As Rich Noyes mentioned yesterday, American "mainstream" media accounts often seemed to give Mikhail Gorbachev more praise and more glory in the decline of the Soviet Union than they ever gave Boris Yeltsin. On the front page of today's Washington Post, under a positive headline ("Rough Hewn Father of Russian Democracy"), Post editorial writer Lee Hockstader authored a fairly severe obituary, which even within the first few paragraphs was strangely claiming Yeltsin was more comparable to Stalin than was Khrushchev, Brezhnev, and Gorbachev:
Like Peter the Great, the 18th-century czar he once mentioned as his model, Yeltsin was no towering democrat. In launching a war against the breakaway southern region of Chechnya in 1994, he was responsible for the violent deaths of more Russian citizens than any Kremlin leader since Joseph Stalin. As president, he tolerated -- even authorized -- the excesses of a system in some ways as corrupt and morally adrift as the one it replaced.
In his report last Thursday (HT Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em) on Congress's passage of a bill that would grant congressional representation for the District of Columbia, Associated Press writer Jim Abrams opened with nearly celebratory language. He also noted the existence of a constitutional objection to the law but failed to explain how ironclad that objection most likely is:
The people of the District of Columbia moved a step closer Thursday to gaining voting rights denied to them for more than 200 years.
But the legislation passed by the House on a 241-177 vote faced a veto threat from the White House, which said the bill was unconstitutional.
In recounting a previous such effort and its results at the end of his report, Abrams missed an easy opportunity to explain why what the House did should be irrelevant:
If you run a policy group in Washington, your chances of getting on network television are slim if you happen to advocate for a cause not favored by liberals. Your chances are even worse that anything you say won't be slapped with a "conservative" label to warn viewers of your perspective.
That's a good thing. Most groups can be placed somewhere on the political spectrum and that placement should be disclosed to the news consumer. The unfortunate thing, however, is that if you're a liberal group, your affinities often are not disclosed.
Such was the case with this MSNBC.com article on the subject of guns which features a quote from one Joseph Vince who happens to be a gun control advocate. This information is not disclosed to the audience. Instead, we get this:
ABC News polling chief Gary Langer, in a posting buried on ABCNews.com, revealed that a poll taken Sunday discovered that when “asked the primary cause of gun violence, far more Americans blamed the effects of popular culture (40 percent) or the way parents raise their children (35 percent) than the availability of guns (18 percent).” ABC's World News on Monday devoted nearly two minutes to results of ABC's survey, but didn't get to that finding which shows the public does not share the media assumption that gun availability is to blame for the murders at Virginia Tech.
Two figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Al Sharpton, were recently targeted with a death threat, but the media treated them very differently. An article by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that when the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown booked Hirsi Ali to speak, along with other Islamic leaders, a Johnstown Imam “tried to block" her from speaking and thinks she should be put to death. Other than the Pittsburgh article, the only news coverage of this was local. Here's a group of men who tried to prevent a woman from speaking and advocated her death, and even in a world hyper-aware of violence against women, the rest of the media ignored the situation and statements like this (emphasis mine throughout):
Imam Fouad ElBayly, president of the Johnstown Islamic Center, was among those who objected to Hirsi Ali's appearance.
"She has been identified as one who has defamed the faith. If you come into the faith, you must abide by the laws, and when you decide to defame it deliberately, the sentence is death," said ElBayly, who came to the U.S. from Egypt in 1976.
Update at bottom of post: other bloggers reactions.
In a column this afternoon, Politico's Roger Simon took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for giving a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman "in Christ's name.":
Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians?
He didn’t the other day. The other day, in order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer “in Christ’s name” at Ryman Auditorium, which bills itself as “Nashville’s Premier Performance Hall.”
Edwards has a perfect right to pray publicly or privately any way he wants to. But people who are not Christians often feel left out of prayers like his.
CNN's "Open House" host Gerri Willis called for new mortgage regulations on April 21.
Willis said that lawmakers were "jawboning" in D.C. about problems in the subprime mortgage market. She also mocked Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who held "a homeownership preservation summit," for not doing anything.
On the Friday edition of ABC’s “20/20,” Diane Sawyer stood in front of an ABC generated visual aid: A gigantic mound of plastic bags and paper towels.
With no sense of irony, the ABC host then proceeded to lecture viewers on waste and the need to use cloth bags at the supermarket. Referring to plastic bags as “plastic flowers,” Sawyer intoned, “They can take up to 1,000 years to degrade in landfills. So tomorrow, use a cloth bag at the grocery store, and let the trees have some real flowers.”
Of course, the ABC host offered this helpful advice right after another segment on inefficient Americans and the amount of paper towels and plastic bags they dispose of:
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
Newsweek's Howard Fineman's first instinct when he heard about the Virgina Tech shootings was to call up Capitol Hill and ask members for gun control legislation. On this weekend's syndicated Chris Matthews Show, the Newsweek reporter admitted "the first thing he did" was call the Democrats to demand: "Okay, you gonna do something now?!"
The following conversation occurred on the April 22nd edition of The Chris Matthews Show:
Chris Matthews: "Let's go to a more familiar terrain for us all: policy and politics. Just a week ago, the NRA held its national convention. Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre warned the members of the NRA that the Democratic Congress will threaten gun freedoms. Quote, this is Wayne LaPierre: 'Today, there is not one firearm owner whose freedom is secure.' Polls do show a majority of Americans now want gun access restricted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi this week is working on a bill that would prevent gun access by the mentally ill. Congressman John Dingell of Michigan is negotiating with the NRA right now on this, to try to tighten up the laws, give states enough money so they can find people like Cho, who've been through this system, been identified, and make sure they don't buy guns. Is that gonna work?"
When three white Duke lacrosse players falsely accused of raping a black stripper were finally declared innocent by the attorney general of North Carolina earlier this month, New York Times critics focused on the paper's lousy coverage of the case, including Times Watch (citing research by law writer Stuart Taylor Jr.) and most prominently Fox News anchor Brit Hume on his April 12 "Special Report."
Even as the case fell apart and other liberal media outlets backed away, the Times issued a notorious 5,000-word portrait of the case on August 25, 2006, in which reporter Duff Wilson concluded that there was enough evidence against the players for local prosecutor Michael Nifong the case to trial.
As usual, company man Calame lets the Times off easier than it deserves, but his mild, overly faithful criticism does tease out a few nuggets of insight.
Undoubtedly, Boris Yeltsin’s finest moment was the courageous defiance he showed in the face of an old guard communist coup in August 1991. Yeltsin was the focal point of those who rallied to defeat the coup, triggering the chain of events that led to dissolution of the Soviet Union just a few months later.
Yet the establishment media in this country tended to sniff at Yeltsin as an unpolished buffoon. U.S. journalists could not conceal their lack of regard for the man who helped bury Soviet communism, favoring Mikhail Gorbachev, the failed leader who futilely attempted to reform communism.
Here are just a few quotes from the Media Research Center’s Notable Quotable archive, illustrating the media’s preference of the communist Gorbachev over the rebel Yeltsin
Here's several items of interest from the Monday edition of the Washington Examiner. First, in the gossip column "Yeas & Nays," news from the big White House correspondents dinner that American Idol teen-pleaser Sanjaya Malakar is a big fan of Robert F. Kennedy, Junior:
Everyone was itching to see American Idol “star” Sanjaya Malakar (who didn’t get their picture taken with him?), but which celebrity was Sanjaya most excited to see? “Robert Kennedy,” Malakar told Yeas & Nays, adding that he’s a big fan of Kennedy’s anti-global warming efforts (Larry David, Sheryl Crow, sign him up!). But don’t expect Sanjaya to jump into politics anytime soon: When asked who he’s pulling for in the 2008 presidential race, Sanjaya declined to give a name, saying, “I’m too much inside the bubble.” (Like his singing, we’re totally confused by what he meant by that.)
The co-hosts on "The View" discussed the recent reports of the wage gap between men and women. Co-hosts Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar wondered why that story is even news. Elisabeth Hasselbeck noted that the gap begins immediately after college despite women’s higher marks in testing.
ROSIE O’DONNELL: And did you hear in the news? They’re reporting this like it's new news, which I think is funny. There is a gender pay gap in America.
JOY BEHAR: Shocking, shocking.
O’DONNELL: Women make less than men. [slapping forehead] Zoinks!
ELISABETH HASSELBECK: You know what I didn’t realize thought was right out of college, right at the jump that women are making less than men. I think they said-
A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
Here's just a sample of diarist Bcgntn's eulogy. Portions in bold are my emphasis.:
Cho lived in shadows, deep and dark. He attended classes at a
prestigious University. He was a scholar, a writer. Yet, he was
shunned. His dialect was odd, mumbled, and his words were difficult to
discern. This academic was nearing graduation, a scary proposition all
in itself. He did not feel excepted in the world. From what we know
of his history, he never had.
Thanks to NewsBusters reader hjmick, who noted coverage on imao.us, for the tip.
On the April 23 edition of "The View" the co-hosts discussed whether their families discuss politics at the dinner table. Co-host Rosie O’Donnell answered in the affirmative. The comedienne who floated September 11 conspiracy theories and railed against Catholics on the Supreme Court, exemplified how her children are following her down the far left path. Apparently her eldest son agrees with his mother that Bush stole an election.
"It's funny when because when he was in public school in first grade and Bush won, supposedly [laughter] and he went in to school that day and he gets home. I said how was school? He goes fine. He was like five years old. The teacher calls me: ‘Oh hi, Ms. O’Donnell. I just wanted to let you know that today in class Parker announced that President Bush was not the real president because he cheated.’ [laughter] And I said: ‘Well that's known as truth in our house.’"
Arlington, Va.: Okay, what's your take on the Laurie/Karl/Sheryl
dust-up? I understand it was somewhat crazy for Laurie to think she was
going to change Karl's mind then and there, but I also think that
because access to Karl is so limited for "regular" people, I would have
taken advantage of the chance to push my agenda on the nation's top
advisor had I been there. That's why this concept of "no politics
tonight, we're all friends here" for the Dinner seems silly. How often
does Karl return any of these reporter's phone calls?
Kurtz: Having not been there, I don't know whether Sheryl Crow and
Laurie David confronted Rove aggressively, which got him mad, or tried
to engage in a polite discussion of global warming, only to be
tongue-lashed by the White House adviser. Given the speed and the glee
with which they blogged about the incident, I suspect they were not
averse to making a scene.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," an ABC graphic about soaring stock prices proved, yet again, that there’s no positive economic story the media can’t spin downward:
ABC Graphic: "Will Dow Hit 13,000 Today? Is Unstoppable Market Good or Bad?"
The graphic ran underneath co-host Diane Sawyer and GMA financial contributor Mellody Hobson’s discussion over whether or not the Dow, which has been breaking records recently, is headed for a downturn.
Sawyer certainly seemed to think so. She began the program with this pessimistic tease:
CBS's $15 million experiment of hiring Katie Couric has not
paid any dividends. Six months into her tenure as anchor of the
"Evening News," Couric has actually fallen in the ratings from her
predecessor, Bob Schieffer, sparking talk within the network that the
former NBC star will soon be shown the door.
Besides ratings, CBS insiders and TV observers quoted by
Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Gail Shister take
issue with Couric over
her inability to relate to the 50+ news viewer and fluff news
Couric's personal pride seems to be the stickler, though:
It's hardly news that sportscasting, MSM-style, offers no respite from liberal politics. Particularly so when it comes to the ABC/Disney owned ESPN, the sports network that pressured Rush Limbaugh to resign from its Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show for saying what was on his mind about media treatment of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
Even so, it came as something of a shock to observe that one ESPN personality is turning his on-screen appearances into an opportunity to promote the candidacy of a Dem presidential contender. Many sportscasters have their signature calls. From Stuart Scott's "boo-yah!" to Chris Berman's "back-back-back gone!," several of the ESPN announcers utter idiosyncratic phrases to underline signal athletic accomplishments. Fair enough. But watching ESPN's Kenny Mayne over the course of the last few days, I was surprised to notice that he has coined a new call. Home run at a crucial moment? Three-pointer to take the lead in a basketball game? "Obama!", exclaims Mayne.
By now you've heard about the environmental dust-up between singer
Sheryl Crow and GOP operative Karl Rove at the White House
Correspondents Dinner. Crow wrote about the incident at Huffington
Post. She also added a new posting to her Stop Global Warming College
Tour blog that includes "easy ways for us all to become a part of the
I propose a limitation be put
on how many sqares [sic] of toilet paper can be used in any one
sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or
her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people
that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit,
except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be
required. When presenting this idea to my younger brother, who's
judgement [sic] I trust implicitly, he proposed taking it one step
further. I believe his quote was, "how bout just washing the one square
For the last two days, The Washington Post has placed a small anti-illegal immigration rally on the front page of its Metro section – a Sunday story previewing the protest, and another front-pager on the events of the Sunday rally on Monday. Why the prominent play, given they estimated the protest crowd at 400? It could be a little pre-emptive publicity to head off complaints when the pro-illegal immigration rallies arrive on May Day, the socialist fun day. Last year’s left-wing rallies in Washington drew earth-shaking, flood-the-zone Post coverage in April and May.
Pamela Constable’s Monday report is fairly straightforward, and gives opponents of illegal immigration their say. (You might quibble that the quotes sound defensive, but is that the Post’s selection of quotes, or were the speakers largely defensive?) The other quibble would be the photo in the paper with a large poster of Sen. John McCain grimacing like he’s getting his chest waxed.
The Sunday preview report by Constable and N.C. Aizenman was more interesting, particularly this: they dug into the finances and interlocking directorates of the anti-illegal immigration movement – something the Post has failed to explore in all the breathless coverage of left-wing "immigrants rights" marches.
The headline on the top left of Monday's Washington Post is "Democrats Craft New Tax Rules, New Image." Reporter Lori Montgomery notes that House Democrats are "aiming to seize taxes from Republicans as a political issue" and want to change the alternative minimum tax (AMT) to fall more upon the rich.
Forget the AMT details for a minute, and let's not blame Montgomery for the headline writer's bias. But can you imagine the Post covering the Iraq surge with a headline like "White House Crafts New Iraq Strategy, New Image"? Isn't the creation of a new public image something that needs some media cooperation? In this case, the Post seems to be aiming to help Democrats craft a new image other than their very established tax-everything-that-moves image.
Brian Wesbury, whose previous writings have been blogged on many times by yours truly (including here, here, here, and here), is very tired of the dissing the current economy is taking, and especially how it is unfavorably compared to the economy of the 1990s:
World News Sunday continued ABC's gun control crusade, devoting its “A Closer Look” segment to how after the 1996 school shooting in Dunblane, Scotland, Great Britain virtually banned handguns, suggesting it's worth emulating. But though reporter David Wright conceded, in the middle of his story, that “gun crime has risen here” since handguns were outlawed, thus seemingly undermining the premise that making guns illegal lessens crime committed with guns, he hung his story on how “Britain has never again had a school shooting.” But if gun crime is rising, that sounds more like good luck than a result of the ban.
Wright featured two Britons exasperated by the refusal of the U.S. to follow Britain's lead. Gun control activist Ann Pearston contended: “What ordinary people have got to do in the United States, if they really care about what happened at Virginia Tech, is to make the banning of firearms in the United States an election issue.” Mick North, the father of a child killed in the Dunblane incident, fretted: “Nothing happened after Columbine. Nothing happened after Nickel Mines in the Amish community. After a few weeks, nothing will happen after Virginia Tech. Even the death of 32 people may not be enough to build up the necessary momentum.”
As most NewsBusters readers are aware, the media have been foaming at the mouth this week for Congress to advance stronger gun control laws in the wake of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.
As a result, this absolutely delightful feel-good story about an 82-year-old former Miss America that defended her farm in Kentucky with a lil ol’ .38 caliber handgun is sure to be ignored by a media more interested in advancing an agenda than doing their job as disseminators of information.
Did you hear about that report released last week from a Stanford University atmospheric chemist demonstrating that the tailpipe emissions from cars using E85 ethanol are actually more dangerous than those using normal gasoline? You didn’t?
Hmmm. What a shock.
Anyway, Environmental Science & Technology reported Wednesday (emphasis added throughout, h/t NB member Dahlia Travers):
When Mark Jacobson heard a venture capitalist tout ethanol fuel as a solution to air pollution last year, he was surprised—and intrigued. Jacobson, an atmospheric chemist at Stanford University, knew that air quality got worse during Brazil's big ethanol push in the 1970s and that the reason was still unclear.
You don’t hear a lot about Brazil’s pollution woes, do you? Well, Jacobson’s instincts were quite strong: