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By Ken Shepherd | March 16, 2011 | 11:33 AM EDT

"Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has voted to approve more than $900,000 in deals with Johns Hopkins since her husband began working for one of its divisions late last year — a possible violation of the city ethics code."

That's how the Baltimore Sun's Julie Scharper began her March 16 story -- published last night online here -- about the Democratic mayor's votes on the city's board that authorizes spending for public contracts.

Yet Scharper failed to note Rawlings-Blake's Democratic Party affiliation.

By Terence P. Jeffrey | March 16, 2011 | 11:21 AM EDT

The national debt jumped by $72 billion on Tuesday even as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for just three weeks that will cut $6 billion from government spending.

If Congress were to cut $6 billion every three weeks for the next 36 weeks, it would manage to save between now and late November as much money as the Treasury added to the nation’s net debt during just the business hours of Tuesday, March 15.

By Clay Waters | March 16, 2011 | 9:27 AM EDT

New York Times media reporter and columnist David Carr discussed the surprising recent audience gains of the newly controversial National Public Radio in “Gains For NPR Are Clouded,” featured on the front of Monday’s Business Day section.

Carr sometimes grasps the conservative point of view on media issues, but on Monday he joined his boss, Executive Editor Bill Keller, in chiding the journalism of News Corporation, the media consortium owned by Rupert Murdoch. (Carr also went after the purported conservative bias at Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal in a December 14, 2009 column, “Tilting Rightward at Journal.”

On Monday he described an NPR under siege while defending the necessity of publicly funded journalism against new calls for budget restraint.

By Tim Graham | March 16, 2011 | 9:16 AM EDT

NPR media reporter David Folkenflik has not only done one story trying to dig out former top NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller's nasty comments against deeply racist, gun-toting, phony-Christian conservatives (as Matt Hadro first noted), he's performed three slanted versions of NPR self-defense. Just as CBS in the first days of the Dan Rather fiasco embarrassed themselves by stonewalling Rather critics and using only supporters of the CBS war on Bush, Folkenflik could only stand up for Ron Schiller and try to turn around the horrible publicity, no matter how futile that appears.

On Monday's Morning Edition, he even ushered in Al Tompkins of the liberal Poynter Institute to insist that people shouldn't trust their eyes and ears, that the idea that Schiller smeared conservatives was a lie:

TOMPKINS: I tell my children there's two ways to lie. One is to tell me something that didn't happen, and the other is not to tell me something that did happen. I think that they employed both techniques in this. 

By NB Staff | March 16, 2011 | 8:58 AM EDT

There has been quite a bit of howling from the right over the president's continued golf outings in the midst of two international crises - in Japan and Libya. But Gene Healy gives an interesting take in a column Wednesday, noting that the more time Obama spends on the links, the less time he has to ram his misguided agenda into law. Of course, there is the entirely separate issue of the press's double standard on presidential golf outings, but is the country actually better served if Obama spends more time on the golf course? Healy writes: don’t have to buy into a conspiratorial view of this administration to appreciate that presidential inactivity’s a good thing here.

By Tim Graham | March 16, 2011 | 7:58 AM EDT

National Public Radio hasn't exactly been inviting real conservatives -- the ones who think NPR is not a "very valuable" treasure for taxpayers to involuntarily support -- since the Ron Schiller tape was posted. But kudos to Michel Martin, host of the afternoon talk show Tell Me More, for putting on Kevin Williamson of National Review Online on Monday. He said God bless Ron Schiller for revealing the "cultural soul of American liberalism." Martin argued with him that a fundraiser (or an ad salesman) shouldn't be seen as representative of the company.  Williamson appeared in the "barbershop" section of the program, where there is normally not a white dude. After he joked about stopping by to be the show's "token middle-American, gun-toting angry person, clinging to religion," he began by responding to Martin asserting everyone was offended by Schiller:

KEVIN WILLIAMSON: Well, I say God bless this guy for having said it.

JIMI IZRAEL: K-dub, go ahead.


By Noel Sheppard | March 16, 2011 | 2:22 AM EDT

As strife continued in Libya, and Japan dug out from an epic earthquake and tsunamis leaving one of our largest trading partners in the midst of a nuclear crisis, Barack Obama went golfing this past Saturday.

Obviously clueless about the President's numerous golf outings and vacations since Inauguration Day, comedienne Wanda Sykes actually asked Jay Leno on Tuesday's "Tonight Show," "Has Obama had one relaxing day since he's been in office?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Noel Sheppard | March 16, 2011 | 12:53 AM EDT

As NewsBusters reported in February, vulgarian comedienne Kathy Griffin was cast to do a guest stint on the hit series "Glee" portraying a Palinesque Tea Partier.

The advanced billing turned out better than the reality, for on Tuesday's show, Griffin mocked Palin and Christine O'Donnell while depicting Tea Party members as homophobic birthers (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tom Blumer | March 15, 2011 | 11:22 PM EDT

No one can fairly accuse whoever wrote the Tuesday evening report on 2010 newspaper industry revenue of looking through rose-colored glasses. The same cannot be said of John F. Sturm, President and CEO of the Newspaper Association of America, whose press release today reads as follows:

Quarter after quarter, newspaper advertising has shown signs of a continued turnaround and an essential repositioning. Buoyed by online growth and moderating print declines, these figures point to a continually improving advertising environment for newspapers, with encouraging trends as we progress further into 2011. Online revenues increased 14 percent in last year’s fourth quarter, with 12 percent of all newspaper ad revenues generated from digital platforms.


Newspapers - in print and digital form - remain the largest source of original, high-quality news and information in the United States, reaching nearly two-thirds of all adult Internet users and attracting more than 164 million people who read a newspaper in print or online each and every week.

Despite one half-decent quarter, Sturm's characterization of the "environment" as improving is deliberate, he surely can't say that total revenues are improving:

By Mark Finkelstein | March 15, 2011 | 9:47 PM EDT

If only Larry O'Donnell could have restrained himself, he had an opening to take a deserved shot at a Republican. But they don't call him 'Crazy Larry' for nothing. And so on his MSNBC show this evening, O'Donnell couldn't resist going beyond the bounds, fantasizing about "good Christians" as murderers of illegal immigrants.

A meat-head of a Kansas Republican state lawmaker named Virgil Peck had suggested that since shooting feral pigs from helicopters had proved successful, "maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.”

If O'Donnell had contented himself with pasting Peck, he would have been entirely within his rights.  But no, Larry had to aver that Virgil imagined "good Christian Kansas sharpshooters" killing the immigrants.  Peck had in fact made no reference to religion.

View video after the jump.

By Tim Graham | March 15, 2011 | 7:57 PM EDT

Danielle Kurtzleben at U.S. News & World Report crunched some numbers of federal campaign contributions and discovered that the NPR Board and the board of the NPR Foundation are -- surprise, surprise -- much more likely to donate to Democrats.

A review of campaign finance data found that NPR board members' campaign contributions have sharply favored Democrats. Since 2004, members of the boards of NPR and the NPR Foundation, the public broadcaster's fundraising arm, have contributed nearly $2.2 million to federal candidates, parties, and PACs, of which $1.95 million, or 89 percent, has gone to Democratic candidates and liberal-leaning political action committees.

By Jack Coleman | March 15, 2011 | 7:51 PM EDT

Suddenly, unions aren't looking so bad ...

On her radio show Friday, Rosie O'Donnell fielded a call from a California woman who said she is a member of a correctional officers' union. Although the union has helped her, the caller told O'Donnell, it comes with baggage (audio) --

By Lachlan Markay | March 15, 2011 | 6:57 PM EDT

Actor and filmmaker Harry Shearer, best known for his voice work in 'The Simpsons', blasted the news media in a speech to the National Press Club on Monday.

Specifically, he singled out the media's "myth-making" tendency - its constant desire to fit current events into mostly pre-formed narratives. "What I’m calling a ‘template,’ is based on facts. Some facts. A partial collection. The first dusting," Shearer claimed. "It then becomes adopted as ‘the narrative.' The mental doors lock shut, and no further facts are allowed in."

By Matthew Balan | March 15, 2011 | 6:54 PM EDT

On Tuesday's Morning Edition, NPR's Carrie Johnson highlighted critiques of the Obama White House from the left on their promise to be "the most transparent administration in history," but downplayed questions over the Department of Justice's Civil Rights Unit's use of non-disclosure agreements with companies under investigation.

Host Renee Montagne introduced Johnson's report, noting that "in Washington, D.C., some people are calling this 'Sunshine Week.' It's a time of year when government watchdog groups evaluate the administration's commitment to openness. Two years ago, President Obama promised to run the most transparent administration in history."

By Noel Sheppard | March 15, 2011 | 6:28 PM EDT

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said Tuesday, "The 3,400 members of the mainstream media are part of the Obama press contingent."

Appearing on the "Laura Ingraham Show, " Bachmann addressed all the liberal hyperventilating that occurred after her gaffe about Lexington and Concord being in New Hampshire rather than Massachusetts (video follows with transcript and commentary):