In much of the mainstream media reporting on the firing of eight U.S.
attorneys, the focus has been on stoking a political controversy from the story, ruminating on Alberto Gonzales's shelf life as attorney general, etc.
Largely left by the wayside in mainstream media reporting have been legitimate deviations the fired attorneys exhibited from Bush Justice Department priorities, such as immigration enforcement -- for instance, San Diego-based attorney Carol Lam's prosecution of immigration cases reportedly bothered the decidedly unconservative Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) -- and pushing for the death penalty in capital cases.
It took a while but at least one major media outlet is reporting that a reluctance to pursue the death penalty might have been a factor in at least three of the firings. [continued...]
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Robin Roberts hosted a fawning town hall meeting with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. During the opening segment, which encompassed much of the program’s first half hour, Roberts didn’t bother challenging the New York Senator and, instead, asked her softball questions.
She even told the former Fist Lady that "many people" felt her 1993 universal health care proposal was "ahead of its time." This lead to a question by an audience member who, in ‘93, just happened to have been on the Clinton’s universal health care task force:
Robin Roberts: "What you said then in, in ‘93, many people felt it was just, in some ways, ahead of its, ahead of its time. Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?"
When it comes to slurring innocent Duke lacrosse players, New York Times sports columnist Selena Roberts is apparently angling to become the Amanda Marcotte of the New York Times. Even after the three lacrosse players have been all but formally cleared of the sexual assault of a stripper (in a case brought forward by a zealous local prosecutor Mike Nifong, to go on trial himself for ethics violations in his handling of the case), Roberts apparently thinks it was worth it in her Sunday column, "Closing a Case Will Not Mean Closure at Duke."
There’s been no shortage of flattering network stories about Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. “You are the equivalent of a rock star in politics,” NBC Today co-host Meredith Vieira told Obama in October. “You can see it in the crowds. The thrill, the hope. How they surge toward him. You’re looking at an American political phenomenon,” ABC’s Terry Moran gushed on Nightline a few weeks later.
“Barack Obama, with his fairy tale family, has personal charisma to spare,” ABC’s Claire Shipman enthused in January. “He does draw on something deeply good about this country. And we will have to see whether he can really deliver,” MSNBC’s Chris Matthews announced on Hardball in February.
This weekend, the Chicago Tribune published a long investigative story about Obama’s youth, discovering that the story of his own life that Obama presented in his memoir is sometimes at odds with the facts. “Several of his oft-recited stories may not have happened in the way he has recounted them,” the Tribune’s Kirsten Scharnberg and Kim Barker reported in Sunday’s article, “The not-so-simple story of Barack Obama’s youth.”
As the Business & Media Institute reported last year, press reports of climate change have been going on since the 1800s.
Over the weekend, I was sent a list of New York Times articles dating back to 1855 addressing the global warming and cooling that has been happening on this planet for the past 150 years. I have taken the liberty of adding a few pieces that I discovered in the Times’ archives to further illustrate the point.
As you review the following, try to keep in mind just how sure global warming alarmists like soon-to-be-Dr. Al Gore are that the current trend in climate change is a “a true planetary emergency” that must be dealt with soon to avoid an imminent cataclysm:
Town hall or pep rally? Hard to tell, judging from the first half-hour of Hillary's appearance on Good Morning America today. Host Robin Roberts lavished praise on Hillary, suggested there's unanimous support for the Dem Iraq policy, and fielded only one audience question -- which came from someone who worked on Hillarycare in 1993 and beseeched Clinton to try it again as president.
GMA today kicked off its series of Town Hall meetings with the presidential candidates. This one, featuring Hillary, was located in Des Moines, Iowa. During the opening schmooze, Hillary, speaking of Iraq, stated: "I'm very proud that all the Democrats are saying the same thing and that's what we should all be working toward, and that's to begin to change this policy and get us on the right track."
ROBERTS: That is something that I think the country completely agrees on, on both sides about that.
The top right-hand corner of Monday's Washington Post sounds like the return of Hurricane Katrina. "Foreclosure Wave Bears Down on Immigrants" is the headline. Reporter Kirstin Downey begins: "Immigrants are emerging as among the first victims of a growing wave of home foreclosures in the Washington area as mortgage lending problems multiply locally and across the country."
But the "victims of a wave" line fails to ask the question: at what point are people who make bad financial decisions responsible for their own fate? The heart-breaking individual stories Downey tells could have been avoided if the struggling homeowners had stared harder at the numbers.
Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom's agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.
What I don't get is why the Times' news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper's editorial page content. Based on Martinez's observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an "agenda," those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as "the rest of the newspaper."
It is always interesting to me how a story can be published as if it is serious work, a story that almost seems plausible until you step back from it to realize that not a shred of proof to support the supposition was ever offered. After you're done reading it you realize that all you ended up with were empty phrases like "some say" or "many are" instead of any statistics, studies or other proof. Such is the case with the Washington Post's story titled, "War Causing Split Among Evangelicals". In fact, writer Julie Sullivan flat out admits that there is no proof for her supposition that “many” evangelical Christians are turning away from the war... but she postulates the premise any way.
No polling data show conclusively that opinion has shifted among conservative evangelicals.
This is only the fourth paragraph (the previous three being one sentence affairs) so you'd think she could just retire the piece right there. But, no we have to start right up with the "some say" routine.
Lately it seems that HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” has become the place for left-wing politicians and media members to go on Friday evenings to say whatever disgraceful thing they want about the Bush administration without regard for accuracy or prudence.
Does that make it HBO’s answer to ABC’s farcical morning coffee klatch “The View,” and Bill Maher is suddenly just an intelligent version of Rosie O’Donnell with a Y-chromosome and better clothing?
The March 23 installment certainly suggested so, with the unabashed and unashamed host leading a herd of disgruntled liberals to slaughter conservatives much as Rosie now despicably does on almost a daily basis. In fact, Maher began this most recent episode with a monologue featuring ten out of eleven jokes about Bush, his family, the Administration, and seemingly any politician with an “R” next to his name.
Most disgracefully, the first josh of the evening actually mocked the First Lady (video available here):
This time, as he spoke to a town hall, antiwar meeting in Oakland, California, he made some truly despicable statements, including declaring that President George W. Bush has “become our country’s and our Constitution’s most devastating enemy.”
Those that are interested can read excerpts of his disgraceful speech here, or listen to some of his choice epithets on MP3 here.
There is no more consistent stack of baloney in the national media than Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom Watch" manufacturers claiming they represent what all of Washington is thinking -- instead of the liberal fraction of Washington. This week's edition (called the "Executive Privilege Edition") begins with a typical down arrow for President Bush: "Conditions for aides to meet Congress: No oath or transcripts. Sounds like one of Cheney's covert ops." They compare Bush to Nixon, but not to Bill Clinton, who also tried to block congressional ans special-prosecutor investigations with executive privilege claims. But there are three "Up" arrows for Democrats:
Following this NewsBusters post on Wednesday (3/21/07), the Los Angeles Times has admitted it "oversimplified the eugenics views of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger."
On Wednesday, we took issue with this article by Stephanie Simon in the Los Angeles Times that stated that Sanger "did not support coerced birth control." Simon also wrote that Sanger had merely "associate[d] with proponents of eugenics, the philosophy that only the most worthy should be allowed to reproduce"
In our article, we demonstrated that Sanger's own words suggested the opposite. In her 1922 book, The Pivot of Civilization, Sanger wrote, "Every feeble-minded girl or woman of the hereditary type, especially of the moron class, should be segregated during the reproductive period." For men, Sanger recommended the "policy of immediate sterilization." In other writings, Sanger referred to some members of humanity as "human weeds."
One of the nice things about having a television and newsletter archive at MRC is being able to bring up the old newscasts and recall how very different the tone and approach of the news was when a Democrat was in the White House. The U.S. Attorney-firing scandal is a strong example of how the network news can on one hand, sell a scandal as incredibly damaging for a political party it does not support, but downplays scandal as damaging to democracy and the people when it affects the political party it favors. Our latest Media Reality Check reminds readers of how different the news sounded ten years ago, when a Republican Congress investigated illegal foreign donations, mostly to national Democratic Party accounts. Take NBC:
NBC theorized that the media were too Clinton-scandal obsessed in 1997. On June 17, 1997, Today co-host Katie Couric asked reporter Bob Woodward: “But are members of the media, do you think, Bob, too scandal-obsessed, looking for something at every corner?”
On Friday morning, news broke that 15 British servicemen (eights sailors and seven Royal Marines) were seized by Iran. Not the regular naval forces of that country, mind you, but the Revolutionary Guard naval corps, a wing of the military closely controlled by the country's extremist Islamic clerics.
Happening as it did one day before the UN voted on new sanctions on the nuclear power-hungry, terrorist-funding Islamist regime, you'd think the story would be worthy of front-page coverage in the largest broadsheet in Washington, D.C., right?
Wrong.The story earned page A11 real estate in the Saturday Post and a follow-up story was buried below the fold on page A12 in the March 25 edition. [continued...]
The New London Development Corp. (NLDC) is the government agency charged with redeveloping that Connecticut city's Fort Trumbull neighborhood. Its actions in the mid-1990s gave rise to the now-infamous Kelo vs. New London eminent domain case, which resulted a 5-4 US Supreme Court decision that overturned two centuries of interpretation of the Fifth Amendment's definition of "public use." That decision enabled the NLDC to complete the process of evicting the neighborhood's former homeowners.
Having spent over $75 million so far, with, as far as I can tell, not a single new brick in a single new structure to show for its efforts, the NLDC has just told the state of Connecticut it needs more money (New London Day articles require registration after a short while, and a paid subscription after a week; HT New London Calling).
A second New London Day article notes that "The state's investment in the Fort Trumbull area in the past decade totals roughly $125 million, including the Fort Trumbull redevelopment effort and funding that brought Pfizer to the city."
HBO’s Bill Maher may have hit a new low on Friday’s installment of “Real Time.” During this episode, which was really just one long Bush bash, the host actually suggested that President Bush and Vice President Cheney are traitors.
As Maher used a lot of vulgarity in his final “New Rule” segment entitled “Treasonable Doubt,” I will post the details after the break for those who are uncomfortable with profanity addressed specifically at the most powerful man in the world.
However, I must caution the reader ahead of time to move forward at your own risk. This was Maher at his most hateful self, and his vitriol was turned all the way up to eleven for those who understand the Spinal Tap reference (video available here):
"University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."
While the University of Florida Faculty Senate's decision to deny former Governor Jeb Bush an honorary degree is, in the big picture, an unimportant kerfuffle, it is nonetheless a cheap and gratuitous insult by a group of malcontented profs who clearly don't appreciate what an objectively outstanding governor the President's younger brother was (previous posts on Jeb Bush's tenure are here, here, and here).
The linked Associated Press story about the honorary degree denial, and others I've seen, fail to mention how low Florida university tuitions are compared to much of the rest of the country. A quick look at that unreported part of the story indicates that what Jeb Bush may really deserve is a statue in his honor from Florida's taxpayers and parents.
Just one example: Business Week rated the top undergraduate business schools a few weeks ago (link appears to be free). Here are the rankings of the Ohio and Florida public universities on the list, followed by their respective annual tuition bills:
As NewsBusters reported, the Washington Post published an editorial Friday that was highly critical of the bribery tactics employed by House Democrats to get their pork-laden Iraq withdrawal bill passed.
As surprising as this event was, even more shocking was a Democrat Congressman so angered by this paper disagreeing with his Party that he said “[the Post] helped drive the drumbeat that drove almost two-thirds of the people in this chamber to vote for [the Iraq war]."
Displaying such unbridled disgust was Rep. David Obey (D-Wisconsin) who had rather harsh words for the Post on the House floor Friday (video available here):
It must have been very chilly in hell on Friday, for the editorial division of a major newspaper actually came down on Democrats.
I kid you not.
For those that missed it, the Washington Post ran an editorial Friday entitled “Retreat and Butter,” with a sub-headline “Are Democrats in the House voting for farm subsidies or withdrawal from Iraq?”
Having asked a tremendously valid question that most in the antiwar media have ignored as the Iraq debate heated up on Capitol Hill this week, the Post surprisingly and accurately answered its own question (better strap yourself in your seat):
Brent Bozell's culture column this week explored the outer reaches of the movie ratings system, and how the movie industry is looking hard at creating a more "respectable" adults-only rating of NC-17, which is often considered for movies featuring topless Nazis, toothy private parts, and grossly obese men chewing on babies.
This week, the media greeted Al Gore’s global warming testimony as though Moses had delivered it on stone tablets (Or some secular equivalent). Katie Couric, on her web blog, touted Gore’s “triumphant” return.
Can you believe it? ABC displayed a painting depicting Mohammed as a dog, and then had the temerity/stupidity to ask if Muslims would find it offensive. Actually, you can't believe it. ABC did no such thing -- nor is it conceivable it would do so.
But displaying a painting depicting Christ as a dog, and wondering whether anyone would find it offensive? Sure. Happened today on Good Morning America. The show ran a segment on a painting by someone named Ron Burns who has recreated da Vinci's Last Supper with dogs substituted for Jesus and his disciples. Even more than the image itself, some will surely find the title that the "artist" gave to his work offensive: "Dinner and Drinks with Son of Dog."
Introducing Burns, weekend co-host Bill Weir said "it's a riff on the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. A whimsicial riff, perhaps? Others, blasphemy."
GMA CO-HOST KATE SNOW: People are calling it blasphemous, anti-Christian, anti-God. One person we talked to said it crossed the line. Did you expect any of that? Did you think when you were doing this piece that maybe you'd ruffle some feathers?"
Burns actually denied that the thought had occurred to him.
MSNBC is picking up on the many inflammatory Rosie O’Donnell comments documented by Newsbusters. Upon informing the viewer that Rosie believes the September 11 attacks was perpetrated by the U.S. government, host Chris Jansing asked: "Has Rosie gone too far?"
On the March 23 edition of "MSNBC Live" guest Joe Scarborough, who covered the controversy on his show the previous night, felt O’Donnell’s conspiracy theories are too irresponsible for any respected show to allow on the air. Scarborough was more concerned that Barbara Walters, whom he implied is a journalism legend, ruined her reputation by allow Rosie to spew such extreme views. The transcript of the exchange is below.
On Monday, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow is set to undergo an operation. The Associated Press reports the surgery is to "remove a growth" in Snow's lower abdomen. Snow, you may recall, is a surviver of colon cancer.
Dean Barnett at TownHall.com noticed that outpouring of well wishes from Huffington Post commenters:
Al Roker, weather and feature reporter of the NBC 'Today' television program, reacts during a segment of the show in the studio as audience members in New York's Rockefeller Center hold up photo likenesses of the show's cast.