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By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2011 | 12:53 PM EDT

People who approach an issue with certain beliefs are generally less likely to check claims that comport with those beliefs. It's called confirmation bias. Observe: Tuesday's New York Times carried this correction, highlighted by John Hinderaker at Powerline:

An article on May 7 about the Obama administration's appointment of a panel of experts to find ways to make hydraulic fracturing safer misstated the prevalence of cases in which fluids from the gas drilling process have been proven to have contaminated drinking water. There are few documented cases, not numerous ones, although federal and state investigations into reports of such incidents are continuing.

In other words, hydraulic fracturing is not, by and large, a danger to drinking water supplies. Since potential dangers to drinking water are integral to virtually every argument mounted against the practice, the incidence of contamination is crucial to the debate.

By Kyle Drennen | May 18, 2011 | 12:07 PM EDT

Update: Correction made below

In an interview with John Hudson of the left-wing magazine The Atlantic, screenwriter and producer Aaron Sorkin described where he gets his news and quickly launched into a tirade against conservative media figures: "Beck and Limbaugh are eye-poppingly awful. It would be easier to buy their love of America if they didn't have such hate for Americans. They're my generation's Joe McCarthy..."

Sorkin claimed Beck and Limbaugh were guilty of "tarring anyone who disagrees with them with schoolyard epithets and, of course, being 'un-American' or even on the side of America's enemies....They appeal to the worst in the worst among us..."

By Dan Gainor | May 18, 2011 | 11:55 AM EDT

Second of Four Parts
It's a scene journalists dream about - a group of coworkers toasting a Pulitzer Prize. For the team at investigative start-up ProPublica, it was the second time their fellow professionals recognized their work for journalism's top honor.

By Matt Hadro | May 18, 2011 | 11:45 AM EDT

CNN continued its rehabilitation of Eliot Spitzer's political career in leaving his name out of a lengthy list of recent political sex scandals Tuesday. As MediaBistro and my colleague Tom Blumer reported yesterday, the network shied away from disclosing the checkered past of one of its prime-time anchors.

In the wake of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's revelations that he fathered a child with a mistress, CNN ran a segment during the 2 p.m. EDT hour covering recent political sex scandals. Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux mentioned six by name and CNN ran old news clips of even more – but failed to disclose that the current host of a CNN prime-time show was once embroiled in an infamous scandal.

(Video below the break.)

By Clay Waters | May 18, 2011 | 11:22 AM EDT

New York Times political reporter Matt Bai still hasn’t forgotten the "overtly racist" Willie Horton ad and sees "a racial element" in just about every attack against President Obama, no matter what the issue. His latest "Political Times" column, "Race and Republican Attacks on Obama," posted online Tuesday, pivoted from Newt Gingrich’s latest press drubbing to the matter of racism and the G.O.P.

Newt Gingrich did his level best to appear level in his "Meet the Press" interview Sunday, maintaining a mostly subdued, thoughtful tone except for one telling moment -- when David Gregory, the host, asked him if his labeling of President Obama as the "food stamp president" might have racist connotations. "Oh, come on," the former House speaker huffed. "That’s bizarre." All he meant, Mr. Gingrich went on to explain, was that Mr. Obama’s policies would turn all of America into Detroit, which probably didn’t endear him to Eminem.

Bai turned virtually every attack hurled at Obama into a racially tinged assault.

Is there a racial element to some of the attacks on President Obama? It’s pretty hard to argue there isn’t, when a conservative writer like Dinesh D’Souza argues that Mr. Obama sees the world like an African nationalist (a theory Mr. Gingrich praised again in his interview Sunday), or when Donald J. Trump asserts that Mr. Obama isn’t smart enough to have gotten into Harvard or to have written his own books.

By Tim Graham | May 18, 2011 | 10:47 AM EDT

Time magazine’s not being shy about who they like in 2012 GOP presidential field. A big spread in the May 23 edition is headlined "The Cool Kid: Jon Huntsman is a pro-civil union Mormon who spent nearly two years working for Obama." The main emphasis followed: 

He is, after all, a pro-civil-union Mormon who has just finished nearly two years of service for Obama in the land many Americans consider the new evil empire. He is pro-environment — a little too green for many in his party — and hardly anyone knows who he is. Though Huntsman's path to the nomination is a certified long shot, you have to wonder why so many on both the right and left seem to be freaking out at the prospect of his jumping into the race.

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2011 | 10:42 AM EDT

The Barack Obama White House rewards its friends and punishes its enemies. News outlets would be wise to ensure that they don't fall into the latter category.

That is the message the Obama Campaign tried to send in 2008 when it sicced campaign activists on talk radio shows that dared to give voice to Obama's critics. It was the message the White House sent with its assault of the Fox News Channel. And now it's the message the administration is sending by reportedly threatening to bar Boston Herald reporters from full access to presidential events simply because the White House does not approve of the paper's editorial judgment.

The Herald gave former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney front-page op-ed space in March, bumping off a story about a presidential visit to Boston. That, the White House claimed, signaled that the paper is not "fair" or "objective" in its coverage. Hence, the Herald will be barred from pool duty on presidential visits, a White House spokesman implied.

By Ken Shepherd | May 18, 2011 | 10:30 AM EDT

The Washington Post hopes you may want to "Widen Your World," with online "Master Class" courses that cost $200-$300 a pop.

For example, there's Steven Pearlstein's "Introduction to Economic Literacy."

[Lesson number one: don't spend $300 to have a liberal journalist lecture you.]

Budding oenophiles can bone up on "The Wines of Bordeaux" with Joseph Ward, which you may need after exploring the mind-numbing complexity of "How the Government Budgets and Operates."

For an image of the advertisement as I received it in my inbox this morning, check below the page break:

By Noel Sheppard | May 18, 2011 | 9:50 AM EDT

Ted Rall's cartoons and opinion pieces were all the rage when he was attacking George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and American soldiers.

But now that there's a man in the White House the press absolutely adore, the once syndicated polemicist claims he's having a hard time getting anyone to publish his work:

By Rich Noyes | May 18, 2011 | 9:50 AM EDT

Tomorrow marks Katie Couric’s last night at the anchor desk of the CBS Evening News. Five years ago, CBS executives were so excited about the Today show star taking over, her September 5, 2006 debut was preceded by a massive publicity campaign. Outgoing interim anchor Bob Schieffer vouched for his replacement: “She’s tough, she’s fair, she’s a straight shooter....Just watch.”  Long-retired anchorman Walter Cronkite even lent his voice to a new opening segment, announcing: “This is the CBS Evening News, with Katie Couric.”

Intrigued by the publicity, more than 13 million Americans tuned into that first night, according to Nielsen research, but Couric’s honeymoon was brief. CBS had been in third place for years under Dan Rather and Schieffer, but the slide worsened after Couric took over. By August 2010, the CBS Evening News was recording its lowest ratings ever — fewer than 5 million viewers. (A review of Couric's worst bias, with video, after the jump.)

By Lachlan Markay | May 18, 2011 | 9:16 AM EDT

Since last year's elections, the GOP has spearheaded a number of efforts derided by various reporters as wastes of time or distracting political gimmicks. None of the reporters so concerned about Congress's valuable time, however, seemed too concerned when Harry Reid brought bill to the Senate floor Tuesday evening fully aware that it could not gain congressional approval for the simple reason that it was unconstitutional.

Reid's admitted goal was simply to score political points against Republicans by forcing them to preserve standard tax benefits for oil companies (benefits enjoyed by virtually every American company). But he acknowledged Tuesday that he knew the measure was unconstitutional, so the whole thing was just a political farce.

And yet it hasn't drawn the media scorn to any notable degree, in stark contrast to GOP proposals to read of the Constitution to kick off the session in January or to repeal ObamaCare later that month, both of which were blasted in the press as, essentially, wastes of time.

By Tim Graham | May 18, 2011 | 8:41 AM EDT

On Wednesday, Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise championed a "very gay spring" in sports and an interview he did on the radio with former NBA star Charles Barkley, complete with the headline "Sir Charles champions a noble cause: tolerance." If "tolerance" is being taught, "Bible-thumpers" are being bashed. This is how the column ended:

"We gossiped behind each other’s back before; I’ll be the first to admit that," he [Barkley] said, before adding, "The first people who whine and complain is them Bible-thumpers, who are supposed to be non-judgmental, who rail against them. Hey, man, I don’t worry about what other people do."

In this ever open-minded May, amen to that.

By Tim Graham | May 18, 2011 | 7:23 AM EDT

In surveying the wreckage of the Katie Couric experiment at CBS – $75 million flushed away for a distant third-place finish each week – the liberal journalists are blaming elderly viewers for not accepting Sunny Katie. Here’s James Rainey in the Los Angeles Times:

A change-averse viewership doubtless greeted the initial formatting changes for Couric's "Evening News" as confirmation that "America's Sweetheart," straight from her sunny a.m. perch, didn't have the gravitas for the job. Actually, those impressions had little to do with the newscast that emerged over Couric's five-year tenure.

And what, pray tell, proves Couric’s gravitas? Bashing Sarah Palin, of course, as uninformed. Rainey didn’t ask how Couric would have performed if the tables were turned and Palin was the one holding the microphone like a baseball bat:

By Tom Blumer | May 17, 2011 | 9:22 PM EDT

UPDATE, May 18: NewsBusters commenter "dreamsincolor" has pointed out that CNN "somehow" forgot Democratic New York Congressman Eric Massa, who resigned in 2009 to avoid "an ethics investigation into alleged misconduct toward a male staff member."

(Begin original post)

Chris Ariens filed a report today at MediaBistro's TVNewser that opened with a reader's Tweet, which plaintively asked: "Did CNN really exclude Spitzer from Malveaux package on Sex Scandals & Politics? Hmm.."

Ariens responds:

The answer: yes it did.

By Tom Blumer | May 17, 2011 | 6:52 PM EDT

Shortly after 8:30 this morning, I began thinking that my e-mail alerts had stopped arriving. So I went to the Census Bureau's web site and learned that its monthly report on housing starts, building permits, and other construction-related news had indeed been released. The news for the already moribund industry was awful: Building permits in April fell by a seasonally adjusted 4% from March and by 12.0% from April 2010, while the comparable tumbles in housing starts were 10.6% and 23.9%, respectively.

Well, my opening and closing bell e-mails arrived as expected. So unless there was a technical glitch, this means that CNNMoney decided not to issue a post-8:30 alert for the bad housing news.

Let's take a look at the two e-mails which did arrive. First, just after the opening bell: