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By Lachlan Markay | March 5, 2011 | 10:00 AM EST

It's often said that unpopular speech is the type that needs to be defended, since popular speech will rarely face a meaningful threat. Speech that is disagreeable and persuasive will probably seem less appealing than speech that is disagreeable but unlikely to sway anyone to its cause.

It is telling, then, that the New York Times and Washington Post editorial pages vociferously opposed last year's "Citizens United" Supreme Court ruling, but defended the court's decision on Wednesday to preserve the right of the Westboro Baptist Church to protest the funerals of those who die defending that right.

By Tim Graham | March 5, 2011 | 7:12 AM EST

The saddest media bias on display this week was the desperate hunger and thirst for that slice of Ratings Heaven known as Charlie Sheen's Continuing Moral Collapse. He's been All Access Charlie, granting high Nielsens wherever he goes, speaking of how he is High on Himself and "bi-winning" with his two "goddesses" camped at his abode. Network interviewers have tried not to alienate their guest with tough questions. Washington Post TV writer Lisa de Moraes ably brought her trademark snark to this amoral parade. First there was ABC's 20/20 with Andrea Canning on Tuesday night:

"It's no secret that you have an affinity for porn stars," Canning told Sheen.

"Well, I mean, wow, listen to that statement," Sheen joshed back.

By Tim Graham | March 4, 2011 | 10:43 PM EST

Beware the crystal-ball story that predicts a backlash -- a liberal newspaper will constantly find backlashes to predict wherever conservatives succeed. The Washington Post unleashed their clairvoyance on Friday in an Amy Gardner story headlined "Ohio GOP may invite backlash with tough stance on unions." It began:

COLUMBUS -- State Republicans took the toughest line yet against public-sector unions this week, delivering an early and significant victory for a slew of lawmakers elected in November.

Perhaps too tough. Democrats and even some Republicans said that the bold action and the uncompromising way it was carried out could boomerang on Republicans in the next election, in much the same way that the stimulus bill and health-care overhaul haunted Democrats in Ohio and elsewhere last year.  

By Mark Finkelstein | March 4, 2011 | 7:52 PM EST

Shep Smith: putting the liberal balance into Fox News Channel's fair-and-balanced reporting . . .

On Fox Report this evening, Shep sneered at Gov. Walker's budget-repair bill, sniffing at it as "so-called" reform, sarcastically adding that as far as union members facing layoffs are concerned, "it's no repair to them."

Later, interviewing FNC's White House correspondent Mike Emanuel, a nervous Smith sought reassurance that Florida wasn't heading down Walker's Wisconsin path.

View video after the jump.

By Jack Coleman | March 4, 2011 | 6:47 PM EST

Free speech? Fuggedaboutit!

Liberal radio host and reined-in MSNBC flamethrower Ed Schultz has provided another example of his erratic reverence for the Constitution, specifically that pesky First Amendment.

On his radio show Wednesday, Schultz harkened back to halcyon days of yore involving "old Democrats" made singular by their intolerance for discussion of that most sacred cow, Social Security (audio here) --

By Scott Whitlock | March 4, 2011 | 5:42 PM EST

Professional Obama fan Chris Matthews appeared on Friday's edition of the Martin Bashir show to slam the President's critics and to swoon, "Everything he's done has been good for this country."

Matthews went on an extended rant against those who oppose Obama, theorizing, "...They go back to the old nativist root, this old dark night of the soul thing that people worry about, a black man in a White House. And they start working on that. 'Oh, he's a Mau Mau. He goes back to a Muslim background.'"

Indirectly referring to columnists such as Dinesh D'Souza, who have highlighted political beliefs of Obama's father and grandfather, Matthews attacked, "It's using race. It's using the paranoid fear of whites of black males against this President whose life has been spotless, has been the American dream."

By Tim Graham | March 4, 2011 | 5:15 PM EST

From the Making Mischief Department, NB reader Thomas Stewart sent in a NB link to Rosie O'Donnell's "Ask Ro" feature on My headline on a February 27 blog post was "Rosie O'Donnell Offers 'Giant Hug' to Helen Thomas: A Summit of Role Models?" When faced with this link, O'Donnell simply answered "yes that is true".

Some think this could mean she was again complimenting Helen as a "role model," as she did when they met up at CNN. But the question was whether this was a "summit" of role models, meaning both women were stellar human beings. 

By Kyle Drennen | March 4, 2011 | 4:52 PM EST

On Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge introduced a story updating the John Edwards scandal and potential legal charges against the former Senator: "...a grand jury has been looking at evidence that he may have violated campaign finance laws. Now the former Democratic presidential hopeful has hired a political heavy hitter to fight off possible charges."

In the report that followed, legal correspondent Jan Crawford continued to take the focus off Edwards and place it on prominent liberal attorney Greg Craig: "Edwards has now enlisted a heavyweight...Former Obama White House Counsel Greg Craig has joined Edwards' team....Experts say bringing him on the case is a sign Edwards is worried about where this investigation is heading." The headline on-screen throughout the segment read: "Bracing For A Fight; John Edwards Hires Fmr. White House Counsel."

By Lachlan Markay | March 4, 2011 | 4:39 PM EST

The far-left Fox-haters are at it again. In just the past couple of days, we've seen multiple instances of leftist pundits dishonestly bashing the Fox News Channel in yet more attempts to slime the cable news channel.

The latest such attempts caught the attention of cable news blogger Johnny Dollar, who consistently documents the left's growing hatred of everything Fox.

The more notable instance of Fox-hating came from former MSNBC host David Shuster. Shuster took to twitter Thursday to celebrate Canada's rejection of Fox News's application for a broadcasting license. Just one problem: Fox's licesnse was approved in 2004. Called out on the mistake, Shuster deleted his tweet, blocked Dollar, and to date has not issued a correction.

By Matt Hadro | March 4, 2011 | 4:26 PM EST

The left-wing comedian Jon Stewart is at it again after ripping conservative Republicans for going after public sector collective bargaining. Stewart updated the situation in Wisconsin Thursday night on the "Daily Show," reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker introducing his new budget proposals.

"He has put public sector unions on notice, and particularly teachers, that the gravy train is over – even if the gravy is actually lunchroom cafeteria-grade gravy-like rehydrated soy chips," Stewart spun, painting the comfortable pensions and benefits of Wisconsin public school teachers as dog food compared with infamous Wall Street bonuses. He also shifted the debate – instead of going after public sector unions, conservatives somehow are anti-teacher, according to Stewart's logic.

By Clay Waters | March 4, 2011 | 4:02 PM EST

Slow news Friday? In “With a Change in Top Aides, The West Wing Quiets Down,” New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes fawned over Obama’s top aides, chief of staff William Daley and advisor David Plouffe, as a welcome balm after the frenzied working atmosphere set by former chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel (though the paper hardly maintained a drumbeat of criticism during Rahm’s reign).

Blogging at the Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin says the Times piece “gives ‘fluff’ a bad name....maybe the Times should look inward and be asking how such suck-uppery gets passed off as news.”

When Rahm Emanuel was the White House chief of staff, decisions about what President Obama would say in the short address he delivers on the radio and Internet each Saturday changed so often that speechwriters would wait until Friday to write.

But since William M. Daley took over two months ago, and David Plouffe succeeded David Axelrod as communications chief, the decision is made early -- and it sticks.

By Ken Shepherd | March 4, 2011 | 3:44 PM EST

The editorially-liberal Washington Post is hardly an enemy of government regulation. Except, of course, when it comes to moves to restrict abortion.

In Wednesday's paper, the editorial board lamented "Va.'s abortion end run."

"Mischief, not public health, drives the push for new regulation," griped the subheader. The online edition headline snarked that "Mischief drives change in Virginia abortion rules."

The Post dismissed as unprincipled and slippery the manner with which pro-life state legislators had pushed through a law that would require the Old Dominion's abortion clinics to be regulated like hospitals:

By Clay Waters | March 4, 2011 | 2:39 PM EST

Hugo Lindgren, the new New York Times Magazine editor-in-chief, has already left his mark on the paper’s reputation by choosing an embarrassingly sympathetic portrait of convicted terrorist helper Lori Berenson as the cover story for the relaunch of the Sunday magazine. He compounds the error by hailing writer Jennifer Egan’s embrace of radical chic as “in every way a classic Times Magazine story,” in his self-congratulatory “Editor’s Letter” that will also appear in Sunday’s upcoming issue.

With even less excuse than Egan (the novelist who penned the 8,300-word cover story love letter to Berenson) Lindgren reveals his own lack of basic understanding of the case, showing the convinted collaborator as engaging in naive, youthful political hijinks, rather than knowingly and deceptively helping murderous left-wing terror group Tupac Amaru (abbreviated in Spanish as M.R.T.A.)

The New York Times Magazine is based on long-form narrative journalism, and this week’s cover article, by Jennifer Egan, is a prime example. It is about Lori Berenson, a New Yorker who moved to Latin America as a young adult, got mixed up in revolutionary politics in Peru and was promptly thrown in prison, where she spent the next 15 years before being paroled last year. Egan traveled to Lima, where Berenson must remain until 2015, and tells the story of a wounded but resilient woman struggling to sort out a place for herself in the world. It is in every way a classic Times Magazine story.

By Kyle Drennen | March 4, 2011 | 1:00 PM EST

At the top of Friday's CBS Early Show, co-host Erica Hill proclaimed: "Tough talk. As the violence continues to escalate between rebel forces, and Moammar Qadhafi's military, President Obama sends a clear message." A sound bite was played of Obama calling on Qadhafi to step down on Thursday. In a later report, correspondent Mandy Clark claimed Obama had "drawn his line in the sand."

On the February 24 Early Show, co-host Chris Wragge touted the "very strong words" in the President's first public statement on the crisis. On that same broadcast, Clark claimed that Libyans "...felt encouraged that the President had come out with such strong words. They now feel that the eyes of the international community is upon Qadhafi, and that will force him to hold back on any bombing campaigns or any war crimes that he might commit."

By Scott Whitlock | March 4, 2011 | 12:45 PM EST

Good Morning America's Brian Ross on Friday highlighted the sordid details of John Edwards' affair during the 2008 presidential election campaign. Yet, GMA was the same program that repeatedly hyped the marriage of the former senator and Elizabeth Edwards.

Ross intoned, "When Edwards announced he was running for president, his mistress, campaign filmmaker Rielle Hunter, was there, just a few feet away from Edwards' now-deceased wife, Elizabeth."

On July 31, 2007, then-co-host Diane Sawyer cheerfully explained how the Edwards were planning on celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary at Wendy's. "Happy anniversary," she cooed.