At the end of her interview on this morning's 'Today', Katie Couric asked Kaavya Viswanathan why she had wanted to come on the show. Couric's implication was clear: the Harvard undergrad caught in a plagiarism scandal had done herself absolutely no good by her appearance.
The Harvard Crimson recently broke the story of the numerous passages in Viswanathan's coming-of-age novel that bear striking similarities to lines from two books by Megan McCafferty. Isn't there something derivative, by the way, to the feel of the book's very title: "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life"? Amazon listing here.
Ronald Reagan may now be remembered as one of America's greatest presidents, but the Washington Post is still willing to consider him comparable to mass-murdering dictators. On Tuesday, theater critic Nelson Pressley oozed over playwright Tony Kushner's work comparing Reagan to Hitler:
Before Tony Kushner hit the jackpot with "Angels in America," he wrote something called "A Bright Room Called Day," and in it he equated Reagan's America with Hitler's Germany. Kushner being Kushner -- that is, burning with ideological fire, thoroughly grounded in history and theory, and preposterously gifted with literary agility -- that wild swing of a thesis gains surprising traction onstage.
This may be a little dated, but Jim Geraghty has absolutely captured something that conservatives need to remember as they listen to liberal-media outlets forecasting doom daily for the GOP in the midterms. Remember how every week in 2004 seemed like a bad week for Bush, save the week President Reagan died and the week of the GOP convention? Every week, the media suggested everything was another problem for Bush, and Kerry's weaknesses were ignored, or downplayed, or wiggled around, or were a vicious, lying, Rove-inspired attack? Geraghty reminds us not to read the media's wishful-thinking tea leaves into despair:
On Tuesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann raised the term "new McCarthyism," as he accused the Bush administration of engaging in a "witch hunt" against leakers "it does not find politically expedient." Olbermann referred to the "Red Scare witch hunt of the 1950s" during which Senator Joseph McCarthy went after communist sympathizers, as the Countdown host formed a pun on the famous Senator's name and the name of recently fired CIA analyst Mary McCarthy, whom on Friday he had sympathetically referred to as a "whistleblower," on grounds she leaked classified information about secret prisons in Europe being used in the War on Terrorism. Olbermann then brought aboard a former employee of Mary McCarthy, former CIA officer Larry Johnson, to defend Ms. McCarthy and attack the Bush administration. (Transcript follows)
The broadcast network evening shows delivered a variety of spins Tuesday night on the price of gas, with CBS raising a “windfall tax on big oil” and featuring an in-studio segment with left-wing busybody Eliot Spitzer, the Attorney General of New York, about price gouging and NBC's Brian Williams worried about the concerns of those want a “greener America.” ABC's Betsy Stark rejected the price-gouging charge and while CBS insisted that eliminating environmental regulations would have little effect, Stark reported such a suspension would have an immediate impact.
CBS Evening News anchor Russ Mitchell asked White House reporter Jim Axelrod about the idea of "slapping a windfall tax on big oil companies for these record profits that they're making?" Mitchell then turned to Spitzer: "As a consumer, it seems like it's the wild West. How easy is it for a gas station, for an oil company to just jack up the price of gas?" NBC's Williams set up a story on President Bush's proposals by citing how “advocates for a greener America” are “seeing red over what they see as a quickly degrading environment." Williams soon asked David Gergen "what are the chances” that the high prices will lead the U.S. to now move from a “carbon based society to one that's more green?" Gergen replied: "Well, one hopes that's the case...” (Transcripts follow.)
The recent unveiling of the Pulitzer Prizes had more of the same politicized whiff that the Oscars oozed earlier this year. Merit is taking a back seat now to "edginess" in both the news and entertainment media. "Speaking truth to power" is in vogue, even if it’s not true and even if it’s not in the public interest.
The roster of Pulitzer winners had an unmistakeable get-Bush smell to them, especially Dana Priest’s exposing secret prisons in Europe for terrorists in the Washington Post, and James Risen’s and Eric Lichtblau’s NSA-surveillance exposure in the New York Times. The Pulitzers have a prize for Public Service, but these leaks in the War on Terror might better deserve an award for Public Endangerment. As Bill Bennett put it, many Americans think it’s odd that on these stories, "the leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize."
Reading the table of contents of this week’s U.S. News & World Report revealed a very biased headline: "Vote Democratic, Earn More." Underneath the headline, the promotional copy read: "Campaigns to raise the minimum wage may be just the ticket for the party." The story by reporter Silla Brush led off the magazine's national coverage this week, with the headline: "A Winning Bet? Efforts to increase the minimum wage are proliferating; Democrats say they've found an issue to rally around". Brush touted the way Democrats hope to use minimum-wage hikes as a tactic to drive the labor base to the polls:
Democrats, big labor, progressive religious groups, and community activists nationwide have latched on to the wage-hike campaign as a way to define their own "values." Public approval for a federally mandated raise is at 83 percent, and 20 states already have set a higher minimum wage than the federal level of $5.15 per hour...The federal government hasn't budged on the minimum wage in nearly a decade. At $5.15 an hour ($10,712 a year), its value has eroded so much that the 2 million Americans earning the minimum wage or below today can buy less in real terms now than at almost any time in the last half century.
As reported last week, Dave Price, the weatherman on CBS’s "The Early Show" went to Iraq along with country music artist Charlie Daniels to entertain American troops. This morning, Price gave the first part of a two part series detailing his travels and interaction with the troops.
Once again, Price reassured viewers that troop morale is high, and showed some comments from men and women in uniform, for instance Price made the following statements:
"I went to cheer up the soldiers, but in most cases, they didn't need it."
"Of course morale was sky high during the shows, but what surprised me was what I heard after the music and the laughter faded."
On last night's Hardball David Gregory seemed to be pushing Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld out the door. Not once but twice Gregory suggested to two separate guests the best way for the administration to get back on track is to can the Vice President and Secretary of Defense: "Susan Molinari, can the President get any traction if he does not dismiss his Vice President or the Secretary of Defense? If he doesn’t do something that large?" Then later to Newsweek's Jon Meacham: "But didn’t reducing Karl’s role speak to the bigger issue for Josh Bolten, which is can he really make any kind of splash? Can he get anybody to notice if big figures, the biggest of the figures, be it the Vice President or the Secretary of Defense are not dismissed?" And before the show ended even Margaret Carlson got into the act: "He’d have to change the big jobs. Secretary Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney even, although I know that’s hard to do."
Miles O'Brien may be CNN's resident NASA expert. But that doesn't make him a rocket scientist, and it sure doesn't make him an economist.
Maybe that's why he thinks raising taxes will help alleviate high gas prices.
There “could be a good argument for a gas tax in all of this to help pay for these alternative fuels,” the “American Morning” co-host suggested on the April 25 program.
“We have enough gas taxes, don’t you think,” reporter Carol Costello fired back.
Every American motorist already pays 18 cents on the gallon to Uncle Sam and anywhere from 8 to 45 cents per gallon to state governments, according to figures compiled by the American Petroleum Institute. In fact, the Energy Department estimates taxes account for 19 percent of the price of a gallon of gasoline, nearly as much as the 22 percent of the price that goes to refining costs.
Besides President Bush and the Senate, who says we can’t deport individuals who are here undocumented and illegal? Read page 7 of today’s NY Post (my favorite newspaper) and you’ll see that we’ve done just that to “Danish diva” May Andersen. Andersen, a Sports Illustrated supermodel, has been deported back to Amsterdam, or maybe Copenhagen, or anywhere except here in the U.S.
Meanwhile, 12 million illegals crossing over from Mexico are welcome. Come on down!
Don’t know about you, but I feel much safer now that Andersen is going, going, gone.
We sure don’t want beautiful women clogging up our streets and making trouble.
Fired CIA leaker Mary McCarthy gave money to Joe Sestak, the Democrat in the race for a Pennsylvania U.S. House seat. The Republican incumbent, Congressman Curt Weldon, says Sestak should return the money.
U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon called yesterday for Democratic opponent Joe Sestak to return $350 in campaign contributions from Mary O. McCarthy, the CIA investigator fired last week for allegedly leaking classified information to the news media.
Sestak's spokeswoman noted, in reply, that the CIA employee had not been charged with any crime and said she saw no reason for the money to be returned "at this time."
McCarthy, who worked at the National Security Council when Sestak worked there in the 1990s, donated $100 to Sestak on March 1 and $250 on March 11, according to a campaign finance report the Seventh Congressional District candidate filed with the Federal Election Commission.
Add Cokie and Steve Roberts to the growing list of journalists praising the Washington Post and New York Times stories which exposed ongoing secret anti-terrorism efforts and also won Pulitzer Prizes. The latest joint syndicated column by the married couple, ABC News reporter Cokie Roberts and long-time New York Times reporter Steve Roberts who now teaches at George Washington University, championed how the Pulitzer Prizes prove the necessity of newspapers because "they recognize the sort of journalism -- courageous, costly and comprehensive -- that only papers can provide." Specifically, the duo declared: "The biggest story that newspapers unearthed last year was the abuse of power by the Bush administration." The two admiringly cited how "the Post won an award for revealing a system of secret prisons maintained by the CIA in Eastern Europe to interrogate terrorism suspects. The Times disclosed a program of clandestine government eavesdropping that many lawyers have denounced as illegal."
On Friday, the rather liberal AlterNet published responses to a series of 20 questions asked of John Moody, a senior vice president at Fox News, concerning issues of media bias and the “fair and balanced” approach of his network. His answers were quite interesting. When asked if the media are biased, and, if so, are they too liberal or conservative, Moody answered:
“‘Because of the qualities it takes to succeed in the media, we have bright and responsible people in this business -- and bright people have opinions about everything. These opinions stay with them when they put on a reporter's hat,’ he continued. ‘The challenge is not to let those opinions cross the line into their reporting. So there are biases -- not at the corporate level -- but biases that can creep in to become part of the mindset of a news organization.’"
Moody then addressed the belief in some circles that Fox News employees must have a certain political ideology to get hired:
TV Newser reports on some of Dan Rather's remarks at a panel discussion of the National Association of Broadcasters.
Dan Rather, the Former Anchor and Managing Editor of the CBS Evening News, issued a clarion call on the broadcast networks to prioritize international coverage during his appearance at NAB.
Arguing that "American journalism needs a spine transplant," Rather told the RTNDA/NAB Super Session on "The Shape of Things to Come" that "at a time when the United States needs more foreign coverage than ever, there's less of it."
Rather said broadcast network coverage of sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America is "awful." For this, he said, there is "no excuse."
Reuters reports that ABC's "Commander in Chief," its presidential series featuring a woman chief executive, is on the rocks, but the network is still reluctant to pull the plug.
ABC's "Commander in Chief," starring Oscar winner Geena Davis as the first woman to occupy the Oval Office, is in danger of prime-time impeachment after failing to reverse a steady ratings slide this season.
Despite a renewed promotional push by the Walt Disney Co.-owned network, and a shift to a less competitive time slot, "Commander" has continued to lose viewers since returning this month from an 11-week winter hiatus.
People close to the series acknowledge that the chances of bringing it back for a second season are doubtful unless the program makes some headway in the Nielsens this spring.
Have a look at the two screen captures from this morning's shows. Same issue, different takes. Good Morning America is apparently sure that gas price gouging exists, and wants to stop it. 'Today' is agnostic, simply posing the question whether gouging is going on.
But when you turn to the substance of the two segments, there was one consistency: neither show adduced any evidence of gouging. Not a scintilla to show that oil companies are in fact colluding. And without collusion there can be no sustained gouging, since any company that pushed prices higher than market levels would immediately lose its sales to competitors.
Over at GMA, the guest was Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, for all the world looking like a politician wanting to give the appearance of doing something about a problem over which he in fact has little control.
Sawyer opened by raising the gouging issue: "You are targeting gouging, which is the guy at the pump, the middle guy. How is this going to help and how soon, specifically, the person paying $2.91 on average right now?"
A seemingly sympathetic Frist replied:"Diane, you're exactly right. This $2.91, over $3 in some areas right now, cannot be sustained by the person driving their kids to school or filling up their tractor with fuel."
On CNN’s “The Situation Room” Monday, Bill Bennett and Howard Kurtz had an interesting debate over CIA leaks, the leakers, and journalists that report such information (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). This was an absolutely fabulous discussion between two folks on obviously opposite sides of an important issue facing our nation: should journalists that report leaked military secrets during a time of war receive Pulitzer Prizes or jail sentences?
As one would imagine, Howard Kurtz supported the former: “As a card-carrying journalist, I would draw the line against forcing journalists to reveal their sources, which would totally chill the process of reporting, and potentially, as we saw in the case of Judith Miller, put them in jail, as well.”
Predictably, Bennett didn’t agree:
“It is against the law to publish classified national security information. And that's clearly been done in this case. What a lot of people don't understand, including me, is why when people do that, or in a time of war, all of a sudden it is claimed that they can't be touched. The leaker can be prosecuted, but the person who wrote it down, told every citizen about it, and told every enemy of every citizen of this country gets a Pulitzer Prize.”
What follows is a full transcript of this marvelous discussion, along with a must-see video link courtesy of Ian Schwartz of Expose the Left.
NBC's Andrea Mitchell complained Monday night, on MSNBC's Countdown, about how the CIA's firing of a staffer ostensibly for leaking top secret information to a reporter, will mean CIA officials will no longer have the “courage or the stupidity” to talk to reporters. After relaying how, through friends the fired staffer, Mary McCarthy, had denied being a source for the Washington Post's secret CIA prison story, though she conceded having unauthorized interaction with journalists, Mitchell contended that intimidation of the rest of the staff was the real motivation for firing McCarthy: “The purpose is don't even have lunch with reporters. The purpose is don't have dinner with reporters. Don't pick up the phone if a reporter is calling. It doesn't matter what you say, you're not supposed to have contact with reporters without telling the higher-ups." Maybe the CIA wouldn't have such concerns if they had any faith in journalists to act more responsibly than did the Washington Post's Dana Priest. (Partial transcript follows)
Much as this column is quick to point out the prevalent liberal bias of the MSM, fairness compels us to acknowledge those occasions, rare as they might be, when the MSM plays it down the middle.
NBC's handling of the recent spike in gasoline prices could be shaping up to be one of those flying-pig moments of 'fair & balanced' coverage. At the very least, there are indications that the conventional wisdom within NBC News is that the Bush administration is not to blame for the high prices, and/or that there is little government can do to stem the price rise.
As noted here earlier today, Katie Couric and David Gregory both expressed skepticism on this morning's Today show as to the government's ability to do much in the circumstances. Gregory was back at it this evening, guest-hosting for Chris Matthews on 'Hardball.'
On Thursday's edition of CNN's The Situation Room, pundit commentator, Jack Cafferty called President Bush a hypocrite for "lecturing" Chinese President Hu about human rights. Cafferty blames President Bush for several human rights violations he has deemed, including the Patriot Act.
Anyone still intent on believing the nonsensical argument that because most media outlets are corporate-owned this makes them somehow conservative should head over to Michelle Malkin's new web video channel, Hot Air and watch her first episode which talks about the extent to which American companies are assisting the efforts of China's communist government to repress its citizens.
Well, one thing’s for sure. She won’t be humming “I Love New York” when she gets back to LA.
With all those reviews damning her debut Broadway performance in Richard Greenberg’s “Three Days of Rain,” the only question is this – life behind bars or the death penalty. Whoops. My mistake. I’m thinking of Zacarias Moussaoui, the man who’s accused of trying to hijack a fifth airplane, on 9/11, with the White House in mind as a target.
Still, even this guy, a terrorist, never got Julia’s reviews. Lackluster, stiff, long-nosed, and one reviewer even said that he “hated” her.
There’s been nothing that harsh for Moussaoui, or even for shoe bomber Richard Reid. Yasser Arafat is still dead but still gets better press than Julia, as does all of Hamas. The president of China did not get a terrific reception from President Bush, but nobody called Hu Jin-tao long-nosed.
Time reports that Fox News commentator Tony Snow has been given the go-ahead by doctors to consider the job of White House press secretary.
Snow, a father of three and a sax player, is the bona fide outsider that Republican allies have long prescribed for Bushworld and would bring irreverence to a place that hasn't seen a lot of fun lately. "White Houses are weird places," he told a 2004 panel on White House speechwriting. Snow had his colon removed after he was found to have cancer last year, but his doctors have approved the possibility of his taking the grueling post.
BRIT HUME: That is not an exercise simply of First Amendment rights. This was a violation of her oath and her responsibility.
CHRIS WALLACE: All right. I'm going to...
JUAN WILLIAMS: Let me -- no, let me...
CHRIS WALLACE: No, no, no. No.
WILLIAMS: Let me just quickly respond.
Brit, she took a risk. She was very aware of what she had signed. She is now bearing the cost of having broken that pledge.
WALLACE: So this is an act of conscience?
WILLIAMS: And so in that sense, yes, I do believe it's an act of honor.
WALLACE: And if it's an act of conscience, then why did she do it surreptitiously?
Sunday's off-lead story by David Cloud is on Mary McCarthy, the CIA analyst fired for leaking classified information about suspected terrorists allegedly being held in secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. It comes under the comforting headline "Colleagues Say C.I.A. Analyst Played by Rules."
"On Thursday, the C.I.A. fired Ms. McCarthy, 61, accusing her of leaking information to reporters about overseas prisons operated by the agency in the years since the Sept. 11 attacks. But despite Ms. McCarthy's independent streak, some colleagues who worked with her at the White House and other offices during her intelligence career say they cannot imagine her as a leaker of classified information."