NBC's Today carried a series on faith this week, and finished it Thursday morning with two liberal journalists about a new website Newsweek is setting up on faith. It all sounded very much like soft-soap Episcopalianism, no doubt because the preacher on the set was Newsweek editor and Episcopalian Jon Meacham, along with Sally Quinn, a writer best known as the wife of former top Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. Ann Curry began by saying Meacham and Quinn "started a conversation about religion over lunch one day, and that discussion hasn't stopped." Curry continued:
"It's so interesting to think about how, just, what, 20 years ago, we would not speak about faith in America in any sort of big way. We talked about basically the separation of church and state meant that we didn't speak about church because we felt it was going to inflame and cause problems. What has changed? What has changed fundamentally about America that now lets us talk so much about it? In fact, have it influence policy in America. Sally."
We’re at Camp Al Asad, about 150 miles west of Baghdad in Anbar Province. We began our day with the famous Navy Seabees, the construction battalions that historically have gone ashore with the Marines to build what needs to be built. We spoke with Seabees largely from a reserve unit from Washington State. Most of the men work construction jobs in civilian life, and here they were getting the job done in conditions about as far as can be imagined from those of the Pacific Northwest. I also spoke with the Chief in charge of food for the unit. He mentioned that, in the constant pursuit of improvement, the Navy actually draws upon the expertise of the Culinary Institute of America from my home state of New York.
A couple of the men were from an Alaska reserve unit. One of them works as a firefighter/EMT in a gold mine in the Fairbanks area. Once a month he makes the 350-mile roundtrip to his unit in Anchorage – on his own dime.
Reading the Globe's Nov 18th piece about vice President Cheney, one can palpably feel their fingers being crossed, their wishes being cast into the wishing well, that Cheney is on the outs with this supposed "big demotion" the paper sees for his immediate future.
In short, will Rumsfeld's abrupt dismissal finally diminish Cheney's unprecedented dominance of Bush? Or did the always cunning vice president read the writing on the wall and decide that it was time for his good friend Rumsfeld to go?
And typically, as with every story about the VP, one quotient missing in the analysis is the president himself, prosaically fitting into the the Cheney-as-puppetmaster story line the MSM has created for him. (Though, now they want to cast James Baker in Cheney's puppeteering shoes)
They even want us to believe that Cheney somehow strong-armed Bush into the Iraq policy and the War on Terror as if 9/11 never occurred.
Newspaper investors are surely hoping that the San Francisco Chronicle columnist Peter Scheer never gets anywhere near the executive suite after his column last Sunday evaluating the state of newspaper industry.
In fact, something unusual must have been in the latte Scheer was drinking at the Chronicle when he wrote this about how to save the print newspaper business (HT Techdirt, which calls it the "Let Everyone Else Break News First" strategy):
What to do? Here's my proposal: Newspapers and wire services need to figure out a way, without running afoul of antitrust laws, to agree to embargo their news content from the free Internet for a brief period -- say, 24 hours -- after it is made available to paying customers. The point is not to remove content from the Internet, but to delay its free release in that venue.
It was a pretty funny “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO this past Friday, although not for the reasons the host would have preferred. Maher invited deposed CBS anchor Dan Rather on to discuss whatever he wanted with total impunity, and what ensued was a full-fledged Fox News hate-fest. However, that wasn’t the funniest part, for Rather actually had the gall to insinuate that FNC gets talking points from the White House, and was doing its darnedest to influence the elections that just transpired.
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. Honestly, I’ve had to use four boxes of Kleenex to dry off my laptop in order to post this article for your reading pleasure.
What's more embarrassing than making a basic math error live on national TV? Making that error while smugly trying to highlight an error made by a regular target who was actually right in the first place. Such was the case on Friday night's Countdown show as MSNBC host Keith Olbermann tagged as "jawdropping" the contention on the Defense Department's Web site that, under Donald Rumsfeld's leadership, the U.S. military has "liberated more than 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq." As Olbermann read from the tribute to Rumsfeld, he pointed out that the site's listing of 31 million Afghans and 27 million Iraqis as benefitting from this liberation add up to 58 million instead of 50 million, as if this were some embarrassing mistake, even though the site had actually estimated the number as "more than" 50 million. Before previewing his latest "Special Comment" attack on President Bush scheduled for Monday, Olbermann concluded: "And neither calculation includes anybody who's not really liberated yet, like from sectarian violence. The Pentagon clearly much better at hyperbole than it is at math." (Transcript follows)
The Friday broadcast network evening newscasts, seemingly with no self-awareness of the role of the traveling press corps, all focused on how in Vietnam President Bush was pressed about comparisons of the Iraq war to the Vietnam war -- a topic he commented on only when asked by a U.S. reporter. CBS was the most adamant in raising parallels, Bush's avoidance of service in Vietnam and how he is now “creating another” Vietnam. Katie Couric declared that Bush “couldn't get away from the inevitable comparisons between Iraq and the war America lost in Vietnam.” Over vintage video of the Vietnam war, Jim Axelrod asserted that the Iraq war “is starting to look more and more like this war. The parallels are plain.” Axelrod contended that “Mr. Bush's trip here was bound to fuel his critics who've never bought his explanation about how he managed to avoid military service in Vietnam. But Iraq raises the stakes and changes the focus from what he did during the Vietnam War to whether he's creating another one. On a just-released audiotape, President Johnson in 1966 shared his goals for Vietnam." Following audio of LBJ promising the U.S. would leave Vietnam “just as soon as you can have anybody that will guarantee stability," Axelrod intoned: "Mr. Bush's remarks today had an eerie echo as he spoke about Iraq."
On ABC's World News, fill-in anchor Elizabeth Vargas insisted "the war in Iraq shadowed President Bush today during his visit to Vietnam” as the Vietnam war “has drawn comparisons to America's experience in Iraq.” From Vietnam, Martha Raddatz echoed Couric: “For President Bush, the comparisons to his own war in Iraq were inevitable.” NBC anchor Brian Williams announced that “the topic of the current war followed” Bush “all the way” to Vietnam. David Gregory, in Vietnam, also used the “inevitable” characterization of the comparison made by journalists: “The White House tried to avoid reflecting on the war in Vietnam because of the inevitable comparisons to the Iraq war.” Gregory asserted that “the obvious parallel between Vietnam and Iraq is the American public's desire to find a way out,” and though the Vietnamese are still oppressed in a communist state, Gregory suggested the U.S. won: “But if there is a hopeful sign in the Vietnam of today, prosperous and western-looking, it is this -- that it is possible to lose the war but win the peace." (Transcripts, and a little bit on the morning shows, follows)
A book written by a highly-regarded philanthropy expert and Syracuse University professor providing statistical evidence that conservatives donate more money to charities than liberals regardless of income has just been published. As reported by Beliefnet.com (h/t to Drudge, emphasis mine throughout):
Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.
The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.
In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.
What’s the definition of bipartisanship? According to CNN’s Jack Cafferty, it’s completely supporting the Democratic agenda. On the Friday edition of "The Situation Room," the CNN host complained that President Bush, whose "arrogance" he decries, had the temerity to re-nominate John Bolton as UN Ambassador and still supports the terrorist surveillance program:
Jack Cafferty: "After the Republicans got the stuffing knocked out of them in the midterms last week, President Bush wanted to make nice. So he had these little sit-downs with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, the new powers in Congress, and talked about how they were all just going to get along. That tired old phrase bipartisanship was heard over and over again, as it always is after somebody get’s dusted up at the ballot box....And as proof that [Bush's] arrogance was not lost in the election, he wants Congress to pass legislation legalizing the NSA spy program, the one that’s already been ruled illegal by a federal judge. That’s not going to happen either. Great idea though, right? You do something illegal, you just get your toadies in Congress to pass a law saying that it’s legal. Same thing they did with the violations of the Geneva Conventions."
Commuting can be dangerous for a conservative if the car radio is tuned into National Public Radio. On Wednesday night’s "All Things Considered," NPR anchor Michele Norris interviewed ultraliberal Henry Waxman, now returning to his perch as chairman of the House Government Reform Committee. He claimed that his return meant an end to investigative politics: "And oversight ought to be done based on our responsibility, not our political point of view."
This is simply bizarre, and NPR should know it, and not let it go unchallenged. But Norris did.
I recall an example from 1997, when the Government Reform committee was investigating how the Clinton-Gore campaign and the Democratic National Committee accepted contributions from mysterious Asian donors. In the Weekly Standard, Matt Rees really captured how partisan Waxman was:
On Friday’s "American Morning," anchor Miles O’Brien characterized a group of kidnaped contractors, which included four Americans, as "mercenaries." The program, which airs on CNN, a network that has been severely criticized for airing terrorist footage of American soldiers being murdered, featured a segment on the activities and tasks of military contractors. Introducing reporter Ali Velshi, O’Brien said this:
Miles O'Brien: "In southern Iraq, more now on the search for four American security contractors, one Austrian, feared kidnaped. It happened in Nasiriyah where Iraqi troops have taken control of security, but there's reason to believe the contractors were stopped at a checkpoint manned by insurgents masquerading as the authorities. 'American Morning's Ali Velshi is here to give us some perspective. The big picture, you know, we call them contractors. In another era, we would call them mercenaries."
Ali Velshi: "That's right, they are paid armed forces. There are different kind of contractors in, in Iraq right now."
Washington-based Al Jazeera anchors Ghida Fakhry (2nd L) and Dave Marash (2nd R) are assisted with their microphones as they prepare for a live news bulletin on the first day of Al Jazeera's International English language service from Washington November 15, 2006. Arabic television station Al Jazeera launched an English-speaking channel on Wednesday to report world news from a Middle East perspective and challenge the dominance of Western media.
Friday’s "Early Show" analyzed the Democrat Party’s leadership election with CBS News Capitol Hill correspondent Sharyl Attkisson recognizing the failure of Speaker-designate Nancy Pelosi in her endeavor to replace her rival, Representative Steny Hoyer, with her friend, Congressman John Murtha, in the House Democrat Party leadership. Pelosi was compared to a head football coach who’s team revolted when the star quarterback was chosen. Attkisson also referenced Murtha’s questionable ethics, the only reporter of the network morning shows, CBS, NBC, or ABC, to do so on Friday.
In introducing the piece, co-host Hannah Storm noted that the leadership elections were mixed results for Speaker-to-be, Nancy Pelosi, and Ms. Attkisson began her report citing Pelosi’s failure to elevate her ally to the majority leader post:
"It's as if the new coach picked her star quarterback, but the team wouldn't have it. And the coach, Nancy Pelosi, was shocked."
During the past week, NewsBusters has made it quite clear that the media have a love affair going with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and antiwar Congressman Jack Murtha. The big question around the cooler yesterday was which media outlets would be critical of either Democrat given Thursday’s vote to appoint Steny Hoyer as House Majority Leader. Well, separating themselves from the pack on Friday was the New York Times which published a scathing editorial surprisingly lambasting both Pelosi and Murtha (emphasis mine throughout):
Nancy Pelosi has managed to severely scar her leadership even before taking up the gavel as the new speaker of the House. First, she played politics with the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee to settle an old score and a new debt. And then she put herself in a lose-lose position by trying to force a badly tarnished ally, Representative John Murtha, on the incoming Democratic Congress as majority leader. The party caucus put a decisive end to that gambit yesterday, giving the No. 2 job to Steny Hoyer, a longtime Pelosi rival.
Checking that link about now? Don’t, because it’s going to get better:
Not content with news propaganda on global warming, now NBC has turned the idea into a sitcom plot. On the November 16 “My Name Is Earl,” Earl (Jason Lee) and his brother meet a commune of “hippie people” who convince them in their best Al Gore fashion “we got to keep reducing greenhouse gases and reverse global warming.”
The two regulars had entered the commune to give Earl a chance to make amends to a former stoner name Woody (played by Christian Slater). They (and the audience watching at home) ended up getting lectured about the evils of climate change complete with charts that looked like they came from Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Is MSNBC a liberal network? Just ask Chris Matthews, who let Al Franken whack John Fund around on "Hardball" last night, telling Fund his "buddies" in the GOP are "crooks." While Fund took offense at the personal attacks, Matthews treated it like part of Franken's stand-up routine. At the segment's end, though, Matthews oozed all over Franken's performance: "Please come back, Al. You've been doing a lot of homework, and I think you got a 'head of the class.' Very well done. I'm not sarcastic. It’s great. Thank you, Al, for coming on."
Fund never responded to the joke-slash-personal attack with the obvious line: Franken, the guy whose buddies at Air America were ripping off the Boys and Girls Clubs to pay his multi-million-dollar salary, making crook jokes? Of course, if he had, Matthews probably would have done a full Malkin on him, and told him he didn't put up with personal attacks....
In a surprising moment on Today this morning, NBC Middle East Bureau Chief and self proclaimed pacifist Richard Engel warned of the dangers of pulling out of Iraq too soon. In his reporting, Engel warned that a premature withdrawal could be dangerous on a global scale.
Richard Engel: "As the debate in the U.S. increasingly focuses on finding an exit strategy from Iraq after the Democrats gains in congress, 7,000 miles away, U.S. Troops and Iraqis face tough questions: What will happen on the ground if U.S. Forces leave? What are the options? Analysts say staying the course isn't one of them, but neither is pulling out too quickly."
It seems like CNN (and not Fox News) is on every public TV. But one hotel chain has decided that the liberal news network crossed the line when it showed a terrorist video. Reports the AP:
A Midwest hotel chain has pulled CNN from the TV channel lineup in its guest rooms, saying the cable network was aiding terrorism with the broadcast of a video showing Iraqi snipers shooting at U.S. troops.
The broadcast, which aired Oct. 18 on CNN and CNN Headline News, featured portions of a tape the network said it obtained from a rebel group, Islamic Army of Iraq.
It crossed the line from journalism to propaganda, said James Thompson, president of Iowa-based Stoney Creek Hospitality Corp. ''It was shocking and repulsive,'' he said. ''Their actions supported terrorism.''
Media blog I Want Media is taking nominations for Media Person of the Year. Last year it was Anderson Cooper. Who do our NewsBusters readers think should be the Media Person of the year?
Forget Time magazine's Person of the Year. Who should be named Media Person of the Year in I Want Media's fifth annual online poll?
Which figure in the media industry inspired the most debate, sparked the most interest, left a lasting imprint?
An influential media CEO ... a crusading journalist ... a ground-breaking blogger? Here's an opportunity to take a look back at the year in media through some of its leading (and sometimes over-the-top) personalities.
Include a brief explanation as to why the person you nominate deserves to be recognized. Your comments may be posted on the site.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Murders in the United States jumped 4.8 percent last year, and overall violent crime was up 2.5 percent for the year, marking the largest annual increase in crime in the United States since 1991, according to figures released Monday by the FBI.
Robberies nationally increased 4.5 percent, and aggravated assaults increased 1.9 percent, while the number of rapes last year fell 1.9 percent, the report said.
On our way from Habbaniyah to Camp Al-Asad, further west in Al Anbar province, we found ourselves out on the tarmac at Camp TQ awaiting our helo. After 15 bone-chilling minutes out on the cold and windy tarmac, we were rescued by a Marine from the ground crew, explaining that there'd be a delay and inviting us to share his crew's quarters - a Conex box, roughly half the size of a shipping container. In the blackout conditions, we sat in the light of the red and green chem-lights. To pass the time, one of the men grabbed another's iPod, mentioning out loud the musical selections found. A variety of ingenious and occasionally unprintable critiques of the various artists and songs were offered up.
This past week saw The Washington Post ask a classically liberal question: Is America more racist or sexist?
Following the lead of this major paper, ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked the same question, adding a surreptitious angle. She wondered, "Is the nation, secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?"
The "Good Morning America" host wasn’t through, however. On Tuesday, she offered the query again. This time, Sawyer added a new spin, "secret genderism." The recipient of the question, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, readily agreed. America is guilty, she asserted, it just isn’t "very secret."
Speaking of The Washington Post, ever wonder how many times the paper mentioned "macaca?" According to MRC President Brent Bozell, the paper featured the phrase no less then 112 times!
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann absurdly linked domestic terrorism to "right-wing blogs."
While Olbermann slimed conservatives, CNN labeled the current low gas prices "a recovery." Why, just a few weeks ago, the falling costs represented a link between "Big Oil" and the GOP. What a difference an election makes!
The man Democrats nominated for Majority Leader, Rep. Steny Hoyer, has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of eight percent (zero percent in 2004, 12 percent in 2005). If you'd rather have the liberal rating, Americans for Democratic Action gave him a 100 in 2004, and a 95 in 2005. This should mean that any objective reporter would describe him as a "liberal." But here's the Friday Washington Post account of his selection, headlined "Political Pragmatism Carried Hoyer to the Top," by Post political reporter Shailagh Murray:
Steny H. Hoyer is a practical moderate and Nancy Pelosi is a liberal idealist, and for more than 40 years they have competed like siblings, all the way to the pinnacle of politics.
National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez updated yesterday's story on Patrick Leahy pushing for a Justice Department probe of Laura Ingraham with MP-3 audio. (She joked, "Good luck with that, man. Oh, maybe this Democrat Congress thing could be a wee bit fun to watch.") Here's the transcript of Senator Leahy's inquiry to Wan J. Kim, the assistant attorney general for civil rights. Leahy's asking about a show he clearly hasn't listened to, since he couldn't accurately pronounce the host's name:
According to press accounts, right-wing radio host Laura Ingray-ham, or In-gramm, or Ingra-ham, had urged her listeners to jam a phone line set up by Democrats to investigate alleged voter irregularities. She said, uh, she told her listeners everybody call that voting line at the same time and basically, mark it inoperative. Is that something, that, um, that your division investigates?
Now that the Democrats have picked their Majority Leader in the House the outcome gives us (and her) the first hint that Speaker Pelosi is not the powerhouse she thought she was. Her man, Murtha, lost in a landslide: 149 to 86... a thumpin' to say the least.
In my last report on how the MSM covered this little inter Dem fight I pointed out that they were ignoring how distant were the two positions on pulling out of Iraq that is held by the erstwhile candidates for Majority Leader.
I noted how they refused to portray Murtha's position as "extreme", even as he supports pulling out of Iraq immediately to Hoyer's, who does not. I noted that the MSM did not waste much breath contrasting Murtha's position with the far less volatile position held by Hoyer.
It seems strangely inconsistent that the MSM ignored the Iraq war issue in their stories since they made the entire recent election all about Iraq and how it is a mess and that our soldiers should come home. Yet, a guy who does not want an immediate pull out defeated Murtha and this fact went uncommented upon.
The global warming debate got even funnier on Thursday. When we last spoke, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration had released data indicating that 2006 likely wouldn’t be the warmest year on record, and no media outlets had yet covered the story. Well, much to my surprise, ABCNews.com did report this announcement, but did so by doing their darnedest to inform readers that this recent two-month cold snap is irrelevant in the grand scheme of the global warming discussion. Stick with this, because it’s really hysterical.
In an article titled (I’m not kidding!) “Weather Is Not Climate; Cooler Weather and Fewer Hurricanes Do Not Lessen Global Warming Trends, Say Scientists,” authors Clayton Sandell and Bill Blakemore began (emphasis mine throughout):
In the past week, Time magazine has effectively demonstrated one of the methods of disseminating propaganda in this country. First, one makes a totally unsubstantiated claim about a high-ranking official that your media outlet doesn’t care for. Then, you backtrack, cover your bases, and much like Gilda Radner’s old character on “Saturday Night Live,” say, “Never mind.” The problem is that in many cases, the damage created by your first report is done, and can’t be rectified.