Another episode of ABC's prime time drama Boston Legal will air tonight (Tuesday). Last week's episode featured a plot line with over-the-top lawyer "Alan Shore," played by James Spader, delivering a five-minute-long closing argument, in defense of a woman who wouldn't pay income taxes, railing against the war on terrorism. Earlier, explaining to Shore her reasoning, the woman, "Melissa Hughes," cited how her grandfather, who fought in World War I, would be "embarrassed" by "what's happening today." She listed "us torturing people, spying on our own people, squashing everybody's civil liberties. My grandfather would weep." To which Shore got in an obvious slap at FNC: "You need to change the channel. The awful things you speak of never happen on the 'fair and balanced' newscasts."
In his closing, Shore cited a litany of misdeeds, including: "When the weapons of mass destruction thing turned out not to be true, I expected the American people to rise up....And, now it's been discovered the executive branch has been conducting massive, illegal, domestic surveillance on its own citizens -- you and me. And I at least consoled myself that finally, FINALLY, the American people will have had enough. Evidently, we haven't." Shore soon compared the current climate to that of the McCarthy era, recalling what he read in a book by Adlai Stevenson: "Too often, sinister threats to the bill of rights, to freedom of the mind, 'are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-communism.' Today, it's the cloak of anti-terrorism."
Video excerpt #1, “Shore” listing misdeeds (1:25): Real (2.5 MB) or Windows Media (2.9 MB)
Video excerpt #2, “Shore” making McCarthy era comparison (1:15): Real (2.2 MB) or Windows Media (2.5 MB)
As expected Chris Matthews marked the anniversary of the Iraq War on last night's Hardball in typical negative tones he lets his kids indulge in Che Chic. Responding to a guest explaining kids in the Middle East wearing Bin Laden shirts were making an anti-authoritarian statement akin to the way American kids wear Che Guervara shirts, Matthews disagreed it was simliar and admitted: "I mean, a lot of our kids wear them. I see kids wearing them all the time, I think my kids wear them. It’s like a Robert Marley T-shirt at this point." The following is the full exchange between Matthews and Kristinn Taylor of FreeRepublic.com:
Kristinn Taylor: "But you know, the poll that matters is the poll in the streets. And if you remember, there have been all these predictions of, you know, great uprisings in the Arab street if we went into Iraq. Three years ago, the Arab street is still pretty calm."
During the recent controversy surrounding Dan Froomkin's blog at The Washington Post, editors not only decided to clearly label his column "opinion" but also to make an effort to hire a conservative blogger to balance his alleged liberal slant.
Today, the Post launched the result: A new blog called "Red America," created by Ben Domenech, co-founder of RedState, a popular community blog.
Toppling Saddam Hussein’s brutal regime and bringing the brutal dictator before a court of law is unquestionably a major achievement of the U.S. and our allies. But TV coverage has minimized the historic significance of this case. Instead, the network’s Iraq news has been a depressingly dour drumbeat of terrorist attacks, U.S. casualties and dark warnings that Iraq is on the verge of ‘civil war.’
Not even Saddam's trial for crimes against humanity has encouraged TV to take more than a cursory look at the ex-dictator's horrifying record. Our analysts here at the MRC have just reviewed every mention of the trial on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news from October 16 (when the networks began previewing the trial) through March 15 (when Saddam himself took the stand).
“Some diplomats suggest that if Hamas supports a moribund 2002 Saudi peace initiative, it will somehow ‘recognize’ Israel without having to say so; some suggest that a Hamas offer of another cease-fire may be enough to ‘forswear violence.’ But so far, Hamas is not playing along. It sees the agreements with Israel as a honey trap and recognition of Israel as impossible. In the meantime, Hamas is working on the heartstrings and sense of justice of the West, to keep aid flowing. Hamas's victory also signaled the death of the ‘peace process’ as it has been practiced.”
Hard as it may be to believe, polygamy is now a "civil rights" issue. That is, if you believe the Today show and HBO’s "Big Love." Just last week, NBC featured a sympathetic look at a man who wants women to have the right to go topless in public. Today has now focused on multiple spouses. The March 19 segment, airing at 8:33AM EST, profiled a man who is married with two wives. After being told that three adults (NBC hid their identity) sleep in the same bed, NBC's Lester Holt blurted out, "See, automatically my mind goes to, then, to sexual fantasies." The co-host later noted that with "the growing political acceptance of same sex unions, polygamy activists are emerging." He hopefully noted that some are "calling it the next civil rights battle and the battle lines are being drawn."
Holt began by promoting the new HBO polygamy themed series, "Big Love." He mentioned that the show has "raised the profile and fascination with these extended marriages." The non judgmental attitude continued as a polygamist, who is identified as "Jacob," (not his real name) was given free range to promote his lifestyle:
As millions of college students enjoy spring break, a respected employment firm gave them an early graduation gift: a report showing that the class of 2006 faces the best labor market in five years. But while the media frequently relay reports from Challenger, Gray, and Christmas, the new report has largely been ignored in the media.
Reuters news wire reported on March 20:
In its annual outlook of entry-level jobs, Challenger, Gray & Christmas said strong job growth and falling unemployment makes this spring the hottest job market for America's 1.4 million college graduates since the dot-com collapse in 2001.
The firm pointed to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers which showed employers plan to hire 14.5 percent more new college graduates than a year ago.
I will always have a soft spot for NBC reporter Michelle Kosinski. After all, it was Michelle's Canoe-Gate stunt that got my NewsBusters career off to a nice start. Michelle was back on the weather beat on this morning's Today show. And once again she made a weather-related allegation that strained credulity.
As we know, in MSM-land all extreme weather events from the very hot to the very cold are somehow the result of global warming. Michelle's topic this morning was the record-breaking cold and heavy snows that have swept the nation's mid-section. She reported from a very cold and snowy Springfield, Illinois [snow in Springfield on the first full day of spring - haha, we get it]. But somehow, Michelle managed to parlay this unusually cold and wintry weather into the threat of . . . increased hurricane activity, which of course is the result of unusually warm weather in the tropics.
Was it David Gregory, or an SNL parody of a biased liberal MSMer? The topic on this morning's Today show was whether media coverage of Iraq has presented a distorted picture. Under the circumstances, you might have thought Gregory would have feigned some facsimile of fairness. But his very first question to James Carville advanced the theory that . . . President Bush is a liar.
Asked Gregory: "Is the problem for this president and top administration officials that the public doesn't believe what they say anymore?"
Like a top point guard, Laura Ingraham tenaciously fought through the Gregory-Carville double-team to make her case. She pointed out that NBC and the Today show expended huge resources to cover the Olympics and even to answer the question "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" She suggested that they devote some of the same resources to broadcast the Today show directly from Iraq, that they accompany troops, speak with US and Iraqi military personnel and with villagers and see the reality on the ground.
Today’s “Bush Concedes Setbacks” piece in the NYT by Elisabeth Bumiller contains questionable passages that give her “angle” away.
Here is a slice seemingly right off the editorial page:
“Over all, Mr. Bush's speech was a positive message that conceded some of the setbacks on the ground, a formulation meant to portray the president as not living in a fantasy world about the three-year-long war.”
And all of us out here in American sincerely believe that President Bush actually does float around in a fantasy land regarding his understanding of the war. None of us have access to any other information regarding the status or unfolding of the war effort, save what the New York Times chooses to report, so it is helpful to have this characterization opined at us.
Washington Post magazine-beat writer Peter Carlson writes an admiring profile of Harper's magazine editor Lewis Lapham in the Style section today, headlined "Lewis Lapham Lights Up," as Lapham prepares to step down as Harper's editor. The man is a raving leftist, and while Carlson notes his cover story in the March issue is "The Case for Impeachment," he never quite locates Lapham on the far left. He merely lets friend Tom Wolfe call him "left-leaning."
Carlson also claims Lapham is an equal-opportunity offender, that he has "skewered every president since Nixon. He is a world-class curmudgeon." But Lapham has predictably hated conservatives more. Lapham's biggest media moment may have been his 1989 PBS series "America's Century," in which he sulfurously condemned Ronald Reagan as someone who could be relied on to "defend the sanctity of myth against the heresy of fact."
The United American Committee is planning a permanent protest, starting on April 30, of the new Al-Jazeera news network planned for the U.S. and English speakers worldwide. Called Al-Jazeera International, it will feature mostly British and American former MSMers. The group calls Al-Jazeera's American plans "Jazeeragate," and wants the demonstration at the studio to "continue daily indefinitely."
Al-Jazeera, the television network that many call the propaganda wing of the radical Islamist movement in the world, is scheduled shortly to launch their network in English aimed at Americans with their new studios being in Washington DC. The United American Committee objects to the establishment of the network in America; "It's as if Joseph Goebbels, the Propaganda Minster for Hitler, were to have set up a station in America during WWII." says Lee Kaplan, member of the UAC executive committee. Al-Jazeera plans on launching their 24 hour 7 day a week channel in America this spring. In response, the UAC is calling for a 24 hour 7 day a week protest in front of the Al-Jazeera studios to begin Sunday April 30th and continue daily indefinitely. The new studio of Al-Jazeera America is located at 1627 K St. NW, Suite #200, Washington, DC 20006.
The group explains why it doesn't like Al-Jazeera.
In October 2002, North Korea publicly admitted to having a nuclear weapons program (see here and here). This was a clear violation of the 1994 agreement it made under the Clinton administration not to seek to build nuclear weapons. (By the way, there may be evidence that President Clinton knew as President that North Korea was breaking its promise [see this]).
Asked to provide an assessment of life is for ordinary Iraqis on the third anniversary of the start of the war, on Monday's ABC's World News Tonight and NBC Nightly News, Dan Harris and Richard Engel provided different pictures. ABC's Harris conveyed more bad than good, but acknowledged some hope expressed by an Iraqi family. NBC's Engel, however, stuck exclusively to the negative. “Iraqis today show a range of complex, competing emotions,” Harris relayed as he profiled a family in which “the question of whether Iraq is better off three years later provokes debate” with the 15-year-old daughter pleased that “toppling the regime made Iraq free.” After relating how a man in a long gas line maintained such a line “never would have happened under Saddam,” Harris pressed him: “Would you really rather have Saddam back, or long gas lines? 'We don't want Saddam. But we need a better economy and more security.'” Harris concluded with how the family expresses “the same, seemingly contradictory emotions, so common in Iraq today. They sometimes miss the days of Saddam, but don't want him back. They want the Americans to get out, but just not yet.”
A more dire Engel began with how “since the U.S. invasion, there has not been a single day without mortar fire, car bombings, or IED attacks. This is not the world Afrah wanted to bring her daughter into.” Engel highlighted how callers to a radio show “complain about kidnapings, police death squads and murders between Sunnis and Shiites." He concluded with how one man told him that “when he leaves his house in the morning...he tells his family he might not see them again." Engel proceeded to tell anchor Campbell Brown about how “my closest Iraqi friend” thinks “his country is now lost." (Transcripts follow.)
To paraphrase that famous George Santayana phrase, perhaps political reporters who highlight liberal efforts to embarrass the President on Friday are destined to find those same moves inadequate on Monday. Having awarded liberal Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold with the "political play of the week" for his motion to censure President Bush on the March 17 The Situation Room, CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider during today’s 4pm hour wondered why the senator isn’t proposing impeachment.
Bill Schneider: "Wolf, the philosopher George Santayana wrote those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. But sometimes that happens with those who remember the past all too well. Senator Russ Feingold’s motion to censure President Bush raises a question. If he believes the President broke the law, why isn’t the senator proposing impeachment?"
Schneider then highlighted four panels from the March 19 Doonesbury, Gary Trudeau’s left-wing cartoon strip:
With all the criticism heaped upon it by bloggers, including NewsBusters' very own Clay Waters, the New York Times has finally decided to do a story about bias..... That is, bias by Amazon.com.
Amazon.com last week modified its search engine after an abortion rights organization complained that search results appeared skewed toward anti-abortion books.
It turns out that one of Amazon's helpful search hints is biased in favor of the pro-life position.
Until a few days ago, a search of Amazon's catalog of books using the word "abortion" turned up pages with the question, "Did you mean adoption?" at the top, followed by a list of books related to abortion.
Amazon removed that question from the search results page after it received a complaint from a member of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, a national organization based in Washington.
Yesterday marked the third anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, and while progress has been made, CBS’s the "Early Show" attempted to paint as bleak a picture as possible when discussing the war. In total, there were four stories regarding the Iraq war on this morning’s broadcast.
The first such story was a piece by CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Bill Plante. Substitute co-host Russ Mitchell introduced the piece:
Russ Mitchell: "Despite escalating violence, President Bush insists the administration’s Iraq policy is working."
Bill Plante followed with a bleak assessment:
Bill Plante: "Well three years into the Iraq war with casualties mounting and no end in sight, the President and Vice President both see reason for optimism and they say there’s progress."
Greg Sheffield mentioned earlier the wacky al Jazeera-Fox comparisons in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. I would only add in that Gail Shister report, former ABC reporter Dave Marash is coming out swinging again in defense of his new employers, Al-Jazeera, against those "hysterical" Americans who aren't fond of Arab propaganda channels:
Marash says he expected a backlash when he was hired. When it comes to the Arab world, Americans display an "anxiety and suspicion that sometimes rises to the hysterical level."
Note: Marash was talking on a speakerphone in Washington, with AJI publicist Jazayerli in the room. Network policy, she said.
Anderson Cooper sounded more like a political pundit than an objective journalist during a discussion with Time columnist Joe Klein on March 17 on the third anniversary of the start of the Iraq war. Cooper expressed outrage that "none of us have been asked to sacrifice" during this time of war, while Klein asked, "why aren't we collecting clothing for the children of Iraq," even though there are numerous organizations and programs established to do just that.
First, though, Cooper set up Klein to take this shot at Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld:
Anderson Cooper: "I mean, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, there’s a lot of people who’ve been calling for his head, and you’ve talked to a lot of people in the Pentagon who are surprised he’s still there. But he looks like he’s–there’s no sign of him going."
Joe Klein: "Rumsfeld ran the most criminally incompetent military campaign, you know, in, in, in the last 100 years, perhaps in American history."
The English-language version of Al Jazeera is coming to America, but Philadelphia Inquirer TV columnists Gail Shister wonders: "is America ready for Al Jazeera?"
The English version will be called Al Jazeera International (AJI) and has recruited journalists from the mainstream media. Dave Marash, formerly of ABC's "Nightline," and former CNN anchor Riz Khan have been recruited.
The new network promises "accurate, impartial and objective reporting," and one journalism instructor said Al Jazeera is no different than Fox News.
Al Jazeera "clearly has a point of view, but so does Fox," says Kelly McBride, director of the ethics program at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a journalism think tank in St. Petersburg, Fla.
"There's a market for that in the world, and in the United States, it's probably a growing market."
Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda may know more about novels than anyone else who lives or works inside the Beltway, but that doesn't mean his take on Communism isn't straight out of pulp fiction (granted, some of it high-level pulp fiction like Zola's Germinal). In a Monday online chat, a reader asked about the Communist beliefs of the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Jose Saramago. Specifically, the reader wondered "how...someone so attuned to the absurdity, corruption, and abuse of power by the State [could] be an advocate of the most statist form of government available."
The Communist ideal is a noble one, it just doesn't seem to work in our fallen world. How can anyone believe it right for people to inherit vast wealth and privilege simply because they were lucky enough to be born into a family named Rockefeller or Kennedy? Why should a man cough his lungs out in a coal mine to barely support his children, while drones around him live like kings? It is easy to be in sympathy with communist ideals. But as Kant and Isaiah Berlin used to say: Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.
Following shortly after a segment discussing a poll showing 59 percent of Americans believe the economy is doing well, CNN's "In the Money" crew wondered why Americans were not scaring easily with fears of a bird flu pandemic. [For article, click here.]
“We’ve fanned the flames of fear about this stuff,” said
CNN’s Jack Cafferty on March 18. He was talking about bird flu, and his
admission just confirmed the Free Market Project’s ongoing analysis of media
The “In the Money” co-host’s comments came as the show’s
panel looked at “Stock of the Week” Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN), which has seen a
20-percent loss in value recently from overseas bird flu scares. Co-host
Jennifer Westhoven marveled at the American public’s apparent nonchalance about
the H5N1 avian flu virus.
On the Wal-Mart watch: Slate.com wondered "Is Whole Foods Wholesome," in a March 17 posting by The New Yorker's Field Maloney which found a left-wing use for Wal-Mart's constant evolution and innovation to capitalize on market trends and expand revenue. Maloney argued that if not for Wal-Mart's entry into selling organic groceries, "poor" Americans will be doomed by obesity-inducing non-organic, highly-processed foods while "rich" Americans might well shop at boutique organic outlets like Whole Foods.
The organic-food movement is in danger of exacerbating the growing gap between rich and poor in this country by contributing to a two-tiered national food supply, with healthy food for the rich. Could Wal-Mart's populist strategy prove to be more "sustainable"than Whole Foods? Stranger things have happened.
As Tim Graham noted this weekend, the Times "messed up in its attempt at yet another juicy Abu Ghraib story."
Reporter Hassan Fattah’s interview with Ali Shalal Qaissi, who claimed to be the subject of an infamous Abu Ghraib photo, made the front page of the March 11 Times, complete with a picture of Qaissi holding a photograph of “himself” -- that archetypal image of a hooded man standing on a box attached to wires.
The headline trumpeted: "Symbol of Abu Ghraib Seeks to Spare Others His Nightmare."
“Mr. Qaissi, 43, was prisoner 151716 of Cellblock 1A. The picture of him standing hooded atop a cardboard box, attached to electrical wires with his arms stretched wide in an eerily prophetic pose, became the indelible symbol of the torture at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.”
In the daily Washington Post online political chat, reporter Shailagh Murray (that's Shay-la, and not Shay-laugh, although you might call this exchange Shay-laughable) quips with very little originality that Dick Cheney sounds over-optimistic on talk shows because Bush is like a tenth-grade kid without much potential:
New York, N.Y.: Before the invasion, Vice President Cheney said that we will be greeted as liberators. Ten months ago he said the insurgency was in its last throes. Yesterday, he said that both of these statements "were basically accurate, reflect reality."
Is the vice president the most clueless person on earth, or is he just a big liar?
Columnist Don Feder has viewed the new shaved-Natalie Portman movie, "V for Vendetta," and he is not a fan, as he reports for Front Page Magazine:
"V for Vendetta," which opened on Friday, combines all of the celluloid left’s paranoid fantasies – Christian conservatives in charge of a brutal regime, the war-on-terrorism as an excuse for the suppression of civil liberties, homosexuals harassed and killed by conservative Christians, a pedophile priest (who works miter-in-hand with the regime) and an attack blamed on terrorists that’s really a right-wing conspiracy.
On the third anniversary of the Iraq war, the Today show ran a generally predictable segment assessing successes and failures and looking to the future. To be sure, former Clinton administration official Wendy Sherman insisted that the President needs to start "telling the truth." And Gen. Barry McCaffrey thought that not deploying what he considered to be an adequate number of troops was a huge mistake. And yes, former Bush admin spokesman Dan Senor was more sanguine.
But when it came to revealing Today's bias, most telling were the three man-in-the-street interviews.
The first was a man who expressed support for the Commander-in-Chief, if not for the war per se, and hoped for the mission "to go through as smooth as possible, with as many, with the least number of lives lost as possible."
The Washington Post reports that anti-American or anti-U.S. military movies and plays are all the rage in Egypt. It's like George Clooney wearing a towel.
CAIRO -- When Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited this city last month, Egyptians had an unusual choice: watch her on TV as she expounded on issues of war and peace in the Middle East, or go to a neighborhood movie theater and see her portrayed by a look-alike actress belly-dancing and placed in "adult" situations.
The film in question is "The Night Baghdad Fell," which depicts Egyptian obsessions with war, sex and the United States. Wildly anti-American, it has done a brisk business for two months, a long screen life for Egyptian-made films. In "Night," Egyptians fret about an American invasion of Egypt and the potential destruction of their capital. Americans are bullies, rapists and mindless killers.
"A Sliding Scale for Victory" is another; it's a "news analysis" with the sub-head, "As the conflict in Iraq enters its fourth year and civil war threatens, the Bush administration is again working to lower expectations."
It's just another day on the op-ed pages of the Los Angeles Times, right? Wrong. It's the above-the-fold front page (.pdf image) of Sunday's paper (March 19, 2006).