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By Clay Waters | February 14, 2011 | 8:30 AM EST

“Gray Lady Down – What The Decline And Fall Of The New York Times Means For America” by William McGowan (from Encounter Books), is a carefully researched and devastatingly convincing critique of the New York Times losing its commitment to objective reporting.

It opens with the 2006 funeral of the paper’s famed Executive Editor Abe Rosenthal, who retired in 1986. Though bad tempered and with a propensity to play newsroom favorites, Rosenthal is considered by McGowan the last lion of the paper’s once-serious commitment to journalistic objectivity, “allergic to Woodstock” and other left-wing pieties, holding the line against the left-ward drift seemingly inherent to a Manhattan newspaper. A 1970s anecdote on a recurring nightmare by Rosenthal (waking one “Wednesday morning” with no New York Times) reminds us that concerns over the decline of newspaper reading among the young didn’t start with the Internet.

McGowan flags the “Southern guilt” of Howell Raines, the editorial page editor who became executive editor in 2001, felled by the favoritism he showed toward young black reporter Jayson Blair, who came to the Times via a minority-only internship program and proceeded to disgrace it. The most blunt parts of “Gray Lady Down” involve race: “The Times racial script...has come to resemble the journalist equivalent of reparations.” McGowan delved into the paper’s archives to show what the paper thought of Malcolm X in 1966 and came up with the striking headline “Black Power Is Black Death.” Can you imagine that at the top of the Times editorial page tomorrow?

By Tim Graham | February 14, 2011 | 8:03 AM EST

The Los Angeles Times rushed to report yesterday that the "hot news" from NBC's Meet the Press was that Speaker John Boehner wasn't angry enough to denounce the "birthers" in the conservative movement, and the people who think Barack Obama's a Muslim (or at least, not a Christian). But, wait: what's news about that? NBC anchor Brian Williams pressed Boehner to denounce birthers when Congress came in, on January 6. Apparently, what's newsworthy is that the Obama apple-polishers at NBC are still hopping mad about Boehner's failure to satisfy in his January answer.

Meet the Press host David Gregory used footage of a Fox News focus group with Frank Luntz where a chunk of the group raised their hands when asked if they thought Obama was a Muslim. If NBC were fair and balanced, surely four years ago, Tim Russert pressed the Democrats to tell their own liberal base to stop spreading lies about George W. Bush on the Internet -- that he was a fascist, that he was a theocrat, that his family was tight with the bin Ladens (thanks, Michael Moore), or that his grandfather helped finance Hitler's rise to power. Well, no: Russert pressed Boehner to denounce conservatives who were mocking Nancy Pelosi's demands for a bigger cross-country plane. Here was Gregory's outrage yesterday:

By Tim Graham | February 14, 2011 | 6:42 AM EST

The national media often don't like covering when liberals fight each other. On Sunday, Washington Post reporter Darryl Fears found the fossil fuel-haters are furious that Obama's Energy Department has kicked the "Solar Decathlon" off its grand stage on the grass of the Mall in Washington...because it makes a mess: 

The decathlon has taken place on the Mall four times, most recently in 2009, and each time federal officials were stunned by the mess it made. Heavy trucks and cranes that put two-story houses in place cracked walkways and tore up grass, they said. The houses sat for about two weeks in 2009, leaving dead grass by the time they were removed.

The standoff sets the stage for a green-vs.-green fight over who will be allowed to use what is quaintly called "America's front yard." Although the Energy Department is the event's sponsor, and its chief, Steven Chu, strongly supports it, the department is standing firm on the eviction.

By Mark Finkelstein | February 14, 2011 | 5:36 AM EST

Muammar Gaddafi has resorted to the oldest trick in the Arab-dictator book: distract attention from authoritarian rule at home by beating the Palestinian drum.  Nothing new there.  But what is noteworthy is how Reuters seems happy to march to the Libyan strongman's beat.

Reuters' article "Gaddafi tells Palestinians: revolt against Israel" [h/t Drudge], fails to note the irony of an iron-fisted dictator calling for "popular uprising" and "revolution" . . . elsewhere.  Indeed, the Reuters article, authored by Ali Shuaib and Salah Sarrar, fails even to identify Gaddafi as the dictator he is, referring to him respectfully as the Libyan "leader."

And speaking of respect . . .

 

By Brad Wilmouth | February 14, 2011 | 1:34 AM EST

 Over the past couple of weeks, as prominent Muslim Brotherhood members tried to sell themselves as harmless in interviews shown on the evening newscasts on ABC, NBC, and CNN, Eliot Spitzer of CNN’s Parker-Spitzer managed to coax spokesman Mohammed Morsy into defending violence against Israel by Palestinians, contradicting the Brotherhood spokesman’s claims in the same interview of being opposed to violence.

Earlier in the interview, which was first seen on the Thursday, February 3 Parker-Spitzer, Morsy had also sidestepped the question of whether the Muslim Brotherhood would support adherence to Egypt’s 30-year treaty with Israel, as he suggested that such matters would be in the hands of the parliament.

CNN correspondent Mary Snow replayed some of the interview on the next day’s Situation Room on CNN. After a clip of Morsy claiming that his organization would support freedom for all religions in Egypt, the piece continued:

By Tom Blumer | February 14, 2011 | 1:00 AM EST

Sadly, one could write a term paper identifying and correcting the clever misstatements and obfuscations contained in Martin Crutsinger's Sunday report (since updated; original is still present here) for the Associated Press on the impending submission of the President's 2012 budget by the White House's Office of Management and Budget.

Lacking such space, I'll concentrate on what I believe are the two worst examples, both of which are present in his opening paragraph. Crutsinger significantly misleads about the total spending the administration is proposing for fiscal 2012, and fails to call a tax increase by its proper name, i.e., a tax increase.

That first paragraph reads as follows:

By Noel Sheppard | February 14, 2011 | 12:13 AM EST

New York Magazine's John Heilemann on Friday said the Republican presidential field is the weakest anybody has seen in our lifetime.

This absurd statement was made on the syndicated "Chris Matthews Show" in a segment about which GOPers will be throwing their name into the ring in the coming months before next year's elections (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Mike Bates | February 14, 2011 | 12:02 AM EST

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) isn't alone in having trouble understanding how the government is organized.  In a Sunday article posted on the Chicago Sun-Times's Web site, staff reporter Mary Houlihan credits the late Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) with running the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  That would have been quite an accomplishment, given the fact McCarthy never served in the House of Representatives.

Houlihan writes of photographer Milton Rogovin, who died last month.  After military service during World War II, Rogovin "organized a chapter of the optometrists’ union and served as librarian for the Communist Party of Buffalo."

Then the inevitable happened. In October 1957, Rogovin was caught in the net cast by the House Un-American Activities Committee helmed by Sen. Joseph McCarthy. It was the waning days of the Communist witch hunt, and the experience would change Rogovin’s life.

By Noel Sheppard | February 13, 2011 | 10:52 PM EST

For the second week in a row, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift found herself in a hostile crowd on PBS's "McLaughlin Group."

During a lengthy segment about the crisis in Eqypt, after Clift claimed the protesters were secular, the entire panel almost pounced on her with Mort Zuckerman saying several times, "That's nonsense" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Tim Graham | February 13, 2011 | 9:53 PM EST

Forget the self-dealing and nest-feathering at WAMU! Forget the $300,000 salaries that make you rethink the $50 pledge! The Washington NPR affiliate is campaigning on its airwaves to get people to call Congress and stop any attempt to reduce funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. At the top of WAMU's website is this message from general manager Caryn Mathes: 

Reports are circulating that the U.S. House of Representatives could take action as early as next week to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting. Eliminate it. This year's federal appropriation for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which distributes funding to local public radio and TV stations across the country, is $430 million, with public radio's share of that appropriation amounting to only 32 cents per capita.

By Brad Wilmouth | February 13, 2011 | 8:08 PM EST

 As CNN’s Fareed Zakaria concluded his Fareed Zakaria GPS show on Sunday, he recommended to his audience that they read former President George W. Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, but, even while recommending the book, he still took a dig at the former President as he described the book as "surprisingly well written." He also acknowledged that "you might not think he’s super-smart" before praising the former President as "agreeable" and "frank."

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Sunday, February 13, Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN:

By Brad Wilmouth | February 13, 2011 | 6:08 PM EST

 On Thursday’s Last Word show on MSNBC, host Lawrence O’Donnell trashed conservatives for raising concerns about the possibility of a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt as the MSNBC host claimed that, "The Muslim Brotherhood is the latest excuse for the right wing to whip up anti-Islamic hysteria, including the old standby that President Obama is secretly a Muslim." Minnesota Democratic Congressman Keith Ellison, who appeared as a guest for the segment, even referred to the Muslim Brotherhood as a "scarecrow," and dismissed concerns about whether a new government might adhere to the peace treaty with Israel as the Democratic Congressman asserted that, "You haven’t seen one Israeli flag. You haven’t seen one."

But, while the overwhelming majority of Egyptian demonstrators may be motivated by a desire for better economic conditions and more freedom, it would be incorrect to claim that there is a complete absence of anti-Israel sentiment. On Sunday, January 30, the NBC Nightly News showed an image of one sign held by a protester that tied then-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to Israel by placing the Jewish Star of David over his face. And, on Saturday, January 29, ABC's World News Saturday showed a second sign with a similar image of Mubarak with a smaller Star of David on his forehead, as if to attack the Egyptian leader as being too friendly to Israel and Jews.

On the Friday, January 28, NBC Nightly News, correspondent Richard Engel even recounted concerns by some Egyptians that the Muslim Brotherhood would "hijack" the anti-government movement to take power:

By Tim Graham | February 13, 2011 | 5:25 PM EST

America's budget deficit is enormous. In fiscal 2010, it was $1.3 trillion, and government spending increased nine percent. But on Sunday's State of the Union program on CNN, anchor Candy Crowley pressed Obama's budget director Jack Lew from the left. The only question was who's going to be victimized by spending cuts: "So let's get down to the basic question, who's going to get hurt in this budget?"

Lew claimed "The budget saves $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years in domestic spending. It reduces, as you said in your introduction, $400 billion, which would bring us down to the smallest government as a size of the economy since Eisenhower was president." Team Obama's trying to sound like they're economizers, which is ludicrous. But Crowley could only retort: "At what cost?" Lew claimed the Obama budget has "scores of programs that are being reduced." Crowley could only keep suggesting they were heartless:

By Tim Graham | February 13, 2011 | 3:36 PM EST

Since he was summarily dismissed from National Public Radio for appearing on Fox News, some might forget that Juan Williams is a liberal -- but not if they were watching Fox News Sunday. Host Chris Wallace asked Williams about the House leaders losing track of how their freshmen would vote: "How embarrassing and that was what we saw John Boehner respond to at the beginning of the segment."

Williams insisted "this is the power of the Tea Party that has now come back to bite the Republican leadership," and even "I think there's a civil war going on right now and it's becoming apparent." Then he said they're setting up Obama's re-election:

By Tom Blumer | February 13, 2011 | 11:39 AM EST

On Thursday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Us Weekly's web site briefly posted a satirical item as legitimate news.

The satire item was about Sarah Palin criticizing Christine Aguilera's infamous National Anthem botch at last week's Super Bowl on Sean Hannity's Monday radio show. Palin didn't even appear on Hannity's show on Monday. Once caught by gossipcop.com, Us Weekly pulled the item.

The same cannot be said of Time.com. Time was also apparently fooled, but seems to be pretending that it knew the item was satire all along. Readers can judge for themselves from the graphics which follow.