On the Tuesday edition of “Good Morning America,” host Robin Roberts slammed the insurance industry for daring to make a profit in the years since Hurricane Katrina. She also used the segment as a vehicle to call for more government regulations. The piece, combatively titled “GMA Gets It Done: Getting Answers” suggested the subjective, advocacy oriented slant that the program would take. (Additionally, last week, Diane Sawyer previewed the multi-day story, describing it as “a call to arms.”)
Roberts repeatedly took insurance company representative Bob Hartwig to task for the industry’s “record profits.” A sampling of Roberts’ hostile questioning can be found below:
Robin Roberts: “When people who have lost everything, who are in dispute with various insurance companies and they see the amount of money that-- the profit that is being made in such a year, these home owners scratch their heads a little bit. Do you understand?”
Roberts: “Though people find it hard to believe during such a devastating year, you still make a significant increase in your profit. And they’re saying, ‘Good grief, we trusted you.’”
Roberts: “You know that rings hollow, what you just said, to so many people. They don't believe that anymore.”
Wishfully thinking Hillary Clinton may have an easier than expected path to the White House, this morning's Today show asked are: "Conservatives Softening On Hillary?" Clearly lifting generously from David Kirkpatrick’s New York Times story, NBC's David Gregory examined the theory that "Clinton-haters are mellowing." Leading off the piece Gregory portrayed those who opposed the Clintons during the '90s in the kookiest light possible as he cast them as mere, "attention-seekers" and then ran a clip of the infamous Clinton Chronicles video. After the clip, Gregory ran a soundbite from a clearly bored with the topic- Christopher Ruddy, as he asserted that among conservatives: "There's a view now that Bill Clinton was not only not so bad, he was pretty good," and that they "don't have the same level of anger towards her that they once had towards him."
Chris Wallace asked about the 2008 presidential race: "We asked people who under no circumstances would they vote for, and you came in second on that dubious list at 64 percent, behind Ralph Nader, but far ahead of everyone else. And I should add 44 percent of Republicans said they would not vote for you. Why do you think that so many voters say Newt Gingrich, forget it?"
Gingrich answered: "Well, there was a column written by Brent Bozell recently about Nancy Pelosi becoming speaker and me becoming speaker. And he contrasted the initial media coverage of the two of us. And if you go back and look, you know, I had a — Time magazine savaged me as Scrooge who stole Tiny Tim's broken crutch — didn't just steal the crutch. I broke it, on the cover of Time. Newsweek had me as the Grinch that stole Christmas. I was a Dr. Seuss figure."
I've been trying to avoid paying too much attention to the Anna Nicole Smith story, but got hooked watching MSNBC this morning as my fellow Bronx native, Judge Larry Seidlin, made a shambles of a hearing with his loose-lipped style. My attention was rewarded by spotting this amazing MSNBC promotional ad for itself. More than any of the genre I can remember, it takes pointed potshots at its cable news competitors, Fox News Channel and CNN.
As the voice over says "let's face it: there's a lot of choices out there," an attractive woman turns on her TV to what is clearly meant to be Fox News. One man complains about a ploy to discredit the administration, while another rants about how anyone could question the authority of the Commander-in-Chief. Voice-over: "you could pick someone who has an agenda."
The viewer then turns to "ZNN," where a Larry King look-a-like is talking about '60s sitcoms as an elderly gent in his bathrobe on the couch at home exults, "this is going to be great!" Voiceover: "you could pick somebody who's out of touch." ZNN -- zzz's -- we get it.
I must admit that I never thought I’d see this kind of a book review at the New York Times. This is especially true given the recent zealotry surrounding global warming, and how much of the media-driven hysteria is based on computer models created to predict future climate events.
Much to my elated surprise, the Times amazingly published an article Tuesday entitled “The Problems in Modeling Nature, With Its Unruly Natural Tendencies.”
I imagine many readers are checking that link about now as they question my veracity. Go ahead. I can take it.
Let’s cut to the chase, shall we (emphasis mine throughout):
At first glance, one might question the relevance of religious opinions on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. However, given the cult-like fervor being exhibited on this subject by the media of late, maybe what the world needs is a little balance to add a modicum of sanity to the growing hysteria.
With that in mind, Cardinal George Pell of Sydney, Australia, wrote on op-ed in the Sunday Telegraph last week cautioning readers about the zealotry being exhibited by those convinced that man is destroying the planet (emphasis mine throughout):
Talk about creating a false dichotomy geared to discrediting a policy! The AP has generated a doosie in theirs titled "Rural America bears scars from Iraq war" and subtitled "Nearly half of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq came from a small town".
Their main thrust is that small towns are somehow seeing their sons fall on the field of battle in "unfair" numbers.
Across the nation, small towns are quietly bearing a disproportionate burden of war. Nearly half of the more than 3,100 U.S. military fatalities in Iraq have come from towns like McKeesport, where fewer than 25,000 people live, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. One in five hailed from hometowns of less than 5,000.
At first blush this might seem to be alarming. But, when one lets that first emotive rush fade and allows a little common sense to be applied to the situation, it doesn't seem so outrageous. The fact is, youngsters from rural areas are simply far more prone to joining the military in the first place and always have been. So it is a natural matter of strict statistics that more from those areas would fall in battle. After all, there are more of them.
So, what we are left with is a naked, emotive effort to cause some sort of outrage over the perceived unfairness of this statistic, even as there is no "fair" or "unfair" component to it. It is simply a fact.
Are you a conservative? Someone who historically has harbored, shall we say, a decided aversion to the former First Lady turned senator and presidential candidate? Do you find that in recent times your feelings toward Hillary have undergone a change? Do you perhaps see her in a more kindly light?
'Today' ran an unusual segment this morning suggesting that, indeed, conservatives may be "softening on Hillary." With David Gregory narrating, we were first treated to the bad old days. Hillary, as shown here, making her infamous "vast right wing conspiracy" accusation to Matt Lauer back in 1998. A clip from The Clinton Chronicles, which spun the darkest theories about the Clintons.
Today is probably going to be the last day of the Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial. I'm going to be in the courtroom blogging the trial for Dean's World. For my coverage and everyone else's see the Media Bloggers Association's Scooter Libby Trial web site. For an idea of what to expect, see Tom Maguire's post here.
One common media-created misconception in the Bush years is that the Clinton administration fully supported the international Kyoto Protocol to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but the Bush administration arrived and refused to take any action on it. In reality, while Vice President Al Gore signed the Kyoto agreement for the United States, the Clinton administration never submitted it to the Senate for ratification (just like Bush), and the Senate voted 95 to zippy in a nonbinding sense-of-the-Senate resolution against Kyoto in 1997, because the agreement would curb American and European emissions, but place no restrictions whatsoever on China or other polluting "developing" nations.
Agence France Presse was the latest to use bias by omission to relay the Bush-killed-Kyoto theory. It was a story on that global savior Al Gore, declaring he would not run for president in 2008:
This is way too funny and definitely requires all potables, combustibles, and sharp objects to be properly stowed.
The Christian Science Monitor recently reported that if man wants to halt global warming, he should forget about the fuel efficiency of his SUV and just stop eating meat (emphasis mine throughout):
As Congress begins to tackle the causes and cures of global warming, the action focuses on gas-guzzling vehicles and coal-fired power plants, not on lowly bovines.
Yet livestock are a major emitter of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And as meat becomes a growing mainstay of human diet around the world, changing what we eat may prove as hard as changing what we drive.
Actor Forest Whitaker stars in "The Last King of Scotland," the acclaimed biopic about Uganda's bloodthirsty dictator Idi Amin, who is thought to have killed over 300,000 of his countrymen during a reign that was cruel even by the standards of African dictatorships. New York Times' Africa correspondent Jeffrey Gettleman went to Kampala for the red carpet opening and made Sunday's front page with "A Film Star in Kampala, Conjuring Amin's Ghost."
"Mr. Whitaker said it was enormously helpful to walk through the actual places Amin haunted and meet actual people he victimized.
"Nightline" host Terry Moran recently blogged about the dustup over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her request for a larger plane to fly back to her San Francisco district. In the February 8 entry, the ABC host criticized the Bush administration for leaking the story to "The Washington Times," whom he referred to as "a kind of house organ for conservatives." "The Washington Times" certainly leans right, but has Mr. Moran ever labeled "The New York Times" a mouth piece for liberals?
An excerpt of Mr. Moran’s blog is below:
After the 9/11 attacks, Speaker Hastert was, for security reasons, given ‘shuttle service’ by military transport to and from his congressional district in Illinois. This year, citing the same security concerns, the Sergeant at Arms of the House of Representatives asked the Department of Defense to provide a plane that could get Speaker Pelosi to and from her district in California--which would require a bigger and costlier plane than Hastert used.
What did the Bush administration do? Leak the story--to The Washington Times, a kind of house organ for conservatives in the capital. And sit back and watch the flap.
It seems no genre of television is safe from gratuitous shots at how the Iraq war makes the U.S. an “imperialistic bully.” On Sunday's episode of Cold Case, a drama about a supposed squad of Philadelphia Police Department detectives who solve old murders, a witness is questioned about a 1981 murder of a husband and wife who were anti-Vietnam war hippies. When the woman who attended a college reunion party shortly before the murders recalls how “I was still kind of stuck in my old hippy ways. Didn't fit very well into the decade of greed,” “Detective Scotty Valens” points out how they all attended college “at the height of the Vietnam war.” That leads the woman, who by the end of the show is arrested as the murderer, to recall how the victims “were protesting against an America that had become an imperialistic bully.” To which “Detective Lilly Rush,” the star of the program played by Kathryn Morris, chimes in with an obvious allusion to Iraq: “Sounds vaguely familiar.” (Screen shot is of “Lilly Rush" talking to the witness/criminal.)
Many of any president's detractors like to joke about his supposed flaws, such as, say...stupidity,but other than people like Jack Cafferty, Lou Dobbs, Keith Olbermann and William Arkin, when the media are on the record, they are usually able to keep blatant bashing largely under wraps, although sometimes, the ugliness shines through. CNN's weekend business-related show, In The Money is no exception, and indulged a bit and belittled an unnamed president. Normally the curmudgeonly Cafferty, the In The Money's headliner, is the one voicing his displeasure with a certain president, but that weekend, the show managed to uphold tradition without him. February 18th, CNN ran a special edition of In The Money without Cafferty called "Uncovering America," which was instead hosted by Carol Costello, Allen Wastler and Jennifer Westhoven and covered workplace diversity and why "diversity in business is taking so long to sink in."
Correspondent Jennifer Rogers focused on recent studies which state that certain physical attributes, such as height, lighter skin-tone, beauty or a slender body shape correlate to higher salaries. Steven Landsburg, from the University of Rochester, said that taller people make more money than shorter Americans in the same jobs with similar qualification, education and experience, and that height is worth about $1000 per inch. At the end of the segment, the hosts and panelists were wrapping up and participating in the standard, “Wow! What amazing information we brought you! Here’s a little joke about it” banter that all news shows engage in between segments. When reporter Rogers replied to Costello questioning the theory about height and success, she unintentionally gave the viewers a peek into her psyche and her opinion of one or more of the presidents. To further explain the theory, and validate the premise, Rogers referred to “multiple studies” and loweres the mask:
An Iranian state news agency used the Photoshop program to manipulate photos in order to try and back up claims that the US was behind a spate of bombings in southeast Iran , a popular American blog said.
One of the leading atmospheric scientists in the country made some statements at a conference going on in San Francisco that will almost certainly get no media attention.
As reported by C/Net News.com (emphasis mine throughout):
Approximately 125,000 years ago, the Earth was around three to five degrees Celsius warmer on average than it is today and sea levels were four to six meters higher. The ice sheets covering Greenland's land mass have trapped a significant amount of that water that used to be in the sea, thereby lowering sea levels, Susan Solomon, senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (and the co-chair of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) told attendees at the American Association for the Advancement of Science taking place in San Francisco.
Shocking coming from a co-chair of the recent IPCC report, wouldn’t you say? But that’s just the beginning:
On Monday's American Morning, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien stuck up for the Reverands Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. In the first report of her "Uncovering America" series O'Brien poses the question, do Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson speak for the African American community? O’Brien offered a puff piece on the two reverends and no voice on their critics. In a question to Sharpton, she even implied his critics, particularly his African-American critics, are hypocrites.
Soledad O’Brien: "A number of people have said, Al Sharpton, you know what, I’m black he does not represent my views. He doesn’t represent a lot of black America, but if I get shot, I’m going to call him."
Realizing we don't yet know all the details, apparently the AP has decided to not put the story of a Muslim cab driver running down two students after a religious dispute over the wire. Why might that be? They can't all be writing about Anna Nicole Smith?
Liberated by her firing-qua-resignation, ex-John Edwards blogger Amanda Marcotte has reverted to form: using vulgarity to insult her political opponents. On a whim I thought I'd check in at Marcotte's site, Pandagon, and wasn't surprised to find her slurring Michelle Malkin, with shots at Ann Coulter and the two leading conservative women's organizations thrown in for good measure.
Marcotte decided to respond to an inquiry from a poster she labelled a troll who had written: "does it bother you that one of the major architects of your demise was herself a strong woman, Michelle Malkin?"
That set Marcotte off on this tirade that included these gems of logic and literary flair [editing mine; unexpurgated vulgarity in the original]:
"I do want to address this false premise that someone like Malkin is a 'strong woman' Women who kow-tow to male dominance by aggressively attacking women who actually do rebel against oppression can expect to have sexist men blow this particular 'strong woman' smoke up their --- all the time. It means nothing. To the degree that these men mean it, they are mistaking a------ry for strength."
Retired anchors Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather (and a pile of other liberal media bigwigs) recently made time for a book party Bill Clinton threw in New York for his old defense secretary Bill Cohen and his wife Janet Langhart. Mark Shanahan reported the shindig for The Boston Globe:
Held on the third floor of the historic Russian Tea Room, the exclusive affair was hosted by former president Bill Clinton to celebrate the couple's new book, "Love in Black and White." Guests included former news anchors Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, CBS president Leslie Moonves , "Primary Colors" author Joe Klein, First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams, cultural critic Michael Eric Dyson, Newsweek's [International Editor/ABC pundit] Fareed Zakaria, "Inside Edition" anchor Deborah Norville , and MTV creator Robert Pittman. (Michael Douglas and his wife, Catherine Zeta-Jones,couldn't make it but sent a bouquet of flowers.)...
On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," CNN political analyst Donna Brazile slammed 2008 presidential candidate John McCain as "cowardly" for his decision to skip the Senate’s non-binding vote on President Bush’s troop surge plan in Iraq. Brazile, who discussed the issue with host Wolf Blitzer and conservative commentator William Bennett, described the Arizona Senator’s decision as "an insult." She then proceeded to label the Vietnam veteran, who spent five and a half years in the "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp, as "cowardly" for not returning to Washington on Saturday for the vote:
Donna Brazile: "I think it's an insult not to come and show up for a vote. This is a very important debate. And, for Senator McCain, who has been a staunch supporter of the President's plan, he should come and put up or shut up. But to -- to run away from the debate, and to say that this is meaningless is -- is -- is, in my judgment, cowardly."
Last Tuesday, in a blog suggesting the PBS Frontline documentary on 'News War' would be biased, I added: "Suffice it to say PBS has not contacted the news watchers at the MRC." Frontline executive editor Louis Wiley protested that they had. I asked our publicists, and they located an e-mail from April, requesting a 90-minute interview with MRC president Brent Bozell, which was refused. I was not aware of the request, and I was incorrect. Here is the e-mail I received from Wiley of PBS:
As our producer Arun Rath said, we had wanted to interview O'Reilly and Limbaugh in person to ask them questions about this topic, but they turned us down. It didn't, however, stop us from doing our best to represent their views as our commitment to professionalism requires.
When it came time to pass an anti-war resolution, the Democrats were no better than a bunch of timid pre-teens on Halloween. That was the view Matt Lauer expressed in a colloquy with Tim Russert on this morning's "Today."
Lauer: "The Democrats in the Senate failed to pass this vote so they could even debate this Iraq strategy and there's even some who are talking about possibly bringing up the idea of revoking the 2002 authorization to go to war. If they can't pass a kind of symbolic vote, how do they ever have the kind of strength to do something more serious?"
Russert agreed that "it's going to be very difficult."
Matt wasn't done: "Looking at what happened in the House . . . over the weekend, basically the House did pass this resolution saying they oppose the surge in troops, but put yourself in the position of Joe and Mary Smith, living somewhere across this country right now, and you've watched these politicians for more than a month talk about passing a symbolic vote. Does it amount to little more than them ringing someone's doorbell and running away?"
A very interesting piece by Louis Chude-Sokei is featured in the L.A.Times today, titled Redefining 'Black' and centered upon the question of Barack Obama's relative "blackness".
Some of you may have noticed that Barack is not getting the automatic support from African American leaders that many assumed he would get since throwing his hat into the ring for the Democratic nomination for the presidency and Mr. Chude-Sokei makes an effort to inform us as to why this might be true. Unfortunately, while it has a few good points it misses the mark in too many ways.
The main point, according to Chude-Sokei, is that Obama isn't "black enough" to get the support of the standing Black American leadership because of his White/Hawaiian/African (meaning NOT African American, but real African) heritage.
Clearly, network anchors have much more sensitive skins than President Bush. Reporters insult him to his face, suggest he's concocting wars with fake intelligence, and insist he's incapable of admitting any mistakes. But to gain access to Katie Couric or Diane Sawyer, apparently you have to arrive with pom-poms and a pleated skirt.
Howard Kurtz interviewed ABC's Diane Sawyer about her disgustingly sympathetic 2007 Axis of Evil tour of interviewing the dictators of Iran and Syria for Monday's "Media Notes" column in The Washington Post. The piece read more like a press release for ABC than a news article. Take this line: "Just as industry insiders are wondering whether she is ready to abandon the predawn grind, Sawyer embarks on a one-woman diplomatic mission that has the business buzzing."
It might actually be worth the price of admission to Paul Krugman's column this morning to observe the amusing manner in which the New York Times columnist wriggles around in a trap of his own making regarding Hillary's vote to authorize the Iraq war. On the one hand, he wants her to apologize for it, and so must criticize her for not doing so. On the other, he hastens to make the limits of his criticism perfectly clear. He's not lumping her in with those awful, intransigent Republicans. Certainly not. Krugman wouldn't want to damage the presumptive Dem candidate . . . nor bring down The Wrath of the Clinton upon his hoary head.
And so Krugman spends most of his column, the ostensible purpose of which is to lament Hillary's inflexibility, lambasting Republicans for their unbending nature, all the while being careful to observe that Hillary is, well, perhaps a teeny bit like them -- but not too much, mind you!
President Bush and VP Cheney are "pathologically incapable of owning up to mistakes."
"Karl Rove turned refusal to admit error into a political principle."
"George Bush . . . suffer[s] from an infallibility complex."
"Dick Cheney is a 'megalomaniac.'"
"Senator John McCain . . . appears to share the Bush administration’s habit of rewriting history to preserve an appearance of infallibility."
"As for Rudy Giuliani, there are so many examples of his inability to accept criticism that it’s hard to choose."
A new study just released by the University of Oregon indicates that despite all of the attention given to global warming by the media and pols like Al Gore, most people believe that solving the problem is a low priority (emphasis mine throughout):
Most Americans believe global warming is real but a moderate and distant risk. While they strongly support policies like investing in renewable energy, higher fuel economy standards and international treaties, they strongly oppose carbon taxes on energy sources that put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
How deliciously refreshing. The study in question was done by Anthony Leiserowitz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Oregon, and had some rather fascinating conclusions:
A February 11, 2007, front-page article by Stephanie Simon in the Los Angeles Times discounts the possible link between induced abortion and breast cancer (ABC). Simon also promulgated the questionable claim that crisis pregnancy centers (CPC's) "gave misleading information" in an undercover investigation conducted by abortion supporter Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) last year. Finally, the story also downplayed Planned Parenthood's role as the nation's leading abortion provider.
Although the focus of the article is the funding of pro-life crisis pregnancy centers, Simon wrote:
U.S. Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), an abortion rights supporter, last year asked undercover investigators to contact 23 crisis pregnancy centers; 20 gave misleading information, such as exaggerating the risk of abortion, he reported. In Austin, the diocese hands out a booklet — approved by the state — that suggests a link between abortion and breast cancer, though the National Cancer Institute has found no such connection.