Amazing. The day after Anemona Hartocollis's puff piece on the court appearance of 18 anti-war 'grannies' accused of blocking an entrance to a military recruitment center in Times Square, the Times follows up with front-page coverage of their aquittal("New York Judge Tells Grannies To Go in Peace").
"They came, they shuffled, they conquered. "Eighteen 'grannies' who were swept up by the New York City police, handcuffed, loaded into police vans and jailed for four and a half hours were acquitted yesterday of charges that they blocked the entrance to the military recruitment center in Times Square when they tried to enlist.
Today's starters-- Media: Reacting to Muhammed cartoon controversy, student newspaper prints offensive Jesus toons, nothing
follows. Popular blog web presence provider Hosting Matters is down at
the moment, taking a number of popular blogs down with it. Tonight is
opening night of "Flight 93;" in it's scoring 94 percent positive in Rotten Tomatoes online reviews (HT Roger Simon.)
I caught Wednesday’s edition of “The Daily Show” on rerun, specifically a segment on gas prices with Wall Street Journal writer Rebecca Strassel. After fussing at those excessive oil company profits, host Jon Stewart joked that she felt like “you’re talking to a retarded person,” then insisted (with some self-deprecation) “The important thing is my visceral emotional reaction to it.” Smiling throughout, Strassel said he should be mad at Congress for its policies (such as its mandated use of ethanol). Stewart replied: “I’m mad at an administration that feels they have the vision to spread democracy -- I will, you know, invade a country and it will flower like the Genesis Machine -- and yet when it comes to oil, their most innovative solution is (in dumb-guy voice, like David Letterman asking if you got any gum) ‘uh, what if we look in Alaska?’ It lacks imagination to some extent.”
Hold on to your seats, but there’s a new CNN poll out analyzing Sen. Hillary Clinton’s chances of being elected president in 2008. What a shock, huh? During Thursday’s “The Situation Room,” host Wolf Blitzer and political analyst William Schneider were having a hard time hiding their glee concerning these poll results as well as a possible return to “the good times under the Bill Clinton era” (hat tip to Expose the Left with video link to follow). In fact, the viewer got a glimpse of how thrilled both of these supposedly impartial reporters were as soon as the segment began.
Blitzer introduced Schneider thusly: “Let's bring in our senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, who is already smiling. He hasn't even started to tell us about the results of this poll -- Bill.”
Isn’t that special? The results are so heartening to Schneider that, as you can see from the attached picture, he’s smiling ear to ear. Then, after discussing the plusses and minuses of Hillary using or not using her maiden name of Rodham – a question that clearly must be keeping most Americans up at night – Schneider took the opportunity to contrast President Bush’s current poll numbers to former President Clinton’s:
Media Week reports that Air America is about to lose the New York station that carries Air America, viewed as the liberal answer to Rush Limbaugh, et al. And what a shame it is to lose a station with the call letters WLIB. Having a diversity of opinion is always a good thing, but the media have propped up a dead horse while not realizing that liberals prefer other formats to get their daily fix of Bush bashing.
Air America Radio will lose its New York flagship station, WLIB-AM, on Aug. 31. While the left-leaning radio network’s original lease for the Inner City station ran out March 31, AAR managed to get an extension which only lasts until Aug. 31, according to an informed source.
Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei told current press secretary Scott McClellan that "requests – this is a serious question – to turn these TVs on to a station other than Fox" have been denied. He wanted to know if there was "a White House policy that all government TVs have to be tuned to Fox?”
As oft-documented by MRC - NewsBusters' parent organization - the MSM is quick to label people 'conservative', 'right-wing' and various 'ultra' variations thereon. But the MSM typically turn shy when it comes to the 'liberal' label. In a surprising twist, not only did Katie Couric speak of George Clooney as a liberal this morning, but the Hollywood star didn't hesitate to pin himself as a liberal, and an old one at that. What's more, Katie even suggested that Clooney's advocacy of countless liberal causes might be diluting the brand.
The topic was Clooney's advocacy of international involvement to end the humanitarian disaster in Darfur in the Sudan. Wikipedia entry on the Darfur conflict here. It is notable that although the conflict largely pits Arabs against non-Arabs, the populations on both sides are Muslim. This seems, by the way, to have been something of Celebrity Advocacy Week at Today. As noted here, yesterday it was Angelina Jolie's opportunity to tout her support for universal childhood education [courtesy the American taxpayer].
The broadcast network evening newscasts on Thursday night hyperventilated over “record” profits for ExxonMobil, but failed to point out how government taxes exceed oil company earnings. ABC even fretted about how much ExxonMobil “spent rewarding shareholders,” though it was less than the federal government took in taxes, and NBC excoriated the company for “cashing in” at 9.5 cents per dollar.
“Today, ExxonMobil reported profits of $8.4 billion for the first three months of this year, its best first quarter ever,” ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas asserted at the top of World News Tonight before Betsy Stark complained: “The company says that's a record level of investment in new supplies. Maybe so, but it's less than it spent rewarding shareholders. 15 percent of profits went directly to shareholders in the form of cash dividends, and the biggest chunk, 40 percent, was used to repurchase Exxon's own stock." But ExxonMobil paid 83 percent as much as the $8.4 billion it earned, $7 billion, $2 billion more than a year earlier, in just federal income tax -- and a lot more in other taxes.
Over on the NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams promised, in his tease, “a reality check on sky-high oil company profits,” but all Lisa Myers delivered was demagoguery. Myers began by charging that “for outraged consumers, the staggering profit numbers boil down to this: Exxon earned 9.5 cents on every dollar of gasoline and oil sold, cashing in at every stage of the process." Yes, ExxonMobil cashed in by investing and working to get their product to the retail customer while the federal government collected 18.4 cents per gallon in tax for doing nothing. Federal, state and local taxes total an average of 46 cents per gallon -- significantly more than the 28 cents Exxon earned on a $3 gallon of gas. (Transcripts follow.)
I heard first on Olbermann's "Countdown" (without Olbermann) tonight, and AP confirms: ABC will name the formerly comedic lesbian activist/former daytime host Rosie O'Donnell as Meredith Vieira's replacement on The View:
O'Donnell's appointment was reported Thursday by the newsmagazine Extra. It was confirmed by a person close to the show who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because The View wanted to make the announcement on Friday's show.
The circle of liberalism is complete. Liberal Katie Couric, replaced by liberal Meredith Vieira, replaced by liberal (to put it mildly) Rosie O'Donnell. That's quite a jump from Vieira, a news anchor-type who was said to be "the glue."
Video/audio: Links below to video and/or audio of three O'Donnell outbursts.
There was that commercial of some time ago that asked “Is it live or is it Memorex?” (Meaning a copy, a recording.)
I guess that’s what we’ve got here in the case of a 19-year-old Harvard student and “novelist,” Kaavya Viswanathan, now accused of plagiarism. Apparently her book “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” cloned some 40 passages from another book, actually two books written by Megan McCafferty.
We learn from our big city newspapers that Viswanathan got $500,000 to sign up with Little, Brown, publishers, and that she did all that signing while she was only 17. One part of me feels sorry for this young lady. She got trapped in Jay McInerney’s “Bright Lights, Big City” and at 19, there is still so much living and writing to do.
Perhaps it's not surprising from a network that once spun $2.15/gallon of gas as "averaging under $3." The April 26 "CBS Evening News" overestimated ExxonMobil's forthcoming profit margin.
Jumping the gun on the other networks, "CBS Evening News" reported on the April 26 broadcast that ExxonMobil would report a $9.4 billion profit for the first quarter of 2006. The actual figure, released the morning of April 27, is an $8.4 billion profit, a $1,000,000,000 difference. This isn't CBS News's first time being sloppy with numbers.
The Free Market Project previously reported how CBS exaggerated the rise in natural gas prices heading into the winter of 2005-6:
NBC's Today show was full of negative news for President Bush, as it usually is, so it was a bit surprising when Katie Couric asked Tim Russert why the President hasn’t gained from positive consumer confidence. Maybe it’s because, according to a quick Nexis search of Today, the phrase "consumer confidence" hasn’t even been uttered all year long. During a segment on the bad news for the President in NBC’s latest poll Couric noted:
"We just see the right direction, wrong track question Tim and we can follow that by the economy. Only 19 percent feel confident when it comes to, excuse me, the economy and 77 percent are uneasy. One of Josh Bolten's five point plans, as you know, Tim was to brag more about the economy and there is good news. Consumer confidence this month is at its highest in four years. The Dow is trading at a six-year high. Obviously they've got their work cut out for them but why aren't some of those good things reflected in the poll numbers?"
In the first interview segment of "The O'Reilly Factor" on Wednesday night, Bill O'Reilly told former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer that it would be nice to be able to tell reporters like Helen Thomas (politely) that everyone knows they have an agenda, but they can't. (Actually, Fleischer grew confident enough to suggest that to Helen, saying after the 2002 elections, that "Helen, you sound like a [campaign] commercial that didn't work.")
Ari responded by saying that questions that the public thinks are stupid is one reason the media's in decline in public esteem: “The press secretary's job is to mix it up a little bit with the press in a respectful way but also in the modern media world, where the country gets to watch the questions, that's one of the reasons I think, Bill, the press is in decline substantially because they bring a bit of it on themselves. I know one reporter who once said there’s no such thing as a stupid question. I think the reality is, the public watches some of these questions, not all, but some of them, and they think, that was really a stupid question.”
All three network morning shows played the envy card Thursday morning, as they hyped the “record high profits” and “corporate greed” of American oil companies. High on their agenda: ExxonMobil’s announcement of $8.4 billion in profits, which the networks implied was scandalous given the high price of oil.
But unstated in the network coverage was the fact that the U.S. government took in more than $7 billion from ExxonMobil during the first quarter of 2006, a jump of more than $2 billion from the same time period in 2005. And that doesn’t count the more than $7.6 billion in excise taxes — the gas tax — that ExxonMobil collected for the government during the same quarter. Plus another $11 billion in "other taxes" and ExxonMobil sent the government more than $25 billion in the first quarter of 2006 -- three times more than the amount network reporters seem to feel is obscene.
Big Government is making more off of high gas prices than Big Oil.
Fired CIA officer Mary O.
McCarthy went on offense Monday, denying through her lawyer that she
has done anything wrong. But the agency is standing by its claim that
she was dismissed last week because she "knowingly and willfully shared
classified intelligence." It has been reported that one of her media
contacts was Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, who just won a
Pulitzer Prize for her reporting on the so-called "secret" prisons that
the CIA allegedly used to house top level al Qaeda detainees in Eastern
We're as curious as anyone to see
how Ms. McCarthy's case unfolds. But this would appear to be only the
latest example of the unseemly symbiosis between elements of the press
corps and a cabal of partisan bureaucrats at the CIA and elsewhere in
the "intelligence community" who have been trying to undermine the Bush
The media has recently put on quite a show about high oil prices. On Good Morning America reporter Ron Claiborne is spending the week on the road and hunting down motorists who want to "talk back to the oil companies". Today he was live from a gas station in Cleveland, Ohio.
In his report, Claiborne stated that "the mood on the road that we found is one of outrage. People are very, very angry over those high gas prices like you see right here. And also over those corporate profits, those oil company profits. And it's also a mood of suspicion and in some cases fear."
One "boiling mad" motorist ranted, "They're making billions and I'm making nothing. I'm poor. You know, I've got to pay $3 a gallon. It's cutting into my food bill and travel bills and my shoes and everything."
Having unintentionally (and unwillingly) elevated blogging as a media form, former CBS anchorman Dan Rather made some noises recently that he may be interested in joining the new media if he leaves CBS, which he says tells employees not to blog.
Of course what I wanted to talk about is Rather becoming a blogger.
He said that his employer discourages it. I was surprised, more news
organizations are encouraging their reporters to blog, it makes
economic sense to do so. I thought that CBS especially would be
thinking this way because they were so rocked by bloggers in 2004. He
said that large companies like to control what’s said about them, and
that CBS is part of a large company (Viacom) [sic].
During yesterday's press briefing Scott McClellan was asked about his soon-to-be replacement, Tony Snow. Perhaps the most interesting exchange was when a reporter asked McClellan what his "unique style" was. He responded, "Putting up with you."
Q Nancy Pelosi says that having Tony Snow now behind the podium there is not going to make much difference. What would you say to that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think Tony Snow is going to do a great job for the President. I saw him earlier today, and looked up at him and told him, "I used to be your height before I started in this position." (Laughter.)
The front of Thursday’s Metro section features Anemona Hartocollis’ soggy profile of a group of left-wing elderly protesters arrested last October for blocking a military recruiting center in Times Square.
The headline is sweet: "With ‘Grannies’ in the Dock, A Sitting Judge Will Squirm."
The text box is sickeningly sweet: "Who wants to rule against grandmotherhood, or apple pie, or Santa?"
Alongside the piece is a photo of the "Granny Peace Brigade" on the way back to court, complete with red vests, protest buttons, and walking sticks. It’s enough to send a diabetic into sugar shock.
Ironically, the avowedly left-wing Village Voice provides a more substantive and probing article on the group, led by activist Joan Wile, which is officially named "Grandmothers Against the War."
Whenever newspaper corporations report disappointing quarterly earnings numbers – which is quite frequent these days as recently reported by NewsBusters – they always cite the Internet as a problem for subscription and advertising rates. Well, The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released results of a new study on Internet usage and penetration, and the news is not good for the drive by media. The data show a huge year-over-year increase in the number of adults using the Internet:
“While the share of internet users who report positive impacts has grown, the sheer size of the internet population also continues to increase. Surveys fielded in 2006 show that internet penetration among adults in the U.S. has hit an all-time high. While the percentage of Americans who say they use the internet has continued to fluctuate slightly, our latest survey, fielded February 15 – April 6, 2006 shows that fully 73% of respondents (about 147 million adults) are internet users, up from 66% (about 133 million adults) in our January 2005 survey.”
So 14 million more American adults are using the Internet than in Pew’s January 2005 poll. This represents a 10.5 percent year-over-year increase. Yet, maybe most telling are the generational differences in Internet usage:
Yesterday incoming White House press secretary Tony Snow sat down with Fox News' Brit Hume. Snow elaborated on how he wanted to approach the job of press secretary and explained earlier critical remarks he made about President Bush. About those criticisms, he said "there are probably a lot of people in the press room who from time to time say, well, I wish I had written or said that."
BRIT HUME: So how will Tony Snow approach his new job? Will he represent the president to the press corps or will he represent the press corps to the president? Well, who better to ask than Tony Snow himself? Tony, welcome.
TONY SNOW: Good to be here, thanks, Brit.
HUME: First of all, tell me about the assurance you have about your access to all that goes on in the White House and your access to the president.
SNOW: Well, the press secretaries in this White House have all had what they call walk-in access. So when you need to you walk in and talk to the president and I've talked with them and basically I've had access to every meeting and every bit of information I need to get my hands on.
HUME: And how do you -- you said in that brief encounter with the press today that you want to work with those people.
HUME: Now, you've seen how poisonous that atmosphere can be in that briefing room. What does that mean exactly?
You can't say Angelina Jolie doesn't think big - with your tax dollars. In an interview aired on this morning's Today show, Jolie advocated applying the No Child Left Behind Program . . . to every child in the world, courtesy the American taxpayer.
Ann Curry, Today newsreader and NBC Dateline host, had interviewed Jolie during her recent trip to Africa to promote education. At one point, Curry made this somewhat surprising observation to the Hollywood star:
"There is another very famous person who talks about education. And you sound a lot like her: Laura Bush."
Jolie engaged in a, no pun intended, pregnant pause and a nervous chuckle. You could hear the gears grinding as she seemingly asked herself 'just how political can I get here?'
In his Washington Post column today, David Broder takes on the government-press relationship, but predictably, only the government side is evaluated. In Broder's eyes, it's suspicious government vs. idealistic press corps:
This is a troubling case for those of us in journalism. Our view is that it's the government's responsibility to keep its secrets secret and that it's our responsibility to ferret out information so the public is aware of the actions being taken in its name...But we also know that administrations of both parties tend to restrict information -- and that the only way for the public to learn of questionable policies or actions is for conscientious individuals to break that official code of silence.
Leading with Karl Rove's grand jury session, on Wednesday's CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer painted CBS's coverage through a set of facts forwarded by Bush enemies as he justified his news judgment, “It is the story that is keeping Washington on edge: Who outed one of the CIA's secret agents whose husband happened to be a critic of the President and his war policy?” Jim Axelrod framed his story around how Rove being “called back in front of the grand jury yet again makes it crystal clear” that he's “still very much under a cloud of suspicion.” Axelrod seemed almost sorry for the Bush team as he concluded: "The President's poll numbers are at an all-time low, gas prices are through the roof, he's got an unpopular war and a divisive immigration debate to handle, and his chief political advisor is under this cloud. It just couldn't come at a worse time for the President.” Then, as if the media's news judgment has nothing to do with it, Schieffer observed: "I would agree that this White House just can't seem to talk about what it wants to talk about. I think today probably what they wanted to talk about was the naming of a new Press Secretary."
On the NBC Nightly News, which also led with Rove, anchor Brian Williams similarly marveled at how “the White House today was hoping for favorable coverage of one story in particular: The naming of the President's new Press Secretary, Tony Snow. And it was the story of the day from the White House right up until Karl Rove became the story.” Williams also highlighted “a new record the President may not be so proud of," an "all-time low" approval number for Bush in “our polling.” But the 36 percent approval in NBC's new poll is three points higher than a Fox News poll last week and four points above what CNN found this week. (Transcripts follow.)
ABC and NBC on Wednesday night delighted in showcasing how incoming White House Press Secretary Tony Snow last year wrote that President Bush had become “an embarrassment.” But in portraying the quote as a declarative accusation, neither ABC's Elizabeth Vargas or NBC's David Gregory put the remark into the context of how Snow was observing that Virginia Republicans not wishing to appear with Bush during the 2005 campaign suggested “Bush has become something of an embarrassment.” And neither bothered to let their viewers in on how they were just funneling quotes from a short list collected by the left-wing Center for American Progress. Vargas teased at the top of World News Tonight, “President Bush chooses a new spokesman: A conservative commentator who once called the President 'an embarrassment.'" Vargas managed to apply an ideological tag to Snow three times in under two minutes. She also ludicrously asserted that “Tony Snow is the first journalist to get this job.” Tell that to Pierre Salinger, Bill Moyers, Ron Nessen or Joe Lockhart -- who was a producer for Vargas' own ABC News.
NBC's David Gregory at least hinted at some context, though he still implied it was an accusation, as he related how Snow “has criticized his new boss, writing last year that, quote, 'George Bush has become something of an embarrassment.'” Gregory twice labeled Snow “conservative” before pointing out what eluded Vargas: “He is the first TV personality to be in the job since Gerald Ford hired away Ron Nessen from NBC News back in the 70s." (Transcripts follow.)
Fox News (hat tip to Drudge) has gotten what everybody has been waiting for (nudge, nudge!) – an exclusive copy of the lyrics to Neil Young’s new protest song about George W. Bush. According to the article, “there’s no doubt that the centerpiece of the album, a song called 'Let’s Impeach The President,' performed as a melodic, rocking, campfire ode will be what causes the most controversy.”
In fact, author Roger Friedman had some high praise for the piece that many would be surprised to read at the Fox News website: “Young has been clever enough to write the catchiest protest song since Country Joe and the Fish’s anti-Vietnam ditty, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ to Die.”
Meredith Vieira just can’t help herself. The View co-host will soon be taking over for Katie Couric on the Today show. One would think that she would try and reign in her bias. Apparently not, as she opened the April 26 edition of The View with another attack on President Bush:
Vieira: "...I’m a little peeved when I hear the President say there’s not much we can do about this, folks. According to the President, the American people have got to understand that what happens elsewhere in the world affects the price of gasoline that you pay here, but where is his responsibility in all this? Five and a half years and we’re dealing with these gas prices? It’s ridiculous."
On the April 24th edition of Fox’s syndicated Geraldo At Large, Geraldo Rivera said the bright side of high gas prices is "it may cut down on global warming" and then went on to call oil company CEO’s "pirates," and backed a windfall tax on the companies as "a no-brainer."
The following is Rivera’s entire final commentary from the show:
Geraldo Rivera: "About the only good news is that it may cut down on global warming but exploding gas prices are hurting lots of people along the way."
[Man at gas station: "Gas prices just make you definitely want to take the train all the time."]
The subject of Iraq was once again discussed on this morning’s "Early Show" as Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice both made unannounced visits to Baghdad to show support for the new government.
CBS News Correspondent Kimberly Dozier, reporting from Baghdad, mentioned that the formation of a unity government in Iraq will eventually allow US troops to draw down, though she made clear that it was unclear when this could happen. She also noted that Rumsfeld was visibly tired when he got off the plane, but it couldn’t just have been because he flew all night, no, Dozier implied it also had something to do with the criticism of some retired generals.
Gas price rage has blended with executive pay rage recently, since the media have been bashing ExxonMobil’s departing CEO, Lee Raymond, for his pay and pension package.
“Runaway pay,” said NBC’s Brian Williams on April 20, calling executive salaries and benefits “stratospheric” and “staggering.” CBS’s Bob Schieffer compared Raymond’s “golden” retirement to the “average American” on April 13. “How much is too much?” asked NBC’s Matt Lauer on April 11. And ABC’s “Good Morning America” said, “You Must Be Kidding!” referring to Raymond’s package as “stunning” on April 14.
Criticizing highly-paid executives has been in vogue at the news networks lately, but there’s something the anchors aren’t telling you: their colleagues’ top wages could soon be disclosed to the world, and Big Media are fighting it.
Large media companies have been doing everything within their power to hide the compensation plans of their own highest-paid employees from public disclosure. As reported by the Associated Press on April 11: