In ending the June edition of his Real Sports news magazine show Tuesday night on HBO by urging Americans to watch and appreciate World Cup soccer, Bryant Gumbel slipped in a personal/political slam: “I know that in soccer they score about as often as Ann Coulter makes sense.” Back in February, Gumbel used a commentary, about how he would not watch the Winter Olympic games, to denounce Republicans over race as he condescendingly suggested viewers "try not to laugh when someone says these are the world's greatest athletes, despite a paucity of blacks that makes the Winter Games look like a GOP convention." (Dave Pierre's NewsBusters item on that, with video)
The media reporting on Enron was aggressive from day one. As well it should be. But another huge corporate scandal rife with political connections has been virtually ignored by the media: the $40 billion Fannie Mae fiasco, presided over by Clinton alumni like Franklin Raines and Jamie Gorelick. Today the Washington Times ran an op-ed by the MRC's Business & Media Institute Director Dan Gainor about the media's double standard. Dan's piece is on page A18 of the print edition, and available on the Web here.
Here's a taste:
When most people hear the word "Enron," they mentally complete the phrase by adding the word "scandal." As reporter Lester Holt of NBC's "Today" put it in a Jan. 1 story, "Enron has been the poster child, if you will, of corporate scandals."
Rachel Sklar, formerly of Mediabistro's FishbowlNY blog and now the "Eat the Press" specialist at the Huffington Post (no "Green Acres" accents required), reports on what she calls a "cheap but hilarious" shot at congressional Republicans on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." It's apparently funny to blame Republican softball players for the floods in New Orleans, as fake-reporter Dan Bakkedahl put it:
The Daily Show's Dan Bakkedahl reported last night on the crisis gripping Congressional-league softball in D.C. this season after the Republican players split off into their own league in response to more inclusive regulations proposed by Democrats. According to the Wall Street Journal (and The Daily Show), the Republicans "seceded" from the league after the Democratic commissioner, Gary Caruso, permitted below-average teams to compete in the playoffs. The WSJ and Daily Show cited several emails accusing the league of being "all about Softball Welfare" and accusing Caruso of "punishing success and rewarding failure - He's a Democrat. Waddya' expect?"
In a chock-filled first half-hour of Today, the family of one the soldiers murdered in Iraq shared their grief and pride, Andrea Mitchell got it all wrong about conservative discontent, and White House spokesman Dan Bartlett declined to rise to Matt Lauer's bait.
Although the appropriateness of publicizing the grief of bereaved families is often debated, their dignity is a frequent source of inspiration. Here, the father of PFC Thomas Tucker of Oregon, reportedly tortured and murdered by the new al-Qaeda leader in Iraq in retaliation for the killing of Zarqawi, spoke with simple eloquence:
"We don't understand the big political picture. We understand what has happened. Our son has died for the freedom of everybody in the United States. We are very proud of our son."
Tom Shales, on Dan Rather's final departure from CBS:
As most of those who follow such events know, Rather was removed as anchor of the "CBS Evening News" a year short of his 25th anniversary after the airing of an apparently flawed "60 Minutes II" report on George W. Bush's alleged special treatment while in the Texas National Guard. Rather was the correspondent on that report. One producer lost her job, others are suing.
Look, we don't need to rehash that day when we all watched update after update attach to the bottom of the Sixty-First Minute. This report wasn't "apparently flawed," it wa a piece of hack journalism that failed because the story was too good to check out.
New York Times reporter Jason DeParle (an alumnus of the liberal Washington Monthly magazine, one of many in the major media over the years) is now the man the Times assigns to cover the caveman, er, conservative beat. In Wednesday's paper, he does that nicely by covering the new Encyclopedia of Conservatism by ISI Books. It's not completely without balance, as he does poke at ISI's Jeffrey Nelson about the book going easy on George Wallace, and brings in liberal author Dan Carter for comment. But this is the kind of story that explores conservatism, and doesn't just gasp in horror at it.
The Vice President of the Washington Post, Ben Bradlee, has the solution to the problem of MASSIVE declining newspaper circulation all figured out:
LEHRER: Do you think that the newspapers, faced with this decline in circulation, should reexamine what they're doing? BRADLEE: They're examining, reexamining it. Boy, that's topic A. Every, every paper you go to, they've just had a meeting and they're discussing what to do about falling circulation. And there's one word is the answer. LEHRER: What is it? BRADLEE: Stories. LEHRER: Stories? BRADLEE: Good stories. LEHRER: So, when you say stories, what stories are they not doing, kinds of stories that they're not doing? BRADLEE: Well, I mean, they're just well written stories, some story that makes you, you know, say I'll be damned, that's a good story.
Actually, the average newspaper story already makes me say "I'll be damned" but probably not for the reason Ben is talking about. Here's a suggestion for all you newspaper VP's. Why don't you get rid of the bias, the America-hating columnists, the socialist editorials, and the reporters pushing a gay/lesbian/transgendered/illegal alien/pro-abortion/anti-God/anti-gun agenda?
Ever thought of that in one of your falling circulation meetings? No. Probably not.
With Katie Couric lounging in the wings, Dan Rather is now expendable, and the suits at CBS News are squeezing him out of his last remaining gig on "60 Minutes." This has caused great distress for those who like their news to look like a long commercial for MoveOn.org, which is to say, the Dan Rather fan club.
CBS smiled politely as they pushed him away, but the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted an anonymous former CBS executive, who denounced the shove-off as "disgraceful. He's a legend. He gave his life to that company. Even though he made a big mistake, he did 43 years and 11 months' great work."
If Rather’s that great, why didn’t the executive have the courage to go on the record?
Rather had a Nixonian ending, resigning from the anchor chair in disgrace after being in complete denial about his own political corruption. It’s not surprising that some will now try to rehabilitate his reputation, but they won’t have much more luck than Nixon did. Dan Rather does not have a sterling record of journalism. He is a grand example of the anchorman as a powerful and partisan national politician who never had to be elected, yet had a lot more visibility and wielded a lot more influence than most elected officials.
When President Franklin D. Roosevelt read the newspapers he kept his eye out for what he called “howlers.” They were false or just downright foolish news items that gave him at least a chuckle and sometimes left him howling with laughter. He loved sharing “howlers” with friends.
Generally cast as a moderate, [Gov. Mitt] Romney sounded a theme of social conservatism before delegates at the state convention who are generally more conservative than most Republicans. "The family is the absolute foundation of our culture," Romney said.
OK, so we know what social conservatives believe is "the absolute foundation of our culture."
So which organization put out the headline giving al-Zarqawi's successor credit for the barbaric killings? Did you guess al-Qaeda? That's very reasonable. Al-Qaeda certainly wants to build up al-Zarqawi's successor. What's more, al-Qaeda encourages its members and anyone else to kill American soldiers in Iraq. It's eager to give anyone credit for doing that. But it wasn't al-Qaeda. The headline comes from the Associated Press. Are you shocked? I was.
I long ago decided the AP is an untrustworthy, liberal/leftist agenda driven outfit passing itself off as a news organization. Still, the AP's Al-Zarqawi's successor gets the credit headline shocked me.
What to do? Letters to the editor? Most certainly. We need to let our local editors know they can't fool us any longer with the old "the AP did that" brush off. The editors of our papers pay the AP to do what it does. After we've done that, we need to do more.
We need a national conversation about how to provide our country as quickly as possible with an alternate news media that supports what America supports, civilization.
The CBS and NBC anchors signed off Tuesday night by delivering glowing tributes to Dan Rather, who officially departed from CBS News earlier in the day, with CBS’s Bob Schieffer calling him a “great reporter” and Brian Williams offering him “a tip of the Stetson.” Schieffer, who succeeded Rather as anchor of the CBS Evening News, exuded: “I'm going to miss Dan. He's been a part of my life for more than 40 years.” Schieffer touted Rather’s journalistic skills: “When a story broke, he wanted to be there. He thought that was the only way to report a story. That is the mark of all great reporters, that is what I most admired and will always remember about him. Dan Rather was one of the great reporters of his time.”
Williams closed the NBC Nightly News with a personal tribute to Rather’s career, ending: “As the man himself has been known to say many times and on similar occasions, a tip of the Stetson to you and we'll be seeing you down the road." On the controversy which led to Rather’s downfall, Williams asserted: “He was forced to resign 15 months ago after what has since been dubbed ‘Memogate,’ a story about President Bush's National Guard service, for which Rather later apologized.” Unmentioned by Williams: How Rather has yet to concede the story was false or based on forged documents. Last September, Rather declared: “The story is accurate." (Transcripts and links follow.)
A new documentary about Vice President Dick Cheney is set to air this evening on PBS. It’s called “The Dark Side,” and based upon a review published in today’s New York Daily News, it doesn’t appear to be very flattering.
First, the title comes “from a quote by Vice President Cheney in the wake of 9/11. Cheney said that the CIA, the Pentagon and other intelligence-gathering U.S. forces would have to ‘work from the dark side’ to glean information and combat and defeat terrorism.”
However, let’s be serious: what viewer isn’t going to assume that the title is a more direct reference to the movie “Star Wars,” and that Cheney is being depicted as Darth Vader? Forgive me, but as George Carlin said many years ago, you don’t have to be Fellini to figure that out.
The documentary then picks up some rather familiar liberal themes that we’ve all been hearing ad nauseum for years:
Now that CBS News and Dan Rather have officially separated, the Media Research Center has re-organized and updated our extensive archive of Rather's liberal bias from over the years. Our index page, "The Dan Rather File: Decades of Liberal Media Bias," features video of the infamous 1988 encounter with VP George H.W. Bush and has links to several compilations of quotes and videos, such as “Liberal Bias by Topic,” “Liberal Bias by Year,” “Journalists Praise Rather and Rather Defends His Discredited Story,” “Dan's Downfall: Forged Documents,” “'Corny in Kansas' Rather-isms” and “Rather Lame Denials of Bias.” For a quick overview of Rather's worst quotes, check our February 28, 2005 special four-page Notable Quotables, "Dan Rather's Legacy of Outrageous Liberal Bias."
Predictably, following what I suggested yesterday, ABC's "World News Tonight" hailed the election of the new female Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church USA as a "milestone" and a "significant advance for women in religion." To the media elite, it is a political victory for feminism, and the religious angle is barely worth mentioning.
ABC reporter Dan Harris hailed Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori for denting the "stained glass ceiling," but said nothing about her theological beliefs, including her expressing the liberal view on CNN that homosexuality "is not a sin." The battle over gay clergy and "marriage," not female leaders, is the real battle in the Anglican Communion.
The Morning Call has an article about Allentown's gay pride parade. Just in case you thought the paper was going to treat the spectacle fairly, you should know that the paper's feature writer and weekly columnist was the parade's grand marshall... along with his man. And the paper, as a non-partisan observer and reporter of fact, helped fund the event.
Don't think for a minute the newspaper doesn't know how wrong all of this is. Vicki C. Mayk, Morning Call director of community relations released a statement saying: "The highest duty of journalists in a democratic society is to provide credible information devoid of favor toward or obligation to any group or agenda." But that doesn't mean they would actually stop their reporter from... leading the train.
With all the fairness they could muster, the article takes a shot at point out how tragic it is that we don't accept gay marriage.
''They're normal and they do the same things as straight people do,'' Chadwick, who is not gay, said as a choral group sang the national anthem. Many gays and lesbians would like the list of ''normal'' things they do to extend to marriage... ''It's not for everyone,'' said Enrique Reid, 21, of Allentown, who sported a wide rainbow-patterned scarf around his waist and nothing else. ''As long as I am happy with that man. I don't need to put a ring on his finger.''
Walking around in nothing but a scarf? Oh yeah, that's normal, just like what straight people do.
The original source of the whole blogger investigation was an article printed in New York Times blog (disclosing how Armstrong was found by the SEC to have promoted junk stocks and bonds on the web) which never appeared in the print edition and is unreadable without a paid subscription to the web site. After the story came out, The New York Post printed its own story, and in the process taking the scoop. It's starting to seem as though NYT blogger Chris Suellentrop's editors did not deem newsworthy a story which reflected badly on the left-wing blogosphere despite devoting mucho coverage to it this month.
NBC's Campbell Brown couldn't contain her laughter this morning as The Nation’s liberal columnist Calvin Trillin poked fun at George W. Bush. Promoting his new collection of poems A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration In Rhyme, Trillin cracked up Today show co-host Brown with such old poetic knee-slappers as: "Obliviously on he sails with marks not quite as good as Quayle's." Brown went on to praise Trillin's latest work as "great stuff" and predicted, "It's going to be a hilarious book." Brown even urged Trillin to recite verses from A Heckuva Job:
Brown: "But the new, the title of your book came from what you, perhaps feel, is the President's most memorable line thus far?"
CBS radio news just ran an item on the departure of Dan Rather. There was a surprising bit of candor in which CBS reported that Rather had "expressed frustration, feeling he'd been shelved by the network."
There was also a bit of - presumably - unintentional humor. We were treated to a clip of the Washington Post's [very liberal] media critic Tom Shales informing us that Rather "was a very activist anchor, and he changed the role of anchor."
The media have ignored heroes among the U.S. troops in Iraq, and have instead fixated on scandals representing a small percentage of troops, such as the New York Times' "love affair" with the Abu Ghraib scandal, manifested in 50 front page headlines.
After years of watching and reading coverage of the War on Terror, many citizens, including us, have been awestruck by the lack of balance and objectivity exercised by American reporters and news executives. The dearth of hopeful or heroic stories reported has given viewers a lopsided perspective.
Case in point: the New York Times and their love affair with the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. To date, the New York Times has devoted over 50 front page articles to the story! Currently, not a single individual chronicled in our book, Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, - some of the most highly decorated members of the United States military - has received a front-page story devoted to his or her valorous actions.
CBS has made the final announcement: Dan Rather is no longer at the network. CBSNews.com has the details, as well as a tribute to the former anchor's career. The moments they are most proud of are his two interviews with Saddam Hussein.
Dan Rather is leaving CBS after 44 years with the Tiffany Network.
Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, made the announcement.
"Of all the famous names associated with CBS News, the biggest and brightest on the marquee are Murrow, Cronkite and Rather," McManus said. "With the utmost respect, we mark the extraordinary and singular role Dan has played in writing the script of not only CBS News, but of broadcast journalism."
Two weeks certainly aren’t a large sampling, but since the much-heralded – and over-celebrated – departure of the perky Katie Couric, NBC’s “Today” show actually widened its average daily viewing margin over second-place rival ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
As reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge): “‘Today’ beat second-place ‘Good Morning America’ of ABC by an average of 1.3 million viewers in the two weeks following Couric's last show on May 31, according to Nielsen Media Research. The NBC show's margin of victory (5.85 million to 4.92 million) was tighter during Couric's last full week on the air.”
Yikes. And, generating advertising dollars without Couric hasn’t been a problem either: “NBC also says it has earned about $25 million more in ‘upfront’ advertising sales for ‘Today’ in the fall than it did last year at this time, when the morning show was facing a stiffer challenge from ABC.”
Double yikes. Finally, one of NBC’s top brass might have added a bit of a parting shot at Katie to drive the point home:
CNN commentator Jack Cafferty appeared for a phone interview on the leftist Stephanie Miller show on Tuesday (9:30 AM D.C. radio time), as Miller oozed over how much she loved his "anti-Bush administration rants" and joked that the country needs "President Jack Cafferty." When the show's impressionist, Jim Ward, started doing a rather underwhelming Wolf Blitzer impression, suggesting Blitzer thinks President Bush is on a historical plane with Churchill and Abe Lincoln, Cafferty was self-deprecating about their on-air relationship, saying something like (paraphrasing): "Wolf comes from a more traditional news background," so it's odd for Blitzer to sit next to a "fringe lunatic" like him.
Miller mentioned several times how Cafferty is on her "future husbands list," and asked Cafferty for his take on the two soldiers found killed in Iraq today. He said there was not much to say, it's "horrible," and then sounded a lot like a Murtha: it's "time to get the Hell out of there...pack up and come home. Enough already." He claimed he was "not a peacenik," but the war "just reeks" and has "no upside" for America.
For a TV host, there's nothing much more difficult than interviewing a family member of someone who has been killed or seriously harmed. So when the uncle of one of the US soldiers kidnapped and killed in Iraq called for the offering of a massive ransom and a prisoner exchange, give Matt Lauer credit for having had the courage to challenge him.
Here's how it went down.
Lauer was interviewing Ken MacKenzie, a well-spoken, well-informed uncle to PFC Kristian Menchaca. Asked Lauer:
"A group linked to al-Qaeda on its website has claimed that they actually took Kristian and another soldier. What's your reaction to that?"
"My reaction is the United States government should have immediately notified these Shura Council mujahadeen that the United States government was offering a $100-million reward and offering to exchange the 2,500 mujahadeen detainees that Prime Minister al-Maliki of Iraq plans to release several weeks from now. I think the U.S. government was too slow to react to this, they should have had a plan in place. Because the U.S. government did not have a plan in place, my nephew has paid for it with his life."
In the second hour of "The Early Show" on CBS Monday, co-host Harry Smith promoted one of Ted Kennedy's two new books this year: this one is a children's book called "My Senator and Me," written from the perspective of Kennedy's dog: "Splash." If you thought for one second that anyone at CBS was going to ask about the dog's name and er, Chappaquiddick, you might think "Captain Kangaroo" was still on the air.
MRC's Mike Rule reported that Smith asked vaguely about Kennedy's son Patrick and how his rehab is going, and then very gently asked Kennedy about "your feelings as we move forward" considering recent progress in Iraq. (A better question might have been: "So, Ted, still the best vote you ever cast?") I think the whole transcript is the best way to digest this interview:
In so many ways does the mainstream press demean conservatives who work on environmental issues.
In this Los Angeles Times piece by Jim Puzzanghera, conservatives wary of the Henry Paulson nomination are described as "causing problems" for Paulson because Paulson likes to watch birds.
Here's how the article begins:
WASHINGTON - As a three-decade Wall Street veteran and chairman of one of the nation's premiere investment banks, Henry M. Paulson Jr. makes a living watching markets.
But it's his hobby of watching birds that is already causing problems for his nomination as the nation's next Treasury secretary.
An ardent environmentalist, Paulson is expected to be questioned during confirmation hearings about his role as chairman of the Nature Conservancy, and whether he adequately cleaned up the organization's questionable land sale and tax break practices. Another potential sticky issue: a decision by Goldman Sachs, the investment bank Paulson heads as chairman and chief executive, to donate 680,000 acres of land in a remote section of Chile to an environmental group with ties to his son...
Unlike the 53-state commission, where members were nominated by regional blocs, the council's 47 members were elected by the U.N. General Assembly, a change which proponents say makes it more difficult for rights violators to win a seat.
Sounds better than the previous UN Human Rights watchdog, right?
Unfortunately, the story doesn't mention the fact that several members of this "new" Council are some of the worst human rights abusers in the world today.
Two eye-raising events in the world of religion have been reported in London's leftish Guardian newspaper. In the U.K., the Guardian reports, Christian girls are banned from wearing chastity rings in school at a top state school -- even as Muslim and Sikh girls wear head garb that's not part of official school uniforms. Says the mother of one: "Here you have 12 girls who want to live an alternative lifestyle: we are not asking the school to subscribe to it, just respect it." The Guardian also ran a report from AP religion writer Richard Ostling on the latest decisions from the progressive faction of the Presbyterians -- although he never described them as liberal or progressive, even as their opponents were repeatedly described as conservative:
The divine Trinity - "Father, Son and Holy Spirit'' - could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb'' or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend'' at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.
Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive'' a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them...The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.
MRC intern Eugene Gibilaro found that on CBS’s Sunday Morning yesterday, movie critic David Edelstein politicized his movie review of "The Lake House." Edelstein discusses time travel movies and describes the plot of "The Lake House," as:
"I even loved the incredibly dumb time travel romance "The Lake House," where Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock send letters back and forth between 2004 and 2006."
Seems Edelstein couldn’t resist the opportunity to interject his political philosophy into the review as he alluded to the 2004 election and the fact that he believes George Bush and the Republican Party stole Ohio:
It's not especially newsworthy that Connie Chung and Maury Povich's Saturday program on MSNBC, which debuted in January, has been canceled. Perhaps no more newsworthy, but definitely more amusing, is that on the show's final episode this past weekend, Chung, as she danced on top of and around a piano, bade her audience farewell in song, to the tune of "Thanks for the Memories." (Hat tips: Drudge and NRO's The Corner.)
To be fair, Chung sings better than Elaine Benes danced. That said, watch this and you'll appreciate Bob Hope (not to mention Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys) more than you ever did before. (Monday's New York Post printed some of her lyrics.)