Harry Belafonte spoke at the State of the Black Union on February 25. The event, which took place in Houston, saw Mr. Belafonte provide this definition of terror. He opined:
"Sending young men and young women, sons and daughters from America, to murder people in other nations is an act of terror."
The aging pop singer also wondered aloud whether Osama bin Laden was, in fact, guilty of masterminding the terrorist attacks of 9/11 (Click here to see the entire speech. Belafonte’s more incendiary comments begin at the one hour and 17 minute mark.)
Jon Stewart, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, used his February 27 appearance on Larry King Live to take some political jabs at the Bush administration. Stewart launched several attacks against the Bush White House, including his charge that the administration has "shown no real credibility."
Jon Stewart: "...My mind has been blown just so consistently by this administration’s insistence on their own competence without ever, sort of, delivering, kind of, any sort of evidence to that...They say trust us, everything’s fine. Yet,they’ve shown no real credibility."
In response to a question on the public’s reaction over the controversial deal between the U.S. and a United Arab Emirates-owned company to manage six American ports, Stewart went on the attack again:
Stewart: "I keep wondering what it takes to get fired from this administration. It seems like, literally, the worse you do, the bigger the medal you get."
The rest of Stewart’s liberal talking points are behind the cut.
According to the article by Louis Uchitelle and Megan Thee, even most of this biased sample of Americans is against raising the gas tax, but the Times helpfully tested different ways that money-hungry politicians might be able to talk them into it:
Or, to be accurate, the “right-wing bias” that the Los Angeles Times apparently held before the “provincial” paper moved to the left and garnered “respect.”
NY Times Obituary writer Jonathan Kandell remembers Los Angeles Times Publisher Otis Chandler in Tuesday's edition.
“Otis Chandler, who inherited The Los Angeles Times from his parents and then, as its publisher, transformed it into one of the most respected, widely read and profitable newspapers in the United States, died yesterday at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 78 years old.”
Kandell discovers political bias in the media, as Chandler guided the paper from "right-wing bias" to respectability.
After being bashed for years by an elite press corps full of ideological opponents, the Bush White House is fighting back in an upcoming book by former Washington Times reporter Bill Sammon, condemning the media and especially CBS.
"It's the beginning of the twenty-first century; it also happens to be the beginning of—or near the beginning—of a revolution in newsgathering and dissemination," President Bush said in an interview for Strategery, which is being released by publisher Alfred Regnery.
"I think what's healthy is that there's no monopoly on the news," Bush said. "There's competition. There's competition for the attention of, you know, 290 million people, or whatever it is.
Admin officials have especially strong words for CBS and its disgraced former anchorman, Dan Rather, whom strategist Karl Rove dismisses as "no serious reporter."
Now it's getting nasty. Katie Couric has pointedly suggested that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour's past chairmanship of the Republican National Committee permitted him to snare a disproportionately large share of Katrina rebuilding funds.
The accusation came in the course of Couric's interview of Jim Amoss, editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. An aside: whereas Katie seemed frustrated in an earlier interview this morning of Mayor Ray Nagin when he was unwilling to point the finger at the Bush administration for allegedly slow progress, Amoss was much more compliant. He laid most of the fault at FEMA's feet, and also blamed the federal government for doing nothing to improve levees it allegedly knew were insufficient.
In its classic "fair and balanced" tradition, CBS slanted in favor of Democrats its poll that found Bush has a 34 percent approval rating and a 59 percent disapproval rating, an all-time high for a CBS poll.
On the bottom of the PDF version of the poll (page 18) it says how many Democrats versus Republicans were contacted.
"Total Republicans" contacted: 272 unweighted and 289 weighted.
"Total Democrats" contacted: 409 unweighted and 381 weighted.
"Total Independents" contacted: 337 unweighted and 348 weighted.
Brent Baker also noted how CBS failed to highlight a key portion of its poll on the Feb. 27 "CBS Evening News." 66 percent of respondents thought the media devoted "too much time" to Cheney's hunting accident.
It is not routine for our liberal media to see American troops as "avenging angels" against terror in Iraq. But it's interesting when they ignore Iraqis using those terms. Over at The Corner, Jim Robbins reports:
Mudville Gazette has a great rundown on a good news story from Iraq that the MSM has chosen to spike. Seems that Najim Abdullah Abid al-Jibouri, the Mayor of the city of Tall Afar, wrote a lengthy thank you letter to the troops of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment for saving his town from the scourge of the terrorists. He writes that the soldiers "are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism." Tall Afar used to be a ghost town run by bad guys; now it is peaceful and prosperous. This letter has been getting wide circulation on military email lists. The Washington Post had the letter but refused to print it. Imagine that!
Didn't someone get the word to Ray Nagin? Didn't His Honor know he was supposed to use his Mardi Gras appearance on the Today show to bemoan slow progress in the rebuilding of New Orleans and take some helpful shots at the Bush administration for its stinginess in allocating only $91 billion?
If Nagin wasn't playing by the Bush-bashing script, Katie Couric was there to fill the gaps and use the opportunity to plump for more government programs including an expansion of perhaps the worst idea ever in welfare - 'public housing.'
Katie opened her interview with this negative assessment: "Only 50% of the debris has been removed. Basic services are still not up and running in some areas. That may lead some people to ask: what is taking so long?"
On Monday’s installment of “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” Dobbs claimed that officials from Dubai Ports World, the company in the middle of the current port controversy, are putting pressure on CNN to silence him and CNN’s coverage of this issue (video link to follow):
“Dubai Ports World tonight is making what I consider to be a rather astonishing new attempt to silence me and our coverage of this ports deal and our reporting of what at least I consider to be legitimate national security concerns about this transaction. Dubai Ports World has actually refused to grant CNN anymore interviews from Washington or London, and it's refused to allow CNN to videotape its operations in the United Arab Emirates and Hong Kong if we were to show you the video on this broadcast.”
Dobbs stated that such pressure has happened before:
After exaggerating the deaths at the Al Askariya "Golden Mosques" and the violence after it, Iraqi Defense Minister Saadun Al Dulaimi says journalists and newspapers that incite violence will be arrested or suspended, respectively.
"This is a warning to media working in Iraq."
Agence France-Presse reports that Dulaimi gave the actual statistics for the violence in recent days that many in the media claimed would cause a "civil war."
"After verification on the ground, 119 civilians were killed since Wednesday, not 183 as reported in the media," he said. "The government calls on them (media) to assume full responsibility and play a role in reinforcing unity and to reject anything promoting violence or sedition," he said.
"We will take disciplinary action against any publication inciting violence or terrorism and its journalists will be arrested."
Though President Bush's approval rating, in a new CBS News poll released Monday night at 6:30pm EST, was just one point lower than where it stood in October -- and thus well within the poll's three-point margin of error, Bob Schieffer teased the CBS Evening News by declaring: “There is little to celebrate at the White House where public dissatisfaction, that began with the handling of Hurricane Katrina, has driven President Bush's approval ratings to an all-time low" of 34 percent. It stood at 35 percent in CBS's October 2005 survey. In the subsequent story, Jim Axelrod cited public disapproval of the port deal, declining approval for Bush's conduct of the war on terror and how only 37 percent say things in Iraq are going “well,” -- “down nine points” from the fall, but only down one point from 2004. After Axelrod, Schieffer, in New Orleans to mark the six-month anniversary of Katrina, proceeded to recite some Katrina poll numbers. (Transcript follows.)
Left unmentioned: How the poll-takers questioned many more Democrats than Republicans. A PDF posting of poll results lists 409 Democratic respondents versus 272 Republican respondents. CBS “weighted” the results to effectively count 289 Republicans versus 381 Democrats. And while in a couple of minutes of network air time you can hardly be expected to recite every poll finding, CBS managed to skip over several numbers which demonstrated the disconnect between the public and the national press corps. On “media coverage of Cheney hunting accident,” for instance, the public overwhelmingly rejected -- by three-to-one -- the media's obsession: 66 percent said the media devoted “too much time” compared to a piddling 22 percent who thought the press allocated the “right amount of time.” Another nine percent, most likely a lot of journalists and the “angry left,” believed it got “too little time.” Also, by 51 to 47 percent, most “approve of Bush authorizing wiretaps to fight terrorism.”
Chris Matthews, host of Hardball, appeared on the February 25 edition of NBC’s Today. Co-host Lester Holt began the segment, airing at 8:11AM EST, by asking Matthews about Iraq. He responded:
"The President, of course, got us to go to war in Iraq with the argument that someday down the road, that country over there on the other side of the world might someday help out the terrorists, and we've lost 3000 guys fighting that argument."
That statistic, of course, is not correct. The actual number, as of February 26, is 2294. The death of every soldier is tragic and their sacrifice should be remembered and honored. But the fact that Matthews rounded up by over 700 shows the grisly fascination that media members have with these milestones. Holt then asked the MSNBC host what options the United States had in a potential Iraqi civil war. Matthews then suggested a bleak and dire scenario:
USA Today media writer Peter Johnson reports that CBS News is not about to give up investigative journalism despite the increasing sceptism that genre endures.
CBS News' "48 Hours" recently had to apologize to a Missouri newspaper for changing a front page photo onscreen and claiming it came from the Columbia Daily Tribune.
Peter Johnson says that CBS has taken more hits than any other network.
Yet a week from today, Armen Keteyian, an eight-time Emmy-winning journalist, joins the Evening News as chief investigative correspondent. It's one of the boldest moves yet by CBS News chief Sean McManus, who was charged last October with overhauling the newscast.
CBS News president Sean McManus admits that journalists "in all forms of media have been burned," but that "doesn't mean you say, 'Well, I'm going to focus on human-interest stories exclusively instead of investigative journalism.'" He says to "run away" from investigative reporting because of events in the "recent past," would be "foolish."
Last Wednesday, sports columnist Harvey Araton wrote about the Olympian feud between U.S. speedskaters Chad Hedrick and Shani Davis, with Hedrick starring as Bush and Davis as John Kerry:
“…at the root of the conflict is Davis's belief that Hedrick has been attempting to swift boat him here at the Olympics, use him as a prop as he wraps himself, Texas-style, in the flag, for the purpose of increasing his commercial appeal, while claiming that the feud has elevated their skating and is good for the sport.”
Araton, of course, took Davis’s side.
Araton, who posts his email address with his column, relies on an unexpected surge in reader feedback to fill his Saturday follow-up on the Hedrick-Davis imbroglio.
Ken Herman of Cox Newspapers, quoted in The New York Times today about cameras in the White House briefing room:
"I don't like them seeing me do my job; I want them to
see the end result," he said of the public's looking over his shoulder in
the briefing room. "It's perfectly possible to be obnoxious and contentious
in there and produce an objective print story, but the image is so
overwhelmingly negative, and some of our TV brethren are very good at the
Yes, it's perfectly possible, it's just not probable, from my years of analyzing media bias. Terry Moran and David Gregory, for example, are just as biased in the finished product as their belligerent barrages of questioning in press briefings would suggest. And for the life of me I cannot recall a single instance where Helen Thomas has tried to elicit information from Ari Fleischer or Scott McClellan that was relevant to reporting a news story.
I also have a hard time believing that minority leaders Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) orSen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would face the same intense questions from the press were congressional news conferences as widely televised as the White House briefings.
If you look in the dictionary next to 'disgruntled', expect to find a photo of former FEMA Director Michael Brown. As the Today show graphic read, "Michael Brown Blames White House," and NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams was there to record every embittered word, with nary a nuanced question that might have probed Brown's account of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina.
In the interview excerpt shown on this morning's Today, Brown sought to exculpate himself by describing a conference call he had held with the President and top administration officials in which Brown informed them that 90% of New Orleans' population had been displaced.
Claimed Brown: "I am screaming that we need to do these things. We need all this stuff. It's like the old ketchup commercial. I just could not get the stuff to come out of the bottle."
In his Monday "Media Notes" column, Washington Post media reporter Howard Kurtz first reports on one of Jack Abramoff's friends in the media. His second item -- on CNN's Jack Cafferty -- used several quotes outlined by Brent Baker in CyberAlerts and several NewsBusters bloggers.
Cafferty's cutting remarks have made him a hero to some on the left. Liberal radio host Cenk Uygur called for Cafferty to get his own prime-time show, saying on http://HuffingtonPost.com that "he is a rare truth-teller on cable news." But Tim Graham of the conservative Media Research Center writes that Cafferty "has created a little career as a gruff anti-Bush commentator" in "an attempt to be the anti-Bill O'Reilly."
The most transparently obvious way of displaying liberal bias is to take an issue like an abortion, and suggest the conservative side is extreme, while describing the liberal, abortion-on-demand side without a label, as reasonable, almost non-ideological. Newsweek's that obvious in this week's issue, carrying the headline:
Reality Check for 'Roe'
With the hard right hoping for reversal, the black-and-white war over abortion finds itself immersed in shades of gray.
But where is the "hard left" that's so extreme they would abort a baby that was mistakenly born alive? Even as they claim the abortion debate is more ambiguous than either side would like, reporters Evan Thomas and Martha Brant are still displaying their labeling imbalance:
At the very end of this post on January 27, I asked this question about Air America Radio (AAR), which at the time was surviving by the good graces of one rich guy's wallet:
Are Al Franken’s ridiculously outsized earnings (including a LOT of money up-front) from a network that is funded by one guy a “clever” way of circumventing campaign-finance law and underwriting a possible Franken run for the US Senate in Minnesota?
My question only concerned Franken. But now that The Democracy Alliance (no working web site; an April 2005 article about the organization's plans is here), a far-left liberal group that includes billionaire George Soros, Peter "the Progressive" (Insurance) Lewis, and Rob "Meathead" Reiner as prominent members, has, according to Radio Equalizer Brian Maloney, promised to underwrite up to $8 million of Air America Radio's future losses, the scope of the question has expanded, and others are asking it, including Bill O'Reilly at Fox News. In an interview on O'Reilly's TV show (transcript here), Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who specializes in campaign finance law, called AAR's financial maneuvers "money laundering."
Brian also makes an important point for those who thought that AAR would actually compete with the rest of Talk Radio as we currently know it:
A particularly dour report on the situation in Iraq aired on this evening's NBC Nightly News (Sunday, February 26, 2006) (link with video). This is nothing new, but the last 20 seconds of the report featured remarks from a man named Nir Rosen, whom NBC innocently identified as an "Iraq analyst." Not surprisingly, Rosen is far from an impartial observer.
On CNN’s “Reliable Sources” Sunday (hat tip to Expose the Left), Salon’s Washington bureau chief Walter Shapiro attributed the current media frenzy surrounding the transfer of management of a number of American ports to DP World of the United Arab Emirates to an Associated Press article first published on February 11. Speaking with host Howard Kurtz, Shapiro stated:
“Well, I think to some extent the entire parameters of the story were set by the initial AP story that Glenn Reynolds [of “Instapundit”] linked to on February 12. And what that was, was very simply an AP story that said the ports are being taken over by a Dubai company -- a Dubai-based company and that in the lead it said that two members of the -- two of the 9/11 hijackers had United Arab Emirates passports. And the same AP story had the attacks on the deal from Chuck Schumer.”
Kurtz then asked: “So you're saying that that was a loaded piece of journalism by The Associated Press?”
Shapiro answered: “Well, I admire The Associated Press. What I am saying is it certainly set the bumper sticker -- the print set the bumper sticker standards that television then emulated, as did the blogosphere.”
Looking back in hindsight at the AP article in question written by Ted Bridis, it is easy to see Shapiro’s point. Here’s the lead:
On Thursday, Harris Interactive released results from a poll conducted in the second week of February that will likely not receive much press attention. The headline of this survey read “Majority of U.S. Adults Feel President is Justified in Authorizing Wiretaps Without Court Approval to Monitor Suspected Terrorists.” The summary of Harris’s findings: “Although almost half (47%) of U.S. adults are not familiar with the National Security Agency program that involves monitoring communications of people in the United States suspected of having ties with terrorist organizations, a clear majority (69%) of U.S. adults believe that President Bush is sometimes or often justified in authorizing wiretaps without court authorization.”
Too often, the media operate on a sort of "gentlemen's agreement" not to criticize each other so it's sometimes entertaining to see reporters and commentators step out of the "objective" pose, no matter how bizarrely.
It all started last Thursday when FNC host Bill O'Reilly announced a petition drive to get MSNBC to bring back fired host Phil Donahue out of "concern" for the network since the replacement host, Keith Olbermann, has actually lost viewers in the timeslot compared to three years ago when he first took over:
Time now for "The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day." Bring back Phil Donahue. It was three years ago this month that MSNBC fired Mr. Donahue for low ratings. We felt bad for Phil. They didn't give him much of a chance.
Phil actually said his firing was a mistake, and he was right. His successor after three long years on the air actually has fewer viewers now than Donahue did when he left. That is a disaster.
So in the interest of fairness, we have a petition on BillOReilly.com to bring Phil back, and Marlo, too, if she wants. Kind of like that Maury- Connie thing. If enough of you sign the petition, we'll send it over to NBC and hopefully, Phil Donahue will get the chance he deserves. Let's go to bat for our friend Phil. To not do so would be ridiculous. Maybe we should get a bumper sticker.
Now you could say the feud started when Olbermann started making attacking O'Reilly a regular feature of his program, largely in an effort to pander to liberal viewers, but also partly out of a desire to get O'Reilly's goat. In any case, Olbermann was immensely pleased with the mention, responding on Friday's "Countdown" with an eight-minute-plus salvo, including a rehearsed signing of O'Reilly's petition, and a montage of MSNBC staffers doing the same.
TIME’s Joe Klein has become the second prominent member of the antique media in the past two days to come out in favor of the “sale” of American ports to Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates. On Saturday, it was The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman. On Sunday, in an article highly critical of the Bush administration for a variety of issues, Klein dismissed concerns by most of his colleagues and party members regarding this transaction with pivotal questions: “Does anyone actually believe that the management suits in Dubai would run those ports any differently from the suits in Britain? Wouldn't the new Arab owners be even more conscious of security, since they wouldn't want their newly bought assets destroyed by terrorists?”
Logical questions, Joe, that your cohorts in the antique media have refused to consider. Fortunately, Klein offered answers as well:
Anyone who thinks Fox News goes too easy on Republicans would have to think twice after watching Chris Wallace's rugged cross-examination of GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on this morning's 'Fox News Sunday.' Wallace cornered and confronted Romney until he was eventually forced to admit that his position on abortion had "evolved" in a manner that suggests political opportunism.
Wallace began by noting that Romney has been accused of "flip-flopping on the issue of abortion." He put Romney's own words up on the screen from the time he was running for governor of largely pro-choice Massachusetts: "I believe women should have the right to make their own choice."
At a birthday party last night, a friend of mine mentioned how strong Gen. Tommy Franks was on Fox arguing against the idea that allowing the UAE to own ports is a security risk. The show was "Hannity & Colmes" on Thursday night, and Franks began by explaining his overview to Hannity (from the Fox online transcript):
I personally believe that we have had no greater ally in seeking a resolution of problems in the Middle East, the Palestinian issue, the Israeli issue, than we have found in the United Arab Emirates.
With regard to maintaining contact with the Taliban, even before Sept. 11 — and I'll exercise caution how I say this — but I'll say that I believe we had every reason to be thankful for the relationship and the dialogue that existed between the United Arab Emirates and the Taliban, as it assisted us in our efforts to understand what was going on in Afghanistan.
For the second time in two days, Mideast expert and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has taken a position in agreement with the Bush administration, and contrary to his bosses. You have to wonder how long Friedman can get away with this and continue to keep his job.
As reported by NewsBuster Mark Finkelstein, Friedman was on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday suggesting that the increase in violence in Iraq of late might be an indication that al Qaeda knows it’s losing. In addition, he intimated that the absence of follow-up terrorist attacks on America since 9/11 is likely due to al Qaeda’s focus on winning the war in Iraq.
Now, one day later, Friedman wrote an op-ed wherein he, for the second day in a row, appeared to be supporting the Bush administration on the recent controversy surrounding DP World:
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift has never been good at hiding her liberal bias. Whether in her columns that ooze with hatred for everything just slightly to the right of the extreme left-wing politicians she worships, or as a regular on “The McLaughlin Group,” Clift’s partisanship has always been apparent…maybe more so than any other member of the antique media.
Friday’s Newsweek column was a fine example, as Clift’s unabashed bias was in its customarily unprofessional form. In fact, her partisanship was apparent in the title’s subheading: “The controversy over the control of U.S. harbors is pitting Bush against his conservative base. Can the Democrats capitalize on this in the upcoming election?”
I guess Clift didn’t feel it was necessary to hide her bias by at least waiting until the body of her column to begin strategizing for her party. If only it ended there. Unfortunately, it didn’t, for the following was paragraph one:
Like clockwork, another op-ed article bashing the theory of intelligent design appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday (February 24, 2006). Friday's column is just the latest of several op-eds or editorials assaulting intelligent design that have appeared in the Times in the last eight months. Past pieces, which are almost on a monthly basis, are here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.