The New York Sun is reporting today that CBS "Blogophile" Melissa McNamara is the producer that was fired for plagiarizing from a Wall Street Journal column. The fired producer recycled language from a Jeffrey Zaslow column in the script she wrote for a Katie Couric "Notebook" entry published to the CBS Web site on April 4. CBS has refused to name the fired producer, but I'll update this post should CBS News address the matter on the network's "PublicEye" blog.
Regardless of the identity of the fired producer, Couric's "Notebook" lives on. Yesterday the "Evening News" anchor vlogged about the religious background of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).
I critiqued McNamara once on NewsBusters on an unrelated matter:
Who is happier today at Don Imus removed from MSNBC than Hillary Clinton? Who else at MSNBC would be as harshly critical of Hillary as Imus? Without Imus, Hillary's path to the White House will be smoother. This might explain why some of the Hillary-founded left-wing media-watchdogging clones were so fierce in taking Imus down. Over the last two days, The Washington Post has pulled out the harsh anti-Hillary quotes to demonstrate why she's smiling today.
On Thursday's Federal Page, columnist Lois Romano reported Hillary sent an e-letter to supporters denouncing Imus for "nothing more than small-minded bigotry and coarse sexism" on his show:
Clinton said on Tuesday that she has never appeared on Imus's morning show and never wanted to. Who is surprised? Imus once referred to her as "that buck-toothed witch, Satan" and said she was "worse than" Osama bin Laden. He did pull that last one back, adding, "Well, that's a little strong."
Give Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira credit. On this morning's "Today," Lauer suggested to his boss's face that in firing Don Imus he had caved to pressure from advertisers and people like Al Sharpton. And Vieira held Al Sharpton's feet to the fire, now that he had Imus' scalp, about going after rappers and others who use similar language every day.
Here's part of the exchange, which came at 7:05 AM EDT, between Lauer and NBC News President Steve Capus:
CAPUS: This one went so far over the line, Matt, that it was time.
LAUER: But the timing, the timing. You really don't have to try too hard to think that NBC News caved to the pressure from advertisers like Proctor & Gamble and GM and others and perhaps caved to pressure from people like Reverend Sharpton, who we'll talk to in just a second.
It's a universally acknowledged phenomenon that conservatives and libertarians dominate talk radio while liberals love television and print. The reasons why each side does so well at each particular medium are many.
I do find myself agreeing with Neal Boortz's recent thought experiment (h/t Small Dead Animals) of why liberals aren't good at talk radio: they just can't argue very well. He does the experiment by trying to extrapolate two left-wing editorials from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution into a talk radio context. It doesn't work out so well because the subjects, "income inequality" and firearm-phobia just aren't very rational ideas, Boortz argues.
Those of you who are liberal and reading this surely will disagree. If so, how do you account for the fact that not a single liberal talk radio show has ever been popular?
With Representative Kucinich already talking about reconstituting the Fairness Doctrineas
far back as January, a far from Conservative radio talker may have provided
said Congress with just the opening it seeks. The ultimate prize the liberals in
Congress are after has nothing to do with race, as always, it's about politics
more than anything else.
On his show tonight, Bill O’Reilly asked Al Sharpton if he was going to go after the rap music “stars” who consistently denigrate women and glamorize violence. The Rev told Bill that after “getting rid of Mr. Imus”, his National Action Network will “start looking” at some of the corporations that backed Imus. Sharpton claimed that some of those corporations also own some of the record companies. Sharpton told O’Reilly that this was “just the beginning of a long war” to deal with this type of language and behavior.
But in March 2005 Sharpton defended the content of rap music while condemning the violence surrounding the industry. He made it quite clear that it was “not about the lyrics” but the violence committed by the rap artists. Sharpton even went so far as to invoke the rap artists’ First Amendment rights to rap and sing about violent acts. Here is what Sharpton had to say in his March 9, 2005 interview on CNN...
Sometimes, TV news stars have very short historical memories. Take Harry Smith, host of The Early Show on CBS. In Wednesday's "Capital Bob" segment with Bob Schieffer, Smith suggested the squabbling between the White House and Congress is at an all-time low in togetherness. He wondered if at any time in "recent history" there's been such a desperate impasse. Earth to Harry: remember the Bill Clinton impeachment of 1998?
You had to at least smile that Smith would suggest that Bob Schieffer's experienced much more than merely "recent history" in his long career at CBS:
SMITH: Well, let's talk about this a little bit, because the White House, you know, pulled no punches last week when Nancy Pelosi went to the Middle East. I mean, they were absolutely incensed by this. In your time in Washington, in recent history anyway, have you ever seen a situation where the legislative branch and the executive branch seemed to be so at odds?
The UK’s Telegraph reported that the BBC cancelled a 90-minute drama about the youngest surviving winner of the UK’s highest award for valor because “it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.” The BBC blocked the project that would have honored the incredible bravery and resilience of Private Johnson Beharry, a man who didn’t hesitate to risk his own life two separate times for his fellow soldiers. His Victoria Cross citation reads like a blockbuster Hollywood action script, but instead, it’s the real deal. Sounds uplifting and encouraging, and it could even be a real morale booster, right? Well, for the Beeb, that’s the problem (emphasis mine throughout):
For the BBC, however, his story is "too positive" about the conflict.
The corporation has cancelled the commission for a 90-minute drama about Britain's youngest surviving Victoria Cross hero because it feared it would alienate members of the audience opposed to the war in Iraq.
Mainstream media anchors occasionally do some explicit cheerleading for a liberal politician. That's exactly what CNN host Miles O'Brien did on Wednesday's "American Morning." He reported that dark horse Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich "flexes his muscle with big oil over the skyrocketing price of gas, and we say go to it."
Kucinich flexing his muscle? Now, that's a mental image that doesn't immediately come to mind.
O'Brien's remark was made during a lead-in to a segment by CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi. Velshi's report gave some details of the ultra-liberal congressman's efforts.
ALI VELSHI: Dennis Kucinich, he's the chairman of the domestic policy subcommittee, has written letters to seven major oil companies, asking them a question we would like an answer to - explaining the high price of gas....
On the Imus vs. Rappers front, MTV News reports that rap star Snoop Dogg has issued a new "warning" to the public: Don't dare to compare his lyrics — or any other MC's — to Don Imus and his recent racially inflammatory comments. MTV says "the Dogg" found there is no parallel. The Rutgers women Imus ridiculed were a success story, while the women he knocks in his music are "ho's that's in the hood that ain't doing sh--."
MTV transmitted a long, profane self-defense Snoop offered in a phone interview:
"It's a completely different scenario," said Snoop, barking over the phone from a hotel room in L.A. "[Rappers] are not talking about no collegiate basketball girls who have made it to the next level in education and sports. We're talking about ho's that's in the 'hood that ain't doing sh--, that's trying to get a n---a for his money. These are two separate things. First of all, we ain't no old-ass white men that sit up on MSNBC [the cable network home to Imus] going hard on black girls. We are rappers that have these songs coming from our minds and our souls that are relevant to what we feel. I will not let them mutha-----as say we in the same league as him."
Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes."
That truth is even more painful for the increasing number of people who fall into a separate tax structure called the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). Those qualified for the AMT face a flat tax rate of as much as 28 percent.
Lately, a number of politicians have been crying out for AMT reform to save the middle-class, but the media has a faulty memory when it comes to who is responsible for the AMT monster.
“House Democratic leaders, in an effort to upstage Republicans on the issue of tax cuts, are preparing legislation that would permanently shield all but the very richest taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax,” reported The New York Times on April 9. “Democrats Seek to Lead the Way in Tax Overhaul,” was the headline.
On last night's Hardball NBC's Jonathan Alter managed to shoe-horn an anti-Bush jab during a discussion about Don Imus. When substitute host David Gregory asked Alter to comment on what the Imus flare-up meant for the overall discussion about race, NBC's contributing correspondent made a tortured argument that the uproar over Imus was a sign of "a thirst" from the public for the kind of accountability that they're not getting from the Bush administration.
The following conversation occurred on the April 10th Hardball:
David Gregory: "Jonathan, let me start with you. We talked a little bit earlier on the phone about whether this incident has created a race moment for America. Do you think that is the case? And how would you define that?"
On the heels of last year's "documentary" by Gabriel Range concocting an assassination of President Bush in "Death of A President," Bill Hutchinson of the New York Daily News reported a new play in the Big Apple that also treads along the Bush-assassination theme. The playwright's thinly disguised Bush-resembling fictional president gets "whacked like Julius Caesar by a confidant."
A FAMED CITY theater group is inviting controversy by staging a play in which a character thinly veiled as President Bush gets assassinated. "President and Man" begins a five-day run at The Duke on 42nd St. tonight as one of eight one-act plays staged by the Naked Angels Theater Company, whose members include Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. Conservatives are already panning it as another sick liberal jab at the President.
The April 11 edition of "The View" again discussed Don Imus’s recent racist and sexist remarks about the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Rosie O’Donnell likewise continued her tirade about Imus’ alleged "free speech." In a statement too bizarre even for Joy Behar, Rosie said the next step is the "thought police" locking everyone up in Guantanamo Bay without a lawyer. Perhaps Rosie is feeling the heat after her own controversial remarks.
JAMIE-LYNN SIGLER: I think people who have a public voice just need to be conscious then of what they’re saying and the effect that it can have and understand that there’s going to be consequences if they say things like that.
A week ago, I posted a snarky item about a Katie Couric vlog entry at CBSNews.com. In an April 4 page from her "Notebook," the "Evening News" anchor worried that kids entering college were unable to use a library for something as basic as locating a book needed for class. In doing so, she erroneously suggested colleges use the Dewey decimal system, when in fact most use Library of Congress Classification to arrange the bookshelves.
Now it turns out that not only did Couric not exactly do her homework, but that the producer who did it for her lifted some of the script from a Wall Street Journal column. That producer has since been fired.
CBS's Brian Montopoli explained how the vlogs are written and produced in a post today at CBS's "Public Eye" blog:
The mainstream media often uses polls to give a biased impression, and CNN’s Miles O’Brien used a recent AP/IPSOS poll to paint a rosy picture of the Democrat-controlled Congress. O’Brien reported on Tuesday that the Democrats were "riding pretty high" with a 40 percent approval rating. For some comparison, in September 2005, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer characterized a 40 percent approval rating for President Bush as "a low point," and used the figure to reenforce his report on the President’s "political troubles."
It’s interesting to note that another recent poll by Gallup puts the current approval rating of Congress at 33%. This is up 7 percent since October 2006, which was right before the election as well.
After sliming the Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a stripper, Times sports columnist Selena Roberts returned to school on Wednesday with "A First Class Response to a Second-Class Putdown," about the Don Imus-Rutgers University women's basketball team controversy, in which the talk radio host denigrated the team by referring to them as "nappy-headed ho's." Roberts gushed about the Rutgers' players speaking truth to power:
"Of grace and dignity, without a single boob joke for ratings or a raunchy sidekick for on-air laughs, the women wearing Rutgers scarlet managed to capsize society’s power differential yesterday….But possessing the power differential means bullying someone your own size. With the ear of a national audience, Imus denigrated women who have revealed the courage to play a sport in its pure, fundamental form even though it is often branded inferior to the dunk style of men. The gals absorb enough put-downs as it is."
This marks huge hypocrisy on the part of Roberts, given that in the Duke lacrosse case, she eagerly sided with two separate bases of "power "-- an out-of-control local prosecutor, Michael Nifong, who now faces an ethics complaint from the North Carolina state bar*, as well as a politically correct college faculty and administration eager to side with what they considered an oppressed minority victim.
Jeff Greenfield has called it "the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice" for long-time guests of the Imus show [file photo] to stay away now. Greenfield, who is leaving CNN to return to CBS as Senior Political Correspondent, appeared on this morning's "Early Show" and was interviewed by co-host Julie Chen.
CHEN: Did you hesitate to go on the show yesterday?
GREENFIELD: No. If you have the benefit of being on his show for 15 years -- and there is a benefit -- there's visibility, if you have a book [you can promote it], and also, to be blunt, it's a great deal of fun -- the banter. To stay away from the show when he gets in serious and deserved trouble, seems to me the ultimate act of hypocrisy and cowardice. But I went on the show and told him, I think quite bluntly, where things stood and where they have to go. All of us, he and some of us as guests, have not really stepped up to the plate in looking at the way race has been used on that show as humor.
No matter how deplorable and terrible you think Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team are, the fact is, that his statements pale in comparison to the stuff pumped out daily by the American music industry.
Michelle Malkin has a big list of the various vulgarities that are routinely tolerated by the same media that is currently up in arms about Imus. Here's just one song:
Rich Boy sellin' crack
F*k niggas wanna jack
Sh*t tight no slack
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac (Throw some D's on that b*tch!)
Just bought a Cadillac
This, along with Roseanne Barr's recent anti-gay remarks are yet another example of our "neutral" media's double standards.
On the April 10 "Tonight Show," host Jay Leno joked about Democrats boycotting the Fox News Channel/Congressional Black Caucus Institute debate. Wondered Leno, "How are you going to stand up to terrorists when you're afraid of Fox News?"
Maybe Jay should ask Time magazine's Joe Klein, who called the Fox News debate a "sordid event" that was a clever ploy to "pander" to a Democratic interest group.
Tuesday’s New York Times played up the big Monday rally against America in Najaf. The online headline hyped: “Huge Protest In Iraq Demands America Withdraw.” The front page of Tuesday’s Times was milder: “Protest In Iraq, Called By Cleric, Demands U.S. Go,” and that “Thousands Support Sadr.”
Reporter Edward Wong began: “Tens of thousands of protesters loyal to Moktada al-Sadr, the Shiite cleric, took to the streets of the holy city of Najaf on Monday in an extraordinarily disciplined rally to demand an end to the American military presence in Iraq, burning American flags and chanting ‘Death to America!’”
Redstate.com reported the U.S. military estimated a crowd of 5,000 to 7,000, but media accounts routinely stated “tens of thousands” rallied, which would imply at least two tens, or 20,000 protesters. Wong mentioned the various estimates in paragraph 20, but disagreed with the military estimate:
Let's play a quick game of word association. I say "John McCain" and "reform." You say . . . I'm guessing . . . "campaign finance" or perhaps "McCain-Feingold." Am I right? And what's one of the biggest beefs that Republicans in general, and Republican primary-voting types in particular have with McCain? Correctamundo: his championing of campaign finance reform, which Republicans tend to oppose on philosophical grounds [unconconstitutional restriction of free speech] and pragmatic political ones [increases the power of the Dem-friendly MSM].
If further evidence were needed that it's hard for MSMers to understand Republicans, I refer you to Roger Simon's piece from yesterday at Politico.com, The Reinvention of John McCain. For what is Simon's advice to McCain for the reinvigoration of his campaign? You guessed it: that he return to his reformist roots.
An American tax-funded documentary, titled Islam vs. Islamists, a film on how moderate Muslims feel about the corruption of their religion by Wahhabi extremists and their experiences in facing those extremists, was axed by PBS for the very reason that it puts some Muslims in a bad light, says the film's producer in Tuesday's edition of the Arizona Republic. Rampant PCism is the charge, and it is hard to deny the claim once the whole story is put out there.
The producer of a tax-financed documentary on Islamic extremism claims his film has been dropped for political reasons from a television series that airs next week on more than 300 PBS stations nationwide.
Producer Martyn Burke claims that PBS, in order to be allowed to continue with the project, tried to make him fire some of his associates on the film because they belong to a Conservative Think Tank and that they still axed his film anyway when all was said and done.
Elizabeth Edwards says she is scared of the "rabid, rabid Republican" who owns property across the street from her Orange County home — and she doesn't want her kids going near the gun-toting neighbor.
On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, substitute host David Gregory pressed civil rights activist and Reverend Al Sharpton over his double standard in condemning Don Imus's racist comments while refusing to apologize for his own role in the Tawana Brawley false rape accusations against white police officers. Gregory: "You didn't go as far as apologizing to the people who you hurt through that incident. This was, the courts have concluded, a hoax, accusations against whites by a young black woman about a race-based assault. A court ordered you to pay restitution for a defamation suit against people whose reputation you hurt. You didn't apologize for that."
ABC, CBS and NBC led Tuesday night with two stories each about the Don Imus racist-insult controversy, but only the CBS Evening News exploited Imus's “nappy-headed ho's” racial insult, directed at the Rutgers University womens' basketball team, as an opportunity to portray all African-Americans as economic “victims” of an unfair U.S. society. Reporter Richard Schlesinger highlighted Democratic U.S. Representative Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick of Detroit: “We're always the last hired, the first fired. We're always the one, we have the highest crime, the worst schools. It's unfortunate in the richest nation in the world, but those are the facts of reality.” Schlesinger elaborated, over matching graphics: “Here's part of what Congresswoman Kilpatrick is talking about. The latest Census figures show the median income for African-American households is almost $20,000 less than white households. Whites are about twice as likely than blacks to get a college degree, and the Justice Department says blacks are five times more likely than whites to go to jail.”
Later in his piece framed around victimology, as if African-Americans have no control over their destiny, Schlesinger showcased Susan Taylor of Essence magazine who, Schlesinger explained, contends that “to describe black women in Imus' terms...ignores generations of suffering that has been left to African-Americans today.” Taylor used the Imus incident to bring up slavery: “If you think about black women being auctioned off on an auction block naked, standing before the crowds, bidding on them, all that is race memory.”