Bob Schieffer led Tuesday's CBS Evening News by heralding “bad news for the Republicans”in a new CBS News/New York Times poll and suggesting the new poll portends “a dramatic shift in the political landscape” with approval of Congress at only 23 percent, its lowest since 20 percent in 1994. But reporting on that low number 12 years ago, just six days before Republicans took control of the House and Senate, Bob Schieffer didn't see disaster ahead for Democrats. Back then he maintained: “It's hard to gauge who'll be helped or hurt by all this gloom come Election Day.”
This year, Schieffer led with the bad news for the GOP poll: "Well, are we about to see a dramatic shift in the political landscape? If the findings of a new CBS News/New York Times poll are accurate, the answer may well be yes. President Bush's ratings have hit another all-time low” at “only 31 percent” approval “and the Republican-controlled Congress gets even lower marks, an approval rating of only 23 percent. That's just a little better than 1994 when dissatisfaction was running so high that Republicans wrested control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years from Democrats.” Gloria Borger chimed in with how “our new poll shows just why Democrats are starting to believe, as opposed to simply hope, that change is in the air. By wide margins, the public says Democrats would do a better job of handling most all issues” and, “overall, Democrats are viewed favorably by 55 percent of Americans. Just 37 percent favor Republicans. That's a complete turnaround from 1994 when Republicans dominated public opinion just before taking control of the Congress."
Reporting the survey back in 1994, however, Schieffer did not inform viewers of how the GOP "dominated" issues, never referred to the Congress as “Democrat-controlled” and didn't bother to mention how 54 percent viewed Republicans favorably, ten points above the 44 percent who viewed Democrats favorably. (Transcripts from Tuesday and 1994 follow.)
Some people might think that striking a police officer, and almost striking a police car while driving under the influence of . . . something, are serious offenses.
Not Chris Matthews.
Here's how Matthews introduced this evening's Hardball, running down the rap sheet of various government officials who have had run-ins with the law in recent times:
"Tonight, putting on the squeeze, putting on the sleaze. Another House aide cops a plea in the Abramoff case. "Dusty" Foggo quits over the poker-and-prostitute scam. Bill Jefferson gets tagged by a witness wearing a wire. Claude Allen, the president's top domestic kick [sic] gets nabbed for shoplifting. David Savafian, his top personnel man [sic: he was a procurement official] gets arrested. Then there are the Judge Judy level cases. Cynthia McKinney who punched a cop and Patrick Kennedy who almost ran into one."
Time magazine performed a wee bit better than Newsweek on the Patrick Kennedy front this week. They carry an actual (albeit brief) article by Karen Tumulty in the "NoteBook" section up front. But they also have to spend several pages lionizing ex-President Clinton (in this case, for the "Landmark Soda Agreement.") Tumulty’s piece on Patrick has that familiar poor-wasted-promise theme to it. It concluded:
Kennedy told TIME in 2001 that while privacy would be his "ultimate luxury," there were advantages to having the details of his life be public grist. "It makes you honest about your frailties because – guess what? – you’ve got to get to a place where you can deal with them," he said. "There’s no running away from them in this business." Certainly not if you’re a Kennedy.
Thanks to our incredible military in Iraq, an April 16 raid in the Yusifiyah area was a mini treasure trove of terrorist documents. According to a release from Centcom...
"Coalition Forces discovered a large amount of documents and videos ranging from plans to critiques including al Qaida in Iraq's strategy in Baghdad, and how the terrorist organization lacks leadership, military capability and Iraqi support."
Of great interest are two documents - "Baghdad Strategy" and "Baghdad State of Affairs". Officials state that while the author of the documents is unknown, he is of significance within the terrorist organization. The full translation was completed on May 3, 2006.
"The policy followed by the brothers in Baghdad is a media oriented policy without a clear comprehensive plan to capture an area or an enemy center. Other word, the significance of the strategy of their work is to show in the media that the American and the government do not control the situation and there is resistance against them. This policy dragged us to the type of operations that are attracted to the media, and we go to the streets from time to time for more possible noisy operations which follow the same direction."
Since Dan Rather left the "CBS Evening News" just over a year ago, the ratings for the show have increased. After years of being a distant third in the ratings race, CBS's nightly program is now battling it out for second place with ABC's "World News Tonight," Matt Drudge reports:
The CBS EVENING NEWS WITH BOB SCHIEFFER finished the week of May 1 only
310,000 viewers behind ABC’s “World News Tonight,” narrowing the gap
with ABC by 1.64 million viewers and with NBC’s “Nightly News” by 1.03
million viewers compared to the same week last year. In households, the
CBS EVENING NEWS has cut the gap with ABC’s “World News Tonight” more
than 75% to -0.3 of a ratings point compared to a -1.3 rating point
differential for the same week last year. The CBS EVENING NEWS also
halved the gap with NBC’s “Nightly News” to -0.8 rating point compared
to -1.6 for the same period last year. The CBS EVENING NEWS is also the
only network-evening newscast to post year-to-year and season-to-date
gains in total viewers and households compared to the same period last
You may want to look fast, but the Democratic National Committee’s website still has a “Republican Culture of Corruption” page, implying that by installing the Democrats back in the congressional majority, we’ll have a virtual monastery of ethical restraint in Washington – with leaders like Patrick Kennedy setting the example.
The Democratic “culture of corruption” charge is taking more of a beating than the traffic barricade that introduced itself to Congressman Kennedy’s car last week. ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted some serious air time to the story, and the fact that Capitol Police supervisors waved off a sobriety test and protectively took the son of Ted Kennedy home.
It could be argued that by Friday, May 5, the network attention to young Mr. Kennedy was historic. Pundits and academics have spent the last twenty years lamenting that the networks can’t seem to give presidential candidates more than about seven seconds a clip in soundbites. Now ABC gave Kennedy an amazing 60 seconds to read his statement announcing he was returning to the Mayo Clinic for rehabilitation. Even that wasn’t enough for NBC. This network gave him a two-minute soundbite.
In what was perhaps an attempt to innoculate themselves against criticism of their hyping of the The Da Vinci Code next week with Matt Lauer’s "On The Road With The Code," NBC’s Today show looked at the rise of "Christian conservatives," this morning complete with an interview with Pastor Joel Osteen. During the interview Couric, who is leaving for her new multimillion dollar gig at the CBS Evening News, had the gall to question Osteen’s own ventures: "...how do you square your wealth with, with sort of the tenets of, of Christianity?"
Couric even cited Bible verses to the pastor: "I looked up a couple of quotes which I found interesting. I was curious how, again, how you could square these things. It said, this is, Matthew 19, verses 23 and 24. 'Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"
Fishbowl NY reports that Katie Couric has already displayed one apparently required tendency of a CBS anchor. You must genuflect and pay great homage to the CBS anchor-god named Edward R. Murrow. Her appearance at the Time 100 dinner last night went as follows:
Latecomer Katie Couric skipped cocktails and arrived at 10:00 p.m. just before accepting her inclusion on the Time 100. She prefaced her remarks by saying "I'm worthless without a TelePrompter" before toasting Edward R. Murrow as having the greatest influence on her. "We were all reminded [this year of how] he was such a journalistic giant."
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The Big Three networks of ABC, CBS and NBC already pay for lobbyists on Capitol Hill, although they usually spend their time trying to influence communications legislation. But ABC sent lobbyists to push a different issue: a multicultural national anthem.
"The Star Spangled Banner" — our national anthem — is under attack. Or so you would think by the rush to defend it on Capitol Hill last week.
As millions marched for immigration rights, the U.S. Senate introduced a resolution to ensure that the national anthem would be sung only in English. A day later a similar measure was introduced in the House of Representatives.
Good, progressive journalists are naturally alarmed by such legislation. CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer has already denounced having the anthem only in one language.
As the polls are gloomy and gloomier for President Bush, it’s time for giddy-Democrat stories. On the front page of Tuesday’s New York Times, reporter Robin Toner’s story is headlined "Optimistic, Democrats Debate the Party’s Vision: Seeking Big Goals and a Clear Alternative to Conservatism." Big goals for government, the opposite of anti-statist conservatism...wouldn’t that be defined as....liberalism?
The L-word does appear a few times, but without much sense of the socialist, soft-on-defense, and libertine-left impulses that drive independent voters into voting Republican. Liberals in the piece are clearly calling for a return to Old Liberalism of the mid-20th century: the Democrats need "a broader vision, a narrative, they say, to return to power and govern effectively – what some describe as an unapologetic appeal to the ‘common good,’ to big goals like expanding affordable health coverage and to occasional sacrifice for the sake of the nation as a whole."
The outspoken actor Bruce Willis has taken aim at the press again. According to ContactMusic.com (hat tip to Drudge), Willis has “slammed the media for its poor news coverage, accusing the industry of deliberately ignoring serious news in favour of racy stories.” Willis is apparently “disgusted with the news reports, claiming they are frivolous and superficial rather than informative.”
In Willis’s words: “‘We go for the sensational now in the news. If it's not sensational or tantalising or making fun of someone, it seldom gets into the news.’”
As a result, Willis has banned televised news from his house:
In a stunning example of politics making strange bedfellows, conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corporation owns Fox News and the New York Post, is rumored to be about to host a fundraising event for Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY). As reported by the Financial Times: “The decision underlines an incongruous thawing of relations between Mr Murdoch and Mrs Clinton, who in 1998 coined the phrase ‘vast rightwing conspiracy’ to denounce critics of her husband, such as Fox News, the conservative cable channel owned by Mr Murdoch’s News Corporation.”
The article made it clear that this is about Hillary's senatorial ambitions and not those for the White House:
This week's edition of Newsweek was the first magazine to land in our mailbox yesterday, and it probably goes without saying that there is no major Patrick Kennedy coverage in it. In fact, there's just this: a brief mention in the "Conventional Wisdom Watch" box with the note: "Bad news: Woozy wee-hour car wreck sends him to rehab. Good news: Nobody died." And this quote on the "Perspectives" page (number five): "I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police or being cited for three driving infractions...That's not how I want to live my life...I know that I need help."
That's it. Newsweek's editors could say there was little room for the story to breathe, what with a massive cover story package on AIDS, in which Newsweek acts like a complete copycat of Time magazine by honoring Bill Clinton and Melinda Gates with self-promoting columns. (Clinton's is "Editor's Choice" on the website.) But look at what else they have room for:
The Associated Press reports that Tony Snow didn't say much on his first day at the White House.
President Bush had two press secretaries Monday — incoming Tony Snow and outgoing Scott McClellan.
The two men are sharing responsibilities in a final few days of transition.
Snow and McClellan stood behind the cameras in the Oval Office as Bush announced his nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to be the next director of the
Then, Snow made his first solo appearance on the White House podium — but only to introduce John Negroponte, the national intelligence director, for a televised briefing on Hayden's nomination. Snow's role amounted to speaking 59 words.
Among other areas where the media slant coverage in an anti-business direction, the MRC's Business & Media Institute (formerly the Free Market Project) has doggedly tracked the media's biases against "Big Oil" and in favor of Big Government.
Now we've decided to engage bloggers and the media on the issue with a panel discussion on "Oil, Markets, and the Media" on Wednesday, May 10 from 9:30 to 11. The discussion will be followed by a free breakfast during which time panelists including Cato's Jerry Taylor and Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), will be able to field questions from attendees.
Apparently Tim Russert has been paying attention to the misdeeds of Democrats. Last Friday the host of NBC’s Meet the Pressappeared on the Today show. He commented that the Patrick Kennedy scandal will allow Republicans to "suggest to the country it’s not just Republicans who misbehave." I wondered if several misbehaving Democrats had somehow escaped his attention. Mr. Russert, on the May 7 edition of Meet the Press, grilled House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that very subject:
Russert: "You have Congressman Jefferson of Louisiana, someone pleaded guilty and said he had paid him bribes. You have Cynthia McKinney investigated for roughing up a police officer. You have Congressman Kennedy who, in the wee hours, entangling himself with the police department. So the Democrats have ethical...the Democrats have ethical challenges, too, correct?"
CNN Headline News is set to debut a new show tonight (7pm ET) featuring radio host Glenn Beck. Already, liberals are up in arms about their sacred turf of non-FNC television being invaded, Broadcasting and Cable reports.
New CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck is already asking his fans to
guess when his show will be canceled, and it doesn't even debut until
The subject of an e-mail campaign from the left, the conservative talker is launching one of his own.
Web site, glennbeck.com, has a link to an online form that lets surfers
guess when his talk show--weeknights, 7 and 9 p.m., starting May
8--will be off the air. His own staff gives it "three weeks," according
to some streamed behind-the-scenes video also linked to Beck's Web site.
Newspapers circulation rates took another steep decline in the six-month period ending in March according to a just released AP report (hat tip to Drudge): “The decline in average paid weekday circulation was about the same as the previous six-month reporting cycle for the period ending last September, according to the Newspaper Association of America, a trade group.”
Some of America’s most “popular” dailies were amongst the biggest losers: “Several top newspapers reported significant declines in the period, including Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times, down 5.4 percent at 851,832; The Washington Post, down 3.7 percent at 724,242; the New York Daily News, also down 3.7 percent at 708,477.”
The biggest percentage loser was the San Francisco Chronicle “where average paid weekday circulation fell 15.6
The Washington Post has yet to editorialize on the nomination of Air Force General Michael Hayden to replace Porter Goss as CIA Director, but they’ve already done a fine job of debunking the notion that a uniformed officer has no business running the civilian CIA. Of course, that was when a liberal president picked a liberal admiral to run the agency.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Post sided with President Jimmy Carter when he named Navy Admiral Stansfield Turner, at the time the commander-in chief of Allied Forces in Southern Europe. The Post called objections to Turner’s military pedigree “misguided” and “insulting.” An excerpt of the Post’s February 9, 1977 editorial, headlined "Why Not a Military Man at CIA?" retrieved via Nexis:
While the media is full of stories of Nancy Pelosi's "Miss Cleo" impression on the future of politics in America and fantasizing about Porter Goss playing poker while smoking a cigar, our brave military are still kicking butt over in Iraq (and Afghanistan). Here's one of the latest from Centcom.mil...
TERRORIST CHEMICAL EXPERT KILLED IN BAGHDAD RAID "Ansar al-Islam member and chemical expert, Ali Wali, was killed May 6th at approximately 1 p.m. during a counterterrorist raid in the Mansur district of Baghdad. Iraqi civilians transported the two bodies to the morgue where Coalition forces later confirmed the identity of the wanted terrorist, Ali Wali.
Eleanor Clift, Newsweek's resident genius, had another stroke of brilliance
Sunday with a column on the many similarities between Hillary Clinton
and Ronald Reagan. Aside from that very arguable point, I couldn't help
but notice this gem that somehow worked its way through Newsweek's
legions of fact-checkers:
The late great Jerry Garcia
used to say the Grateful Dead were like black licorice. People who
loved them loved them a lot. People who hated them really hated them.
"Hillary Clinton is black licorice," says a Democratic strategist.
"There's a huge upside, and there's a huge downside. And we don't know
how it will balance out."
When was the last time we had such a
dominant front runner this early who raises such anxiety about
electability? The answer is Ronald Reagan. It took a leap of
imagination to believe an aging grade-B movie actor with orange hair could win the presidency.
For comment on the substance of the piece (such as it is), head over to Captain's Quarters.
Every week Bob Schieffer ends his Sunday political talk show "Face the Nation" with commentary. Yesterday he praised the virtues of putting America's national anthem "in a hundred languages."
Finally today in the ongoing effort to make our national debate about all the wrong things, we may have reached a milestone with a controversy whether over it is all right for the national anthem to be sung in Spanish. The blogs went nuts about it, of course. Going nuts is their natural state. Talk radio saw danger ahead, `Cover the children's ears.'
Now I'm with them on insisting that everyone who wants to be a citizen should learn English, and in an increasingly diverse country, common experiences have become rarer and rarer, and our language is one of the few things we all share. There is strength in that. But the anthem in English only? I don't get it.
On Saturday, The New York Times and the Washington Post had the same idea: line up average Americans to suggest any emerging macroeconomic happy talk is ignoring how "many people" are still feeling an economic pinch.
The Post put theirs on Page One, the Times on A-10. The Post headline was "Rising Expenses Have Consumers Feeling Pinched." The Times headline was "Despite a Sound Economy, Many Feel the Pinch of Daily Costs." (Online, it’s "Statistics Aside, Many Feel the Pinch of Daily Costs.") So the Post wins for pushing the theme harder, but the theme still suggests newspaper editors who are trying to throw mud pies at Pollyanna before anyone gets too thrilled with the macroeconomic picture.
An LA radio station is fed up with CNN anchor Lou Dobbs' constant attacks on illegal immigration. Lalo Alcaraz and Esteban Zul host the "Pocho Hour of Power" on KPFK, and don't like Dobbs' "soft bigotry in a three-piece suit." So far there have been no takers, despite prize offers.
"He used to have a business show, and now it's all-immigrant, all the time," Alcaraz told us. "Call me crazy, but if I had a TV show, I'd do different topics. And what he's doing is a kind of cultural bigotry that [immigrants] are inferior in some way. In reality, they're working their asses off. It leads viewers to think, 'Now I can discriminate against Panchito.'"
Last month, the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting called Dobbs' "tone on immigration consistently alarmist," with the Space.com founder claiming that Mexicans are "an army of invaders" who want to reannex parts of the U.S. for Mexico; that "illegal alien smugglers and drug traffickers are on the verge of ruining some of our national treasures," and that "the invasion of illegal aliens is threatening the health of many Americans" through "deadly imports" of diseases like malaria — and even leprosy.
For months, the media have blamed virtually anything but free market forces for the rise in oil and gas prices. NBC’s Lisa Myers attributed these increases to greed on a recent Nightly News report stating almost disgustedly “Exxon earned 9.5 cents on every dollar of gasoline and oil sold, cashing in at every stage of the process.”
Imagine the nerve of ExxonMobil actually making a profit. Oh the humanity.
A few days earlier, CBS’s Russ Mitchell, clearly concerned about price gouging, asked one of his guests on the Evening News, “How easy is it for a gas station, for an oil company to just jack up the price of gas?"
I bet you can’t guess the response.
Yet, in the midst of all this hysteria, a highly unlikely source – National Public Radio’s Internet website – published an article entitled “Q&A: What’s Behind High Gas Prices?” In it, author Scott Horsley adroitly cut through the hype, and
The worst possible 'solution' to the high cost of gasoline would be price controls, since they would simultaneously discourage production while driving up demand. But running a close second and third in the bad-idea sweepstakes would be a windfall-profits tax on oil companies and a cap on the amount oil companies can pay their executives. Two out of three ain't bad, so let's give GMA's Charlie Gibson an A- for his attempt to demagogue the gas-price issue this morning.
His guest was the soft-spoken James Mulva, Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil company.
Gibson opening shot was to suggest that "consumers have a right to be angry" in light of the estimated $135 billion the six largest oil companies are expected to make in 2006. Gibson didn't attempt to suggest why high profits justify consumer anger. Remember, market economics dictate that sellers price their products at the level yielding the highest profits, not necessarily at the highest possible price. Consider Wal-Mart, for example, which has reaped huge profits by consistently offering prices lower than those of competitors.
The "Paper of Record" ran a piece today by Erik Eckholm which lays out the plight that the nation’s “near poor” face on a daily basis. According to “some experts” carefully selected for message compatibility, “vulnerability to poverty” is now the new “poverty.”
Its rather convenient for left-leaning media outlets, in a period of record economic expansion and robust growth (going on two straight years, with lower unemployment that in the 90’s), to find the “tens of millions” who may have financial troubles at some point. Don’t take my word for it – read the “expert” opinion:
In his weekly Monday "Media Notes" digest in the Washington Post Style section, Howard Kurtz digs into a little content analysis as to how the national newspapers haven't been too harsh on Congressman Patrick Kennedy's troubled past, dating back to disclosures in 1991 that he had abused cocaine, through his several embarrassing incidents in 2000:
Relatively little of this drew significant national coverage. Among the brief mentions in the New York Times, a 2002 piece on Kennedy's reelection campaign included a paragraph on his personal problems, quoting the congressman as saying: "If you are a Kennedy, people always make more of such things than really exists, and the true Kennedy haters just won't let go of it."