As is usual and customary, the peaceniks inside the Washington Post offered a second day of protest publicity before Saturday’s radical march to the Pentagon. The story by Steve Vogel and Michael E. Ruane doesn’t dominate the front page of the Metro section as protest coverage did yesterday, but it’s certainly promotional at the very bottom of Metro’s front. The headline is "Rousing, Emotional Start for War Protest."
Vogel and Ruane also employed the usual and customary practice of not using any ideological labels for protesters, and downplaying the radicalism of rally speakers. The main protest drew about 2,800 people at the Episcopalian National Cathedral. The reporters quoted Celeste Zappala, who lost a son in Iraq, saying "I am here tonight as a witness to the true cost of war...the betrayal and madness that is the war in Iraq."
For his level-headed professionalism, Lester Holt is on my [admittedly short] list of MSM faves. But while Holt did hit former Ambassador [to Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe] Joseph Wilson with one tough question on this morning's "Today," he let Valerie Plame's husband hijack the beginning of the interview, lobbed him numerous softballs, and failed to challenge Wilson on his blatant misrepresentation of Plame's role in sending him to Niger.
In the set-up piece preceding the interview, "Today" aired a clip of Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) asking Plame, during yesterday's congressional hearing, whether she was a Republican or a Democrat. For the record, Plame sardonically acknowledged that she was indeed a Dem.
Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, Dan Rather praised left-wing comedians with television shows, namely Bill Maher and Jon Stewart, for “speaking truth to power” at a time when journalists have “lost our guts.” Then, though last July Rather declared he "absolutely" believes "the truth" of his discredited Bush National Guard story based on forged memos, actor Jason Alexander hailed Rather: "I am really honored to be sitting next to a man that I think was one of the beacons of integrity in news journalism." Alexander, who is best-known for playing "George Costanza" on Seinfeld, proceeded to lean across fellow guest Martha Raddatz of ABC News to shake hands with Rather.
Rather declared to Maher that “comedians, such as yourself, Jon Stewart and others, are a valuable supplement” to the mainstream news media since “good journalism...speaks truth to power,” but “we've lost our guts. We need a spine transplant. What's happened is comedians, in their own way, speak truth to power and fill that vacuum that we in journalism have too often left, particularly post 9/11.”
The three broadcast network evening newscasts were similar Friday night in featuring full stories on Valerie Plame's testimony before the House Government Reform Committee, including video of Plame with a woman behind her wearing a pink “Impeach Bush” T-shirt -- ABC even caught a moment when the woman was making the “shame” sign with her fingers (see screen shot to right) -- and not mentioning Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State who was the source for columnist Robert Novak's reporting of her name. CBS's Gloria Borger, remarkably, concluded her report by listing every big name involved but Armitage's: “When asked whether she'd gotten an apology from the President, the Vice President, Karl Rove or Scooter Libby, she said no.”
But there were differences. Only NBC Nightly News led with Plame as fill-in anchor Campbell Brown announced: “The CIA operative at the heart of a scandal tells Congress the Bush administration blew her cover and wrecked her career.” NBC's Chip Reid uniquely highlighted how Plame contributed to Al Gore's 2000 campaign and that she conceded “I am a Democrat.” While CBS's Borger concluded with a missing apology to her, ABC's David Kerley ended his piece by noting how Plame is taking advantage of her situation: “While Plame may have lost the undercover job she loved, the blown cover is allowing her to find a new career. She signed a book deal for more than $1 million. And oh, about all those ingredients for a Hollywood movie, there will be one of those, as well.”
Original caption: Meredith Vieira, co-host of the NBC 'Today' television program, appears with her dog Jasper during a segment of the program, Friday morning March 16, 2007, about a dog's learning abilities and vocabulary recognition.
Mike Strizki lives in the very first solar-hydrogen house in the U.S. and according to The Christian Science Monitor, "It sounds promising, even utopian: homemade, storable energy that doesn't contribute to global warming."
But the very positive profile of Strizki and his unusual new home left out the cost to other New Jersey residents.
“The total cost, $500,000, was paid for in part with a $250,000 grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities,” correspondent Jared Flesher wrote on March 15.
Let's see ... a grant from New Jersey. Since New Jersey isn't a person that means the $250,000 came from taxpayers.
As already noted on NewsBusters, "20/20" anchor Barbara Walters interviewed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for a segment airing on the March 16 edition of the program. And although she did occasionally challenge authoritarian leader, Walters spent much of the interview discussing important topics such as whether Chavez likes coffee, marriage, and generally regurgitating the Venezuelan President’s propaganda.
Walters, appearing on the Friday edition of "Good Morning America" to plug the interview, even touted a Chavez run for political office in the U.S.:
Robin Roberts: "Did he think he would do very well if he ran for office here in this country?"
Barbara Walters: "He said, ‘You know, if I came to this country, I would run, I could run an election if I changed my name to Nicky Chavez because I am for humanity. I am for disseminating the wealth. I am for helping people.’ He says, ‘I would win.’ So put his name down on the list."
Los Angeles Times columnist (and longtime political reporter) Ron Brownstein tackles the issue of the Nevada Democratic Party dumping Fox News Channel as a debate partner. He thinks this rejection is similar to how "conservatives deal with mainstream media organizations they consider biased against them." Put aside for a minute the odd notion that Republican Party organizations or politicians would refuse to do debates thrown by liberal networks. As if. In his March 16 column, Brownstein's peddling the old canard that Fox News is exponentially more biased than "mainstream" news organizations:
The situation isn't exactly parallel. For all the howling on the right, it's difficult to argue that mainstream news organizations operate with anything approaching Fox' partisan and ideological agenda. (E-mails: commence now.) But there's no question many conservatives feel as wronged by elements of the mainstream media as Democrats do by Fox.
At least one reporter understands economics. CNBC’s Melissa Francis told “On the Money” viewers March 15 that their taxes were going to get hiked “if the Democrats get their way.” The fun twist? Francis and her colleagues couldn’t find any Democratic politician, strategist or even a think tank cohort to come on the show and tell the American people why raising their taxes would be a good idea.
“I don’t understand. How does raising taxes and stifling economic growth keep America great?” Francis asked her guests, Pat Toomey of the Club for Growth and Jack Burkman, a Republican strategist. The rest of the segment was shooting fish in a barrel, pointing to the economy’s strong growth following the 2003 tax rate cuts.
And Francis proved she has more of an economic understanding than a majority of reporters: “If there were a Democrat that was willing to come on this show tonight, they might say something like, you know, they’re trying to pay for the budget, or they’re trying to, you know, slim down the deficit,” Francis said. “But I was always taught when I studied economics that when you raise taxes, you might end up with less revenue.”
While Washington Post reporters Dan Eggen and Paul Kane are getting keyboard blisters probing the White House shenanigans around U.S. attorney dismissals by Team Bush, know this: in 1993, the Post published no stories investigating what Bill Clinton, or Hillary Clinton, or their Little Rock henchman, Webster Hubbell, was doing behind the scenes.
About two weeks after the mass firing, on April 3, 1993 the Post front page reported on how Hubbell surfaced for a Senate confirmation hearing, and reporter David Von Drehle thought it was “pretty funny” that the Wall Street Journal would portray him as an “ominous” figure. “The Judiciary Committee can ask Mr. Mysterious all the questions the Journal and others have been dying to pose.” Notice the Post thought it was “funny” anyone had a question to pose. They’d like people to think they’re equal-opportunity investigators, but they certainly don't look that way on U.S. attorney firings.
Next week marks the fourth anniversary of Operation Iraq Freedom. How does CNN plan to observe the event? An update, perhaps, on General Petraeus’ new strategy to win the war, and the initial positive – if still early – reports from the battlefield?
Please. I did say "CNN." The network is set to run a one hour special: “Death Squads Reveals Links between Shia Death Squads, Iraqi Security Forces.” CNN's report will in significant part be based on the work of an anonymous journalist.
Before considering the CNN report, let's review some of the recent developments in Iraq, as gleaned from MNF spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell's press conference of March 14th:
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos grilled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys on Wednesday, telling him that “something does seem fishy here,” suggesting that the Bush White House was punishing U.S. Attorneys who were not pursuing a GOP-friendly agenda.
But as a White House spokesman back in 1993, Stephanopoulos faced exactly the same question over President Clinton’s decision to fire U.S. Attorney Jay Stephens along with the other 92 U.S. Attorneys. “There is also a tradition of permitting prosecutors to remain on cases until current cases are completed,” a reporter told Stephanopoulos in a March 25, 1993 briefing. Referring to the investigation into House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski for embezzling money from the House Post Office, a reporter asked, “Is there any intention to keep Jay Stephens until the Rostenkowski case is finished?”
Friday’s "Good Morning America" featured Democrats talking about Democratic hopes. Anchor Chris Cuomo, the son of liberal Governor Mario Cuomo, and George Stephanopoulos, former White House aide to President Bill Clinton, discussed the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys and pushed the speculative Democratic talking points of whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would be fired.
Stephanopoulos, who expressed no awkwardness over the fact that Clinton, his former boss, fired all the U.S. Attorneys upon assuming office, chose not to talk about what is factually known in the case. Instead, he supplied the perspective of Congressional Democrats by repeatedly talking up a Gonzales resignation:
While viewers were told that the interview with Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez “pulled no punches,” you sure could have fooled anyone watching. ABC’s March 16 “Good Morning America” treated Chavez as a man who “does like this country.”
She actually meant the United States.
Flashback to the same network in 2005. Reporter Dan Harris of ABC’s “World News Tonight” was more up front about Chavez in a Nov. 6, 2005, report: “Venezuelan leftist leader Hugo Chavez, who led an anti-American rally while talks for free trade were taking place.”
You probably didn’t hear about a rather topical debate concerning man’s role in global warming that took place in New York City Wednesday night.
Want to know why the media will likely ignore this fascinating event? Well, because the panel of skeptics beat the believers.
How large was the victory?
Well, before the debate took place, the tough New York crowd was polled, and the results showed that they believed global warming was a crisis by a margin of 57 percent to 30 percent. However, after the debate, this changed to the crowd feeling it wasn’t a crisis, with skeptics topping believers 46 to 42 percent.
So much for consensus, huh? As reported by Marc Morano at the EPW blog (emphasis added throughout):
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift complained on Friday's Diane Rehm show on NPR that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has drained all the independence out of his office, that he's acting too much like the president's "personal lawyer." In 1993, when Janet Reno announced the mass dismissal of all 93 U.S. Attorneys, no one demanded her resignation for her lack of independence from the White House. In fact, it could be because someone else was coordinating with the White House on how to run the Justice Department, the felonious Webster Hubbell. At that time, the Wall Street Journal editorial page found a "fascinating exchange" in an interview Reno granted to NBC anchor Tom Brokaw just after the Waco debacle on April 19:
BROKAW: Once the fire broke out, what did you tell President Clinton?
The MSM/Dem drumbeat has been that by fighting the war in Iraq, the United States has taken its eye off the ball in Afghanistan, that a big Taliban offensive is about to begin there, and that it could be a key to the Taliban fully re-establishing itself in the country.
Take, for example, the comment made by Sen. Barack Obama in a Today appearance yesterday in the context of the publication of the confession of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: "I think we have ended up being distracted, particularly in Afghanistan, from dealing with the kind of real threats we heard about today."
But a senior officer on the ground has expressed a different perspective. Colonel David Enyeart, now on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, is Deputy Commander of Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix V, charged with training the Afghan National Army and police. In a conference call with the Colonel in which I participated recently, COL Enyeart expressed the view that the spring offensive could actually be the Taliban's last stand.
Call Tom Cruise and pass out the vitamins because conservatives are officially sad. It seems Time magazine is trying to top last week’s “Verdict on Cheney” cover that photoshopped storm clouds over the lightning-rod vice president. The cover for the March 26 issue shows a close-up headshot of the late Ronald Reagan who appears to have a single tear on his cheek, ala Iron Eyes Cody. The “photo illustration” is accompanied by the caption, “How The Right Went Wrong,” referring to “these gloomy and uncertain days” for conservatives.
Both images are hoaxes. Iron Eyes Cody was featured in one of the most memorable environmentalist promotions that showed a lone “Indian” crying about littering and pollution with a single tear sliding down his cheek in the final shot. Iron Eyes Cody was known as the “crying Indian,” but his family knew him as Espera DeCorti, the son of Italian immigrants. This cover is as accurate as that fake glycerine tear that gently slid down Iron Eyes Cody’s cheek.
Radar Online states that Time table of contents gives the “somewhat cryptic” credits for the cover in small print as, “Photograph by David Hume Kennerly. Tear by Tim O’Brian” but does not specifically state that it the cover is photoshopped. Time responded to Radar, defending their cover:
The Washington Post's reverence for protests -- the leftist ones, that is -- is clearly on display on the front of Friday's Metro section, with advance publicity for a Saturday "peace" march on the Pentagon starring Ramsey Clark, fresh from his unsuccessful defense lawyering for Saddam Hussein. (That fact is never mentioned in Steve Vogel's article.) On roughly the fourth anniversary of the initial blitz on Baghdad and forty years after the violent "levitate the Pentagon" protests of 1967, the Post splashes photographs down most of the front page of Metro, of 1967 at the top and 2007 at the bottom. The story sprawled out across most of B-3, and included another story by Michael Ruane on Christian "peace witness" at the White House.
Cinematical.com reports that the Egyptian production company, Good News, has an Osama Bin Ladin bio-pic in the pipeline. Last year, Good News made the very successful award-winning “The Yacoubian Building,” which was the most expensive film ever produced in Egypt. Now Good News is ready to tackle one of the most controversial figures in the world today, Osama Bin Ladin.
The movie is meant to appeal to Western audiences as well as those in Egypt and will “frame” the script for sensitive Westerners. Adeeb and Good News are trying to make films more palatable for Americans to swallow and the Bin Ladin bio is no exception (my emphasis throughout):
Catching up on an item from Monday's The Situation Room on CNN, which has already been covered by conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, CNN's Jack Cafferty condescendingly labeled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales as a "glorified waterboy for the White House" as he called for Gonzales to resign over the controversial firing of U.S. attorneys. After asking viewers to email him with their thoughts, Cafferty further called Gonzales a "weasel." Cafferty: "If you look up the word weasel in the dictionary, Wolf, you'll see Alberto Gonzales' picture there."
Below is a complete transcript of Cafferty's comments on Alberto Gonzales from the March 12 The Situation Room on CNN:
Gone are the days of Rambo fighting off Russian baddies in Vietnam, The Mighty Ducks kicking Swedish hockey team booty or even a geek destroying a red and white 1958 Plymouth Fury to a George Thorogood soundtrack. In the March 12 New York Times, Michael Cieply reports those days are on their way out in Hollywood. The new industry trend is for the movie villains to be enemies of the environment, not the United States. The NYT briefly touches on the old-style bad guys’ evolution to the new model and the possible resulting influence:
Dumping popular Hollywood villains of the past — drug lords, aliens, North Korean dictators, even the news media — for an environmental bête noire carries risks for studios that don’t mind frightening viewers, as long as it’s all in fun. But it also hints at the possibility of more sophisticated entertainment, and perhaps even the kind of impact that “The China Syndrome,” with Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas, exerted on the nuclear power industry when it came out in 1979.
ABC's World News separated itself from the media pack Thursday night. Though ABC's coverage was keyed to how e-mails supposedly show that Karl Rove was at “the center” of early 2005 discussions about replacing all 93 U.S. attorneys, anchor Charles Gibson pointed out how “these U.S. attorneys do serve at the pleasure of the President. He can fire them at any time. So did anything really get done that was wrong?” Jan Crawford Greenburg answered, in a broadcast network evening newscast first, by informing viewers of how “President Clinton, in fact, fired all the U.S. attorneys when he came into office from the previous Republican administration.”
Meanwhile, NBC and CBS continued the obsession on the story for the third night in a row. NBC Nightly News anchor Campbell Brown breathlessly teased her lead, “The prosecutor purge: Did the idea of firing all U.S. Attorneys start with inner circle adviser Karl Rove? If so, what now?” The CBS Evening News led with two stories on the subject, starting with Jim Axelrod on Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher's call for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to resign. Next, Bob Orr looked at how Gonzales “was tangled in controversy" before becoming AG. “As the President's chief lawyer, Gonzales sanctioned the widespread use of warrant-less wiretaps,”Orr thundered, thus “allowing the government to snoop on Americans without court orders.” Plus, “he also approved the so-called 'torture memo'” and “under Bush-Gonzales policies, prisoners were allowed to be held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay with no access to U.S. courts,” policies reflecting an “attitude,” Georgetown law professor David Cole charged, in Orr's words, which “led directly to the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.”
Before I started as NewsBusters managing editor, I finished up a study of the media's bias when it comes to reporting on prescription drugs. The study was released on March 14.
After the page break are some findings from the executive summary. Here's a link to the PDF version of the study.
Even when one new drug was hailed as a “major advance in combating
breast cancer” and a “major medical breakthrough,” its manufacturer was
given only a passing mention on one network. BMI looked at 132 stories
on prescription or over-the-counter drugs from the ABC, CBS, and NBC
evening newscasts between January 1 and Sept. 30, 2006.
On the March 15 edition of "The View," Rosie O’Donnell brought up the news of Khalid Sheik Mohammed’s many confessions. Rosie, who believes radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam, was more outraged on unproven allegations of torture than the horrific atrocities Mohammed confessed to. On her latest rant she also demonstrated her lack of knowledge on the extensive al Qaeda network.
O’DONNELL: I think the man has been in custody of the American government, in secret CIA torture prisons in Guantanamo Bay, where torture is accepted and allowed, and he finally is the guy who admits to doing everything. They finally found the guy. It's not that guy bin Laden. It's this guy they've had since ‘93. And look, this is the picture they released of him. Doesn’t, he look healthy?
How many networks does it take to change a lightbulb? Two.
CBS "Evening News" and ABC "World News with Charles Gibson" both ran segments on a coalition supporting a ban on incandescent light bulbs in order to save money and save the planet through decreased energy consumption.
“Brian Castelli is part of a growing coalition that wants to ban your standard bulb and replace it with compact fluorescents (CFLs). Advocates say it’ll cut greenhouse gases, save electricity and money,” said CBS technology correspondent Daniel Sieberg.
Both networks left out the anti-regulation perspective that if compact fluorescent bulbs are really more efficient and will save consumers money in the long run there is no need for a mandate from the government.
ABC’s Rosie O’Donnell has said some pretty disgraceful things on “The View” since her arrival. However, this might be the worst.
On Thursday’s installment, O’Donnell actually said that the only reason al Qaeda terrorist Khalid Sheikh Mohammed confessed to any of his actions is because he is being held and tortured by the United States government.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Chris Cuomo and reporter Brian Ross discussed the recent report that terrorist mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad admitted to planning 9/11 and other major attacks.
However, Cuomo and Ross spent much of the segment fretting over the interrogation techniques used by the U.S. And Mr. Ross chose to recount an oddly sympathetic quote by the terrorist, noting that Mr. Mohammad said, "he was sorry that 3000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, but, quote, ‘I don’t like to kill children and the kids.’"
One would think that such an absurd comment would at least warrant an eye roll, but the GMA hosts simply continued with the report. Cuomo wondered if the techniques used to extract information from the 9/11 planner could lead "to torture":
CHRIS CUOMO: "Everybody’s going to want to parse what happened here and why. You mentioned in the piece water boarding. Remind us what that is and if it leads to torture."