Diane Sawyer didn't go totally Katie Couric on Nancy Pelosi in her exclusive interview aired on GMA this morning. The ABC host stopped just short of any "you go, girls." But neither did Sawyer call Pelosi when, twice, the new Speaker washed her hands of responsibility for the most pressing issue of the day.
When Sawyer asked if the Dems would turn off funding for the surge, Pelosi responded:
"Democrats will never cut off funding for our troops when they are in harm's way. But we will hold the president accountable; he has to answer for his war. He has dug a hole so deep he can't even see the light on this; it's a tragedy, it's a historic blunder."
Despite their best efforts to woo the public, Democrats are still having trouble when it comes to convincing the public that they have a plan for the country. In the most recent Los Angeles Times poll, only 25 percent of the public believes the new Democratic majority actually has a plan.
This is one of several bits of bad (and good) news for Democrats which more than likely you will not see reported on the left-leaning TV networks. Read the rest of the poll, scroll to the bottom in this page, for details.
In his latest left-wing tirade at a radical "media reform" conference in Memphis last Friday, long-time PBS omnipresence Bill Moyers announced he would resurface again with another regular show on PBS this spring, titled once again Bill Moyers’ Journal. He also is creating a documentary titled "Buying the War." In his Castro-length speech, rebroadcast for an hour on Tuesday on Pacifica’s nationally distributed "Democracy Now" radio/TV simulcast, Moyers decried an alleged conservative stranglehold on the American news media (apparently, the New York Times are "sitting ducks" for "neoconservative propaganda"), cited left-wing media watchdog theories and studies, and said his private "fantasy" was all about strident leftist "Democracy Now" host Amy Goodman: that the Memphis crowd would lobby every public TV station to run her daily radical hootenanny.
Exactly two weeks after ABC anchor Charles Gibson trumpeted how video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the House floor holding a baby while she talked to colleagues demonstrated “the ultimate in multitasking: Taking care of the children and the country” (my NewsBusters item with video of his January 4 oozing), he celebrated how House Democrats “completed their scheduled hundred hours of work in just about 42 hours, so they can put the other 58 in the bank.” In stark contrast to how ABC's evening newscast scrutinized the Republican agenda in 1995, on Thursday's World News Gibson triumphantly listed the liberal policy accomplishments, naturally without any such ideological label, and didn't paint any as controversial or cite any criticisms of them.
“A short while ago, the Democratic-led House passed the final measure of its self-declared first one hundred hours in office,” Gibson touted as he listed how the energy bill “would encourage investment in alternative energy sources and lower oil industry subsidies.” Gibson listed how the House passed “an increase in the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, a bill that would expand stem cell research and overturn President Bush's restrictions, a measure requiring the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices on behalf of Medicare patients. And they agreed to cut interest rates on student loans.”
When I served as Mayor during the 1990’s, the Administration and Congress helped local communities fight crime by providing funds to hire more police, and making it harder for criminals to get guns. As a result, crime decreased. Over the past few years, however, the approach seems to have been switched. Now cities are often seeing less police but more guns on their streets. These new crime statistics indicate that we’re doing things backwards. – Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence1
Brady Campaign’s new spokesman seems full of high-sounding verbiage these days, but the Clinton administration’s crime policies–contrary to Helmke’s claims–fell short on crime fighting:
Yes, there was a crash. We're back to where we were earlier, minus today's comments that were made before the crash. Sorry for the inconvenience. Our hosting company dropped the ball and we'll soon be switching to a different one.
ABC’s Dr. Timothy Johnson leveled the harshest criticism,
telling anchor Charles Gibson that President Bush was "misleading" about his
government medical research, which he lamented had actually been "cut" last
Johnson’s liberal complaint about inadequate spending isn’t
surprising. The Business & Media Institute (BMI) has previously documented
Johnson’s advocacy of government-run health care and higher tobacco taxes.
The heat on former President Jimmy Carter over his book on Israeli-Palestinian issues continues to be turned up. The Fox News website is reporting (hat tip to LGF):
Former President Jimmy Carter won't go unchallenged after his appearance next week at Brandeis University, where he is lecturing on his latest book about what he terms the Palestinian apartheid by Israel.
Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz will step on stage afterward to rebut the former president's remarks despite having been booted from an earlier booking to debate Carter on his assertions.
Forgive me, for I’m suddenly giddy. Adding to my jubilant delirium, the article deliciously continued (emphasis mine):
Robert Bluey, the editor of HumanEvents.com and our old colleague from downstairs at Cybercast News, has an op-ed in the Washington Examiner today about the growing significance of bloggers on Capitol Hill. Just last week, Rob and others successfully pressured Sen. Harry Reid to strengthen earmark reform -- thanks to Internet pressure and the help of a couple seasoned bloggers who are now working in Senate offices:
The debate had captivated the blogosphere. As Roth noted at the Club for Growth, more than 1,700 blogs had been written about earmark reform over a 24-hour period.
Three of the most well-trafficked liberal blogs — Daily Kos, MyDD and TPMmuckraker — also turned on the Democrat leader. “Sen. Harry Reid is fast losing whatever credibility he had on earmark reform,” wrote a blogger at Daily Kos. “Who’s the arm-twister now?” asked Paul Kiel at TPMmuckraker.
On Thursday’s "Good Morning America," reporter Claire Shipman effusively previewed the looming presidential battle between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. How, Shipman wondered, would Obama’s "fluid poetry" stand up against Mrs. Clinton’s "hot factor?" The tone of the January 18 piece seemed to indicate that, although members of the media may think both candidates are terrific, Obama hasn’t lost his "flavor of the month" status. In the segment, Shipman noted the New York Senator’s flip-flops on Iraq and that, despite being a "devout Methodist," she rarely talks about religion. However, it was this over-the-top praise that really demonstrated who the current media darling is:
Claire Shipman: "Though the change in [Clinton’s] views also mirrors the nation’s and the increasingly grim situation in Iraq, she could appear politically calculating while Obama seems principled. And the side-by-side talent show? Next to Obama's fluid poetry, Hillary Clinton's delivery can seem overly cautious."
For those unfamiliar, the Council on
American-Islamic Relations typically doesn’t look favorably upon
television programs, movies, books, and articles that address any
connection between terrorism and radical Muslim extremism. With that in
mind, Fox sent a statement to CAIR on Wednesday concerning recent and past episodes of the hit series “24” (hat tip to LGF):
24 is a heightened drama about anti-terrorism.
After 5 seasons, the audience clearly understands this, and realizes
that any individual, family, or group (ethnic or otherwise) that
engages in violence is not meant to be typical.
Imagine you're John Kerry, comfortably installed before your
television in your silk robe this morning, watching David Gregory's
"Today" segment on the way the Dem presidential contenders are
maneuvering their Iraq war positions. Suddenly, the screen fills with
the infamous clip of you claiming you were for the war before you were
against it. Enough to make a man spit out his pain au chocolat!
Adding insult to injury, Gregory points to your performance as an
object lesson of how being too nuanced can hurt a nominee's chances.
That Gregory chose to run the Kerry clip is a mark of how 'fair
& balanced' his segment was this morning. His focus was not so much
on the substance of the various Dem contenders' positions on Iraq, but
on the politics of their positionings, to wit:
If you had any doubt concerning just how hot the global warming debate is going to get, this item should convince you about the seriousness of the pending war over the value of junk science. A prominent climatologist working for The Weather Channel has suggested that on air meteorologists be stripped of their credentials if they express any skepticism concerning global climate change.
Think I’m kidding? Read the following from the Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works blog: ‘The Weather Channel’s (TWC) Heidi Cullen, who hosts the weekly global warming program ‘The Climate Code,’ is advocating that the American Meteorological Society (AMS) revoke their ‘Seal of Approval’ for any television weatherman who expresses skepticism that human activity is creating a climate catastrophe."
Here’s what Cullen frighteningly wrote on December 21 at The Weather Channel’s blog (emphasis mine throughout):
It's nice to see Drudge picking up on Katie Couric's blog
at CBSNews.com. Her commentaries are worth watching. In this case,
Katie complained on behalf of the "feminist movement" that while she
was thrilled to attend a recent briefing at the White House with other
top network anchors, she wanted more females at the table. Once again,
America is so far behind nations like Rwanda and Sweden. (Yes, that's
in there.) The weirdest sentence: "Everyone was gracious, though the
jocular atmosphere was palpable." What is it about jocularity that
makes it disturbingly masculine?
This from Couric, whose on-air
tone is defined by breezy informality? Whose commentaries and on-air
asides are salted with "gosh" and whose interviews are jarringly
affected with light-hearted quotes from her daughters?
You can't help but wonder if Katie's already looking forward to the
whole White House being Hillaryland, when "great leaps for womankind"
will be Job One, and male "jocularity" will be frowned upon, and
perhaps the networks will be lectured about the need to send female
anchors to the White House table:
Thomas Paine wrote one of the most famous tracts of the
Revolutionary era. Titled "The Rights of Man", it was a tract that many
said, should it not have existed, the Revolution could not have
occurred. In fact, historians contend rightfully, that the writings of
our founders and their contemporaries were incredibly important as much
for their content as for their ability to spread the ideas over which
we went to war with Great Britain across the hard to travel geography
of early America.
Our Founders were true "grassroots" organizers. Without their words, we could not have won the Revolution.
the Federal government wants to destroy that same sort of process used
to spur our citizens to free themselves from Monarchical despotism. The
Washington Times reports that the federal government today wants to
quash the ability of small citizen's groups to disseminate information
to like minded people by instituting oppressive reporting rules and by claiming they are "lobbyists" bound by Congressional oversight. And if they don't they face oppressive fines.
So Keith Olbermann doesn’t like the hit television series “24” or the hit conservative media blog NewsBusters. Somebody knock me over with a feather.
Considerably more shocking is KO wasting airtime offering these opinions to his viewers as if they’d be at all surprised by his feelings on these subjects. Oh, that’s right – that’s what he does five nights a week for MSNBC. And they pay him for it.
Potentially just as comical is someone wasting bandwidth pointing out somebody pointing out what is obvious? I feel your pain, but would like to ameliorate it by suggesting that Olbermann’s distaste for an award-winning television program might give us great insight into how the media clearly don’t believe that terrorism is a threat to this nation.
You could sense the revelry as the Los Angeles Times featured Sen. Barack Obama's announcement on the top of its front page (Wednesday, January 17, 2007). (See the image.) Along with the 1469-word article is a color photo of Barack and a colored box highlighting his "Background," "Experience," and "Education." Inside, with the continuation of the article, is another generous photo of Barack, this one covering over 30 square inches. The article gushes that Obama is a "charismatic speaker" who "has been enthusiastically received by audiences around the country."
The announcement Wednesday from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) would now approve of surveillance actions under the “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” prompted a return to the bad network habit of describing as “domestic spying” and “domestic eavesdropping” the effort to monitor communication between people inside the United States and suspected terrorists abroad. With “Domestic Spying” on screen, ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson cited “a major reversal today by the Bush administration in the war on terrorism. Two years ago, you may recall, the administration maintained it had the right to spy on people in the United States, without court approval. Today, however, the Justice Department said there will be no such surveillance of people in this country without court approval.” (A look at CBS and NBC follows)
Don’t go looking for balance on NPR. On their evening newscast All Things Considered on Tuesday, National Public Radio congressional reporter David Welna publicized an anti-war protest with six soundbites – and all six agreed that the Iraq War needed to end as quickly as possible. The protest was from a campaign called "Appeal for Redress," which claims more than 1,000 military people demanding the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq. Welna was so easy on the left that he even described Rep. Dennis Kucinich in the story as a "presidential contender" -- which in sports terms, would be like calling the Tampa Bay Devil Rays a "World Series contender."
At least in AP's story on the protest, Kucinich was described as a "long-shot candidate for president." The Washington Post reported the forthcoming protest on the front page of Tuesday's Style section, but at least reporter Linton Weeks allowed some dissent from these self-styled dissidents:
She practically blamed Mel Gibson* for why diet supplements are not regulated as drugs by the FDA and attempted to scare viewers with the extreme case of a woman's nose falling off, but Sharyn Alfonsi's hit pieces on nutrition supplement makers weren't biased enough for CBS's in-house blogger-cum-media critic Brian Montopoli.:
"The real problem is that any topical product such as the one described in this section of Mr. Hurley's book is not a dietary supplement, and cannot be legally sold as one in the United States. By law such products are drugs. If either Mr. Hurley or his editors had bothered to look at the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, they could have avoided this fundamental mistake," wrote Marc S.Ullman, a New York attorney who represents clients "in the dietary supplement/natural products industry."
Jonathan Miles' biweekly column on specialty drinks unearths yet more proof of global warming -- his "hot toddy" arrived cold.
"By proposing to add polar bears to the list of 'threatened' species last month, the Bush administration seemed to finally acknowledge that global warming is taking a toll. With rising sea temperatures shrinking the polar ice cap, 'the polar bears’ habitat,' said Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, 'may literally be melting,'' he argues in the Sunday Styles section.
"Closer to home and heart, I’d been worrying about another sort of species that -- at least this season -- seems terribly vulnerable to climate change: the hot toddy. "
If MSNBC is so determined to fight it out with Fox News, why did they tilt so heavily on Monday toward promoting Fox entertainment – to be specific, ‘American Idol’? Keith Olbermann and Joe Scarborough both devoted entire interview segments to the less-than-Earth-shaking speculation that ‘Idol’ judge Paula Abdul sounded drunk in interviews with local TV stations. Both had ‘Plastered Paula’ graphics. ‘Tucker’ handled the story, too, but for less time and without going to "experts" for comment. Some wondered if he was drunk when he said ‘Yes’ to trying to win "Dancing With the Stars."
Last night ABC’s Boston Legal was packed full of political jabs. Lawyer Denny Crane (played by William Shatner) was placed on the "No Fly List" and when Alan Shore (played by James Spader) asked if Crane has called for help, his response was, "Well, I can’t get anybody. I called Tom Delay, his number’s disconnected. Foley has got his hands full, Frist said, "Don’t take it personally." I called Clarence Thomas; his office said he was indisposed." Shore then asked, "How you tried going right to the top?" Crane’s response was, "Cheney?"
Soon after, Shore described Crane to a Homeland Security official saying, "Mr. Murch... there is nobody more red, white and blue than this man here. He's for the death penalty. He's pro-life. He doesn't read newspapers. He's exercised every loophole to avoid paying taxes. He's even donated to. The Jack Abramoff ball."
On Wednesday, "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer spoke with all 16 female members of the Senate. The January 17 interview, broken up into two segments, ranged from silly questions, such as whether more women leaders could result in less war, to queries about whether America is too prejudiced to accept a female president. One question that did go unasked is whether Senator Barbara Boxer, who didn’t appear on camera, should apologize for her recent insinuation that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is oblivious to the effects of war because she doesn’t have children. One would think that in a group of professional women this would be an important topic. Apparently not. Sawyer began by asking the assembled ladies whether or not more women presidents would lead to peace:
Sawyer: "Do you believe that if there were more women presidents in the world, there would be less war? How sure are you that there would be less war? Do you think, actually, war would be--"
With all the negative focus on an Emmy Award-winning television drama, one has to start wondering if the media are more afraid of “24” and any reference to terrorism than terrorism itself.
As NewsBusters has reported here, here, here, here, and here, the media have been in quite a lather about the first four episodes of the hit series' sixth season aired on Fox Sunday and Monday. Thanks to a report CNN did Tuesday (video available here, hat tip to Hot Air), we can now add Newsweek to the growing list of concerned media outlets. (Please be advised that it’s been difficult to identify whether this was just a web-broadcast on CNN.com, or something aired on television).
In his January 12 review, Newsweek’s Devin Gordon wrote: “Depending on your perspective, '24' is either a neocon sex fantasy or the collective id of our nation unleashed.” Much like other recent media carps and whines concerning this show, Gordon used his review as an opportunity to swipe at the current president:
Here's Hillary's idea of diplomacy: bend to her will, or she'll put your life in danger. And that's how she treats our allies.
Yikes. In the spirit of bi-partisanship, let me try to send a message to Hillary's handlers: emergency personality makeover required! A couple more appearances as angry and unpleasant as this morning's on Today and Hillary's odds of winning the Dem nomination will be as slim as those she accorded to that of the surge succeeding.
The strategy for Hillary's conversation with Matt Lauer was transparent. Because her substantive position on Iraq is not as anti-war as that of Obama or Edwards, Hillary sought to compensate, in appealing to Dem primary voters, by sounding angrier about our policy than either of her rivals. From that perspective, you might say: Mission Accomplished. This was Hillary, rhetorically speaking, packing an M-4, grenades slung, knife between teeth.
But at what cost to her likability? Don't voters have to be able to warm up to a candidate? Yet Hillary hovered barely above absolute zero.
Beyond her tone, her message was about as cold-blooded as you can get. Twice she suggested threatening to cut off funding for the personal security of Iraq's leaders. As Hillary put it: "I don't think we should continue to fund the protection for the Iraqi government leaders or for the training and equipping of their army unless they meet certain conditions."
This was no idle threat. It was clearly a key element of Hillary's plan, one she repeated later:
"I [suggest] putting leverage on them and saying 'you know what, we provide security for the members of this government, we're cutting funding for that.'"
Since we’ve touched on the topic of the media celebrating women’s "independence" from men, there’s also this. On Monday’s Today, in the 8:00 am hour, NBC aired a story and a debate segment on a hot trend of mothers who choose to have fatherless children, "no man required." But this wasn’t merely a news story, but a cheerleading report, complete with supportive music bubbling underneath (including "Sisters Are Doing It for Themselves," the 1980s feminist pop song by the Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin.) When they allowed a few seconds of dissent, all the music stopped. In the debate segment, co-host Meredith Vieira’s questions were fairly tough, but the feminist guest walked all over the defender of fatherhood with strange arguments: "I think selfish gets a bad rap. Every parent, to be a good parent, has to be selfish."
Vieira began: "In the old days, women who had children out of wedlock were few and far between. But now a record number of single women are having children on their own, no man required. More now from NBC’s Janet Shamlian."
The night after the four-hour, two-night season premiere of Fox's 24 ended with a “suitcase nuke” being set off by Middle Eastern terrorists in a Southern California warehouse, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann saw a nefarious plot to aid President Bush: “Is 24 just entertainment or is it propaganda designed to keep people thinking about domestic terrorism to keep us scared?” He demanded Tuesday night: “Gripping drama or thinly veiled propaganda?” Leading into reciting a posting on NewsBusters by Noel Sheppard (Mark Finkelstein's post with video of Olbermann quoting from NewsBusters), Olbermann recounted how 24 “featured a mall attack, a would-be suicide bomber on a subway, and a successful suicide bombing on a passenger bus. Not in places where these things have already happened, but in a country called the United States of America. In case you missed the point, the show finished up with a nuclear weapon detonating in a major American city, literally conjuring up the administration's imagery for the war in Iraq, the good old mushroom cloud.”
Olbermann then posed a series of absurd questions to Robert Greenwald, producer of the comically anti-FNC movie, Outfoxed. His options for Greenwald: “Is 24 propaganda? Is it fearmongering? Or is it a program-length commercial for one political party?” Olbermann soon proposed that “if the irrational right can claim that the news is fixed to try to alter people's minds or that networks should be boycotted for nudity or for immorality,” then “shouldn't those same groups be saying 24 should be taken off of TV because it's naked brainwashing?” Suggesting some sort of Fox-White House conspiracy, Olbermann tossed up: “But does this not begin to look at this point like the blurring of the lines here,” between fact and fiction, “is deliberate?”
This morning, NewsBusters' Mark Finkelstein reported (here) how CBS anchors yucked it up over a front-page story in today's New York Times that blared, "51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse." This study is nothing to laugh at. It's incredibly misleading, if not dishonest.
The Times got their numbers from the Census Bureau's new American Community Survey, which surveyed "117 million women over the age of 15." Wait a minute. "Over the age of 15"?
Is it really a surprise that millions of 15-20 year-olds are "living without spouse"? It shouldn't be. In addition to several cultural factors (some of which the Times touched on), the age of consent in the United States averages just over 16 years of age. In several states, including California, it's 18.