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By Ezra Dulis | May 23, 2011 | 5:36 PM EDT

So with the news that Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 is underperforming and leaving theaters rather than expanding, it’s unclear whether producer John Aglialoro will be able to produce the planned sequels for the adaptation of Ayn Rand’s most famous and controversial work. Name recognition from one of the bestselling books of the past century, still a chart-topper due its appeal to libertarians and limited-government advocates, wasn’t a strong enough draw to earn back even half of its $20 million production budget so far, and this raises a lot of questions for those who rooted for the film. What does this mean for conservatives and fans of Rand?

Obviously, it means everything we’ve ever believed is absolutely wrong.

By Terence P. Jeffrey | May 23, 2011 | 5:30 PM EDT

Sixty-one percent of American adults—including some who describe themselves as “pro-choice”—told Gallup in a survey conducted May 5-8 that abortion should be illegal in all or most circumstances.

The Gallup survey, published today, asked 1,018 American adults whether they considered themselves “pro-choice” or “pro-life” on abortion. It also asked: “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?”

By Matthew Balan | May 23, 2011 | 5:17 PM EDT

CBS's Lesley Stahl played up how Al Sharpton apparently "has gone through something of a metamorphosis" as she spotlighted the "street-protest trusted White House adviser" on Sunday's 60 Minutes. Despite pressing Sharpton for his refusal to apologize for the Tawana Brawley hoax, Stahl gushed, "Take a look at Reverend Al...stately in his tailored suits, commanding a national stage."

The journalist front-loaded her superlatives about the liberal flamethrower during her 12-and-a-half minute report in the bottom half of the 8 pm Eastern hour, emphasizing how Sharpton has supposedly become a new man. She also set the tone of the entire segment of choosing to use non-ideological labels to describe her subject, only hinting at his left-of-center politics:

By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 23, 2011 | 5:04 PM EDT

Less than 24 hours after a devastating tornado ripped through Joplin, Missouri – killing at least 116 people – an MSNBC anchor was busy putting a political spin on the tragedy.

Tamron Hall wondered aloud on "News Nation" today whether climate change was to blame for the rash of hurricanes and tornadoes that ravaged several states, including Missouri, over the last few months.

By Susan Jones | May 23, 2011 | 4:53 PM EDT

With 17 months to go until the 2012 presidential election, the party in power has signaled its intention to go negative early and often.

Even before former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty formally announced his intention to run for president on the Republican ticket, the Democratic National Committee responded with a video entitled, “Why.”

By Kyle Drennen | May 23, 2011 | 4:35 PM EDT

At the end of Sunday's Meet the Press, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell scolded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for daring to criticize President Obama's call for Israel to return to 1967 borders: "...he criticized the President, and in such a fashion! He lectured him in the Oval Office....basically treating him like a school boy."

Mitchell went on to declare: "People even who work for Netanyahu, some Israeli officials, told him later that he went too far. That it was, it was really rude and that there would be blowback to this." The leading voice of criticism in Israel was Netanyahu's liberal political opponent, Tzipi Livini, who also called on the Prime Minister to resign.

By Ken Shepherd | May 23, 2011 | 4:26 PM EDT

The Associated Press today offered readers a 24-paragraph exclusive that practically promoted Frank Bailey's anti-Palin tell-all book that hits bookstores on May 24.

While the AP noted that "Palin’s attorney did not respond to multiple requests for comment for this story," it appears the news wire made no further attempt to provide balance to its May 23 story, which chiefly conveys the former staffer's perspective on Palin's tenure in office as Alaska governor.

By NB Staff | May 23, 2011 | 3:13 PM EDT

Too good to not share.

By Lachlan Markay | May 23, 2011 | 1:49 PM EDT

New facts released by the office of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., reveal a hidden tax increase in President Obama's budget proposal. Obama's plan would, these facts demonstrate, impose a 20 percent increase in the top income tax rate - a significantly greater increase than the president has admitted.

The news media fancies itself a watchdog, so if the president is going to dramatically hike taxes, one would hope that Americans would hear about it first. But thus far, there has been almost no coverage of these stealth tax hikes. On Monday, Washington Post fact-checker Greg Kessler confirmed the veracity of Ryan's claims. Whether other major media outlets report on them will be the true test.

Congressman Ryan broke down the president's proposed tax hikes into a pair of separate measures that effectively increase the top tax rate. Taken with an existing Medicare payroll tax, the new top tax rate under Obama's plan would be 44.8 percent, not the 39.6 percent the administration claims - and significantly higher than current top tax rates.

By Clay Waters | May 23, 2011 | 1:43 PM EDT

New York Times columnist Charles Blow has gotten more ill-humored about politics since the summer of 2009, when he happily opined that the GOP was  doomed in the Northeast (this was less than six months before a Republican won the "Ted Kennedy" Senate seat in Massachusetts, after which Blow was considerably less happy with that geographical quadrant).

His Saturday column, "A Summer to Simmer," was full of ranting about the "callousness of conservatives" and their "unshakeable immunity to empathy."

This summer has the potential to be another turning point for the electorate, and it’s not necessarily pegged to the performance of the president. It may hinge largely on the callousness of conservatives and their seemingly inexorable desire to overplay their hand.

By Geoffrey Dickens | May 23, 2011 | 1:18 PM EDT

What does it say about incoming Today show co-anchor Ann Curry that even her friends in the liberal media make fun of her? Time's managing editor Richard Stengel, did just that, in his Saturday speech to students at Wheaton College when he poked fun at Curry's confused commencement speech at that same college last year.

Fans of Newsbusters will recall the geographically challenged Curry got the Wheaton College in Massachusetts mixed up with the college of the same name in  Illinois. The mistake actually wasn't that surprising given the fact that Curry once needed her colleague Chuck Todd's help to find the state of Illinois on a map.

As TVNewser's Chris Ariens reported, in his May 21 article, Stengel, a self-described "friend" of the longtime Today snow newsreader, couldn't resist ridiculing Curry:

By Clay Waters | May 23, 2011 | 1:16 PM EDT

Saturday’s lead from New York Times reporter Steven Lee Myers did its best to paint Israel’s conservative, pro-security prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as being disingenuous and stubborn in the face of President Obama’s reasonable offer for Israel to give up land to the Palestinians: "Israeli Leader Rebuffs Obama On ‘67 Borders – Both Denounce Hamas – Meeting at White House Underscores Barriers to Peace Process."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told President Obama on Friday that he shared his vision for a peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and then promptly listed a series of nonnegotiable conditions that have kept the two sides at an impasse for years.

By Alex Fitzsimmons | May 23, 2011 | 1:06 PM EDT

On the May 23 edition of "Morning Joe," Joe Scarborough accused Mitch Daniels of having "resentment" for his wife and derided the Indiana governor as "unseemly."

Moments earlier, the MSNBC host and his panel heaped mounds of praise on the "civil" Jon Huntsman, hailing him as the "'Morning Joe' candidate" whose civility deserved to be admired, before lobbing insults at Daniels.

By Kyle Drennen | May 23, 2011 | 1:00 PM EDT

On Monday's Today on NBC, correspondent Norah O'Donnell excitedly touted President Obama's stop in Ireland on his latest European trip as she proclaimed: "The Irish eyes are smiling today as this country welcomes President Obama. And I can tell you that the people here in Moneygall are overjoyed that Obama has Irish roots."

The report opened with a musical rendition of 'There's no one as Irish as Barack Obama,' as O'Donnell described how "Obama's ancestral a face lift, a fresh coat of paint and an Obama Café." After discovering from a local priest that Obama's Irish ancestors were well-off shoemakers that may have provided charitable aid to others in the small town, O'Donnell wondered: "So you're telling me that his great, great, great, great grandfather and ancestors were community organizers?"

By Tom Blumer | May 23, 2011 | 12:54 PM EDT

This morning, Associated Press reporters Ricardo Alonso Zaldivar and Stephen Ohlemacher went back to an AP-GfK poll yours truly thoroughly discredited on May 11 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog). That's when the AP's Liz Sidoti and Jennifer Agiesta laughably claimed that President Obama's approval had jumped to 60%.

This time, Alonso-Zaldivar and Ohlemacher didn't "merely" revisit a poll with an absurd 46%-29%-4% Democrat-Republican-Independent makeup (after classifying leaners). They went further, proving that my characterization of the AP's polling partnership with GfK North America in a subsequent May 16 column as "Absolutely Pathetic Garbage for Koolaiders," which makes an utter mockery of the AP's “Statement of News Values and Principles," was in no way over the top.  The AP pair went even further  this morning by misrepresenting the relevant questions on Medicare and Social Security in their headline and opening paragraph: