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By Grant Dahl | December 19, 2011 | 10:48 PM EST

A story prominently displayed on the Science News headlines at Yahoo! News on Friday came from LiveScience.com, which used this question as its headline: "Is Global Warming Driving Polar Bears to Cannibalism?" and later in the article, after asking the question "are polar bears more often resorting to cannibalism because of increased hunger and desperation, or are we simply more frequently observing a behavior that has always existed?" they proceeded to address the cannibalism side of the question without even considering the idea that this behavior might indeed be normal for polar bears.

After asking what was causing the polar bears' descent to cannibalism, the article proceeded to state that the answer to the question would "reveal whether or not the Svalbard polar bear population has started to feel the heat from climate change." In other words,  the writer suggested the probability that young polar bear cubs being cannibalized by adult polar bears has been caused by people being unsafe with their car's emissions or overusing their barbecue pit.

By Tom Blumer | December 19, 2011 | 7:03 PM EST

Imagine that -- A massive government bureaucracy given almost a head start of more than three years to get up and running appears to be well on its way to not being ready.

Julie Appleby covered the situation at the Washington Post yesterday. Steven Hayward at Powerline accurately called it an item which "ought to be on the front page above the fold," and wasn't. It also "just so happens" to be an early vindicator of free-market capitalism as better able than the government to set up and manage complex systems. Here are several paragraphs from Appleby's report, which will be followed by key points from Hayward (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Noel Sheppard | December 19, 2011 | 6:51 PM EST

Last March, Venezuelan raised actress Maria Conchita Alonso wrote a NewsBusters published open letter to Sean Penn in which she scolded the Oscar winner for his ill-informed support of Hugo Chavez.

On Sunday, Alonso had a run-in with Penn at the Los Angeles airport, and as she told Steve Malzberg filling in for Chris Plante on WMAL radio Monday, she ended up calling her foe a "communist a--hole" (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary, mild vulgarity warning):

By Matt Hadro | December 19, 2011 | 6:32 PM EST

Reporting on the death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il on Monday, CNN's American Morning re-visited a soft report from then-correspondent Alina Cho's heavily-guarded visit to the country in 2010.

Cho admitted that the state controlled where she went – but her reporting was fawning at times in what clearly was the state's effort to produce propaganda for outside nations.

By Matthew Balan | December 19, 2011 | 5:31 PM EST

CBS's Bob Schieffer displayed his liberal leanings on Sunday's Face the Nation when he raised the issue of illegal immigration. Schieffer claimed during an interview of Newt Gingrich that "Mitt Romney has taken such a hard line, it seems to me, on immigration that some within the Republican Party are saying he is simply running off Hispanic voters."

The journalist asked Gingrich for his take on this claim about halfway through the half-hour long interview. Gingrich replied, "I'm not going on comment on Governor Romney," and simply recited his policy recommendations on illegal immigration. When the candidate stated near the end of his answer that "I do not believe the American people are going to send police out to round up folks who have been here 25 years," Schieffer followed up and asked, "There are 11 million of these people. I mean, what are you going to do with them? I mean, you can't build that many prisons to put them in jail....and you can't get that many buses to haul them back."

By Clay Waters | December 19, 2011 | 5:16 PM EST

New York Times legal reporter Charlie Savage played softball with Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday’s front page: “A Lightning Rod Undeterred by G.O.P. Thunder.” The online headline even more strongly suggested that Holder was standing brave and firm against a torrent of politically motivated Republican criticism: “Under Partisan Fire, Holder Soldiers On.”

Savage has previously downplayed the Fast and Furious “gun-walking” scandal, when the Justice Department signed off on a plan that allowed guns to flow untracked into the U.S. and Mexico, putting thousands of illegally purchased firearms on the street, one of which led to the death of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Savage’s November 8 coverage of Holder’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee omitted Holder’s admission that his initial statements to Congress about his knowledge of the gun-walking were "inaccurate,” while the Washington Post recognized its importance with Page 2 placement and a headline mention.

By Scott Whitlock | December 19, 2011 | 4:29 PM EST

Will the death of despotic dictator Kim Jong Il lead to less pandering and naive reporting on North Korea? Not if the past is any indicator. On September 19, 2005, CNN founder Ted Turner appeared on his own network to credulously insist that Kim "didn't look" evil. Turner proclaimed, "...He didn’t look too much different than most other people." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]

After a bewildered Wolf Blitzer pointed out the harsh treatment of the North Korean people, Turner offered his own first-hand account: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but...I didn’t see any brutality."

By Kyle Drennen | December 19, 2011 | 4:15 PM EST

In an interview with House Speaker John Boehner on Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory blamed Republicans for blocking an extension of payroll tax cuts by supporting a new oil pipeline: "You want to say, 'Look, we'll extend it for a year if the President makes a quicker decision on this pipeline.' White House officials I've talked to say you are guaranteeing that he'll say no..."

Boehner shot back: "That's nonsense. David, it's been going on for three years....The only issue here is that the President doesn't want to have to make this decision until after his election." Gregory questioned Boehner's motivation: "If you really wanted this and not just the political issue, wouldn't you make it possible for the President to have as much time as he needs to make the decision?"        

By Tim Graham | December 19, 2011 | 3:50 PM EST

Always prepare to giggle when someone calls a conservative a "sociopath" and then says "I use that word very, very, very carefully."

On Thursday's edition of the Thom Hartmann show, the leftist radio host suggested Rep. Paul Ryan -- a runner-up in Time's Person of the Year considerations -- is a sociopath, just like Ted Bundy, but without the dead women. A caller was complaining that Sen. Ron Wyden stooped low enough to make Medicare plans with Ryan, and Hartman replied with his armchair diagnosis: 

By Paul Wilson | December 19, 2011 | 2:45 PM EST

Teresa Tomassoni's piece in the Washington Post's Dec. 19 Metro section, titled "Transgender immigrant finds new life, protection in D.C.," reads like a caricature of a liberal media feel-good human interest story. The article, about a transgendered Latina illegal immigrant granted asylum in the United States for sexual persecution, is designed to tug at heart strings while at the same time ignoring important questions.

The article tells the story of Valerie Villalta, a gay man and El Salvadoran illegal immigrant granted asylum in the United States because he was attacked for his sexuality. Villalta now identifies himself as a transgender woman - and not just any woman who used to be a man, but "a striking, model-like figure," according to Tomassoni.

By Matt Hadro | December 19, 2011 | 2:15 PM EST

Time magazine's editor-in-chief Richard Stengel was asked on Sunday's Reliable Sources to respond to NewsBusters criticizing the inclusion of the Occupy Wall Street movement into Time magazine's "Person of the Year" award, given to "The Protester." In contrast, the Tea Party which helped the Republicans win a landslide election victory in 2010 earned only runner-up status in Time that year.

CNN host Howard Kurtz asked Stengel straight-up about criticisms of the magazine's bias: "Now, some of the criticism of this cover selection comes from the right, the conservative site, NewsBusters saying, 'Time is so liberal that it could not consider the Tea Party protest as a 'Person of the Year' entry, but that's not true with Occupy Wall Street.' Your response?"

By NB Staff | December 19, 2011 | 12:45 PM EST

Appearing on Friday's Hannity on Fox News, during the weekly "Media Mash" segment, NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center president Brent Bozell detailed ABC's attempt to paint a rosy economic picture to help President Obama and the liberal media's across-the-board effort to slam Newt Gingrich as a "frightening" "political killer." [View video after the jump]

By Scott Whitlock | December 19, 2011 | 12:14 PM EST

A newly posted Time-Life magazine photo montage showcased pictures of North Korea and touted photographer Christopher Morris comparing brutal dictator Kim Jong Il to the "very controlled environment" of George W. Bush's White House.

On Life magazine's website, Morris connected, "America at that time [2005] was, you'll recall, filled with a kind of blind nationalism. But Time appreciated the way I was able to work and get good photos even within that intensely restrictive environment -- and that's why they sent me to North Korea." The photographer bizarrely insisted that taking pictures in America could be "more restrictive than in North Korea."

By P.J. Gladnick | December 19, 2011 | 12:13 PM EST

Divers all over South Florida were probably drooling last night while watching the huge lionfish that appeared in the 60 Minutes broadcast about Cuba's Jardines de la Reina coral reef off that island's southern shore. The reason is that the state of Florida has declared open season on the invasive lionfish, introduced from Asia, which is known to devastate marine life on coral reefs. Fortunately lionfish flesh is quite tasty and its population has been kept in check in Florida by hungry divers with spearguns.

Not so in Cuba. As you can see in the video at the 15 second mark and later in their full broadcast, the lionfish at the Jardines de la Reina are both quite large and numerous. Why? It seems that Anderson Cooper shied away from asking the question that would have a politically very uncomfortable answer.

By NB Staff | December 19, 2011 | 10:56 AM EST

Last week, MRC announced the results of our "public ballot" for the worst media quotes in 2011, sort of the "People's Choice Awards" version of our Best Notable Quotables of 2011. This morning, the official results -- chosen by a distinguished panel of 48 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers -- are in, and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has won the dubious honor of "Quote of the Year."

On the morning of September 11, 2011, during the ceremonies marking the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, Krugman wrote on his NYTimes.com blog that conservative opportunists had "poisoned" the date: "The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.