A new study by BMI analysts Warren Anderson and Rachel Waters details how the broadcast media use "B-roll" (background video clips) showing pictures of higher-than-average station marquees to present a more dire picture of gas prices than reality:
Pictures of gas station prices on NBC averaged 36 cents higher than the national average between March 21 and May 24. For the typical American driver with a 20 mpg vehicle, the 36 cents extra would equal more than $200 a year.
Six of the stories in this study showed gas that was more than a dollar above the national average. ABC had four such stories and NBC two. CBS never ran a story that depicted gas at or below average.
According to experts, there are many reasons why gas prices have risen. Those include: political problems in places such as Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, and Venezuela, lingering effects from Katrina, increased demand from China and India, new ethanol requirements, and the typical summer increase. While explaining these reasons to viewers, the networks often displayed prices that were national extremes rather than those encountered by the average American consumer.
New York Times reporter Robert Pear tapped out another article for Thursday’s editions highlighting "conservatives" versus opponents who are merely "Democrats." In fact, Pear used "fiscal conservative" today more times than the New York Times has used the term "fiscal liberal" in 25 years.
The headline read: "Fiscal Conservatives Heighten Fight Over Pet Projects." Pear began: "A battle for the soul of the Republican Party flared up in Congress this week as fiscal conservatives heightened their attack on pet projects stuffed into spending bills with the consent of House leaders."
Overall, as Pear trailed Rep. Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, as he attempted to keep a lid on spending, his story used "fiscal conservatives" four times, not counting the headline. Meanwhile, his opponents were only identified by party affiliation, among them, "Marcy Kaptur, Democrat of Ohio," sticking up for tomato money, and "Mike Thompson, Democrat of California," defending federal spending on the "health benefits of wine."
Hannah Storm, co-host of CBS’s "The Early Show," interviewed CNN’s Anderson Cooper, anchor of "Anderson Cooper 360" about his new memoir. Storm was gushing over Cooper, referring to him as "one of the brightest stars in the news business" and as the "popular CNN anchorman," as she introduced him:
"Anderson Cooper is one of the brightest stars in the news business. The popular CNN anchorman became a household name after his reporting on Hurricane Katrina. But, this is certainly not the first time the seasoned journalist has come face to face with death and disaster. For years, Cooper's been covering war and poverty in countries that often get little attention here at home. And, he writes about both his personal and professional experiences in his new memoir, ‘Dispatches from the Edge.’"
Today's ABC News: The Note suggests viewers of this evening's televised joint news conference of President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, "watch closely the nuance, the body language, the bonhomie, and the sheer homo-eroticism."
The next sentence is: "(We are sort of kidding about that last one, Mr. President.)"
Thank heaven they're only "sort of kidding about that last one." It would have been a terrific shock to their wives.
Still, it would have been more politically correct to have added that, if there were any homo-eroticism between the two leaders, there'd be nothing wrong with it.
Gore and his team were seen driving the 500 metres or so from a hotel to the Cannes festival headquarters in several cars. The representative said that arriving at events like photocalls and news conferences in cars was normal practice in Cannes. And Gore walked the shorter distance from another hotel to the festival for the movie's screening.
On Wednesday night's "World News Tonight," ABC reporter Brian Ross claimed House Speaker Dennis Hastert was under investigation by the Justice Department in relation to the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. In response, the Justice Department quickly put out a statement saying Hastert was not under investigation. This morning, MRC's Brian Boyd found ABC's "Good Morning America" wasn't backing down an inch, as Brian Ross reported:
"Despite flat and repeated denials from the Department of Justice, federal law enforcement officials insist to ABC News the FBI investigation of Capitol Hill corruption has widened to include potentially Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. Officials describe the 64 year old Illinois Republican as very much in the mix of the corruption investigation, something the Speaker told ABC News he was unaware of."
Harold C. Hutchison writes on Strategy Page about selective reporting by the media, who choose to focus on events in their own way. There is always more than one way to report a story or saga, and Strategy Page reveals some alternate options.
A number of stories have been unreported on – or misreported – in the war of terror. The mainstream media is willing to discuss the car bombs. But which of these stories have been the most damaging in terms of not getting out?
@ The memos from Saddam's regime. These memos, often ignored by major mass media outlets (unless targeted for derision), have generally shown the terrorist connections that Saddam's regime had, and showed that the regime was also interested in acquiring weapons of mass destruction. Far from lying, the Bush Administration had largely been spot on.
As other postings to NewsBusters of late can attest, the media love Al Gore.
The Business & Media Institute yesterday released our recap of the drumbeat the media have given Gore on the lead-up to his movie An Inconvenient Truth.
It's a perfect companion read to our latest special report, "Fire and Ice" which examines over 100 years of hyped reporting in the media of climate catastrophe, either from global warming or global cooling.
Another cool link to check out is this video from our friends at CEI. Just how much is Al Gore contributing to global warming by his frequently flying the friendly skies?
Stephen Harper, Canada's Conservative prime minister, has stepped up his criticism of that country's elite media, stating flatly that they're dominated by left-wingers and he won't have anything to do with them:
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the national media are biased against him so he will avoid them from now on.
The prime minister says the Ottawa press gallery seems to have decided to become the opposition to his Conservative government.
He told a London, Ont., TV station Wednesday that he is having
problems with the media that a Liberal prime minister would never have
So Harper says he will take his message out on the road and deal with the less hostile local media.
The Freedom Forum is constructing a new building for the Newseum, the museum that honors the journalism industry. The old site for the Newseum was in Arlington, VA, across the Potomac River from Washington. The new site is in the heart of Washington.
One news executive told why the $453 million Newseum was important. Reports the Washington Post:
Inside will be a gallery on the 500 years of recorded news, 15 theaters throughout the building, television feeds from around the world, current front pages of 80 newspapers, a memorial to journalists killed reporting the news and a space devoted to Pulitzer Prize photographs. Artifacts will include a bullet-marked pickup truck used in the Balkans conflict by news organizations. Jim Kelly, managing editor of Time Inc., said the vehicle would be a "dramatic reminder" of the risks and bravery of journalists under fire.
Steve Capus, president of NBC News, said, "In this age when any fool with a laptop can call themselves a journalist, I believe it is important to demonstrate to Americans what it means to be a true journalist."
Times music writer Kelefa Sanneh tosses ice on the liberal media’s celebration of the Dixie Chicks in Thursday’s “It’s Dixie Chicks vs. Country Fans, but Who’s Dissing Whom?”
The female country music trio are best known lately for dissing President Bush at a London concert in 2003, and since then have picked fights with the overtly patriotic country singer Toby Keith. But kudos from liberal media outlets like the Times and Time magazine have proven easier conquests than radio stations, where there first two singles have struggled to get airplay and have tumbled down the charts.
In Thursday's Washington Post, political writer Libby Copeland highlights Lloyd Bentsen's 1988 debate insult of Dan Quayle in an article headlined "The World's Snappiest Comebacks." She reveled in its perfection:
If one will be remembered for a single remark, as the recently departed Lloyd Bentsen is, let it be for the perfect put-down. Most of us never get to experience the joy of excoriating an opponent with a dead-on, devastating riposte. We always think of it too late.
When Bentsen told a baby-faced Dan Quayle, "Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy," he was following in the tradition of expert quipsters Oscar Wilde, Dorothy Parker and Winston Churchill, whose lines are still remembered. Perfect put-downs transcend their settings.
With the Yankees fresh from taking two-out-of-three from the Red Sox, why not a Today show double-header this morning?
In the opener, with British Prime Minister Tony Blair in Washington for talks with President Bush, Today did its best to rain out any good news emerging from Iraq.
NBC White House reporter David Gregory observed that "two leaders who have paid a heavy political price for launching the war in Iraq will stand together tonight before the country to argue there is new reason for hope."
A hope that Gregory was quick to seek dash. Whereas new Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has said he expects Iraqi forces to be able to assume major responsibility for securing the country within 18 months, Gregory described it as a "tall order given Iraqi forces have been infiltrated by gangs fueling sectarian violence in the country."
On May 24th, the L.A. Times printed the oddest Opinion Editorial on the subject of making English the national language. "American Spoken Here" was written by David Eggenschwiler, professor emeritus of English at USC, but I defy anyone to tell me what the thing was really about? (For article Click here)
For a professor of English, Eggenschwiler didn't express himself very well, it's sad to say, and after reading -- and re-reading -- the good Professor's piece I was struck by the fact that it isn't clear at all what he was on about. I suppose, though, that one might be a fine professor of English yet still not be much of a creative writer. At least, I hope that this is possible. In any case, it is hard to decipher if he was being sarcastic, sincere or jocular.
NBC brought Tom Brokaw back onto the NBC Nightly News on Wednesday to trumpet Al Gore’s “stylish and compelling movie” which “graphically describes the realities and consequences of global warming."
Sitting at the anchor desk with Brian Williams, Brokaw gushed: "Brian, the Vice President's film tonight, which is called An Inconvenient Truth, is a stylish and compelling video version of an argument that he's been making for a long time, that global warming is real and it's getting worse.” Brokaw presumed Gore’s claims are accurate as he touted how “the man who lost the presidency in the U.S. Supreme Court is suddenly everywhere again, the leading man in a new documentary that graphically describes the realities and consequences of global warming." Gore sat down with Brokaw for an interview and Brokaw pressed him about running again for President after heralding how "Gore's high-profile involvement in this film and in other public appearances these days is causing a political buzz." Back at the anchor desk, Williams asked if Gore’s movie offers any solutions. Brokaw offered up a plug for Gore’s hysterical Web site before noting a shortcoming: "Well, they direct you to a Web site called ClimateCrisis.Com. They don't deal with nuclear power which many people believe is one of the solutions that will have to be examined.” (Transcript follows)
On tonight's CBS Evening News, David Martin reported on a story about Specialist Kendell Frederick and his quest for citizenship. Martin interviewed Specialist Frederick's mother, Michelle Murphy, about the red tape that delayed the approval of his citizenship application. The delay was due to a lack of a signature on his fingerprint form. Specialist Frederick was serving in Iraq and went to Camp Anaconda to have another fingerprint form completed. On the way back to his base, the convoy was hit by an IED. Specialist Frederick died on October 19, 2005.
Mrs. Murphy showed Martin a letter from Specialist Frederick's Commander explaining that her son was in the convoy solely to get his fingerprint form completed. At this point in the report Martin was shown speaking with a representative of USCIS. David Martin actually claimed that Specialist Frederick was "killed by red tape". Martin went on to say Specialist Frederick "had to die to get his citizenship".
Hey got a new book? Want it featured on the Today show? Try putting Ann Curry on the cover! The new book Extraordinary Women: Fantasies Revealed was featured in the 9:30 half hour of this morning's Today show. The cover of the book happens to feature Curry actually embracing the Earth. Curry even appeared as a guest on the segment with the book's authors. Natalie Morales conducted the interview and revealed Ann's not-so-secret fantasy: "And Ann the reason you are holding the globe is you talk about wanting to be a humanitarian, which as a journalist, I mean you do, I mean that's really a priority in your life." But one of the book's authors Ilene Leventhal pointed out Curry, as a liberal crusading journalist, is already living her dream: "I said to Ann, I said, 'Ann you already are a humanitarian.'"
Good Morning America and Today weren’t alone in expressing their enthusiasm over the return of Al Gore to the public eye. At 4:30PM EDT on CNN’s The Situation Room, political analyst Bill Schneider not only promoted Gore’s new global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, but a potential Gore candidacy for president, as well. Schneider gushed:
Wolf, the new Al Gore movie opens today. Is it a star is born or could it be a political star is reborn? Could this be Al Gore’s moment?
Schneider applauded the timing of the documentary’s release and claimed Truth is "not overtly partisan," before using clips from the film to slam President Bush over one of his "greatest failures." Pointing to Richard Nixon’s comeback win for the White House in 1968, Schneider seemed to express glee that history could repeat itself in Gore’s favor:
The women of The View are angry with the Dixie Chicks. Because of the group’s exploitative liberal politics? Because of their hollow claims of being censored? No. Apparently, it’s because the Dixie Chicks don’t think the ABC talk show is very hip. According to a Fox News report, band member Emily Robison said the following in the current issue of Time magazine:
"Dixie Chicks lead singer Natalie Maines' new motto is, 'What would Bruce Springsteen do?' says Robison. ‘Not that we're of that caliber, but would Bruce Springsteen do The View?’"
Unsurprisingly, this angered the stars of the show in question. On the May 23 edition, co-host and future anchor of the Today show, Meredith Vieira described the situation this way:
Vieira: "First, you know, they alienate their fan base by going after President Bush. Now they have gone too far in Time magazine. We are furious! Furious!"
Imagine that Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank were profiling a Democrat who was as steadfastly liberal as Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama is conservative. The column virtually writes itself. We can imagine the liberal described as "putting principle above expediency", "courageous," perhaps even "speaking truth to power."
But when it comes to a conservative such as Sessions, that same adherence to principle is cast in the most negative light. Consider these excerpts from Milbank's column of today, Forget Politics. This Battle Is Personal. which focuses on Sessions' stand on immigration:
"Jeff Sessions sure knows how to nurse a grudge."
"Now he is turning his prodigious anger on legislation."
"A stream of epithets about the legislation flowed from his mouth."
"He argues his points not with the courtly Southern tones of the late senator Howell Heflin (D), his predecessor, but with the harsh twang of a country tough -- which, in a sense, he is."
On Tuesday, the New York Times published a delicate article attempting to calculate how much time Bill and Hillary Clinton spend together these days and whether their strange marriage will have negative impact on her ambitions to run for president, as some Democrats worry. (The Times headline called the subject a "delicate dance.") Only Democrats, aides, and friends were quoted. On Wednesday’s edition of Today on NBC, reporter Norah O'Donnell regurgitated the story with even more sensitivity.
Katie Couric and O'Donnell couldn't even locate the idea that Democrats get heartburn just thinking about rewinding the country back through the adultery politics of the 1990s. Couric spun it like they were just a political version of Brangelina: "When Bill Clinton burst on to the national political scene he promoted his wife Hillary as an equal political partner saying, 'two heads were better than one.' They enjoyed some of the highest highs and endured some of the lowest lows as well during their years in the White House. But now that Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton is eyeing her own bid for the presidency a lot of folks are asking where's Bill?"
A half hour after championing Al Gore's "comeback" on Tuesday's Good Morning America (see this earlier NewsBusters item), the show celebrated the Dixie Chicks and their new album, treating them as victims for the negative reaction to the lead singer's 2003 charge, from overseas, that she was "ashamed" to be from the same state as President Bush. Diane Sawyer fretted over how "suddenly country radio stations pulled their music, people destroyed the album, hounded their relatives and tracked them down with death threats." But, she touted, "they are roaring back. It is a new album called 'Taking the Long Way' and in it they dare to announce, at least when it comes to the haters, they're not ready to make nice. They are spirited, unbowed and they are back with a new single called 'Not Ready to Make Nice.'" Sawyer insisted that "among their biggest supporters were the soldiers fighting in Iraq who said they were fighting for the right to freedom of thought and speech." After highlighting how the group's video features a hit on Vice President Cheney -- "to talk without thinking is to shoot without aiming" -- Sawyer read a sympathetic e-mail to them: "Do you feel basically that you've been vindicated and that the American public moved to your position?" (Transcript follows)
Once again Harry Smith reported from Baghdad for this morning’s Early Show. This morning, his focus was talking with ordinary Iraqis about their life during the war, and Harry Smith may have once again been surprised when he heard one Iraqi thank America and all Americans who supported the war for what they did for Iraq. Rene Syler opened this segment:
Rene Syler: "We see opinion polls almost weekly telling us how Americans feel about the war in Iraq. But what do ordinary Iraqis think? Harry's live in Baghdad with that story. Harry, good morning."
Harry Smith: "Rene, an extraordinary opportunity. Seven Iraqi young men, all in their 20s, all college educated, they all speak English. We talked about everything from the danger of their everyday lives to Saddam Hussein and the role of America in this country. Now their answers will enlighten you, and they may surprise you."
On the same morning that Katie Couric was twinkling and giggling over Al Gore in some flowery garden, her co-host Matt Lauer took another senator from Tennessee to task: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Near the end of the interview, Lauer pressed Frist on how "critics" say his choice of legislative issues coming up shows he's "pandering to the conservative base" for a potential presidential campaign:
"Alright let me move on briefly for a second. The House has approved a constitutional amendment to make flag burning illegal and passed a bill to crack down on the practice of minors traveling across state borders to seek an abortion to avoid restrictions in their own state. You've said the Senate will look at those things this year as well as a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Now critics have said there's no chance that any of those things are going to pass and they go a step further and say you are pandering to the conservative base preparing for a run for the presidency in 2008. How do you respond?"
At National Review Online today, Stephen Spruiell of NRO's Media Blog reviews a new book charging the liberal media are a pound full of poodles for the White House. It's like a modern-day reworking of Mark Hertsgaard's Reagan-era tract On Bended Knee -- the last time an author wrote a laugh-out-loud expose of the supposedly wimpy/conservative national media sucking up to a president:
Eric Boehlert would freak out if you were to point out to him how much his book Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush reads like a mirror image of the conservative press criticism he despises. According to Boehlert, the “fear of conservative press critics”—or “The Press Haters” as he calls them (us) in a chapter by that name—is one of the factors that brought about the mainstream media’s transformation from the snarling, merciless pit bulls of the Clinton years to the cowardly, right-leaning lapdogs of today. If Boehlert’s book itself could be considered an argument, it would be that the Left must emulate these critics so that the media will stop being “[a]fraid of the facts and the consequences of reporting them.”
As his environmental apocalypse "documentary" makes its debut in New York and Los Angeles today, there's nothing "inconvenient" standing in the way of Al Gore's crusade in the New York Times.
From the Cannes Film Festival, chief movie critic A.O. Scott reviews “An Inconvenient Truth” for Page 1 of Wednesday’s Arts page. Scott, the same critic who called left-wing “documentary”-maker Michael Moore “a credit to the republic,” predictably finds Al Gore’s view of environmental apocalypse to be “chilling” and “necessary.”
After successfully putting the kibosh on a "South Park" episode that made fun of scientology and himself, actor Tom Cruise has expanded his censorship efforts overseas where he's succeeded in getting the same episode pulled in the U.K.:
The South Park episode "Trapped In the Closet," which
mocks actor Tom Cruise's rumored homosexuality as well as his belief in
the controversial religion Scientology, has finally been seen by the
English. The episode had been banned from UK broadcaster Channel 4
after Cruise had complained.
According to the World Entertainment News Network, London's National Film Theater screened the episode on Monday, May 15. After the showing, South Park
creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker spoke about the necessity of free
speech. The event concluded with free copies of the episode being
handed out to attendees.
In regards to possible action by the litigious Cruise, a spokesman for
the Theater said, "If we were charging [for tickets] there may have
been legal problems, but it was a free event, so it should be fine."
Patriotic American users of Microsoft's Hotmail service may be surprised when trying to obtain an email address. The company does not allow new users to sign up for a user name containing the word "american."
At first glance, it seemed that Hotmail is taking precaution to limit phishing attempts which often rely on official-sounding addresses to trick recipients into paying money to people posing as governmental entities. However, my quick check showed that names with "canadian," "francais," "german," "australian," "english," and "deutsch," are all allowed.
Let's imagine that instead of Al Gore, Katie Couric's guest this morning was a Republican presidential hopeful whose message on the environment was that we should not let alarmism push us into measures that would undermine our economy and way of life. Could you ever - ever! - imagine Katie flashing at him the 10,000 megawatt smile she has on display here for Al?
There's one more dead giveaway that Katie & Co. are getting aboard the Al Gore Enviro Train. When Today really wants to play up an issue, they brand it. Last week, flacking for the Da Vinci Code, Today sent Matt Lauer for a week "On The Road with the Code."
In introducing Gore, there to promote his global warming book and movie 'An Inconvenient Truth', Couric announced:
In 2004, the networks showed hostility to a more orthodox vision of Jesus in the movie The Passion of the Christ. So MRC analysts compared coverage of the year before The Passion (March 2003 through February 2004) and the year before The DaVinci Code movie (May 19, 2005 through May 18, 2006) on the morning, evening, prime-time and late-night news programs of ABC, CBS, and NBC. Some key findings were: