Tony Snow is starting out his new job as press secretary, and Bill Sammon writes in the Washington Examiner that after writing pieces criticizing five different news outlets, it's clear "he will be more aggressive than his mild-mannered predecessor, Scott McClellan."
NBC’s medical drama ER included more anti-war speeches last night, as the show’s writers killed off a character who used to work as a doctor at the Chicago hospital but has lately been serving as a National Guard medical officer in Iraq. One doctor railed against how the “whole war smell[s]...of right-wing cronyism,” while another complained the U.S. was spending “$6 billion a month in a war all the way across the world to kill a few more of the other kids who actually get to make it to their teens!” (See video)
Earlier this season, “Dr. Neela Rasgotra” railed against the war in a March 16 episode, as Brent Baker noted in an earlier post on NewsBusters. Her character had married “Dr. Michael Gallant” after Gallant had returned from his first tour of duty in Iraq.
Last night, the truck carrying Gallant and several other soldiers was blown up by a roadside bomb during the first few moments of the show, right after he tried in vain to save a soldier shot in an insurgent ambush. That left the rest of the show for the other characters to complain about the war as they learned of their friend’s death.
Apparently it's old news week at the broadcast networks. After hyping the year-old revelation
about the NSA's telephone record program, CBS has invited the Dixie
Chicks, the formerly popular country music group whose penchant for
spouting liberal platitudes alienated their fan base, to talk about
death threats they received in 2003.
Ostensibly, the purpose of the
on "60 Minutes" this Sunday is to promote a new
album, but the lead of CBS's online promotional piece about the
interview focuses entirely on three-year-old threats.There's apparently
an effort to "make news" here most likely, but it's so feeble as to be
Any person who cuts even a slightly bigger-than-average public profile has received death threats. Doing
a story on them is of questionable value; doing one on threats received
in 2003 can only be attributed to the fact that the Dixie Chicks are
liberal. Much-reviled conservative women like Linda Tripp or Katherine
Harris both received many death threats but were never granted
interviews with "60 Minutes" to talk about their experiences in a
The Denver Post reports that among Joe Nacchio's other problems, he was the first Qwest CEO to refuse to help the NSA analyze phone records in the pursuit & deconstruction of terrorist networks. Even as,
"This is a case where (Qwest) showed some independence and courage," said Phil Weiser, a University of Colorado law professor who specializes in telecommunications issues.
In 2002 he chaired the National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee, a group of industry executives who advised President Bush. He also chaired the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council, an advisory panel on emergency communications networks and homeland security to the Federal Communications Commission.
Just to get things started on a Friday, "The Early Show" on CBS had a segment on Milwaukee's missing Alexis Patterson, who was something of a cause celebre a few years back for being the barely known black girl that proved the Only Missing White Girls Matter rule. But CBS used graphics for the story with the words "Without A Trace." Repeatedly.
While that may describe the Patterson case, they also ape the title of a hit CBS Thursday night program. What next? What CBS shows lend themselves most easily to cross-promotional graphic word play?
The easy list: Close to Home, Cold Case, Criminal Minds, Out of Practice, Still Standing, Yes Dear.
The would-never-work list: Numb3rs, The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Okay, now I'm not a regular CBS entertainment watcher, but Hillary Profita on the CBS News "Public Eye" website explains how the "Without A Trace" feature is a follow-up from the Thursday night drama:
One thing is certain: the people within the government leaking the existence of secret anti-terror programs to the press are trying to hurt the president politically. Chris Matthews believes they have been more successful in achieving that goal with the recent leak of the phone data collection program than they were with the terrorist surveillance program leak.
On this morning's Today show, Matt Lauer asked Matthews: "Will there be a huge political fallout? Americans are evenly split on the domestic program [i.e., the terrorist surveillance progam]. Do you see this as the same situation?"
"No. Nobody can imagine being on the telephone with an Al Qaeda agent but they can imagine privacy matters.
A journalist named Nir Rosen appeared as a guest on tonight's edition of The O'Reilly Factor (Thu. May 11, 2006). He has a new book out called In the Belly of the Green Bird: The Triumph of the Martyrs in Iraq. To write the book, Rosen "gained an impressive measure of access to both the Sunni and Shia resistance" and probably obtained "more sources in the insurgency than any other American reporter" (emphasis mine, sourced here). So O'Reilly began his interview with the obvious question:
"How did you do that? Very few people, journalists, particularly writers, have been able to get in there without getting their head cut off. How did you do it?"
World Net Daily points out that the Associated Press drove by a Swedish study that finds lesbians react differently to sex hormones than heterosexual women. Evidently, the desire of the AP was to claim that homosexuality is genetic, that it can't be helped. This, presumably, would make homosexuals a protected class affording special legal protections. Specifically, the AP made claims like "the findings add weight to the idea that homosexuality has a physical basis and is not learned behavior."
The problem is that the study says no such thing. In fact, Dr. Ivanka Savic of the Stockholm Brain Institute and the author of the study said: "This is incorrect and not stated in the paper."
As WorldNet points out, "the Swedish study merely found that lesbians respond differently, not that their brains were hardwired that way before any sexual activity."
It is unknown whether the lesbian nose is trained or bred, at least to everybody except the AP.
Matching the agenda of the morning shows, Thursday's network evening newscasts led with USA Today's front page story, “NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls," with none noting how the New York Times reported the same information back on December 24. Unlike CBS, however, both ABC and NBC at least pointed out how many Members of Congress were aware of how Verizon, AT&T and Bell South were providing the NSA with the numbers called by their customers, but didn't complain. Didn't complain, that is, until the news media decided to make it a big issue on which they could rail, thus providing the news media with material for further coverage.
CBS anchor Bob Schieffer demanded: “Does the government need to know who you've been talking to on the phone? Then why is it collecting millions of our phone records?” Schieffer led with how the phone companies “have been turning over the telephone records of tens of millions of their customers to a government spy agency. The overriding question is why and who has access to them. And it set off a storm on Capitol Hill where Republicans and Democrats alike are demanding answers.” Well, one liberal Republican, Senator Arlen Specter, who Schieffer interviewed. ABC's Elizabeth Vargas announced: "We begin with a revelation that may change the way Americans think about phone calls” because “the government has been collecting tens of millions of phone records. This includes phone calls to and from citizens who are not suspects in any crimes.” (Partial transcripts follow)
You'd think that any reasonable person would be glad that we are not suffering the kind of turbulent times on American campuses experienced during the '60s and early '70s. Campus buildings sacked and put to the torch, student union buildings occupied by armed militants, academic careers and lives disrupted, and the ultimate tragedy of four young people killed at Kent State.
Could it be that Chris Matthews isn't reasonable? On this evening's Hardball, Matthews wasn't glad - he was galled, seeming to express nostalgia for that riotous past.
His guest was author Tom Wolfe, who back in the day had written of radical chic, and most recently wrote the disturbing tale of amoral campus life "I Am Charlotte Simmons". Wolfe spoke of having recently attended a reunion of 1969 Stanford campus radicals, recalling "that's when they blew up buildings and everything else."
CAVUTO: You don't negotiate with someone who's crazy, right? I mean, you would never have accepted a letter from Slobodan Milosevic, right? Neither would Bill Clinton, right? I mean, crazy is crazy is crazy...
ALBRIGHT: We talked with slobodan milosevic and I went to see Kim Jong Il, the leader of North Korea, because I thought it was worth talking to them to see...
During today's 4pm EDT hour of CNN's The Situation Room, Jack Cafferty expressed his "outrage" over the revelation that the National Security Agency has been compiling a national database of phone records from AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth. Referring to Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter’s demand that the phone companies testify before Congress regarding this issue, Cafferty angrily stated that Specter could be the one preventing the United States from becoming a "full-blown dictatorship."
Wolf Blitzer: "Let’s get some words of wisdom from Jack Cafferty. He’s in New York right now. Jack?"
Jack Cafferty: "I don’t know about wisdom, but you’ll get a little outrage. We better all hope nothing happens to Arlen Specter, the Republican head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, cause he might be all that’s standing between us and a full-blown dictatorship in this country. He’s vowed to question these phone company executives about volunteering to provide the government with my telephone records and yours and tens of millions of other Americans. Shortly after 9/11, AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth began providing the super-secret NSA with information on phone calls of millions of our citizens. All part of the war on terror, President Bush says. Why don’t you go find Osama bin Laden and seal the country’s borders and start inspecting the containers that come into our ports?"
Thursday morning's Today contained a few pop-culture nuggets that revealed liberal media attitudes. As Kathryn Lopez noted on The Corner, in the 7:30 half hour, Katie Couric turned the "American Idol" chat into a peek at her feminist parenting habits (and once again, she plugged her love for Helen Reddy):
Couric: "Oh you're so hip. A lot of people expected Chris [Daughtry] to go all the way, but last night. He got sent packing although, you were so funny. I was playing Helen Reddy on my CD player yesterday."
Lauer: "I thought it was weird. I literally, I walked past her dressing room going out of here yesterday and Helen Reddy blaring on the, on the stereo. She's in the thing like this." [Snaps fingers]
Perhaps it should strike no one as big news that PBS and Democrats often go together like peanut butter and jelly. The Honolulu Star Bulletin reported today that the president and CEO of PBS-Hawaii, Mike McCartney, is running for chairman of the state's Democratic Party:
McCartney says he has taken a leave of absence from the statewide public television operation and will step down next month.
McCartney previously said he was considering either a campaign for governor or lieutenant governor this year, but withdrew in favor of working as a party leader.
"I believe in the party, and I want to get back into public service," McCartney said.
It's the e-mails and calls from home that gave the soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division their first clue that something is becoming different about the will of the American people.
"All this time I thought we were winning," said a sergeant first class sarcastically. "Seems folks back home have already run up the white flag."
Some 4th Infantry Division noncommissioned officers were discussing the flood of e-mails they receive from family members and friends about the constant danger they are facing in Iraq. Though they asked not to be identified by name for this article, the NCOs said they believe the news media highlight explosions and murders over any sign of progress in Iraq.
Seismic! Shocking! Startling! A bombshell!! That’s how the ABC, CBS and NBC morning shows described a front-page story in today’s (Thursday’s) USA Today that breathlessly touted how “NSA has massive database of Americans’ phone calls.” Like the TV coverage, USA Today’s story insinuated that the existence of the database was a major violation of Americans’ privacy rights and evidence that the President was lying last December when he described the NSA’s eavesdropping on suspected terrorist communications as limited and targeted.
Today’s article does not allege that any calls are listened in on. Indeed, as USA Today describes it, the program seems like a thoroughly innocuous database of the same information that appears on your phone bill, but with your name, address and other personal information removed. Given that another government agency — the IRS — maintains information on American citizens’ employment, banking, investments, mortgages, charitable contributions and even any declared medical expenses, this hardly seems like a major assault on personal liberty.
And for all of the hype, there may not even be much “news” here. Last December 24, a few days after they spilled the beans about the NSA terrorist surveillance program, New York Times reporters Eric Lichtblau and James Risen disclosed how U.S. phone companies were helping the NSA by giving them “access to streams of domestic and international communications.”
Yesterday, NB's Megan McCormack noted the Oprah Winfrey web site asking viewers to tell show producers how CNN host Anderson Cooper has "encouraged you to make the world a better place." After word spread about it on the web, the solicitation soon disappeared, the NY Post (ht: TVNewser) notes:
But by late afternoon yesterday, the query had been mysteriously removed from the site.
And no one was saying who or why it had been pulled down.
"Anderson is coming on to talk about his book and it will air sometime [this month]," a CNN spokeswoman said.
New White House pressec Tony Snow is taking a more aggressive line with the press corps, sending out emails critical of the elite media's coverage. The DC Examiner's Bill Sammon reports:
New White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is starting off in a combative mode against the press by issuing detailed rebuttals to what he considers unfair coverage of Bush.
“The New York Times continues to ignore America’s economic progress,” blared the headline of an e-mail sent to reporters Wednesday by the White House press office.
Minutes earlier, another e-mail blasted CBS News, which has had an unusually rocky relationship with the White House since 2004, when CBS aired what turned out to be forged documents in a failed effort to question the president’s military service.
“CBS News misleadingly reports that only 8 million seniors have signed up for Medicare prescription drug coverage,” Wednesday’s missive said. “But 37 million seniors have coverage.”
Reuters reported a startling scientific find on Wednesday that certainly brings into question the current hysteria surrounding global warming (hat tip to Drudge): “Climate shifts were probably responsible for the extinction of the mammoth and other species more than 10,000 years ago, not over-hunting by humans, according to new research published on Wednesday.”
How does this fit into the global warming debate? Well, according to Dr. Dale Guthrie of the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, “‘The new patterns of dates indicate a radical ecological sorting during a uniquely forage-rich transitional period, affecting all large mammals, including humans.’"
And what happened during this "ecological sorting":
A stunning announcement was made by the Treasury Department Wednesday. As reported by the Associated Press: “A flood of income tax payments pushed up government receipts to the second-highest level in history in April, giving the country a sizable surplus for the month.”
(Update: At the end of this piece, I predicted this announcement would not be widely reported. Well, though all three broadcast networks addressed the tax cuts agreed upon in the House on their evening programs Wednesday -- with the NBC "Nightly News" and the CBS "Evening News" both doing major segments on the ramifications of the House's decision -- not one of these evening news programs bothered to inform their viewers about April's near-record tax revenues.)
Of course, this quite flies in the face of the regular media carping and whining about the president’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts negatively impacting federal revenues, doesn’t it?
Regardless, the article continued: “In its monthly accounting of the government's books, the Treasury Department said Wednesday that revenue for the month totaled $315.1 billion as Americans filed their tax returns by the April deadline. The gusher of tax revenue pushed total receipts up by 13.4 percent from April 2005.”
And which April in history is actually in first place? If you said April 2000, you’d be wrong:
Anne Kornblut, the new New York Times reporter on the Hillary beat, betrays the liberal bent of the Times by reporting on Hillary’s fundraiser with Rupert Murdoch by quoting only the liberals outraged at her, and having no space for the conservatives outraged at him. "The brazenness of this move is almost too much to stomach," complains liberal blogger David Sirota. Paul Waldman of Media Matters, or as Kornblut calls it, "the liberal advocacy group MediaMatters.org," (coded message: please read it today), complains more about the left than about Hillary, since Media Matters is part of the Clinton army. But he added, "Nothing could be better for his media properties than for her to be president of the United States...I just can’t figure out what’s in it for her."
Maybe the ABC show should change its name to 'Demagogue Morning America'. Earlier this week, Charlie Gibson trotted out windfall-profit taxes and limits on executive compensation as 'solutions' to high gas prices.
This morning, Kate Snow took the demagoguery up-close-and-personal, flashing a $20 bill in the faces of modest-income Americans to elict predictable responses about the tax cut they would be receiving under a Republican-backed plan.
Snow set the tone by announcing that the proposed extension of the tax cuts "would cost the federal government $70 billion." Of course tax cuts don't cost the government anything . . . since it's not the government's money. But that's not the way the MSM or liberals in Congress see it. Everything really does belong to the government, so that when it extends a tax cut, it is "spending" money.
In another example of journalists saying whatever they want whenever they want without regard to accuracy, CBS’s Anthony Mason on Wednesday’s “Evening News” declared erroneously that America’s debt declined during the Clinton years (video link to follow). Certainly, this is a myth that has been purported by the media since Clinton left office…but nothing could be further from the truth.
Before we get to the facts of the matter, here’s the context. In an obvious effort to explain why the tax cuts accepted by the House on Wednesday were a terrible thing, the “Evening News” followed its report concerning this issue with a discussion of the federal debt. Anchor Bob Schieffer passed the baton to business correspondent Anthony Mason who began with an interview with the real estate developer that created the national debt clock near Times Square in New York. After discussing the debt with this gentleman, and an economist, Mason stated: “In the Clinton years, when our debt actually began to shrink the clock was turned off and covered up.”
Well, Anthony, the clock may have been covered up during this period, but the gross federal debt never declined during the Clinton years. Not once. According to the debt statistics at the Office of Management and Budget, the national debt
In this AP article is an ironic twist of Sophoclean proportions. An Israeli company has cut off - get this - gasoline supplies to the Iranian-funded Palestinian territories for non-payment of bills:
An end to fuel supplies could cripple hospitals, halt food deliveries and keep people home from work - a devastating scenario for an economy already ravaged by Israeli and international sanctions.
Right. The "economy" has been "ravaged" by Israeli sanctions. It's nothing whatever to do with the fact that Arafat and his friends - and that includes the current President, the Holocaust-denying, walking Hamas assassination target, Mahmoud Abbas - have spent the last fifteen years shipping everything that's not nailed down (and if they can pry it loose, it's not nailed down) out of the country. Which, as of the last AP report, was the reason that Hamas got elected in the first place, not their hostility to Israel, if you remember.
On Wednesday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann cited a Chicago Tribune piece by George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley as he explored whether, as with the Sopranos, you have to "break the law" to "break into the inner circle" of President Bush. Focusing on Bush's nomination of General Michael Hayden to run the CIA, and citing Hayden's role in creating the controversial NSA spying program, Olbermann argued that Bush counts "willingness to thumb his nose at constitutional law" as resume enhancement. The Countdown host then brought aboard Turley to make an unchallenged case that the administration consists of a "rogues' gallery." (Transcript follows)
CBS and NBC on Wednesday night painted the tax cut extensions passed by the House through a liberal prism, relaying liberal spin meant to portray the cuts as unfair by citing the dollar amounts of expected cuts for the rich versus those earning lower incomes, without any regard for how an incredible 41 percent pay no income tax and so can't get a tax cut while the wealthier pay huge dollar amounts and so even a small percentage reduction represents a big dollar number. CBS's Sharyl Attkisson put on screen, without any attribution, how “for incomes of $50,000 or less, you'll average no more than $46 in savings. Up to $100,000, average is no more than 400 bucks saved. $100,000 to a million saves anywhere from about $1,300 to a little more than $5,500. Over a million, your savings will average nearly $42,000 a year.” After Attkisson, anchor Bob Schieffer set up a piece from Anthony Mason, on how the national debt will reach $10 trillion by the end of the Bush presidency and the National Debt clock in Manhattan is running out of space, by declaring that “critics...remind us that any tax cut is just going to drive the national debt higher."
On the NBC Nightly News, Chip Reid recounted how Republicans claimed tax cuts have helped the economy before he picked up the left-wing numbers without offering any context about the dollar amounts of the cuts compared to the rate paid at various income levels, but at least he identified the source as “liberal.” Reid highlighted how “Democratic critics say the overall bill is heavily tilted in favor of the very wealthy" and passed along how “according to the liberal-leaning Tax Policy Center, those earning more than $1 million a year would save an average of about $42,000 a year. But families earning between $50,000 and $75,000 would save only $110 a year. And the savings are even smaller for those making between $40,000 and $50,000." (Transcripts and tax burden facts follow)
Those who don't think cuts in the highest marginal income-tax rates and in investment-related taxes don't pay (excuse the expression) dividends in the former of higher tax collections will be impervious to this news, as they have been for some 40-plus years.
House and Senate GOP conferees finally agreed yesterday on extending the 15% tax rate on dividends and capital gains for two more years through 2010. This means you can expect lots of media and liberal rhetoric about "the deficit" and "the rich," but the real news is how well these lower rates have been soaking the rich to fill government coffers.
..... These columns have been documenting this trend for the last couple of years, as well as the revenue tide flowing into state budget coffers. Overall state revenues climbed by 8% in 2004 and nearly 9% in 2005, according to the Census Bureau, and more and more states are piling up big surpluses. We've reported this news because politicians like to disguise these tax windfalls so they can spend it all with impunity and still plead poverty. Journalists contribute to this ruse by focusing their budget coverage on deficits, rather than on the spending and revenue trends that are the actual components of any budget.
It was reported on this morning’s "Early Show" on CBS that the Dow Jones Industrial average is on the verge of reaching record highs. CBS correspondent Susan McGinnis went so far as to mention that was are "In a three-year bull market that has some experts predicting a new record could come any day." That raises the question, where has the media been the last three years? It appears that CBS wants to ignore positive economic news because maybe it will help President Bush and Republicans.
Despite the news that the Dow is on the verge of a record high, reporters were shocked that the blue chips are doing so well due to the facts, that they reminded viewers of of high gas prices and that real estate is down. Co-host Julie Chen offered the following story tease at the top of the program:
The liberal media are nothing if not militantly in favor of sex, and everything that enables it to be more frequent and fearless. Sunday’s cover story in the New York Times Magazine was a panicked take on "The War on Contraception." The title inside was "Contra-Contraception." The cover showed an enlarged picture of a mocked-up condom wrapper, which said:
If used properly, this latex condom (or for that matter, any other form of birth control, especially the morning-after pill) will anger a great many people – people who believe that having sex without the intent to procreate is a very, very bad thing. Any contraceptive highly effective against pregnancy – that is, unwanted pregnancy, otherwise, why use it? – is precisely the problem, even though there might be fewer abortions if those having sex with no intention to procreate used a contraceptive.
Bob Schieffer opened the May 9 edition of the CBS Evening News by trumpeting a new poll that suggested disaster for the Republicans in November. As usual, any information that didn’t support the liberal talking points was ignored or minimized. The network anchor made sure to point out that "President Bush's ratings have hit another all-time low."
A few of the results, however, somehow escaped mention. According to the poll, 39 percent of Americans supported drilling in ANWR in November 2002. A separate survey, conducted in February of 2005 found a similar 38 percent approval for the idea. CBS puts the current level of support at 48 percent. Now what could be the cause of this 9 point increase? Perhaps the media’s relentless pounding of the "gas crisis," 183 stories in three weeks, had unintended consequences? Schieffer omitted any reference to ANWR in his report.