Who says liberals lack a sense of humor? The new owner of Air America suggests that the original version of the radio network went bankrupt because . . . it was too even-handed.
Mark Green is a veteran New York pol, having served as NYC's Public Advocate and run unsuccessfuly for US senator, NYC mayor and state attorney general. His family business recently completed the acquisition of Air America out of bankruptcy. Details here.
In an email distributed today [yup, I subscribe to their list], Green described what "Air America 2.0" will be like:
"It'll be a business with a sharp point of view. The era of on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand liberalism is over -- or as Robert Frost once wrote, 'a liberal man is too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.
In a warning to the sanctity of free speech in a democratic nation, France is about to show us what happens when the state is allowed to legally determine who is allowed to be a "journalist", or who is a "legitimate" source of news: You get the criminalization of speech.
The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.
This would, in fact, place the power to silence whistleblowers from being able to expose abuse by government officials into the hands of those very officials in the case of police abuse, for instance.
"No good deed goes unpunished." -- Clare Booth Luce
So consumed is NBC with animosity toward President Bush and VP Cheney that there is virtually no good thing that it cannot spin into a negative. Take these bookend moments from this morning's "Today." In the course of a segment she narrated on the fallout from the Libby verdict for VP Cheney, Andrea Mitchell mentioned that "Cheney says his value to the president is that he has no political ambition for himself." She then ran a clip of the Veep saying "I'm not worried about what the folks in Iowa are going to say in the caucuses of January of next year. I'm here to do a job, and that is to call 'em as I see 'em."
You might think there's no way the offering of principled advice devoid of personal political ambition could be spun into a negative. Come on, you're not thinking creatively enough. Andrea found an angle: "But others say that is also a weakness, making Cheney . . . less sensitive to the political fallout from his own advice." On that theory, I suppose Mitchell will be counseling Hillary to ignore Bill's advice, since, like Cheney, he's not running either.
NBC's Today has a special attraction to stories "updating" Jesus, going "On The Road" with The DaVinci Code, and just last week, promoting the idea that the bones of Jesus had been located in an ossuary in Jerusalem. On Wednesday, liberal priest, sociologist and author Andrew Greeley, a longtime NBC favorite, came on the air to promote his new book about Jesus and his relationships with women. Father Greeley "updated" Jesus so dramatically that he practically put him in league with NARAL and Planned Parenthood:
Curry: "He, he also, according to you, had very good relationships with women. Very strong friendships with women."
Greeley: "If he were alive today and behaved the same way he would be considered to be a radical feminist."
As has been well detailed here at Newsbusters, Mitt Romney has recently been the object of the MSMs attack dogs (see here, here, here... and many others.). But it seems that, with the recent polls showing it is Rudy Giuliani, rather than Mitt, who leads in the polls, the MSM attack dogs have turned their attention to the nation's Mayor.
Apparently it isn't enough to just go after Rudy, though. Now the Boston Herald is going after his bigoted and obviously stupid potential Conservative voters -- stupid at least as far as the Herald is concerned.
When she began taking antidepressants, O'Donnell, 44, said she began yoga and "inversion therapy," in which she hangs upside down by a swing for 15 to 30 minutes a day. She demonstrates it on "The View."
That doesn't explain Joy Behar, though.
UPDATE (3/8/2007| 10:06 EST): NewsBusters regular Jack Bauer has his take here. And while we're at it, I was hoping Fox News Channel "Red Eye" host Greg Gutfeld would have something snarky about this on his Daily Gut blog along the lines of what he said about Rosie on "The Big Story" yesterday. But alas, he hasn't. Even so, Daily Gut is a good read.
Tim Russert appeared on Wednesday’s Today to discuss the Libby verdict. Unsurprisingly, anchor Meredith Vieira asked her co-worker no tough questions about his controversial role in the case. The NBC duo underscored how historic and how damaging the verdict was, with Russert asserting it will "connect with people in a large way." Then, in the strangest line in the interview, after blowing Libby’s conviction into the Trial of the Century, when asked about the verdict Russert said he "took no joy in it."
On Wednesday, attorney Victoria Toensing wrote an article for National Review Online suggesting Russert’s pretense that he didn’t know what lawyers did was a good reason for appeal: "The court prevented the defense from impeaching Tim Russert: The NBC anchorman, who has a law degree, testified he did not know a lawyer could not accompany a witness before the grand jury. The defense then exhumed three clips where Russert had said on the air that a lawyer cannot go into the grand jury with his client. The judge would not allow the jury to hear that other honorable people sometimes forget or misspeak when being grilled on the witness stand."
Listen up, sports fans: your favorite weekly magazine is worried about global warming, and how it might impact your next trip to the ballpark. I kid you not.
In fact, Sports Illustrated is so concerned about this issue that it’s the cover-story of the March 12 issue. Just read the hysterical opening paragraph (h/t Drudge):
The next time a ball game gets rained out during the September stretch run, you can curse the momentary worthlessness of those tickets in your pocket. Or you can wonder why it got rained out -- and ask yourself why practice had to be called off last summer on a day when there wasn't a cloud in the sky; and why that Gulf Coast wharf where you used to reel in mackerel and flounder no longer exists; and why it's been more than one winter since you pulled those titanium skis out of the garage.
Nice beginning, dontcha think? And here’s the truly delicious punchline:
Do you think the folks at the Los Angeles Times were a wee-bit excited over the "Scooter" Libby verdict yesterday? Today's paper (Wednesday, March 7, 2007) devoted no less than eight articles, twenty photos, and an unbelievable 8,406 words to the story of the verdict. Unable to contain their glee, columnists harped breathlessly that the verdict "erod[es]" the Bush administration's "already weak credibility on Iraq" and "sullies the integrity of [the] administration." (link)
On Wednesday afternoon's The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Carol Costello filed a story about Vermont residents who have successfully voted on resolutions calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. Costello described the impeachment supporters as "mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore" as she remarked that "even if this effort doesn't pay off, sure feels good."
After anchor Wolf Blitzer introduced the story as "pretty interesting," Costello made her introduction: "Interesting story, and you might say, Wolf, they are mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore. And even if this effort doesn't pay off, sure feels good. They turned out in droves in tiny Jericho, Vermont. Despite the cold and the long wait, for the townsfolk, it was worth it." (Transcript follows)
On CBS's The Early Show, anchor Harry Smith tossed softballs at Joe Wilson on Wednesday about how he and his wife greeted the Libby verdict, what the trial showed, whether Libby was protecting Vice President Cheney, and what the Wilsons' civil suit will accomplish. He asked no questions about Wilson lying about his wife lobbying for his Niger trip, or anything else Wilson's critics would want asked. Anchor Hannah Storm asked Bob Schieffer about how much the verdict will help Democrats, and they tied it to Hurricane Katrina and the Walter Reed scandal. "This really is sort of Christmas in February for Democrats," said Schieffer, even though the verdict arrived on March 6.
The Wilson interview was soft as a baby's bottom all the way through:
It had to be a little jarring for viewers of NBC's Today in the first half-hour on Wednesday morning to go from a drumbeat of stories about how the Bush administration was allegedly smearing Joe and Valerie Wilson out of raw war-mongering vengeance to a thinly disguised video news release for Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign. The only consistency was liberal advocacy. Reporter Norah O'Donnell obsequiously repeated how Clinton's advisers say she has "an unprecedented strategy" to mobilize support from Democratic women on the Internet with her "overtly feminist message." The only sour notes in the story are old abrasive clips of Hillary from 1992, but O'Donnell suggested she's revising her image from "hard-driving professional" to show the "softer, chattier Hillary."
I know print publications tend to move slower than online outlets, but this is ridiculous.
On March 6, The Washington Post featured a story by staff writer Darryl Fears entitled "In Diversity Push, Top Universities Enrolling More Black Immigrants." Fears found critics who complain that some university admissions diversity policies end up drawing in more foreign black students at the expense of accepting more black American students for admission.
That's old news to Cybercast News Service correspondent Nathan Burchfiel, who beat Fears to the story not by a day or a week, but one month.
See for yourself. An excerpt is posted after the page break. [cont'd...]
With the Democrats now in charge of Congress the media is joining them in bringing back some favorite of their favorite boogeymen and on this morning's Today show that boogeyman took the form of the credit card companies and their "abusive" practices. Teasing a Lisa Myers report NBC's Ann Curry charged that credit card companies are "...accused of making it difficult for the average person to pay off that bill. We're gonna show you some of the tactics they allegedly use to keep the dollars flowing in." To which Today host Meredith Vieira piped in: "It's pretty awful."
Throughout the segment the credit card companies were portrayed in almost loan shark terms that had them taking "advantage" of unwitting customers. In her report NBC's Lisa Myers told the story of mild-mannered Charlie Bassham's struggle against the credit card companies and then brought on Democratic Senator Carl Levin as the proverbial hero to the all the Charlie Bassham's across America.
The headline is that Ann Redington, Libby juror #10, wants Scooter to get a pardon. But there's actually a bigger story. It is Redington herself. If you have a chance to watch a replay of her appearance on this afternoon's Hardball, billed as an exclusive, I'd urge you to do so. She is enough to renew one's faith in the goodness and intelligence of our fellow Americans.
As Matthews observed, Redington demonstrated an impressive ability to separate the wheat from the chaff in the trial, and appeared open, honest and without any political ax to grind.
View video here. The clip is longer than usual because I consider Redington's comments to be of historical and cultural significance.
Excerpts from the interview:
Matthews: "What did you think of Scooter?"
Re: I thought he seemed like a really nice guy. It wouldn't matter if he were a nice guy or not, the whole thing was obviously very difficult to have someone's future in your hands. But he seemed like a ton of fun."
Like the Tuesday evening shows, Wednesday’s network morning shows leaned heavily on the Democratic narrative toward the Scooter Libby convictions, highlighting the high dudgeon against the Bush administration by prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, Joe Wilson, and former reporter/juror Denis Collins, while ignoring any angle that would balance the story with any critique of Fitzgerald, the Wilsons, or State Department official Richard Armitage, who withheld the fact that he leaked to Robert Novak, which started the whole scandal train.
Reporters made no reference to how Fitzgerald, knowing Armitage was the leaker, could have cut his investigation short; or how the Wilsons, far from victims, have made two book deals and a movie deal, and how Joe Wilson shamelessly campaigned for a job with President-to-be John Kerry; or how the trial made the media look bad, since the memories of reporters were as bad or worse than Libby’s memory. Here’s how the three networks summed it all up:
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," anchor Diane Sawyer framed of the conviction of Lewis "Scooter" Libby through the perspective of anti-Bush liberals, continuing a tradition that began with the previous day’s evening news programs. An ABC graphic described Libby, a former top aide to Vice President Cheney, as the "fall guy" and Sawyer wondered if he was "a scapegoat."
And nowhere in the segment did the GMA co-host find time to mention some very pertinent points, such as the fact that CIA Agent Valerie Plame, wife of ex-Ambassador Joe Wilson, had her identity revealed to reporter Bob Novak by an administration critic, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. Sawyer interviewed Denis Collins, a juror from the trial, and a sampling of her questions seems to reveal who she thinks is responsible:
Diane Sawyer: "Do you think that Scooter Libby got in trouble because he was trimming the truth to protect his boss?"
Sawyer: "You said the Vice President had clearly tasked [Libby] to talk to reporters about CIA agent Valerie Plame. How do you think the Vice President should feel this morning?"
Sawyer: "At the end of the day, what's the big message sent by this jury and this verdict?"
The ABC anchor also failed to mentioned the apparent conflict of interests shared by juror Collins, including his friendships with reporter Bob Woodward and the fact that he was a former neighbor of Tim Russert.
Rich Noyes, Director of Research at the Media Research Center is scheduled to appear on this afternoon's The Big Story with John Gibson on the Fox News Channel. He should appear near the start of the 5pm EST program. That's 4pm CST, 3pm MST and 2pm PST. Topic: This New York Times controversy, as summarized by the AP: "The New York Times acknowledged Tuesday that a reporter who wrote an acclaimed 2005 article about a teenage Internet pornographer helped gain the boy's trust by sending him a $2,000 check. Former Times staff writer Kurt Eichenwald made the payment in June 2005 to Justin Berry, who at the time was an 18-year-old star in a seedy network of child-porn sites."
That's quite an ominous headline over Sheryl Gay Stolberg's story in today's New York Times about the conviction on perjury and obstruction of justice charges of Lewis Libby, former chief of staff for Vice President Dick Cheney -- "A Judgment on Cheney Is Still to Come."
"In legal terms, the jury has spoken in the Libby case. In political terms, Dick Cheney is still awaiting a judgment. "For weeks, Washington watched, mesmerized, as the trial of I. Lewis Libby Jr. cast Vice President Cheney, his former boss, in the role of puppeteer, pulling the strings in a covert public relations campaign to defend the Bush administration’s case for war in Iraq and discredit a critic.
The very first topic on the March 7 edition of The View, was about the conviction of ‘Scooter’ Libby on perjury and obstruction of justice. So what do Rosie O’Donnell and Joy Behar have to say? They convict the vice president of "treason." Behar exclaimed that it is a "delight" for her that Dick Cheney is "in trouble"and Rosie O’Donnell agreed. Behar, known for her conspiracy theories, suspected the timing of Vice President Cheney’s blood clot.
At that point, Barbara Walters sought to play Pontius Pilate washing her hands free of Joy and Rosie. In standard disclaimer format she stated:
"I would like to point out, which Rosie and I talk about, that the opinions expressed in this program are the opinions of the individual people."
Over on The Corner, Byron York is puzzled over why Libby's lawyers wouldn't choke on the many conflicts of blabby juror Denis Collins, the former Washington Post staffer who worked for Bob Woodward, partied with Walter Pincus, shared a back yard with Tim Russert, not to mention the book-writing about the CIA:
From the day Denis Collins appeared in jury selection, reporters asked themselves one question: How did this guy get on the jury? From his account at the Huffington Post, he recounts telling the court about his many, almost unbelievable, conflicts:
NBC Nightly News anchor, Brian Williams graces the cover of Men's Vogue this month and is profiled by Deputy Editor Ned Martel as being an anchor who, because of "today's debunking culture" (Wink Wink Newsbusters.org), is both "in the know and in on the joke."
Martel panders to Williams as an anchor who is "affable", "witty", and even "an unapologetic throwback to the era of Cronkite".
Martel says that viewers can relate to Williams because he, "has a vast interest in so many of their passions." He further says that Williams "embraces his regular-guy status" and "trumpets his middlebrow tastes".
Williams apparently considers his "instinctive understanding of Middle America" to be a payoff for Nightly News. That understanding must be a tall order for someone who wears a "black-faced Rolex and Supreme Court cufflinks" and splits his time between a "pied-a-terre in a new Upper East Side tower" and a "restored farmhouse in Connecticut".
The same day the MRC's Culture and Media Institute (CMI) released its study [pdf available here] dealing with the media's preference for "secular progressive" values over those of those of orthodox religious faiths, evangelical magazine Christianity Today noticed that many newspapers are losing their religion [sections].
The CMI study concluded that:
Americans have clearly identified the media as primary culprits in the
nation’s moral decline. If the media continue to singularly promote
Progressive values and a secular worldview, while undermining Orthodox
faith and values, reversing America’s moral decline will be very
In her March 7 article, writer Sarah Pulliam noticed a mixed bag on the media's handling of religion coverage. Apparently even as many newspapers end or severely restrict religion coverage in print, religion news-oriented newspaper blogs prove popular with readers:
Apparently it's not much to CBS "Evening News" which promoted California's solar power initiative to "get people to think green by giving them some green," according to anchor Katie Couric on March 6.
Reporter John Blackstone argued that families who choose solar power do not suffer and "get something priceless. By living under one of California's million solar roofs they're helping the earth while helping themselves."
But the panels still costs at least $18,000 after the state and federal rebates and a Washington Post article said they actually cost $5,000 more initially than CBS said.
Blackstone also explained that Californians use less electricity per capita than other states, but left out how expensive energy is in California. You can find Dan Gainor's full story from the Business & Media Institute here.
The media love a "green" story. As Al Gore and Hollywood celebrities champion the practice of carbon offsetting -- donating money toward an energy-saving project while still taking your vacation -- the media buzz in agreement.
"If more people do it over time, it's a good thing," said CBS reporter Russ Mitchell during a carbon offset story on the February 22 "Early Show."
Carbon offsetting is hypocritical because it allows the extremely wealthy, like Al Gore, to still use enormous amounts of energy (1 million miles of global air travel in 2005 and more than 20 times the national average of power usage in 2006), while telling everyone else to conserve energy to save the planet from climate destruction.
MRC Director of Media Analysis and NewsBusters Senior Editor Tim Graham appeared shortly before 1:00 p.m. EST today on Fox News Live. Graham commented on former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald who paid a source $2,000 for information but who denies doing so in his capacity as a journalist.
Online, CBS and FOX used an AP report about a Beliefnet.com interview with John Edwards, in which the Democratic Presidential candidate discussed some of his religious views. Since both articles drew from the AP’s reporting, both similarly fail to make significant connections with Edwards’ comments and his personal life. Edwards said that Jesus would be disappointed with the selfishness of Americans:
Commenting on the Scooter Libby trial yesterday, Rush Limbaugh made a very astute point about the whole nasty affair: Libby's conviction ought to tell Republican politicos they can't trust the liberal elite Washington press corps.
Don't try to convince them, don't try to be their friend, the number-one talker asserted. They come to any interview with you with their story already written out beforehand.
Their minds are already made up, because they have a prejudice about what Republicans and conservatives are. So the whole point of talking to members of the administration -- Republicans and otherwise -- is trip 'em up, and what happened here? Russert, Matt Cooper and Judith Miller? It's a bunch of journalists at the center of this and what Libby told 'em, and then the FBI and grand jury and so forth. This juror that came out and talked. He said they have "a lot of sympathy" for Judith Miller, the New York Times info babe that ended up in jail for not revealing her sources to Fitzgerald. The juror said, “I really feel sorry for her. The defense was just pounding her. They were just too hard on her.”
You don't hit the girl. It is one characteristic or aspect of that. But until people learn that you're not going to be able to bring a bunch of reporters in from Washington or New York, and explain conservatism or your policy and have a sympathetic ear (or even an ear that wants to understand what you're trying to do) is beyond me. Why they keep thinking they can do this is also beyond me. I know what you're saying. "What would you do? You have to talk to them."