather acknowledged he comes to HDNet with "baggage."
"Yes, I have baggage -- I have the baggage of being a graduate of the journalism school of South Vietnam," he said.
He also acknowledged he was "biased -- I have a very strong bias toward independent journalism."
"Some of what you describe as 'baggage,' " he told one critic, "comes from people who have the following view: Their view is, 'You report the news the way I want it reported or I'm going to make you pay a price and hang a sign around your neck saying you're a bomb-toting Bolshevik or something.' "
A year ago tomorrow, I did a post on the continued decline in evening news viewership at Big Three Networks NBC, ABC, and CBS, and made these observations and predictions about why that decline was taking place, and would continue (some of last year's text was slightly revised):
All three nightly broadcasts most likely lose money, when isolated from their morning counterparts (Today, Good Morning America, CBS Morning Show) and their documentary shows (Dateline, 60 Minutes, 20/20, etc.). At a minimum, none makes an acceptable level of profit.
BUT, the news operations of each of the Big 3 networks are very small parts of very large organizations (CBS-Viacom, NBC-GE, and ABC-Disney), so small that apparently no one at any of the three parent companies cares enough to do anything about the continued hemorrhaging in their evening new shows, as long as the news operations themselves are profitable.
So because those other parts of the news operations make money, the nightly news programs can chug right along, oblivous to normal profitability expectations.
The journalists who put together the nightly news programs could care less if the broadcasts are profitable. It's obvious that their agenda is more important.
Because of all of the above, the ever-shrinking audience for these broadcasts will be spoon-fed biased reporting, Bush bashing, and conservative-bashing for the foreseeable future.
Now, a year later, in today's story about network TV's generally low level of viewership last week (HT Drudge), the real eye-popper is not that the predicted viewership decline has occurred (that was, after all, a pretty easy prediction to make), but that it has accelerated:
"World News Tonight" averaged 7.3 million viewers and "Nightly News" had 7.2 million (both 5.1 rating, 11 share). The "CBS Evening News" averaged 6.5 million viewers (4.6, 10).
That's a big-whoop total of 21.0 million people, and is down precipitously from just the end of 2005. The deterioration is especially obvious when you compare the total and individual network numbers to the following two graphs from the 2006 State of the News Media report:
On Monday, July 10, 2006, fabulous radio host Hugh Hewitt celebrated his 6th anniversary on the air with an on-air spanking of Los Angeles Times columnist Jonathan Chait. The day before, in another one of his badly misguided op-eds, Chait actually wrote that President Bush is a "greater threat" to the country than Osama bin Laden, and it is "quite reasonable to conclude that Bush will harm the nation more" than Bin Laden.
Hewitt invited Chait to his program and proceeded to do what he does best with far-left liberals who espouse unsupportable views. Hewitt coolly shredded Chait and his Times column. The transcript with audio is at Radio Blogger (Thanks, Duane!).
The ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts on Tuesday delivered short items on how this year's budget deficit will be $296 billion, down substantially from the administration's predication of $423 billion, but while ABC anchor Kate Snow and CBS anchor Bob Schieffer stuck to how economic growth fueled increased tax revenue, NBC anchor Brian Williams decided to relay, without naming any names, a conspiracy theory: “Many economists and administration critics say the White House has deliberately inflated its own deficit projections in the past few years to score political points when the actual numbers came in lower." Of the three anchors, only CBS's Schieffer noted the role of tax cuts, citing how President Bush “gave the credit to his tax cuts, saying they stimulated the economy and boosted the amount of money coming into the Treasury." (Transcripts follow)
There was the expected wailing and gnashing of teeth from the left when New York’s state Court of Appeals ruled against installing so-called "gay marriage" by judicial fiat, as they had in the People’s Republic of Massachusetts. The New York Times, as expected, was stunned that the judges could find a "rational basis" for traditional marriage, and that judges would defer to elected legislators.
This outrage was plastered at the top of the Times with two "news" stories. One was a front-page editorial (they call it a "news analysis") by Patrick Healy, who focused on the "gay rights advocates"and their disappointment. "Nowhere did gay marriage seem more like a natural fit than New York,"he complained, where "a history of spirited progressivism" should have made the victory of the marriage-manglers inevitable.
Near the top of the New York Times "Most E-Mailed List" for weeks now is Amy Sutherland's article about how she learned to train her husband by studying the training of exotic animals. The illustration is especially insulting (watch hubby jump through a hoop for a pretzel!) But I'm guessing that at least half the e-mailers are husbands. Sutherland recommends that you praise husbands for even the mildest good behavior, and avoid nagging about all the little bad things. That sounds good. I still don't think the New York Times would run a story with a whimsical illustration of a wife jumping through hoops for a pretzel....
The top of the New York Times website was odd on Tuesday morning, as its top story on the architect of butchery in Beslan was "Caucusus Renegade Dies, And His Cause May Die, Too." Renegade? The copy underneath was almost value-neutral: "Shamil Basayev's death was the latest of almost two years of setbacks for his separatist faction in Chechnya." The actual story by C. J. Chivers has everything the home page did not, at least. Wow, this is not a typical New York Times first paragraph:
In a long and notorious career, Shamil Basayev, the elusive terrorist leader of the most vicious separatist faction in Chechnya, was an airplane hijacker, a hostage taker, a guerrilla commander and a war-scarred spokesman for terror who tried to justify mass killings of civilians, even school children, for political ends and revenge.
Just when you thought the arguments of the pro-illegal immigrant crowd couldn't get any more preposterous . . . Now, the United States is being condemned for deporting illegal aliens who are violent, hardened criminals - members of homicidal street gangs.
The Los Angeles Times saw fit to allot some of its precious op-ed space today to this column by Ricardo Pollack [pictured here] who, we are told, is a "documentary director and producer. His film, '18 with a Bullet,' airs tonight on KCET as part of PBS' 'Wide Angle' series." PBS, eh? Your tax dollars at work!
We here at The Daily Iowan recently learned that the July 6 column "Minimum wage no-brainer" was largely plagiarized from a report released June 29 by the Democratic Policy Committee. On behalf of The Daily Iowan staff, I sincerely apologize and deeply regret that such a piece appeared in our newspaper.
Per staff policy, the harshest possible action has been taken against this employee, and John Heineman will no longer work for this publication. We performed an investigation of all his previous work since joining the paper in the fall of 2005. This search revealed no prior cases of plagiarism.
By 6:00 o’clock on Monday evening, an entertainingly motley crew of a hundred or so protestors had gathered across the street from New York Times headquarters at W. 43rd street in midtown Manhattan to protest the New York Times’ revelations of a secret, and successful, anti-terror program involving international bank transactions.
The stated goal of protest cosponsors Caucus for America/conservative message board Free Republic, according to a flier: "To show the New York Times that America has had enough of their irresponsible reporting of classified information that damages our country and helps our enemies!"
Rabbi Aryeh Spero of the Caucus for America did most of the talking (and chant-leading), stepping aside from time to time for others to speak. At one point he was joined on the cab of the Caucus truck by a Bin Laden impersonator cradling his precious copy of the Times.
The New York Times ran a sycophantic story on the "success" of "Countdown" and how it has become the "centerpiece" of MSNBC's lineup. Throughout the article, columnist Bill Carter discusses Countdown's ratings only by its growth and not by actual numbers. An ignorant reader would come away thinking that Olbermann is some television star who is a real competitor in the cable news race. The only indication Carter gives of Olbermann's ratings is when he calls "Countdown" a "dot in the rearview mirror of Fox News."
He is either the leading man of MSNBC or its leading agent provocateur, but Keith Olbermann has no problem embracing either role.
“You can’t spell momentum without Olbermann — or something like that,” he said in a telephone interview, with a typical sprinkle of wry in his voice.