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By Ken Shepherd | July 15, 2011 | 1:28 PM EDT

While some leftist bloggers are positively delighted that the FBI has opened an investigation into NewsCorp regarding possible hacking of 9/11 victims' voicemail accounts -- dreaming of an existential threat to Fox News -- Time's Massimo Calabresi is perplexed as to what could justify the investigation other than political pressure (emphasis mine):

By Clay Waters | July 15, 2011 | 1:23 PM EDT

Timothy Egan, liberal New York Times reporter turned left-wing, Rush Limbaugh-despising online columnist for, tried to smear fiscal conservatives in Congress as akin to the violent anarchists (actually leftists) who rampaged through Seattle in 1999 in a “protest” against the World Trade Organization, using hammers to smash windows of retail chain stores.

Egan opened his Thursday evening post, “The Republicans’ Flirtation With Anarchy,” with scenes from the infamous Seattle riots in 1999 (which he covered for the Times as a reporter).

Amid shattered glass and the black smoke of urban pyres, I found myself in a riot some years ago -- the anarchists-led assault on the World Trade Organization meetings of 1999. At the height of what became known as The Battle of Seattle, I bumped into an otherwise mild-mannered, libertarian-leaning friend on the streets, gasping at the bitter taste of tear gas. He was ecstatic.

By Eric Ames | July 15, 2011 | 1:13 PM EDT

Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg took the White House to task on last night's O'Reilly Factor for their treatment of Fox News, and their difficulty with handling criticism. "They are not the first administration to go to war with the news media. But I don't think this administration wants to be compared to Richard Nixon. That's not a good PR move."

By Tom Blumer | July 15, 2011 | 12:49 PM EDT

Can anyone in Midway, Georgia take money for or even borrow food without risking arrest?

If you're in Midway, you'd better not let your neighbors reimburse you for any homemade food you cook or grow, or you might get busted for not having "a business license, peddler’s permit, and food permit to set up shop, even on residential property." Heck, you may have to worry about even giving your output away.

That's where you have to go with the "logic" of a story from Maura Kennedy at TV station WJCL (HT AP; bolds are mine; video is at link, where, in an unusual choice of priorities, this was apparently the lead story):

Midway Police Shut Down Girls' Lemonade Stand

By Ken Shepherd | July 15, 2011 | 12:48 PM EDT

I can't begrudge the Associated Press for covering the conflict within the Kennedy clan about what to do with their iconic Hyannis Port estate.

But AP's David Klepper cranked the Kennedy nostalgia -- no, make that  worship -- up to 11 in his 27-paragraph story -- which I accessed via Yahoo! News -- on the family dispute (emphasis mine):


By Clay Waters | July 15, 2011 | 12:47 PM EDT

New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes’s lead story, “Behind Battle Over Debt, A War Over Government – Deal Elusive as 2 Parties Cling to Principles in Dispute Over Washington’s Role,” reels off a slanted history of recent Washington budget wars. Calmes baldly stated the G.O.P. isn’t serious about deficit reduction and treated Obama’s abrupt negotiating tactic on supposed deep spending cuts as equivalent to the G.O.P.’s long-standing, specific budget proposals

Calmes’s reporting is often weighted toward Democrats, and she has expressed her sympathies for Obama in his dealings with Republicans the last few years, complaining the G.O.P. had not sufficiently “accomodated” the president by passing Obama-care and financial regulation. She wrote for Friday’s lead:

By NB Staff | July 15, 2011 | 11:13 AM EDT

"You know, in Journalism 101, if you're going to ask a question of someone like the president, what you do is, you take, respectfully, you take the opposition's best argument and you play devil's advocate," NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell argued on the July 14 edition of "Hannity."

But instead of taking that approach -- which, Bozell noted, the famous liberal reporter Sam Donaldson took both with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton -- the media have been actively working with Obama to forward the Democratic narrative regarding the debt ceiling negotiations.


By Tim Graham | July 15, 2011 | 10:55 AM EDT

In case you think the House of Representatives can only focus on the big issues right now, Debbie Siegelbaum of the newspaper The Hill corrected that notion on July 13. Once again, House Democrats are extremely agitated that the Republican majority is allowing the use of styrofoam cups.

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) on Wednesday introduced an anti-Styrofoam amendment during an Appropriations Committee markup. The proposed legislation did not get far, however. Committee members voted on the amendment down party lines, with the majority torpedoing the measure 26-18.

By Julia A. Seymour | July 15, 2011 | 9:50 AM EDT

The 2010 elections, which changed the balance of power in the House, were driven by popular opposition to government spending, debt and the threat of tax increases. Yet even with the federal debt limit already breached and only days left to prevent a national default, the media continue to ignore the public's wishes.

The theme of network reports on the debt ceiling battle is that some agreement MUST be reached so that the limit can be increased, but many Americans disagree with raising the debt limit and are more concerned about government spending. But that has barely been mentioned in stories.

Polls taken by Gallup, CBS and AP have all registered significant worry about federal debt and opposition to an increase in the debt ceiling. But ABC, CBS and NBC coverage of the debt limit battle being waged on Capitol Hill has not reflected that fact.

Out of 45 reports on the broadcast network's evening news programs between June 16 and July 12, only one mentioned a poll that showed public opposition to raising the debt ceiling. That's a mere 2 percent of reports. An additional two stories had some reference to what the public might think, but without polling data.

By Tim Graham | July 15, 2011 | 6:48 AM EDT

On Thursday’s All Things Considered, NPR profiled conservative activist Grover Norquist, the head of Americans for Tax Reform. Michele Norris began: “In the debate over the debt ceiling, one person who has outsized influence is not actually at the negotiating table.” That might sound good to Norquist’s donors, but when liberal reporters accuse someone of “outsized influence,” it means “too much power for the good of the country.”

Reporter Ari Shapiro signaled hostility by strangely noting that Norquist’s “donor list is not public,” when that is true for almost every tax-exempt political group in Washington (not to mention NPR!):

By Brad Wilmouth | July 15, 2011 | 6:32 AM EDT

 On Thursday’s CBS Evening News, correspondent Nancy Cordes filed a report on House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as a "lightning rod" for sharp criticism from Democrats because of his role in budget negotiations with President Obama. After beginning the report with a clip of Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer asserting that Cantor "has yet to make a constructive contribution," and after recounting that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had called the Republican leader "childish," Cordes seemed to legitimize the insults as she asserted that Cantor had provided "plenty of ammunition":

By Brad Wilmouth | July 15, 2011 | 12:26 AM EDT

 On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News, correspondent Kelly O’Donnell filed a report recounting recent criticisms of Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. The report included a clip of Bachmann mispronouncing the word "chutzpah," a video clip produced by gay activists who visited her and her husband’s counseling clinic, and a pledge she signed that included a hyperbolic statement about slavery which has been distorted by liberal critics.

By Tom Blumer | July 14, 2011 | 10:31 PM EDT

As Clay Waters at the Media Research Center's Times Watch reported earlier today ("One of Obama's Emotional Arguments for Obama-Care Proven Wrong in NYT Staffer's New Book"), the New York Times's Kevin Sack ran a story yesterday which "reflects badly on Barack Obama and how he misled people in his campaign for Obama-care."

I'll say. As reported by Sack (bolds are mine throughout this post):

By Jack Coleman | July 14, 2011 | 7:18 PM EDT

A former gridiron star really ought to know better than to spike the ball in the wrong end zone.

Appearing more subdued than he had on "The Ed Show" just 24 hours earlier, MSNBC action hero Ed Schultz last night admitted making an embarrassing error about News Corporation, parent company of Schultz nemesis Fox News Channel.

On "The Ed Show" July 12, Schultz claimed he knew why Fox pundits such as Bill O'Reilly oppose President Obama's call for higher taxes on the wealthy (video after page break) --

By Matthew Balan | July 14, 2011 | 7:06 PM EDT

On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Dean Reynolds highlighted sob stories surrounding the current shutdown of the Minnesota state government, providing a possible template of how the mainstream media would cover a potential federal government shutdown if the debt ceiling issue isn't resolved by August 2.

Before getting to Reynolds's report, substitute anchor Russ Mitchell played a clip from his colleague Scott Pelley's interview of President Obama, where the Democrat stated that "some courage and some tough choices" were needed to resolve the stalemate over the federal budget. Mitchell then used the President's own phrase as he introduced the situation in Minnesota: "They did not make those tough choices in Minnesota. As a result, the state government shut down two weeks ago. Like Washington, it's a budget deadlock between a Democratic chief executive and a Republican-controlled legislature. Dean Reynolds shows us what it looks like when lawmakers can't figure out how to keep a state running."