There’s good news and bad news. Well, in this case, there’s only bad news. Surprisingly strong data about the nation’s residential real estate market was released on November 30 by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. Despite the media’s fascination with what it proclaimed over five years ago was a housing bubble, no TV network other than CNBC bothered to share the good news with its viewers.
But disappointing data from other government agencies and the National Association of Realtors has typically been given a lot of air time. NBC’s Brian Williams declared on September 25, “[T]he housing bubble has indeed and officially deflated.” A month later, CBS’s Katie Couric proclaimed that housing “prices are dropping like a rock.” And, a day before this OFHEO report was released, CNN’s Ali Veshi warned viewers, “[Y]our house is not gonna be the most expensive thing or the most valuable thing you own.”
Oklahoma Republican senator James Inhofe has been one of the lone bright spots in Washington when it comes to media accountability, specifically on the issue of global warming. He's continuing his hard-hitting approach Wednesday with a congressional hearing examining how the media has been been trying to scare the public into siding with climate change alarmists:
Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, will hold a full committee hearing tomorrow on "Climate Change and the Media."
The hearing will look at how the media has presented scientific evidence regarding predictions of human-caused catastrophic global warming, the senator's office said.
"Senator Inhofe believes that poorly conceived policy decisions will result from the media's nonstop hyping of 'extreme scenarios' and dire climate predictions," said committee Communications Director Marc Morano. "This hearing will serve to advance the interests of sound science and encourage rational policy decisions."
The global warming crowd must be getting desperate judging from a very threatening letter that some senators sent to ExxonMobil telling it to "end any further financial assistance or other support to groups or
individuals whose public advocacy has contributed to the small, but
unfortunately effective, climate change denial myth." Sounds more like a protection racket than a policy debate to me.
The Supreme Court is hearing a case about forced integration and whether it should be permitted. Patterico and La Shawn Barber have coverage.
On the Iraq front, The Anchoress blog has a lengthy essay on where Iraq is right now and what it means. An excerpt: "Damn Bush for getting us into this corner where all options suck, eh?
Well, maybe. But sooner or later someone was going to have to do this.
9/11 made it imperative and regardless of what they say now, the whole world (at that point) believed Saddam had WMD.
He was ignoring the UN, violating no fly zones and had threatened to
assassinate a former president - a clear act of war which, btw, had it
been answered back then, might have made our current reality quite
Like NB's Mark Finkelstein did last month, Bill Roggio is blogging from Iraq. Most of the troops there are far from happy with the press's coverage of the war: "In nearly every conversation, the soldiers, Marines and contractors
expressed they were upset with the coverage of the war in Iraq in
general, and the public perception of the daily situation on the
ground. The felt the media was there to sensationalize the news, and
several stated some reporters were only interested in 'blood and guts.'
They freely admitted the obstacles in front of them in Iraq. Most
recognized that while we are winning the war on the battlefield, albeit
with difficulties in some areas, we are losing the information war.
They felt the media had abandoned them."
CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, is well known for bashing those who bash Islam or those who associate it with terrorism. Now they are attacking conservative columnist and radio talker Dennis Prager. Reports the AP:
An Islamic civil rights group wants a columnist removed from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council for criticizing Rep.-elect Keith Ellison's decision to use the Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in next month.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations said Monday that comments by Dennis Prager, a columnist and conservative talk radio host, displayed an intolerance toward Islam that makes him inappropriate to serve on the council, which oversees the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
In a special edition of MSNBC's Hardball College Tour former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw went on diatribes against the President's war policy, comparing it to Vietnam, praised "rock star" Barack Obama, castigated "blatantly racist" Republican ads, charged Ronald Reagan neglected, "Mother Earth," and declared of the notoriously liberal Daily Show: "There are more facts and more truths told in the first eight minutes of The Daily Show than most political news conferences in Washington."
NBC's Campbell Brown filled in for host Chris Matthews as she teed up questions to Brokaw at Fordham University. The following are some of the more relevant rants from Brokaw:
Channel 4, a TV station seen all across England, has decided to embrace the country's coming Islamification. Reports the Daily Mail:
Channel 4 is to reignite controversy over the wearing of the veil - by featuring a Muslim woman in full niqab giving the broadcaster's alternative Christmas message.
The woman, today named only as Khadija and said to be a lecturer in Islamic studies, will go head-to-head with the Queen when she gives her annual speech to the nation on 25 December.
Producers are said to have "discovered" her after a month-long search for a suitable candidate.
A spokesman for the channel added: "We felt it fitting that Channel 4's alternative Christmas message should be given by a Muslim woman in a year when issues of religious and racial identity and freedom of expression have dominated the news agenda.
For a man that is averaging a paltry 600,000 viewers an evening, he sure is full of…himself. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann sat down with the folks from Radar Online for an interview published Monday (hat tip TVNewser), and it must have been hard to get his head through the entranceway.
First, he did what most employees learn at an early age is a no-no – he took on his boss. His interviewers asked: “Dan Abrams said recently that your program ‘could become a model for the newscast of the future.’ Are you a role model?” Olby obnoxiously responded (emphasis mine throughout):
I don't know what Dan has to do with it frankly. We've never had a conversation about the direction of the show. He's actually the—The general manager [of MSNBC], right, but we rarely interact. As far as I know he works on dayside programming. Phil Griffin runs the network. He is the vice president of NBC [News] and my original producer in television.
Then, he went after CNN’s Lou Dobbs (emphasis mine throughout):
The article, Court Reviews Race as Factor in School Plans, is just what you’d expect from hacktivist reporters who spend just as much time furthering an agenda as they do in reporting out of context and sparsely connected facts. The end result is an article that has little to do with being correct let alone honest.
The Iraq Study Group's recommendations are about to be released. Think about it: what should be the media's focus? I'd say attention should center on what those recommendations are, and whether if implemented they would advance - or impair - US interests in Iraq.
But that's not the MSM's focus at all. From the cover of Newsweek to the Today show, the concern is not whether the recommendations are good, but only whether President Bush will accept them.
In the course of Matt Lauer's interview of former Bush chief-of-staff Andy Card, 'Today' flashed the Newsweek cover shown here. When Card began
Give New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof credit for a couple things. First, he is as far from an armchair pundit as you can get, having been virtually everywhere and put himself on the line innumerable times. Check his bio. Second, he makes no bones about what he is proposing in Iraq in his pay-per-view column of today. "Cut and walk" isn't my gloss; it's Kristof's headline.
That said, Kristof's column reads like something that might have been written by warm 'n fuzzy Stuart Smalley, the SNL character Al Franken hilariously immortalized before deciding he had serious things to say.
The BBC reports that John Bolton had to leave the UN due to a weakened Bush and Republican set backs in the November election. While those facts are true, a responsible reporting organization should know that Bolton failed to be confirmed prior to the election.
If the November 7 results had produced the exact same composition in the Senate, Bolton still wouldn't have been confirmed. In fact, he might have been confirmed in the last session were it not for weakness, not of Bush, but a Republican headed out of the Senate - Mr. Chafee, I presume.
Anything to keep the meme going, Democrats up, Republicans down. And of course it's all Bush's fault. The article also contains praise for Bolton from the Chinese Ambassador.
On Monday's World News with Charles Gibson, host Gibson referred to the 1980s as the "Me Decade" while reading a short story about volunteerism in America. Citing an unspecified "new study" showing that volunteerism is at a 30-year high with 27 percent of Americans donating time to community service, the ABC host noted that the number was "up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s." Gibson added: "Which, you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"
Below is a complete transcript of the story from the December 4 World News with Charles Gibson:
Charles Gibson: "And one note about what a lot of Americans are doing with their time. They're donating it. A new study out today says volunteering is at a 30-year high. More than a quarter of all American adults now spend time doing community service, up from a low of 20 percent at the end of the 1980s, which, as you may recall, was known as the 'Me Decade.'"
The Washington Post's Michelle Boorstein penned a front page story on two Northern Virginia Episcopal parishes preparing to vote on whether to formally sever ties with the denomination and to submit to the authority of a more conservative Nigerian Anglican bishop.
Boorstein gets off to a biased start by labeling said Nigerian bishop as "controversial." No such label was assigned Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefforts-Schori, although her theology is far from congruent with historic, orthodox Christianity.
What's more, one of Boorstein's sources, Diana Butler Bass, was presented merely as "a U.S. church historian."
"What will win now? This politicized culture, or that old Anglican, spiritual way of being in the world," Bass told Boorstein, practically casting biblically orthodox Episcopals as rabble rousing radicals within the denomination.
In the midst of an otherwise positive story Monday night about the “revival” of religiously-inspired movies, such as The Nativity Story and Facing the Giants, CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric saw a dark side. She pressed Catherine Hardwicke, director of The Nativity Story and Mike Rich, the film's screenwriter: "Do you worry at all that non-believers may feel excluded and diminished at a time when we're so divided about so much?" As if there's a dearth of non-spiritual films for people to see. Has anyone at CBS News ever worried about how the faithful feel “excluded” and “diminished” by multiplexes playing only violent and sexually-explicit films, to say nothing of the many which include scenes ridiculing the faithful or portraying religious figures as criminals?
The CBSNews.com online version of the story has this text in place of Couric's question: “But what if you don't believe? That was Chicago Mayor Richard Daly's concern last week when he banned ads for The Nativity Story from the city's annual Christmas festival.” A “Christmas” festival without the very story on which it is based!
On Monday’s "Situation Room," CNN reporter Jeff Greenfield discussed the possibility of American losing in Iraq and whether it would turn out to be such a terrible thing. He began by describing several historical military defeats, including Vietnam, and, according to Greenfield, many of these examples seemed to lead to positive outcomes. It’s fitting that host Wolf Blitzer introduced him by noting that the reporter was "contemplating the ‘L’ word."
Greenfield: "In one view, such setbacks encouraged America’s adversaries to be more bold in their assaults. But over time, another picture emerges. Less than 20 years after the fall of Vietnam, the Soviet Union literally ceased to exist. More than half a century after China became communist, the U.S. is economically, at least, a partner. And America's biggest companies see China not as a threat, as but a huge market. And Vietnam? It embraces an American president and American investments. As for Iraq, the turmoil there almost surely means that the ambitious goals of the invasion, a stable, functioning democracy are beyond reach. But if the United States chooses to engage and chooses, as well, to talk with nations in the region like Iran and Syria, that course will likely trigger a profound debate, perhaps even reaching into the next presidential campaign. And what would that debate be about? More than anything else, one key question: Would this engagement tell the world that the United States has become weaker--or wiser?"
Jon Meacham, editor of "Newsweek," compared journalists to MTV’s teen morons Beavis and Butt-Head for the demands they make on public officials, and portrayed himself as understanding of negative public sentiments of the media:
"One of the things people don’t like about journalists, reasonably, is that we’re kind of like Beavis and Butt-Head. You know, we demand people change, and then when they change, we kick ‘em in the shins and say ‘well, you didn’t change quick enough.'"
Meacham's comments came in the 6:00 hour of Monday’s "Imus in the Morning." Yet, if one were to read the latest issue of "Newsweek," it is apparent Meacham’s words are not followed by action. An article by Evan Thomas, criticized the White House for not changing course quick enough and being hostile to change. It rekindled the story of President Bush’s alcoholism, and his decision to quit drinking twenty years ago and asserted that this was the last "midcourse correction" of the current president:
Here comes the 2008 presidential cycle, and on cue, Associated Press reporters are finding "centrists" in the race whose voting records are NOT a 50-50 mishmash of conservative and liberal. This cycle's "centrist" contenders are Hillary Clinton (actually strongly, staunchly liberal) and Evan Bayh (liberal most of the time.)
AP reporter Beth Fouhy stressed that Hillary Clinton won "even the most conservative areas of her adopted home state of New York," but there are drawbacks: "Despite her centrist six-year Senate voting record, Clinton's reputation remains deeply rooted in her polarizing eight years as first lady. Skeptics say she may still be too liberal for many voters, who recall her husband's scandal-plagued presidency and her own audacious effort to reform the nation's health care system."
Did NBC reporter Richard Engel blame conservative Laura Ingraham for a reporter’s abduction in Iraq? Appearing on CNN’s "Reliable Sources" on Sunday, Engel asserted that harsh criticism of media coverage in Iraq resulted in a correspondent’s kidnapping. He elaborated, saying that reporters stung by claims that they offer only bad news are more likely to get themselves in dangerous situations. Although Engel did not state specifically who he meant, it’s likely that he was referencing talk show host Laura Ingraham. In March, she appeared on the "Today" show and attacked NBC’s negative coverage and the practice of "reporting from hotel balconies." Responding to a question from "Reliable Sources" host Howard Kurtz, Engel said this about criticism:
Howard Kurtz: "Richard Engel, top administration officials, as you well know, have repeatedly criticized correspondents like you for painting an unnecessarily negative picture of what's going on in Iraq, staying in the Green Zone, and all of that. Now that this -- even the private doubts and reservations of the White House and the Pentagon are coming out, do you feel vindicated?"
Richard Engel: "No. It's been very frustrating all along to be at the receiving end of that criticism with acquisitions like we just spend all of our time in the Green Zone....It's also, in some degree, dangerous. I mean, I know reporters, colleagues of mine who have received so much criticism over the last three and a half, four years, that they felt they've had something to prove. And so they put themselves in extraordinarily dangerous situations. And I know one reporter who was kidnapped as a result of it. So it's not a sense of vindication, but it is good that people are finally starting to see that the situation in Iraq is tremendously difficult, and it is not just reporters who are looking for bad -- bad news stories."
Here’s something you don’t see every day: the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a strong statement to television networks and marketing firms cautioning that the messages present in advertisements are harming America’s children. As reported by the Associated Press Sunday:
Inappropriate advertising contributes to many kids' ills, from obesity to anorexia, to drinking booze and having sex too soon, and Congress should crack down on it, the American Academy of Pediatrics says.
The influential doctors' group issued a new policy statement in response to what it calls a rising tide of advertising aimed at children. The policy appears in December's Pediatrics, scheduled for release Monday.
Substitute hosting for Chris Matthews, NBC's Andrea Mitchell asked the panel of this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show to rate Hillary Clinton's chances for the Democratic nomination. In doing so Mitchell claimed that Hillary "hopes to capitalize on the nostalgia that many Americans have for the Clinton years, the good old days." Mitchell also snidely put down the entire South when she wondered if they would accept a female president: "What about down South?...Does she not fit the traditional model of what a woman should be?" When the panel turned to whether Bill Clinton would be a negative or positive for Hillary Mitchell agreed with New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller, exclaiming, either way, that it would be "Great for journalism!"
Zeleny quotes Dean: "'The other party made mistakes in the past claiming that elections are mandates. Elections are not mandates. The voters of this country loaned the Democrats the power of the country for two years. Now it’s our job to earn it back again.''
National Public Radio oozes liberalism in nearly everything it does, especially when it starts tickling itself, like insisting Cheney lives in Rove's butt on its game shows. NPR's website advertises its "First Ever Holiday Craft Contest." Listeners are invited to design either a handmade menorah or a Christmas tree ornament. "We are looking for designs that reflect the news of 2006. We also welcome quirky, funny and/or offbeat designs. (See examples to the left.)" That would include a Christmas ornament with Scientology baby Suri Cruise, and some Mel Gibson mockery:
Sample Entry: Mel Gibson Mel-norah. This menorah works on two levels: It symbolizes a willingness to accept Gibson's apology for his anti-Semitic rant but also, for skeptics, offers the chance to watch hot wax drip down his punim (the Yiddish word for face). Materials: Mel Gibson cutouts and menorah.
The furor sparked by NBC News's self-important declaration that Iraq is now in a "civil war" is further proof that for all the chest-beating new media types sometimes do about displacing the MSM, the "dinosaur media" still matter. David Zurawik writes at the Baltimore Sun:
The bellowing began Monday when NBC announced that it had decided to call the conflict in Iraq a civil war.
24 hours had passed, discussions about what constitutes a civil war was
being debated on Capitol Hill, parsed on the front pages of newspapers
nationwide and discussed on TV and radio talk shows.
if network news is a dinosaur, it still has a huge audience - an
aggregate that can be matched nowhere else in the media - and that's a
fact often overlooked," said Philip M. Seib, Nieman, author of Going
Live: Doing the News Right in a Real-Time Online World (Roman &
"The lesson of the week is an
unmistakable reminder that national broadcast networks can still have a
profound effect on political discourse in this country in a way that no
single newspaper, with the possible exception of the New York Times,
can hope to have."
Indeed the network wasn't the first media
organization to make such a decision: The Los Angeles Times, one of the
nation's largest and most influential newspapers last October began
referring in its pages to the conflict in Iraq, with hardly a blip in
either media or national debates.
But NBC's decision was
announced by co-host Matt Lauer on the Today Show, the highest-rated of
the network morning shows, and reached a daily audience of 5.7 million
Yahoo News and Reuters want regular people to send them photos from their personal devices. This way, terrorists don't have to merely give propaganda to journalists in Iraq, they can send it directly to the editors back home. Reports the New York Times:
Hoping to turn the millions of people with digital cameras and camera phones into photojournalists, Yahoo and Reuters are introducing an effort to showcase photographs and video of news events submitted by the public.
Starting Tuesday, the photos and videos submitted will be placed throughout Reuters.com and Yahoo News, the most popular news Web site in the United States, according to comScore MediaMetrix.
Reuters said it would also start to distribute some of the submissions next year to the thousands of print, online and broadcast media outlets that subscribe to its news service. Reuters said it hoped to develop a service devoted entirely to user-submitted photographs and video.
Media: Back during the NYT's fanatical crusade about women's golf, the paper repeatedly stopped its columnists from criticizing its support to get women allowed into the Augusta National club on the grounds that doing so would send a discordant editorial voice. Many newspapers have similar policies. Apparently not the Minneapolis Star Tribune, though, where the paper printed a Sunday editorial that explicitly undercut a columnist who had argued that the staging of a play critical of the Roman Catholic church was hypocritical and wondered whether a similar play would be produced taking Islam to task. Scott at Power Line has the details.
Politics: Is Nancy Pelosi using the media to nudge Democrats she doesn't prefer out of the limelight? John Bolton resigns. Will the Bush Admin make another push to secure Baghdad? Ed Morrissey looks at how the sudden Obama-mania might be a sign of desperation among anti-Hillary Democrats.
ABC's George Stephanopoulos has shown that he's bi-partisan when it comes to advocating tax hikes. Before the election, he lectured Republican Senate candidate Stephen Laffey: "If the deficit continued to grow, it's not responsible to say you're never going to raise taxes." On Sunday, he pushed Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democratic candidate for President, to call for higher taxes on energy. Stephanopoulos contended that "just about every expert on energy says the best way to become energy independent is to raise the price of oil and gas, to have a serious energy tax. Why not call for it?" Stephanopoulos followed up by pointing to Europe as a model to emulate: "Couldn't we become independent much more quickly if we had the kind of energy tax you see in Europe?"
When a domestic industry is having problems with foreign competitors, foreign-owned companies in the US, or outsourcing, there is usually plenty of media coverage.
But when an entire sector of the financial services industry is in jeopardy, namely the issuance of shares in companies going public for the first time (initial public offerings, or IPOs), the news and commentary can't seem to break out of the business-reporting realm.
Read the following, and then I'll attempt to explain why.
LONDON AND HONG KONG "HEART" SARBANES-OXLEY
Sarbanes-Oxley Quotes of the Day: Kudlow Discussion Group and John Fund Column
Joining an undistinguished list of Hollywoodans biting the hand that feeds them, actress Gwyneth Paltrow declared on Saturday that she prefers the British to her own countrymen, slamming the civility and intellectual capacity of all us uncultured Americanos. As reported by Agence France Presse (hat tip to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Oscar-winning US actressGwyneth Paltrow feels dinner talk is far more interesting in her adopted homeland Britain than back in her native country.
"I love the English lifestyle, it's not as capitalistic as America. People don't talk about work and money, they talk about interesting things at dinner," she told "NS," the weekend magazine supplement of daily Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias on Saturday.
Isn’t that special? Not as capitalistic! Dontcha love all the Hollywoodans that complain about American capitalism as they charge movie producers tens of millions of dollars for four months work? Regardless of the oozing hypocricy, her worst insults were yet to come: