You better put down your drinks, and make sure there's nothing in your mouths, for the New York Times's David Brooks made a comment on Friday's News Hour that is guaranteed to evoke uncontrollable fits of laughter from those on the right side of the aisle.
*****Updates at end of post include similar opinions from conservative bloggers, as well as a video of a CNN correspondent saying roughly the same thing, and a response from the Kos Kidz.
After introducing regular guests Brooks and Mark Shields, host Jim Lehrer asked their opinions concerning the just-released Osama bin Laden video.
Brooks was second up with this absolutely marvelous observation (final warning to put down your drinks, video available here):
Almost everybody within earshot of a broadcasting device yesterday knows that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a net loss of 4,000 jobs in the economy in August. Unemployment rate, at 4.6%, was unchanged.
Reporting, and misreporting, by the New York Times and Associated Press set Old Media's template for the story. Some reports, including this one by Vikas Bajaj at the Times, laid the entire onus of the loss on private companies:
Companies reduced their payrolls by 4,000 jobs in August, a sudden turnaround from the net increase of 68,000 jobs in July.
Much as when the organization he leads quietly made changes to the United States historical climate record at the prodding of Climate Audit's Stephen McIntyre, James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies finally released critical computer codes scientists have wanted for years, but did so with absolutely no official press release.
As a result, not one media outlet covered this occurrence that years from now could be seen as a huge turning point in the climate change debate.
Despite the secrecy, there was great celebration amongst anthropogenic global warming skeptics that have wanted these closely held codes to be able to identify how NASA and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration make adjustments to raw climate data collected by weather stations.
One such skeptic is Anthony Watts, who happily reported Saturday (emphasis added):
Let's give Katie Couric (and her producer Rick Kaplan) some credit for doing a better job interviewing Syrian dictator Bashar Assad then Diane Sawyer's flippant what's-on-your-iPod interview back in February. On Friday's edition of The Early Show, Couric appeared live to introduce the taped piece. She pressed the Syrian leader on his support for insurgents going across his border into Iraq, and even aggressively pushed him with a quote from Sen. Joseph Lieberman arguing that "The notion that Al Qaeda recruits are slipping into and through the Damascus airport unbeknownst to you and others is totally unbelievable. It is therefore time to demand that the Syrian regime stop playing travel agent for Al Qaeda in Iraq."
Couric explained "during that interview, he denied that Syria was as big a feeding point for terrorists going into Iraq as the United States contends." MRC's Kyle Drennen captured the transcript:
While media carped and whined about the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina devastating New Orleans, a judge in Gulfport, Mississippi, ruled on a lawsuit filed against oil, coal, and electric utility companies that could have significant implications on future litigation involving greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.
Unfortunately, from what I can tell, not one press outlet found the judge's decision at all newsworthy. Not one!
To set this up, NewsBusters reported on August 15 a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of a number of Mississippians claiming that the greenhouse gas emissions of a very long list of companies doing business in the Gulf exacerbated the strength of Hurricane Katrina thereby making them responsible for the citizens' financial losses.
On Friday, LexisNexis Mealey's Legal News reported (very grateful h/t NBer Par for the Course):
The headline (via MSNBC) is ominous: Racial gaps may exist in kidney cancer care -- 5-year survival rates have increased for whites, but not blacks, study finds. But beginning with the second paragraph, we're provided with a big "nevermind":
There are disparities in the treatment and outcome between older black and white patients who have renal cell cancer, with blacks having significantly lower survival rates, according to a new study.
However, the lower rates of nephrectomy (surgical removal of the kidney) and the higher rates of comorbid illnesses in black patients largely explain the survival difference, the study found.
In addition, the study authors discovered that blacks "were much more likely than whites to have other illnesses" in conjunction with kidney cancer. And, the authors concede, these additional illnesses -- when taken into account -- eliminated the post-treatment survival disparity between whites and blacks.
1. a. Goods or property seized from a victim after a conflict, especially after a military victory. b. Incidental benefits reaped by a winner, especially political patronage enjoyed by a successful party or candidate. 2. An object of plunder; prey. 3. Refuse material removed from an excavation. 4. Archaic The act of plundering; spoliation.
Something about the weekend seems to bring out the socialist in the New York Times. Last Saturday and Sunday I described how the Times and its Beantown-subsidiary Boston Globe published an op-ed and editorial exemplifying classic liberal-think.
The Gray Lady is back at it again today with its editorial, "The Employment Tea Leaves." In perhaps the most revealing essay of all, the Times makes clear its view that the fruits of Americans' labor, risk and ingenuity are mere "spoils" to be distributed at the whim of politicians.
“Artist/Activist” Mos Def, a hip-hop musician and actor, matched Rosie O'Donnell Friday night on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher in espousing a bizarre 9/11 theory which absolves Osama bin Laden as he also characterized George Washington and the Catholic church as “terrorists,” maintained that terrorists have legitimate grievances and trashed America as the threat to the world. [Be warned, this posting includes numerous profanities in accurate quotations.] Def contended that “George Washington and all them dudes was terrorists as far as the Queen was concerned,” charged that “the Catholic church's stance about child molestation is a form of terrorism in and of itself” and when asked by Maher if bin Laden was behind destroying the World Trade Center, declared “absolutely not.” Def asserted that “highly-educated people in all areas of science have spoken on the fishiness around the whole 9/11 theory.”
A few minutes later, Def defended terrorism as a response to America's misdeeds: “Let's deal with the fact that there are valid reasons even to a lot of terrorists' arguments, quote unquote, terrorists' arguments about why are they frustrated with colonial presence, imperial presence. The way that this government has pursued its foreign interests has been meddlesome, murderously meddlesome.” Directing his ire at President Bush, Def asserted that “this administration and this government has sought to suppress everyone and no one has sought to suppress America in quite the same way,” yet the U.S. goes “to these places and fucking kill[s] people.”
In what he no doubt considered cutting edge humor, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Friday night contended that Sean Hannity, just like Osama bin Laden, “rants without making a specific threat or point,” and MRC President/NewsBusters Publisher Brent Bozell, also just like bin Laden, “makes vague threats, is cranky and has a bad dye job on his beard.”
“So he's Sean Hannity?” Olbermann asked rhetorically immediately after he teased Countdown by describing how in the new Osama bin Laden video “he criticizes congressional Democrats and just rants without making a specific threat or point.” As Olbermann uttered Hannity's name, MSNBC inserted a picture of Hannity over the image of bin Laden in the new video. A half hour later, with “Finding Bin Laden” on screen under the bin Laden image, Olbermann plugged the upcoming segment by comparing the physical appearance and attitude of the terrorist with Bozell: “And he criticizes the Democrats, makes vague threats, is cranky and has a bad dye job on his beard. Brent Bozell? No, there's another Osama bin Laden tape. Wasn't the President going to catch him dead or alive six years ago?” Bozell has a beard, but it's not dyed.
Upon President Bush's arrival yesterday in Sydney, Australia, deputy Prime Minister Mark Vailes politely inquired about progress in Iraq. President Bush answered bluntly that "we're kicking a--."
In making this statement, President Bush at once committed two acts for which the mainstream media has historically been critical: 1) he used a curse word, and 2) he used sharp rhetoric.
In July 2006, President Bush (while speaking to Prime Minister Tony Blair) said: "See the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--- and it's over." The media eagerly played the video over and over.
ABC News is reporting a new cast member to ABC's "The View," some gal named Sherri Shepherd. But that ho hum isn't the real news because buried at the tail of the piece is this little gem:
Meanwhile, preliminary Nielsen Media Research ratings found that 3.4 million people watched Goldberg's debut on Tuesday. That's one million shy of O'Donnell's audience for her first show last September. O'Donnell's stormy tenure on "The View" lasted less than a year.
Not the draw they thought you were going to be, Whoopster?
Let's keep a Newsbusters eye on this downward spiral.
CBS and NBC, but not ABC, squeezed in brief updates Friday night about how Norman Hsu, the fugitive Hillary Clinton/Democratic candidate high dollar donor, failed to appear in a California court on Wednesday for a bail hearing and was captured Thursday night in Colorado. Both the CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News, which aired full stories late last week on Hsu but not since, allocated about 20 seconds to the developments with Hsu. CBS anchor Harry Smith announced: “Back in custody tonight: Norman Hsu, the political fundraiser who donated hundreds of thousands to Democratic candidates while still a fugitive.” NBC anchor Brian Williams reported how “the Democratic party fundraiser who skipped bail on fraud charges this week and disappeared....was found when he got sick on an Amtrak train in Colorado.”
Hillary Clinton fundraiser and recently-captured fugitive from justice Norman Hsu is STILL listed as a major "HillRaiser" on Hillary Clinton's campaign Web site, reports blogger Flip Pidot:
While Clinton has pledged to turn over some of this money (only Hsu's direct contributions, representing roughly 13% of her total haul from Hsu's network) and has professed bewilderment at the man's colorful legal history and recent behavior, she hasn't yet taken the one very easy (and admittedly fairly meaningless, but nonetheless advisable) step of removing Hsu from her list of vaunted HillRaisers.
At least she hadn't as of 2:50 pm on September 6th. What gives? If Hsu turns himself in (again) and heads off to prison, is that sufficient contrition for Clinton to welcome him back into the fold? Is this failure to fully sever Mr. Hsu from the campaign deliberate or just careless (and mildly comical)?
A recession is classically defined as two back-to-back quarters of negative growth in gross domestic product (GDP), something that last happened six years ago with the 2001 recession. So what did Witt see that portended an imminent collapse?
Well, "[f]inancial experts were blindsided by a new report today that found 4,000 jobs were cut last month. That is the first time that's happened in four years. These numbers follow another report that finds home foreclosures have hit a record high," Witt explained.
Voilà! Two scary negative statistics and there you have it, the economy teetering of the brink of utter ruin. Only, we've heard the media hype about pending recessions before. From our friends at the MRC's Business & Media Institute:
In an ABC News Special Report shortly before 3:30pm EDT, Brian Ross revealed that in a new video, Osama bin Laden “even refers to a broadcast on ABC News on an American soldier in Iraq complaining about the war.” Anchor Elizabeth Vargas explained: “Seems to be referring to that particular story that was run on July 16th of this summer by our Nick Watt in Baghdad.” An ABCNews.com posting quoted bin Laden:
“It would benefit you to listen to the poignant messages of your soldiers in Iraq, who are paying -- with their blood, nerves and scattered limbs....Among them is the eloquent message of Joshua which he sent by way of the media, in which he wipes the tears from his eyes and describes American politicians in harsh terms and invites them to join him there for a few days.”
The Tuesday, July 17 edition of the MRC's CyberAlert recounted how “ABC's World News on Monday night featured video of what was described as 'great candor' from 'bitter' soldiers in Iraq, one of whom demanded: 'I challenge the President or whoever has us here for 15 months to ride alongside me.'”
[UPDATE, 7:35pm EDT: On Friday's World News, Ross again noted how bin Laden cited the complaining soldier in ABC's story, and Ross added: “Perhaps, says bin Laden, his message 'will find in you an attentive ear so you can rescue him' and others in Iraq."
Jeff Israely's September 6 article on Time magazine’s website about Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming trip to Austria is more proof that the mainstream media fear a muscular Christianity more than radical Islam. The article’s title itself asked, "Will the Pope Behave in Austria?," and recounted the Pope’s "provocative lecture about faith and reason" at the University of Regensberg, which took place nearly a year ago on September 12, 2006, and, as Israely put it, "set off riots in some corners of the Muslim world." Needless to say, the author is directing his question in the wrong direction, given the rage-filled Islamic masses that ran amok in reaction to the lecture.
In this photo released by CBS, presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., laughs with host David Letterman after recounting some of his pants-suit jokes about her on the set of 'The Late Show with David Letterman,' Thursday, Aug. 30, 2007, in New York.
On the eve of the August 29 second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina striking the Mississippi-Louisiana Gulf Coast, as the American news media prepared to do a slew of anniversary-update stories, the non-partisan Political and Economic Research Council released a hefty study of how the region's small-business sector is doing.
On the face of it, this Hartford (Conn.) Courant editorial about Fred Thompson's long-awaited entry into the presidential race seems fair. Or is it?
Initially, the editorial tries to give Thompson the benefit of the doubt when it comes to some of the more popular charges against him:
He has some baggage, too. He carries a reputation, deserved or not, of being a bit lazy. (So did Ronald Reagan, and it didn't hurt him.) And back when Mr. Thompson was minority counsel on the Senate Watergate Committee investigating the Nixon White House, the paranoid occupant of the Oval Office was said to have considered Mr. Thompson none too bright. (Critics said the same thing about Mr. Reagan, but that didn't hurt him either, and besides, it wasn't true.)
CBS Public Eye blogger Matthew Felling has a message for those of us who complain about media bias. Don't expect the media to pursue balance. In fact, it's YOU who should balance your news diet, with slanted reporting from the opposing side of the political spectrum. Insisted Felling, "It’s one thing for an ideologue to cry bias over this story or another, but it’s far more productive to offer a solution or an alternative."
If you're a Rush listener, try Ed Schultz. If you like Keith Olbermann’s take, change channels afterwards and see what Sean Hannity has to say. Likewise, if you see something coming down the pipe that looks like the "Censored" list or Goldberg's liberal media smoking gun -- and you initially resist it -- don't dismiss it offhand.
Until we push ourselves out of our media comfort zone, we risk continuing to argue past each other -- us of the by-now-trite 'red' and 'blue' Americas --wearing blinders and not connecting at all. So even if you like your blinders and feel intellectually justified in wearing them, don’t be afraid to swivel your head once in awhile to get a fuller view.
The CBS ombudsblogger --Public Eye purports "to bring transparency to the editorial operations of CBS News"-- offered this advice after he tossed up a liberal and a conservative complaint about media bias, hoping to show that left and right-wing complaints have equal merit and/or that media bias is subjective according to the ideological lens of the beholder.
Fugitive Democratic Party donor Norman Hsu was arrested today in Colorado, according to the Associated Press. However, while discussing the fact that many of the politicians to whom Hsu gave money are returning it or giving it to charity, the AP seems strangely reluctant to discuss the mysterious sources of Hsu's contributions. The story talks about several Democrats who are returning Hsu's gifts, and states,
The growing flap over Hsu's contributions prompted Democratic presidential candidate Chris Dodd to release a statement Thursday vowing "to refuse to accept or possess campaign contributions raised, solicited, or delivered by fugitives from justice."
"Growing flap". That's nice. But it would be even nicer if one of the so-called professional media organizations would devote some time to digging into the actual source of Hsu's large contributions.
She saw our report and it struck the interest of Fox News to the point that she wanted some further reaction from me on the subject for a piece she was writing. After a nice half-hour chat, she assured me that her story would soon appear on the Fox News main site.
Newsbusters is nicely identified in the 8th paragraph.
"I find it outrageous that they'd want to drop everything American" from the character, said conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston, who wrote about the rumors this week on Newsbusters.org and his own blog. "That's nuts."
Please do go read her story following up on the one featured here on Newsbusters.
"Perry Moore has the sinewy physique and golden looks of a California surfer, but get him talking about comics, and he can out-geek the biggest fanatic. He also has the fervor of an activist when discussing the dearth -- and occasional shoddy treatment -- of gay superheroes in mainstream comic books."
Now there's a vital cause we can all rally behind!
"It is an issue close to the heart of Mr. Moore, who is gay, and he has funneled his passion into a young-adult novel. 'Hero,' published in hardback last week by Hyperion Teen, tells the story of Thom Creed, coping not only with high school, sexual orientation and a strained home life, but also with his own budding superpowers. In telling Thom's story, Mr. Moore, like some of the costumed champions he admires, hopes to right some wrongs.
Reminiscent of the movie Rashomon,liberal talk radio host Ed Schultz had an encounter in a bar which occurred in different ways depending on which witness is recounting what happened. Actually there are Rashomon versions of how this former conservative became a liberal in the first place. According to Schultz, he became converted to liberalism over baloney sandwiches with his future wife at a Salvation Army cafeteria. South Dakota Politics blog in 2004 gave a more monetary reason for Schultz's "conversion":
"Today" newsreader Ann Curry managed to work a snide and not-so-subtle shot at President Bush into her news recap this morning.
ANN CURRY: The U.S. military is reporting that seven U.S. troops were killed on Thursday, four Marines in fighting in Anbar Province,where President Bush hailed gains in security this week, and three soldiers who died in a roadside bombing in northern Iraq. Their deaths bring the U.S. toll to 3,750 since the war began.
Darn it, when will Osama Bin Laden's jack-in-the-box moments start hurting Republicans, as they should? That was the prevailing sentiment on today's "Morning Joe." At 6:40 a.m. EDT, reacting to the news that OBL is planning to release a new video to mark the sixth anniversary of 9-11, Host Joe Scarborough expressed his perplexity to NBC News political director Chuck Todd.
JOE SCARBOROUGH: Hey Chuck, we see Osama Bin Laden is appearing again, coming to a computer somewhere near you soon. Of course Republicans wish he would show up two days before the election cause the guy certainly helped George Bush beat John Kerry back in 2004. But how does the re-emergence of Osama Bin Laden impact this race? Do we assume that it's going to help the Republican party again like it did in 2004?
CHUCK TODD: I don't know. You keep wondering when is the double-edged part of this sword [going to] show up? Does him popping up on TV screens serve as a reminder, you know on Iraq, the public might think that Iraq is a diversion, and hey you Bush took his eye off of the ball. This guy is still out there. But let's see if it is him. I guess he's using Hair Club for Men now, Just for Men [earlier Joe had joked that OBL was using "For Terrorists Only."] . . . Where do you get hair color in the mountains of Pakistan? I didn't realize you could do that. Knee jerk, it seems to still help Republicans, even Hillary Clinton said that. She probably shouldn't have done that, but she did say that. But at some point, the more Osama pops up, it's may end up eventually hurting the Republicans.