On Tuesday’s “Countdown,” host Keith Olbermann chose to virulently attack two of America’s most prominent conservatives in his Worst Person in the World segment: radio host Michael Savage, and author Ann Coulter. Olbermann began with Savage (video courtesy of Crooks and Liars):
"Our runner-up tonight, Michael Savage. Now, the bar is higher for him because ordinarily we do not like to mock the insane. But get this from his radio show 'The American left is cheering today. They`ll probably break open the jug wine and cheer that Jews are dying. They can tear off their masks once and for all and show themselves to be what they really are, which is the Nazis of our time.'
"This just in from hell: Satan has chosen Michael Savage`s show to broadcast over the P.A. system to torture the souls of the eternally damned."
Olbermann then went after Coulter for a comical e-mail response sent to a fashion magazine as reported by NewsBusters Tuesday:
Is CNN correspondent Nic Robertson looking to be the next Peter Arnett? I've been getting tips that this may be the case. They're starting to wonder at Israpundit after watching Robertson uncritically relay a Hezbollah claim that Israel had been targeting civilians.
Elsewhere from the sympathy-for-terrorists department, Michelle Malkin has a great vivisection of the New York Times and its terrorist-embedded photographers.
UPDATE 12:42. NB's Rich Noyes has the full details on Robertson's shillery.
It's been a tough week for the MSM. You just know they'd like to find a way to spin events in Lebanon and Israel for purposes of criticizing the Bush administration. But one senses they've had a tough time getting traction. Even for our liberal media heroes, making common cause with Hezbollah might be a bridge too far.
When the MSM is reduced to fixating on a mild four-letter word the president let fly, and to second-guessing tactics - as opposed to goals - you know the media's Bush-bashing cupboard is alarmingly bare.
The last best hope for the MSM seemed to be the alleged slowness of the evacuation of Americans in Lebanon. There was Tucker Carlson accusing Israel of 'doing nothing' to help stranded Americans. And the MSM widely reported the number of Americans in Lebanon at 25,000, downplaying the fact that the great majority have dual Lebanese citizenship and are not looking to leave. The actual number of those wishing to get out is apparently in the 5-8,000 range.
Remember as a kid trying to build the tallest building you could with Legos, or whatever it was in your day? Derrick Jackson doesn't. Judging by his column - High and Mighty - in today's Boston Globe, young Derrick built one-story affordable units, maybe even buried them underground in his backyard - just to be safe. Jackson's op-ed is a condemnation of proposals to build or rebuild towers in major cities, including his own Boston.
Jackson's anti-tower argument is four-fold:
Tall buildings taunt terrorists.
Towers are a cruel reminder of class differences.
Contrary to what politicians claim, there is no symbolism or inspiration to be had in a tall building.
It's a disgrace to spend money on big buildings while not everyone has healthcare and other government goodies.
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann implied that the Senate Judiciary Committee deliberately timed its hearing on the controversial NSA spying program to "bury" the story as the national media attention is focused on war in the Middle East. The Countdown host similarly remarked that it was the "perfect day" for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to reveal President Bush's role in blocking the Justice Department from reviewing the program. Referring to NBC's The West Wing, Olbermann ended up labeling the day "take out the trash day."
After referring to the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah, Olbermann teased the segment at the beginning of the show: "A perfect day then to bury the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on warrant-free domestic spying by the Bush administration. A perfect day then for the Attorney General to reveal that the Justice Department was blocked from reviewing the legalities on the personal instructions of the President." (Transcript follows)
Somehow, I don't expect we'll be seeing the leftist Fox-haters trumpeting the latest news about Rupert Murdoch. Seems he was last seen hosting a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton:
Two of the most public people in the world had a chummy breakfast yesterday, but media mogul Rupert Murdoch and Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) tried to keep their political get-together as secret as possible.
There were no Fox News cameras to record the odd couple breaking bread together at Murdoch's News Corp. headquarters in midtown, where, after years of attacking her, the conservative Murdoch hosted a fund-raiser for Clinton's Democratic Senate campaign.
The campaign refused to even confirm the time or location of the controversial fund-raiser. No estimate of the take or number of people who attended was released.
If you are a celebrity, businessman or ex-president with a liberal persuasion and you have a cause to promote chances are someone from NBC's Today will traverse many miles to place a microphone in front of your face. On this morning's Today show Brad Pitt, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates all got face-time to promote their causes. However it was Pitt who stole the show with this piece of Greenie hyperbole: "We just can't keep consuming ourselves into extinction."
In the first half-hour of Today NBC's Campbell Brown highlighted Bill and Melinda Gates and Clinton's efforts to combat disease in Africa and in the 8:30 half-hour Ann Curry trudged through flood-ravaged New Orleans to promote Brad Pitt's effort to rebuild the city. On the surface one has to applaud any charitable effort to fight disease in Africa or reconstruct New Orleans but it would be nice if viewers were spared the liberal hero worship such as Brown calling Gates and Clinton, "two of the most fascinating people in the world."
During a July 18th segment on the science behind stem cell research with CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, American Morning substitute host Carol Costello displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of basic reproductive science. Costello was questioning Cohen on what federal funding for stem cell research would mean for those who had frozen embryos. Cohen explained that scientists with federal grants would seek out these embryos, and it would be up to individuals to decide whether or not to make a donation. Costello showed her confusion on the topic with this question:
Cohen: "These are four-day old embryos. We’re talking about very tiny, tiny embryos."
Costello: "And they’re not fertilized either, right?"
Cohen, forced to correct Costello, gave her a quick explanation of how an embryo is formed:
There are likely many conservatives around the country that have felt the New York Times has been shrinking for decades…in relevance, that is. However, now the “paper of record” is literally shrinking. As reported by Reuters (with a hat tip to Drudge): “The newspaper will be narrower by 1 1/2 inches.” “The narrower format, offset by some additional pages, will reduce the space the paper has for news by 5 percent, Executive Editor Bill Keller said in the article.”
Of course, Keller didn’t comment on whether this five percent reduction in “news” will result in a much-needed decline in liberally-biased viewpoints, bashing of Republicans, or the release of top secret intelligence information to America’s enemies here and abroad.
Regardless, this appears to be a growing trend in the print media:
The Shiite anti-Israeli terror group Hezbollah crossed from Lebanon into Israel on July 12, killing eight Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two others. Israel is responding with force, unleashing targeted air strikes against Hezbollah positions in Lebanon in an effort to get the kidnapped soldiers back.
The New York Times' coverage of Israel's counterattack has been generally fair, or at least more balanced than usual -- the prospect of wide-scale war appears to have clarified somewhat the paper's often-wishful thinking about the true aims of Israel’s foes.
One major annoying tic that remains is the paper's use of the term "captured" to describe kidnapped Israeli soldiers, when it comes to covering the June kidnapping by Hamas of Gilad Shalit at an Israeli Defense Forces outpost, and the two kidnapped soldiers resulting from the incursion by Hezbollah. "Captured" is a phrase used by anti-Israeli leftists like ANSWER and implies these soldiers were prisoners of war captured on the field of battle, not abducted over a border by a terrorist group.
Jim Murphy, who castigated the MRC as “more biased” than the mainstream media and rejected criticism in NewsBusters when he was the Executive Producer of the CBS Evening News, will soon take control of ABC's Good Morning America. Broadcasting & Cable magazine's Web site today reported that ABC's news division “is expected to name Jim Murphy...as Senior Executive Producer of Good Morning America, according to sources inside ABC News.” Murphy ran the CBS Evening News for six years, until being replaced in November.
Last September, when two NewsBusters/MRC CyberAlert items criticized biased CBS Evening News stories about President Bush and Katrina (a CBS reporter gratuitously pointed out how Bush spoke “inside an air-conditioned tent” while most were sweltering and on another night CBS uniquely highlighted a slam at the Bush administration from Jimmy Carter), CBS's Public Eye blog asked Murphy to respond and he charged that the Media Research Center “is a much more biased organization than any institution in the MSM."
One of the things journalists are famous for doing is exploiting the pain of others, often while saving their own from the same type of exploitation. Many times, they will run the very personal 911 calls that are placed after an event. I know that doesn't seem like it should be allowed; 911 is the only option people have for immediate help and victims shouldn't have to worry in their worst of moments whether they will end up on the news. But MSM and their lawyers have forced their noses into every personal nook and cranny that can help boost their ratings.
It didn't pay off this time. WOIO Channel 19 in Cleveland ran a "gruesome" 911 tape of Nancy Fisher calling for help after finding her 6-year-old daughter had drowned in a creek. Nancy is the sister of Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.
Needless to say, the Cleveland Browns dropped their relationship with the station and are now looking for another station to air Browns games.
Most NewsBusters readers have likely not heard of Women’s Wear Daily, but the Raw Story tipped me off to a truly delicious piece written by Jacob Bernstein that will definitely require all coffee cups and drinking vessels down: “If you falsely yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and everyone tramples each other to death, you get sent to jail. So what should be done with Ann Coulter, who has argued that The New York Times should have been blown up by Timothy McVeigh and that Times executive editor Bill Keller should be executed by firing squad?”
The article continued:
This was the question one Times source asked on Friday after an employee at the paper of record received an envelope with an X scrawled through it and a suspicious powder inside. "This thing makes all of Ann Coulter's comments a little less funny," said the source. "I wonder if she considers herself at all responsible when lunatics read her columns and she says that we should be killed."
So, a representative of WWD sent an e-mail message to Coulter’s AOL account asking such quesions, and, according to the article, actually received this hilarious response:
The Chicago Tribune may not be, as its competitor the Chicago Sun-Times can boast, a "proud sponsor of Gay Games VII," but you wouldn't know it by its coverage.
Last Sunday, the Tribune featured eight articles referencing the Gay Games. On Monday there were five and today there are three. In fairness, some of the articles have more to do with the weather than the games, but some pieces leave no question as to where the writer stands.
Columnist Mary Schmich, for example, writes: "It's been a generation since I knowingly met a gay person for the first time. A generation since the Gay Games started. A generation of huge, encouraging changes. And still not enough has changed."
On September 11, 2001, as planes slammed into New York City, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, the earth seemed to stop spinning for a few hours, and the planet’s billions immediately realized that the world had changed forever. A similar shudder happened last week when Hezbollah attacked Israel, and it would be prudent for these same billions to look upon this event as seriously.
The sheer volume of terrorist activity Israel has endured in the last 58 years seemingly would suggest that attacks on this particular nation are divorced from the global war on terrorism. But such a conclusion would be folly, for the events of last week are not just another episode in the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Lebanon has now become an albatross for Israel much as Afghanistan was to the United States prior to 9/11.
I don't know about you, but whenever I have to choose whose military strategy to rely on - the Israeli IDF's or a member of the MSM - I'm going to go with the American media guy every time - particularly when the fellow in question is NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams. After all, what battles or wars has Israel ever won? In contrast, those fraternity parties back at Catholic University were an absolute minefield, not to mention the internecine battle scars Brian earned while working in Jimmy Carter's White House.
So it was that I listened with rapt attention to Brian's report from Tel Aviv this morning, and learned - to my horror - that the Israeli battle plan didn't meet muster with General Williams.
One of the frequent complaints liberals make about the Bush admin is that it is far too secret with everything, cutting off the public from information that it has a right to know. It's a complaint that's usually made by either party when it's out of power. The minority party usually tries to paint the majority as a corrupt and less-than-transparent.
Curiously, though, some new Democratic complaints of a lack of transparancy are now arising, but they're not about Republicans. Via Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters, we learn that more moderate Democrats are raising questions about a liberal group lavishing millions of dollars on leftist groups like Air America and Media Matters in exchange for silence about their finances:
An alliance of nearly a hundred of the nation's wealthiest donors is
roiling Democratic political circles, directing more than $50 million
in the past nine months to liberal think tanks and advocacy groups in
what organizers say is the first installment of a long-term campaign to
compete more aggressively against conservatives.
A year after its founding, Democracy Alliance has followed up on
its pledge to become a major power in the liberal movement. It has
lavished millions on groups that have been willing to submit to its
extensive screening process and its demands for secrecy.
These include the Center for American Progress, a think tank with an
unabashed partisan edge, as well as Media Matters for America, which
tracks what it sees as conservative bias in the news media. Several
alliance donors are negotiating a major investment in Air America, a
liberal talk-radio network.
But the large checks and demanding style wielded by Democracy
Alliance organizers in recent months have caused unease among
Washington's community of Democratic-linked organizations. The alliance
has required organizations that receive its endorsement to sign
agreements shielding the identity of donors.
Remember the Adam Clymer incident? Back when George W. Bush was running for president, he called a New York Times reporter an obscenity in what he thought was an unmiked remark to Dick Cheney. For weeks, the liberal elite press corps, notorious for its own love of profanity, was up in arms about how dastardly Bush was for using such horrible, filthy language.
Now it seems Bush will soon be hearing more hypocritical lectures:
It wasn't meant to be overheard. Private luncheon conversations among world leaders, picked up by a microphone, provided a rare window into both banter and substance _ including President Bush cursing Hezbollah's attacks against Israel.
Bush expressed his frustration with the United Nations and his disgust with the militant Islamic group and its backers in Syria as he talked to British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the closing lunch at the Group of Eight summit.
"See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over," Bush told Blair as he chewed on a buttered roll. [...]
The unscripted comments came during a photo opportunity at the lunch. The leaders clearly did not realize that a live microphone was picking up their discussion.
Asked about the microphone mishap during his final briefing of the summit, Blair quipped that it was "all about transparent government."
Joe Wilson wants the world to know that in the wake of the disclosure of his wife's identity, he and Valerie have been threatened, and not just by "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity listeners."
But as documented by MRC, after the Oklahoma City bombing liberals like Bryant Gumbel pointed the finger at conservative talk radio: "Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh . . . and others take to the air . . . the extent to which their attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."
Will the left wing please make up its mind? Which is it? Are conservative talk-show fans harmless fuzzballs, or potentially dangerous mind-numbed robots?
NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked on Monday's NBC Nightly News: “What is Hezbollah and what is its end game?” Mitchell first answered that “experts say to prove it can damage Israel in ways Arab countries couldn't.” But then she proceeded to refer to “Hezbollah's charismatic leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah,” also describing him as “a Shiite populist” who she relayed, over video of kids, “provides social services where Lebanon's weak new government cannot.” Mitchell refrained from labeling Hezbollah as “terrorist” -- or mentioning how its real "end game" is the destruction of Israel -- going no further than to say it “operates militias." (Transcripts follows)
The "revolving door" is a
term reporters often cynically use to talk about the close
relationships that political and lobbying people have with each
other. It's certainly true that in American politics, many people do
move readily between working in government posts to lobbying
But what many journos won't tell you is
that there's another revolving door that politicos use, from politics
to media. They also won't tell you that only Democrats seem to have
the key. The number of Republicans moving into positions of influence
inside the media is small enough you can almost count it on one hand.
And in many cases, the sheer audacity of a former Republican politico
daring to set foot in the press has caused left-wingers, journalist
and blogger alike. The recent Ben
Domenech fiasco or the disgraceful hounding that Susan
Molinari experienced after being hired as an anchor at CBS are
potent examples of this.
Israel versus Hezbollah? Those exchanges pale in comparison to the crossfire between MSNBC host Tucker Carlson and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu on this afternoon's 'Tucker'. Alright, perhaps I exaggerate a tad, but there was no mistaking Netanyahu's anger at the way Carlson framed the issue of Americans in Lebanon.
Here's how Carlson, who made the plight of the estimated 25,000 Americans in Lebanon a theme of the show, introduced Netanyahu:
"25,000 Americans are trapped as the nation of Lebanon continues to come under fire from Israeli airstrikes. . . Thousands of US citizens are stranded and Israel is doing nothing to help them. Or is it? What will it take to get our people out of harm's way? Here to answer that question is Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel from 1996-99."
The Senate prepares to take up a bill to allow federal financing of research on stem cell lines that are derived from embryos now in cold storage at fertility clinics and slated for destruction. And New York Times reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg lies in wait, ready to pounce on the vote as yet another imminent Republican crackup, in Sunday’s “Senate Appears Poised for a Showdown With the President Over Stem Cell Research.”
“The president’s mind has not changed; his chief political adviser, Karl Rove, reiterated the veto threat this week. That keeps Mr. Bush in good stead with the religious conservatives who make up an important part of his base, but at odds with other leading Republicans, including Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, who is a heart-lung surgeon and has pushed to bring the measure to a vote.”
A story in The Washington Post yesterday contained some survey data that bolster an argument the Media Research Center's Business & Media Institute (BMI) has made for years now: the media's negativism on the economy has a strong influence on the public:
The paper sponsored “a survey-based experiment”
of “more than 2,500 online respondents” who were “shown a brief news
clip before being asked to reply to a series of questions.” The views
of respondents on their personal economic well-being were wildly
different between survey-takers shown a story on gas prices and
respondents shown a story on job growth.
Before starting her new job as anchor of the CBS Evening News, Katie Couric is going on a "listening tour" of the country. As Kathleen Parker writes in the Orlando Sentinel, this looks very similar to the "listening tour" that Hillary Clinton did in New York state in preparation for her Senate run.
The decision to send Couric around the country on a "listening tour," scheduled to wrap up Monday, was a poor calculation. First off, the free-associative mind goes straight to that other trailblazing female, Hillary Clinton, who launched a listening tour before running for U.S. Senate.
Katie, Hillary, Katie, Hillary -- two liberal peas in a pod? The question burrows in the mind and wants to stay.
When you're a White House correspondent so far out in left field even Dana "I'm not a hunter but I play one on TV" Milbank fires off a warning shot about your biases, you know you've lost all credibility.
The Washington Post's Dana Milbank today reviewed Hearst columnist Helen Thomas's latest book and found it a "rather unpleasant rehashing of the liberal criticism of the press's performance before the Iraq war."
Far from a right wing armor-bearer -- as numerous NewsBuster posts can attest -- Milbank at least retains a measure of intellectual honesty in reminding Post readers that the Washington press corps was not uncritical of the Bush administration's defense of the war in the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion.
Columnist Robert Novak, after submitting to a pair of interviews on his friendly home turf -- Fox News -- traveled to an away field on Sunday, appearing with Tim Russert on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he found himself on the hot seat at times.
There, among other things, he reversed course in his dispute with "Newsday," now saying that the paper did not not misquote him on a key point but rather that he misspoke. He continued to claim that he did not really "out" covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. And he defended not only talking about sources with the prosecutor, but also refusing until now to confirm he had testified.
Slapstick Politics has an excerpt from a recent Entertainment Weekly article on Al Gore's film, "An Inconvenient Truth." It turns out documentary films about global warming have a way of making people cool. This should be encouraging news for science club high schoolers around the country.
Minds are being changed, all right, and not just about global warming. Miraculously, over the past few months, An Inconvenient Truth has accomplished something many people once thought inconceivable: It's made Al Gore cool. The somber policy wonk who campaigned for president in 2000 with all those bland speeches about lockboxes is gone. He's now a hip and trendy (in a wonky sort of way) ecological activist. While promoting the movie this summer, Gore has been connecting with crowds more effortlessly and comfortably — even charismatically — than he ever did as a politician. He even found his sense of humor; turns out it's been hiding all this time inside daughter Kristin, a former comedy writer on Matt Groening's Futurama and the one responsible for Gore's gag