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."
The vitriol emanating from the Left towards conservatives in this country is exploding like dotcom stock in the first quarter of 2000. Now, with the conviction of former Cheney chief of staff I. Lewis “Scooter" Libby, it seems a metaphysical certitude that Republicans are in position to be whipped and bludgeoned by members of the media 24 hours a day, sevens day a week until the 2008 elections.
Take for example an article written by Jane Smiley. In it, the Pulitzer Prize winner virulently attacked President Bush and Vice President Cheney while actually stating that conservative writer Ann Coulter "wants to incite explosions, murders, and hate-crimes."
Smiley’s first target was the President (emphasis mine throughout):
Meredith Vieira was in a light-hearted mood at the top of this morning's "Today," joshing with substitute co-host Ann Curry about the estrogen on the set and kiddingly offering to leave her husband for the winner of the Mega Millions lottery. But we shouldn't have let the idle chatter fool us. When it came to discussing the repercussions of the Libby conviction, Meredith's leopard-skin blouse should have been a clue -- because she pounced.
Discussing the trial with NBC host-turned-star-prosecution-witness Tim Russert [file photo], Meredith displayed and read this quotation from Republican strategist [and former Dole campaign manager] Scott Reed that appeared in a New York Timesarticle this morning:
“The trial has been death by 1,000 cuts for Cheney. It’s hurt him inside the administration. It’s hurt him with the Congress, and it’s hurt his stature around the world because it has shown a lot of the inner workings of the White House. It peeled the bark right off the way they operate.”
Vieira then asked Russert: "Is this the beginning of the end, do you believe, for the Vice President?"
With a packet of claims that are almost certain to defy conventional
wisdom, a television documentary to be aired in Britain this week
condemns man-made global warming as a myth that has become "the biggest
scam of modern times."
The program titled "The Great Global Warming Scandal" and set
for screening by TV Channel 4 on Thursday dismisses claims that high
levels of greenhouse gases generated by human activity causes climate
change. Instead, the program suggests that the sun itself is the real
In his program, Mr. Durkin rejects the concept of man-made
climate change, calling it "a lie ... the biggest scam of modern
The truth, he says, is that global warming "is a
multibillion-dollar worldwide industry, created by fanatically
anti-industrial environmentalists, supported by scientists peddling
scare stories to chase funding, and propped up by compliant politicians
and the media."
On Tuesday's NBC Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams, reporting from Baghdad, delivered a refreshing end to the show as he showcased several U.S. troops who voiced support for their work in Iraq, and for America continuing its presence there. While Williams did present one soldier who was less than enthusiastic about the mission, other troops, featured in pre-recorded soundbites, spoke of "staying until the job is done," and of feeling "proud" about helping the Iraqis.
As the NBC anchor introduced the story about how the military tries to deliver foods and items to comfort the troops stationed in Iraq, he featured an Army lieutenant colonel who does not feel "trepidation" about going out on patrol, even after the recent loss of American lives. Lieutenant Colonel Quammie Semper commented: "I think we should stay here until the job is done." (Transcript follows)
Most liberal media outlets can't be bothered to visit, let alone cover the Conservative Political Action Conference every winter. But this year's event drew a large amount of publicity. CPAC hasn't been this notorious since reporter/fabricator Stephen Glass made up stories of wild sexual antics and drug use at CPAC hotel rooms and bathrooms ten years ago for The New Republic.
The furor surrounded author and columnist Ann Coulter, who cracked that she would like to comment on John Edwards, but "you have to go into rehab if you use the word `faggot.'" Coulter's joke was based on ABC's intense blitz recently to press "Grey's Anatomy" star Isaiah Washington into rehab after he used the new F-word at the Golden Globes. The word used to be coarse and insulting, but liberals are now elevating it into a profanity, which is odd, considering they're constantly desensitizing the culture to all the historic profanities.
The broadcast network evening newscast coverage Tuesday night, of the guilty verdicts for perjury and lying found against Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, painted the case through the prism of administration opponents who presumed a nefarious scheme led by Vice President Cheney against the heroic Joe Wilson. Though the legal status of Valerie Plame remains in dispute, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and CBS's Gloria Borger described her as an “undercover” CIA agent. And while ABC's Pierre Thomas noted how Plame “had been outed as a CIA operative in a column by Robert Novak,” neither Thomas, nor reporters on CBS or NBC, ever pointed out how Novak learned of Plame's identity from then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, a war opponent outside the Cheney/Karl Rove circle.
CBS and NBC managed to connect Libby to the Reagan years. “Guilty,” Katie Couric teased at the top of the CBS Evening News, “the highest ranking White House official found guilty of a felony since the Iran-Contra scandal." Over on the NBC Nightly News, Kelly O'Donnell echoed: "What happened here today makes Lewis 'Scooter' Libby the highest-ranking White House official convicted of a felony since the Reagan era and the Iran-Contra scandal.”
CBS's Gloria Borger ominously concluded: "The prosecutor said there was a cloud over the Vice President's office. And today he said it's still there. Only now, Katie, it may be darker." Bob Schieffer soon piled on: “I think it's going to hurt the administration because it's going to raise new questions about their credibility when they already have more problems on their plate than they can really handle right now." On ABC, Vargas picked up on how “Joe Wilson...said today he wants Karl Rove fired from the White House. Do you think that might happen?" George Stephanopoulos rationally retorted: "No. It ain't going to happen.”
Avuncular he might be, but Bob Schieffer can sling Dem spin like a Shrum.
Appearing on the CBS Evening News to comment on the Libby verdict, not only did Katie Couric's predecessor in the anchor chair paint things in
the grimmest possible terms for Vice-President Cheney, he took things an unsolicited
step further. Katie Couric asked Schieffer "how badly does this reflect on Mr. Cheney in your view?"
Schieffer: "Very badly, and it's hard to conclude otherwise."
If you hear Al Gore, Time magazine or the rest of the media echo chamber, then the global warming debate is done. “Case closed,” as the supposedly neutral journalists at Time put it.
Last night, Fox’s “Hannity & Colmes” reopened the case – in a big way. ‘Hannity’ showcased Dr. Timothy Ball, one of the climatologists in the new documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle.”
But for all of Ball’s excellent arguments, host Sean Hannity made the best point simply by listing more than 70 names of people “that indeed do question and that are skeptics of this new mad hysteria here” about global warming.
During Tuesday’s "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty used the conviction of a former aide to Vice President Cheney as a springboard for wild attacks against George W. Bush. According to the CNN correspondent, a decision by the President to pardon Lewis "Scooter" Libby would be symptomatic of "an administration that has come to view things like the Constitution and the nation’s laws as inconveniences that only serve to get in the way of their agenda."
Cafferty, who once giddily joked about Karl Rove being indicted in the CIA leak case, also furiously speculated about just who Lewis Libby is "protecting":
Jack Cafferty: "Remember this?"
George W. Bush (file footage): "America wants somebody to restore honor and dignity to the White House. That’s what America is looking for."
Cafferty: "That’s an interesting clip in light of today’s conviction of Vice President Cheney’s former top advisor Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby. He was found guilty on four of five counts against him and they all had to do with lying and obstructing justice when it came to details about Valerie Plame’s identity. Why would he lie? Who was he protecting? We’ll probably never know the answer to that."
As we prepare for a network TV onslaught on the Scooter Libby conviction today, remember that on March 2, 2000, an aide to the Vice President was convicted of illegal funneling foreign money to Democrats, crimes that benefited the 1996 Clinton-Gore re-election campaign. Her name was Maria Hsia (pronounced like Shaw). Vice President Gore at that time was the all-but-certain Democratic nominee for president. Coverage was minimal. ABC gave it 19 seconds and CBS gave it 23 seconds. On NBC, Tom Brokaw skipped it. A few days later on the "Imus in the Morning" show, Brokaw had this telling exchange on Gore.
Imus jumped in: "He acted like he barely knew that this Maria Hsia, didn’t he? Like he was ready to drag her up out of a park someplace." Brokaw agreed: "Oh, I know, yeah, it was: ‘Did I miss that?’ It was as if he were saying, ‘Did she get convicted?’ He said, ‘It's still in the courts.’ It's no longer in the courts! The jury has ruled! Guilty! Five counts! Imus shot back: "Well, if he's watching NBC News he missed it." Brokaw conceded: "Yeah, well that's true." Imus: "And he only saw 19 seconds of it with Dan [Rather]." Brokaw: "Yeah, I know."
"Your chances of being stuck on a stuffy airliner for hours on a taxiway – like passengers on recent JetBlue flights – are slim, the government reported yesterday," the Associated Press reported on March 6.
That was the very same day USA Today emphasized that "588 flights sat for more than two hours on taxiways before taking off in January," and highlighted "calls for federal regulation to prevent recurrences."
On this morning's Today show, NBC correspondent Dawn Fratangelo visited country music singer-songwriter Mary Chapin Carpenter at her home in Virginia to promote her latest album that Today host Meredith Vieira declared was her "most personal and political so far." Fratangelo even let Carpenter serenade her with one of its tracks that Fratangelo described as: "A song of solidarity with the Dixie Chicks." As Chapin strummed along on the guitar Today viewers were treated to the following anti-Bush lyrics: "This isn't for the ones who blindly follow...this isn't for the man who can't count the bodies and comfort the families and can't say what he's wrong."
As previously reported by Newsbusters here and here, the mainstream media highlighted Ann Coulter’s "faggot" remark, yet ignored Bill Maher’s implication that the vice president’s assassination would be a good thing. On the March 5 edition of CNN Newsroom, Rick Sanchez, in reporting on Ann Coulter and spiking the Maher story, unintentionally inserted some irony into the story.
When playing many of Ann Coulter’s controversial statements, CNN ran a sound bite of Bill Maher grilling Ann Coulter on the Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination. CNN not only displayed its bias, but its lack of a sense of irony. The transcript, with Coulter/Maher exchange in bold, is below.
During live coverage of the Lewis Libby verdict on MSNBC, Newsweek's Howard Fineman greenlit this potential line of attack for the Democrats: "If you're the Democrats you go up immediately with ads. You talk about lying. You use the word, 'lying' with reference to this administration and you can do it because there is a conviction in a court of law." Fineman also tied the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital to the Libby verdict as he claimed: "The war in Iraq has now been bracketed on both sides politically. The Walter Reed story is about the human consequences of the war, the Scooter Libby trial was about how we got into the war and whether somebody was lying..."