Several outlets frown on 243,000 new jobs, but others show improvement in coverage of monthly jobs report.
As good a month as February was for Americans looking for work, some media continued to do a sub-par job of informing the public about the condition of the nation’s labor market – even as almost a quarter of a million new positions were created. Although the overall coverage was better than last month and throughout 2005, some of America’s leading media outlets downplayed the fabulous news released by the Labor Department on March 10, while “The Most Trusted Name in News” largely ignored it.
While Wall Street cheered the great news – the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied by 104 points after the announcement – ABC and The New York Times weren’t content to allow people to celebrate for very long. Instead, The Times began downplaying the good news in the first sentence of its March 11 article, stating the report was “igniting concerns” on Wall Street “that higher wages could fuel inflation.”
And, though ABC’s “World News Tonight” led with this story on the evening of March 10, it finished its report discussing those still having a hard time finding work, suggesting that this “may account for why 57 percent of Americans in our ABC polling say this economy is bad.”
Tom Fox, a member of the anti-American Christian Peacekeeper Teams, has been
murdered by terrorists in Iraq who held him hostage for more than three months,
the New York Times reported on Saturday.
the paper carried a follow-up report that Fox "had apparently been tortured
by his captors before being shot multiple times in the head and dumped on a
trash heap next to a railway line in western Baghdad."
This is something I thought I’d never say, but bravo to CNN’s Soledad O’Brien who did a far better job of questioning Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) concerning his call for a censure of President Bush than ABC’s George Stephanopoulos did on Sunday’s “This Week.”
Feingold appeared on “American Morning” Monday to discuss his proposed censure of the president over his use of the National Security Agency to perform terrorist surveillance. And, O’Brien was quite the pit bull (video link to follow).
Shortly after introductory pleasantries, O’Brien said to Feingold: “Already the Senate majority leader has said ‘it's crazy.’ That's a quote, ‘It's crazy.’” She then asked almost incredulously, “Why are you doing this?”
CBS News chose the day President Bush launched a series of speeches, intended to boost support for the Iraq war, to highlight a poll which found most Americans are much more pessimistic than is the President. In laying out on Monday's CBS Evening News a series of poll findings, including how 66 percent feel Bush has been describing the “things in Iraq” as “better than they are,” both Bob Schieffer and Jim Axelrod skipped the finding that, while the media fare better than Bush, nearly a third (31 percent) say the media “make things sound worse in Iraq than they really are,” compared to 24 percent who perceive the media are describing things “better than they are” and 35 percent who think journalism on Iraq “accurately” reflects the situation.
Schieffer rattled off how the percent who believe the "war is going badly” is up while the percent who see future success is down since January, before Jim Axelrod followed Bush's warning, that the terrorists want to start a civil war, with a survey finding which matched the media's mantra: "Seven of ten Americans say Iraq is already in a civil war. Another 13 percent say it will be." Pouring on the dour numbers, Axelrod asserted: "The President wants to rally Americans, but public opinion is fading fast. Only 43 percent now believe Iraq will become a stable democracy. A 15 point drop in just two months." Axelrod concluded: “With suicide bombs now going off nearly every day in Iraq, it will take some real progress on the ground and not just speeches to revive American's optimism.” You certainly can't count on the media for any optimism. Lara Logan soon checked in from Baghdad with how “there is grave concern amongst leaders here that civil war is exactly where this country is heading.”(Transcript follows.)
Here's a little more from Brian Lamb's interview with Keith Olbermann on C-SPAN, in particular, more of his denying a liberal bias, lamely vowing he "goes after power," Republican or Democrat, and his explanations for why he has a regular "museum" of VHS tapes of his shows to preserve himself for posterity.
About halfway through the C-SPAN hour, Lamb played a typical "Countdown" clip, with Olbermann mocking Harry Whittington for suggesting the Cheney shooting accident happened on a "Friday" instead of a "Saturday." Lamb was a little blunt:
Lamb: "As you know, anybody watching this will see bias right there."
Fresh from winning an Oscar for his movie "Crash," director Paul Haggis is looking to produce and direct a movie based on the memoirs of Richard Clarke, the disgruntled former anti-terrorism official who accuses the Bush Administration of botching the war on terrorism.
Reuters reporter Tatiana Siegel has the story. Notably missing is when the expected release date for the picture will be. Anyone willing to bet against a summer of 2008 launch?
Hot off his best picture win for "Crash," Paul Haggis is in final negotiations to direct and produce "Against All Enemies," a project based on Richard A. Clarke's best-selling memoir chronicling the Bush administration's handling of terrorist threats.
It's not exactly news to the GOP base that John McCain is not one of them. But it was perhaps noteworthy to hear Chris Matthews, ostensibly a McCain man [at least when it comes to his preference among Republican presidential hopefuls], acknowledge that fact on this evening's Hardball. He might also have raised eyebrows on the other side of the aisle by ripping Democrats for their weakness on illegal immigration.
Speaking of the issues that were stressed at this past weekend's Republican coffee klatsch in Memphis, Matthews stated "all I heard was . . . no gay marriage, immigration - lock it up, stop illegals - keep cutting taxes and keep appointing conservative justices."
On C-SPAN’s Sunday night Brian Lamb interview show "Q & A," MSNBC "Countdown" host Keith Olbermann lit into Fox News Channel in an extended rant, suggesting that its demise was the "best hope of mankind." He could not believe their "fear"-based marketing strategy about being an oasis of balance in a liberal media world, was just agog at "the idea that there are vast [media] structures designed to foment liberal causes."
He also oddly claimed that while now he’s described as a "screaming liberal," no one called him that in his previous MSNBC stint during the Lewinsky scandal. Correction: the MRC gave him an award for outrageousness for comparing Clinton prosecutor Ken Starr to Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler.
CBS’s "The Early Show" continued with its practice of bringing in left leaning analysts to explain why things are going so horrendously for President Bush and his Administration. This morning’s guest was Craig Crawford from "Congressional Quarterly."
"Early Show" co-host Harry Smith interviewed Crawford, and once again made a bit of a snafu. He misquoted remarks from Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis on Saturday.
Harry Smith: "So interesting. We heard a couple of sound bytes from this big Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis. Even heard Sam Brownback say I'm a Ronald Reagan Democrat, I'm not a George Bush Democrat."
On CNN’s American Morning, U.S. News & World Report Editor-At-Large David Gergen fretted that Republican Senator John McCain may be transforming into a "hard-core conservative" after McCain expressed his support for President Bush at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Memphis, Tennessee on March 10. Responding to a question from co-host Miles O’Brien on the conference’s straw poll of potential Republican 2008 presidential candidates, Gergen worried that McCain’s support of the President may threaten his image as a "straight-talking" moderate.
David Gergen: "But the big news out of, out of Memphis was also John McCain swinging so forcefully behind President Bush. And he’s, he’s clearly making a move now to become the heir apparent to President Bush. The big question over John McCain right now is in moving behind President Bush, does he threaten to blur the, the portrait of him as a, as a maverick, independent, straight-talking, moderate conservative? Or does he become, begin to become another Bush hard-core conservative?"
It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows "60 Minutes" on a regular basis that the reporters have a problem with presenting facts, or at least truth in disclosure concerning the “experts” they bring on to give us the facts.
On yesterday’s syndicated The Chris Matthews Show, Matthews worried Cheney might start a war over his "crowd pleaser" comments because Iran’s nuclear ambitions are now "a matter of national pride for Iranians." Howard Fineman for his part is taking Al Gore seriously again and claimed a new movie featuring Gore is going to turn him "into a cult figure." During the show’s prediction segment where Matthews asks the panel to "tell me something I don’t know," Fineman gave offered this scoop:
Howard Fineman: "Chris you know how Scott Fitzgerald said there are no second acts in American lives? Well there are in politics and two of the big names you're gonna be hearing in the ‘08 cycle for president Newt Gingrich and Al Gore. Mark my word the movie about Al Gore and his crusade on global warming is gonna turn him not into, only into a cult figure on the campaign trail but a real candidate."
The New York Times Sunday magazine examines Democratic aspirations to take back the House and Senate this year in liberal contributing writer James Traub’s “Party Like It’s 1994.” But 12 years after the fact, the Times and Traub still see the 1994 watershed through the conventional liberal wisdom of the time, as an anti-incumbent blast of anger that didn’t augur a nationwide shift to conservatism.
“Nineteen ninety-four was arguably the most consequential nonpresidential election of the 20th century. The Republicans shocked political professionals, including President Bill Clinton, by gaining 52 seats in the House, giving them a majority there for the first time in 40 years. (They picked up eight seats in the Senate to wrest control there as well.) What immense forces suddenly burst through the earth's crust that fall? Anger, for one. Pollsters found an electorate utterly disgusted with politics and politicians. In 1992, 80 percent of poll respondents said they believed that government favored the rich and powerful, while two-thirds agreed that ‘quite a few’ national politicians were corrupt. Neither party had anything like a Jack Abramoff scandal; but the sense of drift, of futility, was very deep.”
Eric Newton, director of journalism initiatives at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in Miami and a volunteer judge for the National Journalism Awards, lists all the accomplishments of journalists in the past year:
Since you won't learn what everyday journalists do from watching talk shows, let's run down a list of what they have actually done this past year, drawn from the entries to the National Journalism Awards:
• Died in war zones so we can know what was really happening.
• Risked their lives to warn their towns when bad hurricanes were coming.
• Explained how Social Security works and how to fix it.
• Revealed how crooked public servants squandered public money.
Certainly, this should come as no surprise – actor George Clooney is a liberal. Yet, in an era when fewer and fewer people want to admit this in mixed company – with polls showing that the ranks of “declared” liberals have significantly declined in the last decade – it is fascinating to see someone – even a Hollywoodian – so proudly proclaim their leftist affiliation.
Yet, that’s exactly what George Clooney did today at HuffPo. In a blog post entitled “I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!” Clooney couldn’t have been more clear:
“I am a liberal. And I make no apologies for it. Hell, I'm proud of it.”
Jack Kelly, national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, writes that journalists who accused Bush of "cherrypicking" the intelligence on Iraq's WMDs "have cherrypicked facts and quotes to give the false impression there is civil war in Iraq."
For instance, The Washington Post reported on Feb. 25 that 120 Sunni mosques had been attacked in retaliation for the destruction of the Golden Mosque, holy to the Shiites. In a March 3 news conference, Gen. George Casey, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, said:
"We can confirm attacks on about 30 mosques around the country, with less than 10 of those mosques moderately damaged, and only two or three severely damaged. We visited eight mosques (in Baghdad) that were reportedly damaged. We found one broken window in those eight mosques."
John McCain made the front page in both Saturday's and Sunday's editions of the Washington Post. This is the first obvious sign of how the 2008 race will play out: once again, the liberal media will put Sen. McCain on a fluffy bed of pillows and carry his platform around while he feeds them donuts. They never seem to understand that their constant championing of him poisons what mild appeal McCain might have with the conservative base.
Satuday's story by Tom Edsall and Chris Cillizza was headlined "Money's Going to Talk in 2008." McCain's name was not in the first paragraphs of that story, but it was illustrated with a photo of McCain at this weekend's Memphis dog-and-pony show, and the caption explained "The Arizonan praised President Bush and muddied a straw poll by telling his supporters to write in Bush's name instead." (Edsall and Cillizza were talking about the big money-stakes this time around. Dan Balz had the McCain story from Memphis.)
If you put stock in the actual results of the Memphis GOP straw poll, you've got things . . . Oz backwards. At least, that's Chris Matthews' view.
In Dorothy's adventure, the Wizard cautioned us to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." But this morning, Chris Matthews told us that the way to understand what happened in Memphis was to do just that - look behind the curtain at the Republican heavy-hitters lining up behind John McCain.
Interviewed by Matt Lauer on this morning's Today show, Matthews claimed:
"The big thing for McCain is the strength he showed not in the straw vote [where he finished at the bottom of the pack] but among powerful people. [Haley] Barbour, Lindsey Graham, Trent Lott and [J.C.] Watts all talked up McCain. I think McCain is building up strength."
Mainstream outlets love it when Republicans knock their own, don't they? Sunday's opinion section of the Los Angeles Times (March 12, 2006, called "Current") devoted no less than four articles to a Bush-bashing feature called "Conservative Crackup." The theme? Because of President Bush, the GOP faces an "identity crisis" and "discomfort." Oh, yeah. And Iraq has been "an astonishing flop."
"Bush is not a conservative. He has bushwhacked the term. He is a right-wing ideologue," spits Jeffrey Hart ... "Democrat Bill Clinton's administration is looking more and more like the 'good old days'," writes Bruce Bartlett ... President Bush has "made the Democrats look like a credible alternative," claims Daniel Drezner.
The cover of The Washington Post "Book World" section Sunday preached environmental alarmism, with the headine: "Global Warning: Three New Books Argue That We Are Smothering Our Home." Inside, freelance journalist Thomas Hayden (no, not Jane-Fonda-marryin' Tom Hayden, a different one) touted three books, two of them featuring "objective" media authors: Elizabeth Kolbert, a former reporter for the New York Times, and Eugene Linden, a longtime global-warming soothsayer for Time magazine.
Hayden summarizes that the most discouraging problem is dealing with incredibly cautious media outlets, who have not been passionate enough in their exclusion of annoying and worthless conservatives and skeptical scientists:
On Saturday the Associated Press ran a story on the 2006 National Black Peoples Unity Convention held in Gary, Indiana. It begins: "Entertainer Harry Belafonte renewed his criticism of President Bush and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urged education reform during the second day of the 2006 National Black Peoples Unity Convention."
Portraying Belafonte, who had his last big hit record half a century ago, as an entertainer is stretching it. He would much more accurately be described as a propagandizing dupe.
Here's a man who has raised money for the Rosenberg Fund, named after atomic bomb spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Who hailed Fidel Castro as "an example of keeping the principles the Rosenbergs fought and died for alive." Who participated in pro-Communist "peace rallies" in Europe.
On this morning's Face The Nation, Bob Schieffer asked Illinois Democrat Senator Barack Obama about ethics reform, which the anchor said "looks like it's just almost about to slide right off the table."
Senator Obama responded: "Well, I'm not going to let it slide off the table." He went on to say that "We're going to try to see if we can ban some of the corporate jets that are being used and perks."
Mr. Schieffer could have followed up with a question concerning the senator's own practices in that area. Last month in "The Hill," reporter Lynn Sweet wrote: "In 2005, Obama took 23 such private aircraft flights, some to attend fundraisers he headlined."
Being an early-to-bed type, I taped SNL overnight and was playing it this morning when Good Morning America's Sunday show came on. Watching co-host Kate Snow's performance, I was tempted to double-check to make sure I hadn't inadvertently hit the VCR button in the midst of a parody of vacuous blonde MSMer.
The screen capture here is revealing. When it comes to posing prettily, Snow's a peppy pro. But when it came to substance, she revealed not merely a tired MSM bias, but a lack of preparation and perhaps an even more inherent flaw.
For starters, consider Snow's choice of sources. She began by citing the NY Times, and had as her expert guest John Dickerson of the left-leaning online magazine Slate.
Tonight's Hardball post-mortem special on the just-concluded Memphis straw poll of GOP presidential hopefuls was a treasure trove for political junkies.
One obvious conclusion: it was good night for Mitt Romney. As a northerner, someone from Massachusetts and a Mormon at that, finishing second in the South was a notable accomplishment.
But Chuck Todd of the Hotline suggested another headline:
"The biggest thing: we'll look back at this conference by saying this is when we found out that Haley became McCain's southern sherpa. He has made McCain bona fide. I think a Haley-McCain coupling from this weekend sends gigantic shock waves to Republicans."
As has been well-documented by Media Research Center [parent organization of NewsBusters], while MSMers are loath to label anyone or anything 'liberal,' they don't hesitate to brand various entities or individuals 'conservative' or 'right-wing.' Well, folks, I believe we have a new world record in the category.
On tonight's Fox News Watch, in the course of discussing the case of Colorado teacher Jay Bennish - who compared President Bush to Hitler - liberal [there, I said it] Neal Gabler managed to utter the term 'right-wing' four times . . . in 14 seconds. Yes, I checked it by my VCR timer.
School District to Taxpayers and Parents: Up Yours ..... and the Homeschooling Movement Gets a Yet Another Shot in the Arm:Here is yet another reason for parents to homeschool their children if at all possible (By the way, the story is hopelessly slanted -- The lecture was objectively biased; plus, the primary issue here is teaching the subject matter, and secondarily the political indoctrination Jay Bennish engaged in while not doing his job):
Bennish to teach again
Punishment not revealed; teacher returns Monday
An Aurora social studies teacher accused of giving a biased lecture that sparked national debate over academic freedom was reinstated Friday after assuring administrators he would give balanced viewpoints in all classroom discussions.
Saturday's Chicago Tribune includes a front page story titled, "The Bill they can't stomach: Voting Clinton's boyhood home a historic site too much for these 12 angry lawmakers." The article, written by senior correspondent William Neikirk, doesn't support the headline.
Yes, twelve Republican congressmen did vote against a bill, which passed with 409 votes, to name the former president's birthplace a national historic site. But characterizing them as "angry" isn't justified, at least not by anything appearing in the article. The closest thing to "angry" was a comment made by one opponent of the Clinton site that, "Maybe it should be a landmark. He is only the second president to be impeached." But that ranks pretty far down on the anger scale.
Ellen Ratner doesn't just like John McCain. She doesn't even just love him. Nope. Ellen lov-v-v-v-v-e-s the person that FCC rules require us to describe as "the maverick senator from Arizona."
But the question arises: just how influential will Ellen's adoration be for Republicans choosing their 2008 presidential candidate? Can we imagine they will not be particularly swayed by the whims of a woman who openly rooted for the war in Iraq to go badly so as to damage President Bush politically?
Ratner boarded Navy man McCain's love boat in the course of this morning's 'Long and the Short of It' segment on Fox & Friends Weekend, in which the diminutive Ratner regularly squares off with lanky conservative columnist Jim Pinkerton. The topic was the GOP 'cattle call' currently occuring in Memphis, at which attendees are hearing from several of the 2008 Republican hopefuls and will participate in a straw vote.
In the weekly Friday afternoon roundtable with Cam Edwards at NRANews.com, he brought up three stories he had seen that he doubted had received much national media attention:
1. AP reported a sports-and-politics story from Puerto Rico: "While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: "Down With Fidel," sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with fastball velocity." A Castro stooge was upset with a man with an anti-Castro sign. He was lectured on free speech by the local police.
2. Frank Greve of Knight-Ridder had an unusual story: chronicling something that didn't happen: a teen crime wave predicted by "conservative criminologist John DiIulio." Greve also notes he wrote a book on it with Bill Bennett. Neither man had comment. But there's still a good-news-for-Bush angle in it: "Americans are experiencing the sharpest decline in teen crime in modern history. Schools today are as safe as they were in the 1960s, according to Justice Department figures."
On Friday's Countdown show, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann highlighted recent comments by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, delivered during a speech at Georgetown University, seemingly directed at such conservatives as Tom DeLay and President Bush for some of their criticisms of the judiciary, criticisms which O'Connor argued put America's government at risk of heading toward dictatorship. Olbermann, who has several times compared the state of post-9/11 civil liberties in America to George Orwell's novel 1984, began his show seeming to trumpet the boost in credibility afforded to this comparison when a Supreme Court justice raises similar concerns: "It's one thing for us to throw around references to what seemed to be details from George Orwell's novel 1984 springing to life, thanks to post-9/11 thinking. It's quite another when the same kind of comments come from a just-retired justice of the U.S. Supreme Court..." Olbermann also compared actions by Republicans to those in communist countries that had "allowed dictatorships to flourish." Guest Mike Allen of Time magazine later gushed with hope that Olbermann's attention to the matter would inspire greater coverage of O'Connor's comments and "launch a thousand op-eds." (Complete transcript follows.)