ABC's World News on Sunday served as the latest example of media reluctance to label liberal public figures as "liberal" while more freely labeling conservative or moderate public figures as "conservative." During a story on the Democratic party's division on whether to push for a deadline for troop withdrawal from Iraq, correspondent John Hendren labeled those Democrats who oppose such a timetable as "conservative Democrats," but when discussing Democrats who support a faster withdrawal, he simply referred to them as "those who want to end the war and bring the troops home" or "those favoring immediate withdrawal."
Notably, the congressional Democrat who was featured as a supporter of a timetable, California Representative Lynn Woolsey, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 4.3 percent. And for the year 2006, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action awarded Woolsey a rating of 95 percent. Tennessee Representative Jim Cooper, who was labeled by Hendren as a "conservative Democrat," received a lifetime rating of 27.3 percent from the American Conservative Union and, for the year 2006, Americans for Democratic Action awarded him an 85 percent rating. (Transcript follows)
...among other format changes under the new Rick Kaplan era.
PublicEye editor Brian Montopoli passed along the usual talking points senior management in broadcast news outlets always give when they are trying to save a sinking ship. You know the drill. "This time, more hard news. We swear!"
Unfortunately Montopoli left out some hard news in his own March 12 blog post:
Clarification (Ken Shepherd | 10:26 EDT): The story in question was written for The Hollywood Reporter and the photo was provided by Reuters.
Yahoo News picked up a Reuters article on Yahoo that reports actress Eliza Dushku of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Tru Calling” and “Bring It On” fame has a new show lined up called, “Nurses.”
The article is a tiny little story that isn’t worth much time, except for the accompanying picture. The pic is a file photo from a 2004 John Kerry benefit concert, and a two and a half year old photo with such a visibly identifying background should have sent this photo to the back of the pile.
Potential political bias aside, I think the photo editor should have done Dushku a favor and chosen a different picture because of that outfit alone.
Question: When you’re a liberal, how do you know if you’re on thin ice, especially the kind that you’re claiming is melting all over the planet due to global warming?
Answer: When even papers like the New York Times are publishing articles skeptical of the junk science you’ve been peddling across the questionably warming globe.
Sure, soon-to-be-Dr. Gore has kind of won an Oscar for his schlockumentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” even though all he got to take home that evening was Tipper and all the food she was able to stuff into her pocketbook at the buffets thrown in his honor.
However, it must have been a quite shock to find out that the leftists working for Punch Sulzberger were going to publish a not so adoring article after all that oohing and aahing Gore received from the Hollywood elites just days prior (h/t Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
CBS anchor Katie Couric contended Monday night that the “self-evident” truths in the Declaration of Independence -- “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” -- are denied by the lack of health insurance for many Americans. Introducing a piece on a doctor at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City who treats the poor of Harlem, Couric adopted a very liberal definition of basic rights as she added “good health” and asserted on the CBS Evening News:
“More than 46 million Americans have no health insurance. So when it comes to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and good health, all men are not created equal. A doctor here in New York City learned that lesson early in his career. He's spent the last 40 years trying to level the playing field for the poorest of patients.”
Just as they did last Spring, the broadcast networks, particularly ABC and NBC, have begun hyperventilating about gas prices, specifically a 30 cent price increases per gallon which they characterized as “shooting up” and “soaring.” On Saturday, NBC Nightly News anchor John Seigenthaler teased: "Pain at the Pump: Gas prices going up more than 30 cents in a month. How high will they go?" Referring to an increase in a month from $2.20 to $2.53 a gallon, he soon insisted: "Gas prices are soaring again."
ABC anchor Charles Gibson made gas prices his lead story on Monday night, teasing: “Gas prices are not just creeping up again, they're shooting up.” Reporter Dean Reynolds listed the higher prices around the nation, complete with a woman at a gas pump whining about the “ridiculous” price, before acknowledging prices are “in concert with the annual switch from winter grade to summer grade fuel” and that “unforeseen problems at refineries and pipelines, together with record demand for gasoline in January and February, have combined to push prices higher and higher." In other words, supply and demand. Nonetheless, Reynolds asserted: “All of which leads to questions about oil company profiteering."
Q. How do you know the liberal American media are doing their best to bury a good-news story about Iraq?
A. When an official Chinese communist news outlet gives it more coverage than the MSM.
When the UK recently announced that it was reducing the number of its troops in Iraq by 1,600, the news was the subject of massive media coverage in the United States. In addition to innumerable MSM news reports on the development, pundits filled the airwaves with hours of dire conjecture as to whether the British move signalled the collapse of the coalition, etc.
But when news comes that another member of the coalition is proposing to send more additional troops to Iraq than the UK is withdrawing, MSM reaction has been the proverbial cricket-chirp.
NewsBusters previously reported that the AP, NBC's "Today," and ABC's "Good Morning America" reported as a curiosity some Mayan priests who complain that President Bush brought evil spirits with him to Guatemala.
Well, CBS's Peter Maer didn't want to be left out apparently. He wrote up a little something at "Couric & Co.," Katie Couric's e-sandbox on CBS's Web site.
Maer's account, like the others mentioned, seems to leave out two key facts for their readers.
It’s probably not that surprising that some on the far Left were complaining that the Fox News Channel was going to host a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates in Nevada later this year. They were probably completely unaware that Fox News co-hosted (with the liberal Congressional Black Caucus Institute) two Democratic debates during the last presidential campaign.
What is surprising is that former Democratic Senator John Edwards, who smilingly participated in both of the Fox debates in 2003 (picture at left), decided that he could not participate in a debate hosted by Fox. “I said, ‘Why are we doing Fox?’ I said, ‘No, tell them no,’” Edwards told the Washington Post’s Dan Balz.
Folks, you can’t make this stuff up. However, I sincerely beg all readers to properly stow potables, combustibles, and sharp objects before proceeding further.
An expedition to the North Pole to bring attention to global warming was cancelled due to the extraordinarily cold weather. I kid you not. As reported by the Associated Press Monday (emphasis mine throughout):
The explorers, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, on Saturday called off what was intended to be a 530-mile trek across the Arctic Ocean after Arnesen suffered frostbite in three of her toes, and extreme cold temperatures drained the batteries in some of their electronic equipment.
"Ann said losing toes and going forward at all costs was never part of the journey," said Ann Atwood, who helped organize the expedition.
I’m verklempt, and having difficulty typing through the tears of laughter. But, unlike our intrepid explorers, I must go on for the benefit of mankind:
Here are the facts: The federal deficit is "down sharply"...
WASHINGTON - The deficit for the first five months of the budget year is down sharply from a year ago as the growth in government tax collections continues to outpace growth in spending.
...and "down sharply" means more than 25 percent over last year.
The Treasury Department reported that the deficit from October through February totaled $162.2 billion, down 25.5 percent from the same period last year.
The federal deficit was up 0.6 percent to $120 billion in February...
That improvement came even though the deficit in February hit $120 billion, up 0.6 percent from last February's deficit of $119.2 billion.
...but that's normal for this time of year as the numbers get skewed up because the government is sending out more money in the form of tax refunds to earlier tax filers.
One factor that contributes to higher deficits in February are the refund payments the Internal Revenue Service is mailing out during the month to people who have filed early tax returns. The February 2006 imbalance was the largest monthly deficit for that year.
Now, as a lifelong resident of the Free State, I can attest that Maryland is a fairly liberal state and it spends at the state and county levels in a fairly liberal manner. Today's Washington Post characterized Democratic Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's first budget proposal as detrimental to the county's public schools.
"Leggett to Offer Cautious Budget: 6% Increase Would Shrink School Request," read the headline to Miranda S. Spivack's Metro section front pager.
What makes the Leggett budget so cautious compared to the last one sought by his predecessor, former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Duncan?
Perhaps because Duncan's last budget, Spivack noted, increased county spending by 9 percent. Of course both 6 and 9 percent growth rates for county spending well outpace the growth in the U.S. gross domestic product.
[Updated 5:20pm EDT] For the second time in a week, a media organization has seriously reported on the "evil spirits" that President Bush’s trip to Latin America will bring. During a 7am news brief on the Monday edition of "Good Morning America," reporter Chris Cuomo noted that Bush’s visit to a sacred Mayan ruin has resulted in protests. According to Cuomo:
Chris Cuomo: " President Bush's tour of Latin America stops in Guatemala today where he'll meet with that country's president. President Bush will also visit a sacred Mayan ruin today, making some protesters angry. They say President Bush will only bring, quote, 'evil spirits' to the site. On Sunday, during the President's nearly seven hours in Colombia, demonstrators clashed with police. The situation was so dangerous, a decoy motorcade was used on the way back to the airport."
Liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) entered friendly territory as he appeared on the March 12th edition of The View to promote his new book Positively American. Rosie once again called for impeaching the president and pressed Senator Schumer to agree. Rosie’s nutty charge of "treason" was too much even for fringe liberal Joy Behar.
O’Donnell: "Do you think that anyone will call for the impeachment of George Bush in Congress?"
Schumer: "Probably not. Because usually impeachment is when you've committed a crime."
The ultra-left echo chamber blog Firedoglake is continuing to excel in its pursuit of the worst in political hysteria. This time, the notorious blog articulates its wish for Karl Rove's demise by describing the hyper-violent murder of the early twentieth century Russian mystic Rasputin. The post is titled 'Rovesputin', and features an image of Rove superimposed on a painting of the unfortunate advisor to Czar Nicholas.
FDL was founded by Jane Hamsher, who made her big name by posting a picture of Joe Liebermann in blackface on The Huffington Post,and then being forced to apologize for it. She is also known for being the producer of the ultra-violent film Natural Born Killers. According to Wikipedia, "Hamsher had an uncredited cameo in the film as a female demon." Hamsher has recruited a fine group of contributors to FDL, and the result is a continuing escalation of conspiracy-theory rhetoric.
NBC's Matt Lauer and MSNBC's Joe Scarborough had a really hard time buying their colleague Andrea Mitchell's line of thinking that Senator Chuck Hagel might go places by appealing to anti-war Republicans. On this morning's Today, Mitchell proclaimed of a potential presidential run by the Nebraska senator: "Hagel would give Republicans an anti-war alternative..." But just minutes later Lauer and Scarborough scoffed at that idea as even they couldn't choke down that odd bit of Andrea's analysis:
Matt Lauer: "Alright Chuck Hagel, he's a guy who's come out strongly against the war, that upset a lot of loyal Republicans and yet conservative on just about every major social issue. So what's his biggest challenge right now? Is it name recognition?"
While I'm traipsing about in the Notable Quotables archive, let's bring some context to the media's enjoyment of Mayan priests purging the "bad spirits" of Bush on his Latin America trip. If the president meets with public opposition on his trips, that can be newsworthy. But plucking out colorful anti-Bush anecdotes can demonstrate that the "news" is sometimes what the reporter is eager to find, and not the whole picture. Ten years ago, the networks were not always eager to find anti-Clinton angles on Latin America trips. Instead, in this case they used a Clinton trip to make the case that America was too obsessed with Whitewater:
Digging around in the archives this morning reminded me that while the liberal activism of the global-warming cover of Sports Illustrated is shocking, it's not really new. In 1995, we noticed this contrast in Notable Quotables (scroll to the end):
"Whatever one thinks of Winslow's positions, it's encouraging to see a Stateside athlete -- particularly one who rose from the squalor of East St. Louis, Ill., to earn a law degree -- engaging himself in the world of which sports is only a small part." -- Sports Illustrated's 'Scorecard' feature on Kellen Winslow's Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech supporting affirmative action and racial quotas, August 7, 1995 issue.
On this morning's Today show, NBC's Kelly O'Donnell opened her report of the President's tour of Latin America with protest coverage, showing footage of a sign of Bush with a Hitler mustache, a man chanting "Gringo go home," and even noted local priests' desire to "purify" a Mayan site, Bush planned to visit, of "bad spirits." Over video of protestors O'Donnell emphasized: "The President is followed by Iraq and how bitterly unpopular the war is here. Protests in each country he visits."
The following is the full report as it aired on the March 12th Today show:
Ann Curry: "In the news this morning President Bush is in Guatemala today on his five nation Latin American tour. His visit has been greeted with protest against his war policy and now the President is making a case for sending another 8200 troops to Iraq and Afghanistan. NBC's White House correspondent Kelly O'Donnell is traveling with the President. Kelly, good morning."
Given the recent gloomy reporting about the industry, you may not know that housing prices nationwide actually went up a bit more in the fourth quarter (1.12%) than they did in the third (1.07%). Though there are certainly problematic metro areas, it would appear that the sky was not falling on home prices.
In fact, based on the press's coverage of the housing industry during the past year or so, you might think that OFHEO Director James B. Lockhart was blowing smoke in the News Release on Page 1 that introduces the report:
“These data show that, on the whole, prices are still rising, albeit at a much slower pace,” said Lockhart. “This suggests that house price appreciation is, for now, more in line with historical norms.”
He's kidding, right? Wrong (from page 4 of the report):
The media’s contention of a scientific consensus surrounding the belief that man is responsible for global warming is whittling away faster than the New England Patriots’ lead against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2007 AFC Championship Game.
The most recent act of skepticism – or should I say heresy given the zealotry exhibited by the global warming alarmists – came in the form of an op-ed written by Philip Stott, an Emeritus Professor from the University of London who is almost guaranteed to receive hateful and possibly threatening e-mail messages for his unwelcome contribution to this so-called debate.
Stott began his article with a marvelous historical and religious reference that should – but, likely won’t – act as a wakeup call for those on the left and in the media now claiming that this matter has become a moral issue (emphasis mine throughout):
Here are Three Things to Remember about The Government's Monthly Employment Reports:
First, the initial report for the current month by the Bureaus of Labor Statistics (BLS) has usually contained significant upward revisions to previous months, as shown here:
For the past seven months, the number reported for jobs added in the current month has been, on average, less than 2/3 of the total reported increase in jobs, because of significant revisions to prior months.
Second, as you would expect because of the first point, the current month's initially reported total has usually been revised upward quite a bit in subsequent months:
Fred Thompson, who is exploring the possibilty of a presidential candidacy, went on Fox News Sunday yesterday, strongly criticized Roe v. Wade and said the answer to it was "good judges." But on this morning's "Today," Andrea Mitchell flatly stated that Thompson doesn't want to overturn Roe. So where does Thompson stand on Roe, and how can we explain Today's depiction of his views?
For answers, let's go to the videotape. The first portion of the clip is from this morning's "Today," the second portion from Thompson's Fox News Sunday appearance yesterday.
On "Today," laying out Thompson's positions on key issues, Andrea Mitchell stated Thompson is "anti-abortion but opposes overturning Roe v. Wade." Where did she get that from? A good clue comes from the fact that just previously she had just played a clip of Thompson's appearance on yesterday's Fox News Sunday. While the clip had nothing to do with abortion [Thompson merely described his rationale for a possible run], it does demonstrate that Mitchell had watched Thompson's appearance and was likely relying on it as the latest, best evidence of his views.
So what did the former Tennessee senator tell Chris Wallace about his views on Roe? Again, have a look at the video.
Chris Wallace: "Do you want to overturn Roe v. Wade?"
Thompson: "I think Roe v. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges. I don't think the court ought to wake up one day and make new social policy for the country that's contrary to what it's been for the last 200 years. We have a process in this country to do that. Judges shouldn't be doing that. That's what happened in the that case. I think it was wrong."
Liberal media outlets aren't usually sympathetic to the story of people growing upset at the changing shape of their neighborhoods, often at the arrival of new Hispanic or Asian immigrants. But AP reporter Lisa Leff reports sensitively from San Francisco that the distraught natives who dislike the invaders are gay men are upset at the arrival of -- gasp -- people with baby strollers:
SAN FRANCISCO -- Even on a weekday in winter, the Castro district vibrates with energy, most of it male. Men holding hands, walking dogs and lounging at cafes have long been the main attraction in a neighborhood known as a gay mecca the world over.
The AP is protesting a decision made by U.S. Military officials in Afghanistan claiming an oppression of a free press and saying there was "not a reasonable justification" for erasing an AP photographer's pictures taken of the aftermath of a suicide bombing in Barikaw, Afghanistan. The decision protested by the AP was made March 4th by officers on the scene of a bombing that killed 8 Afghans, wounding 34. But, is the AP correct that this was somehow an outrage against a free press?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The U.S. military asserted that an American soldier was justified in erasing journalists' footage of the aftermath of a suicide bombing and shooting in Afghanistan last week, saying publication could have compromised a military investigation and led to false public conclusions.
In the March 11 Washington Post, staff writers Elissa Silverman and Allison Klein took a look at the men and women behind a legal challenge to the Washington, D.C., handgun ban. But in doing so, it seems they buried the lede.
Information on one plaintiff came near the end of Silverman and Klein's 25-paragraph story:
Dick Heller, 65, said he became involved in the firearms debate in 1997 after he read a news story about a burglary in the District in which the homeowner shot the intruder -- and the homeowner was charged with a crime.
"That's what made us really livid," said Heller, who lives with his wife in Capitol Hill. "After that, I knew we had to be proactive."
That's the heart and soul of the case right there. The ban criminalizes law-abiding citizens who have a natural right to protect themselves, yet find that right severely undercut by District law which takes away a significant means of self defense: private ownership of a firearm.
But how crucial is Heller to the case? Without him, the case might well have been thrown out already:
Married gossips from New York’s Daily News, George Rush and Joanna Malloy, describe the celebs who gathered at a gala thrown by global warming activist group Natural Resources Defense Gala to honor Vanity Fair editor, and author of an anti-Bush literary and financial flop, Graydon Carter, and they note that “Mother Earth” cheekily showed the enviro-crowd who was boss by giving them “meat locker weather.” The NRDC’s roster of celebrity speakers, including Anderson Cooper and Robert Kennedy Jr, playfully turned up the heat on the VF chief:
The new media revolution brought about by the Internet Age leaves a constant vacuum to be filled for the traditional entertainment cycle on broadcast TV. You'll notice a lot of broadcast Web sites doing what they can to fill that void with extra footage, behind-the-scenes stuff, bloopers, "webisodes," and the like.
But let's face it, when the new episodes are exhausted on the networks, we're not likely to stick around for reruns. There's too many other things to do, and we've probably already rewatched the best clips of those shows on YouTube. There goes millions in advertising revenue for the nets.
Trying to find a way around that, NBC is taking that to the airwaves with "newpeats" of "The Office." (h/t TVTattle.com)
A front-page story in The Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn't work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.
Leading journalists have been reporting for some time that the war was hopeless, a fiasco that could not be salvaged by more troops and a new counterinsurgency strategy.
Kagan's main point goes to credibility, but it's really a business question too. It applies a bit more to papers and media outlets other than the Post, which has shown occasional sanity (starting at the link's third paragraph) while others have totally lost their bearings. If the Surge succeeds (and it's barely started, so who knows?), aren't readers, listeners, and viewers going to wonder who's been feeding them a load of rubbish about "the hopeless situation" for 3-plus years? Would you not expect even more of them to cancel their subscriptions and turn away in even higher numbers from Formerly Mainstream Media outlets?