The trial of Scooter Libby is providing some pretty revealing insight into the mindset of the Washington press. This Sunday's Meet the Press featured an unabashed series of self-glorifications that make it no wonder the general public is turning elsewhere to get its news. The pedestal that the press places itself upon has grown so high now that they appear to believe themselves, at last, above the law. Tim Russert’s disastrous dance with Libby attorney Theodore Wells last week left him gun-shy enough to allow Howard Kurtz to frame the discussion. Kurtz began by expressing sympathy for Russert’s position on the witness stand, describing Russert as ‘cautious, hesitant, as anybody would be.’ There was no criticism of Russert’s failed memory, no suggestion of the responsibility of a journalist whose statements may end up sending a man to prison. Instead, Kurtz chastised those outside the beltway that have become deluded with the idea that the Washington press is in fact part of the political game:
"And I think that the people out there who don’t follow this all that closely think that we have become part of the club, too much the insiders. And that is a problem for journalism."
Listen closely to what Kurtz doesn’t say- he doesn’t say that becoming ‘part of the club’ is a problem for journalism. He says that the misconception on the part of those out of the loop that journalists have become part of the club is a problem for journalism. So apparently all they have to do is let us all know the truth, and the problem disappears. Precise work from the author of a book called Spin Cycle.
A new CBS News poll, released Monday night, determined that Americans are almost exactly evenly split on whether Congress should “pass a non-binding resolution against sending additional troops to Iraq” with 44 percent in favor and 45 percent opposed. But in highlighting how the Senate on Tuesday “will begin a three-day debate on a non-binding, symbolic resolution stating its disapproval of President Bush's Iraq troop build-up,” CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric ignored that finding of an evenly-divided nation. Instead, she focused on how “a total of 53 percent say Congress ought to block funding for additional troops or for the war entirely.”
In offering up that number, which combined two answers, she obscured the poll question’s real news: A piddling 8 percent wish to “block all funding” for the war in Iraq. As an on-screen graphic showed, to get to 53 percent Couric and CBS producers combined the 8 percent with the 45 percent who want to “block funding for more troops” -- a percent only slightly higher than, and within the three-point margin of error, the 42 percent who want to “allow all funding.” CBS’s graphic did not include the 42 percent result.
Jon Meacham, Executive Editor of "Newsweek" joined the Obama bandwagon on Monday’s "Imus in the Morning" program. Mr Meacham declared that Senator Obama’s presidential candidacy was a good thing because it will make people face their prejudices, not only in terms of race, but against Democrats as well. Meacham further declared Senator Hillary Clinton to be old news. Later, in the segment, Meacham praised John Kerry, particularly his "finest moment" when he denounced the Vietnam war and claimed Senator Kerry’s statement asking "how do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake," is prescient now, and Mr. Meacham regrets that the Democrats are so rough on the Massachusetts Senator.
During the Monday edition of the "Situation Room," Jack Cafferty discussed U.S. allegations that Iraqi militants are killing American soldiers with weapons provided by Iran. At the conclusion of the "Cafferty File" segment, the CNN host engaged in the always reliable media tradition of moral equivalence, comparing Iran’s action to U.S. support of Afghan rebels in the 1980s. Apparently, the fact that America was opposing the brutal Russian regime, whereas, in this case, Iran is the oppressive entity, makes no difference. Cafferty and "Situation Room" host Wolf Blitzer also exhibited skepticism about the United State’s timing in making these accusations:
Jack Cafferty: "So here is the question: ‘When it comes to Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq, who do you believe?’ E-mail your thoughts to CaffertyFile@CNN.com or go to CNN.com/Caffertyfile. Reminiscent, Wolf, of the war in Afghanistan, when Russia invaded. It seems to me we were– The United States was supplying weapons and intelligence and things like that to the Afghan rebels."
Wolf Blitzer: "The Mujahideen, a lot. Through the CIA, through the Saudis, Those shoulder-fired missiles which brought down a lot of Soviet helicopters."
Cafferty: "So, that was okay but it's not okay if Iran-- I'm, I’m confused, Wolf."
Blitzer: "Well, you know, later we will talk to Michael Ware about the timing, why the U.S. is releasing all this information right now since it's been out there at least for a year, maybe two."
From the moment Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of Moveon.org, turned up on this afternoon's Tucker Carlson, something just didn't feel right. Matzzie just didn't fit the Moveon mold. There was no whiff of the angry zealot about him, no sense that Tucker was one misstep away from witnessing a meltdown. Mattzie came across as one more pleasant-enough fellow with a DC organizational gig. Someone who might even have fit in an outfit as conventional and boring, say, as the 2004 John Kerry campaign. Which is precisely where, as the record reveals, Matzzie did spend the last presidential season, working as the Kerry-Edwards director of online organizing.
Matzzie was on to discuss the issue of whether, from the perspective of the left, Hillary needs to do a full-frontal mea culpa for her 2002 vote authorizing the war in Iraq. Carlson began by playing the clip from this past weekend in New Hampshire of a man at a campaign event solemnly informing Hillary that until she admits to a "mistake" on the vote, he and other like-minded people aren't going to hear all the other "great things" she's saying. Hillary trotted out her shopworn line about having "taken responsibility" for her vote -- whatever that means -- while claiming that "the mistakes were made by this president." The specific issue at hand aside, I would encourage people to view the video of Hillary's remarks. Her tone, and her tendency to blame others, are unappealing, and underline her shortcomings as a candidate.
When Carlson asked "why can't Hillary Clinton just apologize?", I fully expected Matzzie to enthusiastically agree. But, au contraire,MoveOn's man responded "I don't think it's about apologies; I think what people really want to hear is how Senator Clinton is going to help get America out of Iraq."
NBC's Matt Lauer opened this morning's Today show with news of the Dixie Chicks' big win at last night's Grammy Awards and used the moment to take a dig at the President's expense. After Lauer teased segments on snow in the Midwest and a skydiver who survived a fall, Lauer took his shot via the big news that an outspoken liberal musical group was awarded a prize from their liberal peers in the music industry:
Lauer: "And Chicks rule! They were shunned after criticizing the President but after a big night at the Grammys the Dixie Chicks are getting the last laugh today, Monday, February 12th, 2007."
Later in the show, in the 9am hour, Natalie Morales declared it was "a big evening for some ladies who've endured some tough times," and West Coast contributor Maria Menenous scored a backstage interview with the Chicks along with Rolling Stone's Joe Levy who asked if the win was a "vindication."
"Consider the case closed on global warming," wrote Time's Bryan Walsh in the Feb. 19, 2007 issue.
Walsh's article also stated that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had found the culprit for climate change: humans. Throughout the piece Walsh advocated government mandates and highlighted main points of the IPCC report that he agreed with, but undermined the point that wasn't frightening enough (how much sea levels are predicted to rise).
You can find the Business & Media Institute's full story by Amy Menefee here.
"Good Morning America’s" Diane Sawyer, who is now reporting from Iran, last Thursday finished her trip to Syria by interviewing women of that country and portraying the brutal dictatorship as a pro-family paradise. Included in this group of females was the top woman in Syrian President Bashar Assad’s cabinet. Rather then ask her about the country’s repression of human rights, "Parade Magazine" recently ranked Assad the world’s tenth worst dictator, Sawyer chose to highlight the country’s low pregnancy rate and "safety on the streets."
During the February 8 segment, the veteran ABC journalist repeatedly found America lacking in comparison to what seems to be a socialist paradise. Sawyer began by asking the collected group of Syrian females about their opinion of American women:
Diane Sawyer: "What do they think of American women? They say we have so many opportunities, yet they'd give us something from Syria, safety on the streets, family to help with children, and the government helping too."
Geoff Dickens noticed that last Thursday's Today show carried a remarkably docile debate between conservative commentator Ann Coulter and left-wing author and academic Michael Eric Dyson. Well, the chumminess even extends to Coulter offering a dust-cover blurb for Dyson's new book Debating Race, officially out today (it's not the first blurb on the actual cover, as it is on Dyson's website):
“I will protect both our reputations by saying Michael Eric Dyson and I often disagree—but one thing we do agree on is the importance of ideas. This book is an absolute delight to read. It contains a font of information, delivered with Dyson’s distinctive eloquence. I screamed or laughed on every page at memorable phrases (such as the comparison of Martin Luther King to Puff Daddy). As always, Dyson is fiercely honest, controversial, engaging, funny, and brimming with arguments and ideas.” -- Ann Coulter
Their sympathetic peers in the entertainment industry awarded The Dixie Chicks five Grammys at Sunday night's awards ceremony, including Song of the Year for "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's petulant response to critics who disapproved of singer Natalie Maines' remark onstage in London in 2003: "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas." (Maines is from Texas.)
The Monday story showed the Times once again portraying the Dixie Chicks as free-speech martyrs, while managing to avoid mentioning the scads of free, flattering publicity in the wake of the incident and subsequent fiery comments by Maines that alienated much of her previous fanbase.
Is America ready for a black president? This was how CBS’s Steve Kroft portrayed the presidential candidacy of Illinois Senator Barack Obama in a piece on the February 11th "60 Minutes." In an interview that touched on Mr. Obama’s personal life story, his lack of experience and his past drug use, Mr. Kroft seemed most interested in discussing race, and by implication the notion that America is racist. Kroft seemed shocked when Senator Obama asserted that his race would not be a factor in the race, and that America is ready for a black president:
Steve Kroft: "Do you think the country is ready for a black president?"
As the media, the left, and the United Nations become more and more strident about a supposed scientific consensus surrounding anthropogenic global warming, more and more dissenters speak out against the junk science involved in this mythology.
The most recent was Vaclav Klaus, the President of the Czech Republic.
In an interview with "Hospodářské noviny," a Czech economics daily, Klaus made the following observations (emphasis mine throughout):
Global warming is a false myth and every serious person and scientist says so. It is not fair to refer to the U.N. panel. IPCC is not a scientific institution: it's a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor. It's neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists. These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment.
I couldn’t agree more. Klaus marvelously continued:
Amid unfounded and frivolous charges that the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute are involved in pay for play science on Global Warming, it seems Theresa Heinz Kerry previously directed an unrestricted cash gift of up to a quarter million dollars to a nuclear scientist become climatologist, now leading the charge of doom-sayers on Global Warming. Additionally, one scientist recently quoted by the New York Times now appears to be disagreeing with his own extensive research and an exclusive preview of a soon to be published research paper from another Harvard scientist raises serious questions about a key item Global Warming proponents have recently enlisted in their cause.
Admin note: There was a corruption in some of our data tables over the weekend which should no longer be present. For the technically inclined, I've migrated them from MyISAM to InnoDB which has more robust data management features. The move should also make making a comment go quicker, too.
As for our planned upgrade, I am working with someone to migrate us to version 4.7 of our software Drupal. When this is completed, we are going to shortly thereafter switch hosting companies.
However, all this moving is going to be expensive as is the new hardware and being released from our contract. If you could help MRC and NB with a donation, we'd all appreciate it greatly. There are some big things coming in the next few weeks and months and it will be nice when these tech issues are out of the way so stay tuned.
The defense in the Scooter Libby trial has subpoenaed NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell to speak about her earlier statement that the profession of Valerie Plame Wilson "was widely known among those of us who cover the intelligence community."
She's since retracted it after her remarks seemingly implicated her NBC colleague Tim Russert. The prosecution also does not want Mitchell to testify as Clarice Feldman notes:
Yet Special Counsel Patrick
Fitzgerald is fighting hard to make sure reporter Andrea Mitchell's
testimony is not heard, and is asking the jury to buy some highly
implausible notions about a key FBI interview with NBC's Washington
Bureau Chief Tim Russert.
prosecution is still trying hard to keep Andrea Mitchell from being
called as a defense witness. In a pleading Friday, the defense is
trying just as hard to get court permission to call her. The
prosecution argues that the defense cannot call a witness just to
impeach her, and the defense says that is not their only reason to call
her, that she has other evidence to provide, and that a fair trial
cannot be had without her being called and questioned by the defense.
The AP has found a new way to attack TV's 24. They say that because of the depiction of character Jack Bauer's, shall we say, short-cuts in interrogating prisoners his ways have now infected the US Military. Absurdly, the AP is advancing the case, in "Does Jack Bauer Influence Interrogators?", that "there are indications that real-life American interrogators in Iraq are taking cues from what they see on television."
Are they indeed? Says who?
Predictably the AP reports these claims are from the "advocacy group Human Rights First".
Since 9/11, there has been an international debate concerning a battle of civilizations. After the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., many have categorized the war on terrorism as an epic struggle between East and West, a modern day Crusades if you will.
In the few short weeks since the Democrats officially took over Congress, a different war has taken shape within our own borders, and has morphed into a potentially more important conflagration, at least for the time being.
At the heart of the debate is anthropogenic global warming, and what America should do about it if anything. On the fringes is: the battle to unionize Wal-Mart; another push for universal healthcare; the perennial goal of raising taxes; the jealous desire to limit the pay of CEOs, and; a Hugo Chavez-like call to strip the oil companies of their profits.
Diane Sawyer sat down to ask Mahmoud Ahmadinejad [MA] some tough questions today, and a weather report broke out. Having spent last week in Syria, Diane is now in Iran on the second leg of her All-Dictator Tour. She began her interview of MA, televised on this morning's GMA, by asking him "are you sending Iranian weapons into Iraq?"
In lieu of an answer, MA went Sam Champion on Sawyer: "Let me first say good morning to our viewers all over the states and its good people, and let me tell them that we have spring weather here in Tehran, and I hope it will be spring all over the world."
He stopped just short of giving a shout-out to his homies Parvin, Roshan and Farzan in Bel-Air.
What followed was a series of non-denial denials that were laughable in their evasiveness.
Rock radio listeners in the Washington DC area noticed when CBS's classic-rock FM station WARW mixed recent songs in with the oldies and started calling itself "The Globe." It's not just a moniker, it's a marketing strategy. CBS is going to power the station with slightly more expensive wind-generated power. In The Washington Post business section Monday, reporter Frank Ahrens says radio always tries to capitalize on the "cultural trends of the moment," and that Al Gore-style eco-panic is firmly in the "mainstream" now:
The WARW format switch also demonstrates how environmentalism has moved to the political center. Thirty years ago, it was considered fringe. Even five years ago, it would have been highly unlikely for a mainstream commercial radio station to align itself with concerns over global warming -- too crunchy for most listeners. Now, WARW thinks such branding might increase its ratings, as environmentalism -- like recycling -- carries a positive and widely popular connotation. Even Wal-Mart buys wind power.
When, on Sunday's Face the Nation, host Bob Schieffer asserted that after the Senate debate over resolutions on Iraq “came to a halt, every newspaper in the country that I know about had a headline on the front page that said 'Republicans block debate on Iraq war,'” Republican Senator Trent Lott corrected Schieffer and all the other misguided journalists: “That was totally incorrect.” A befuddled Schieffer asked about the spin which dominated the media early in the week: “How can all of them have been wrong?” Lott explained: “Because we didn't block debate. Actually, the vote was to continue debate.” Indeed, Senate Republican wanted to allow votes on several proposed resolutions while the Democratic leadership wanted debate limited to two resolutions.
Schieffer himself endorsed the spin unfavorable to Republicans. On Wednesday's Early Show, as noted in Michael Rule's NewsBusters posting, Schieffer castigated Republicans: “So they did the only thing that they could do, they used the Senate rules to block the vote. Now that group will give you another version of all this, but basically that's what happened.”
Brent Bozell, President of the Media Research Center which operates NewsBusters, appeared Sunday night on FNC's Hannity's America. Sean Hannity set up the February 11 segment by playing an exchange Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton had in New Hampshire with a voter who wanted her to apologize for her pro-war resolution vote and to apologize for it. After Hannity ran video clips to contrast Clinton's current distancing from the Iraq war with how before the war she warned of the threat from Iraq and advocated war, Hannity and Bozell discussed how the news media have avoided pointing out such contradictions.
Video clip, including Hannity's collection of Clinton flip-flops (6:50): Real (5.1 MB at 100 kbps) or Windows Media (4.3 MB at 81 kbps), plus MP3 audio (2.4 MB)
Roy Chase (L) of CBS News and Vince Lugo, a cameraman for 'Entertainment Tonight', read a newspaper story about the death of Anna Nicole Smith while waiting for a news conference scheduled to follow the autopsy of Smith at the Broward County Medical Examiner's office in Fort Lauderdale, Florida February 9, 2007
The steamy love affair between the Los Angeles Times and Barack Obama shows no signs of letting up. The archives at the Times will show that yesterday's big announcement by Obama was reported today with 1,215 words on page A17 (here, Sunday, February 11, 2007). In truth, there was actually more than this. There was also a 16-square-inch, full-color photo of Obama prominently displayed on the front page (see the image here). Barack is shown waving happily in front of a large backdrop of the American flag. (By the way, nowhere does the word "liberal" appear anywhere in the article!)
A few days old but a goodie. I've seen in this one report something that's often missing from network treatment of the minimum wage issue: a quantification of how much the government wage mandate affects the bottom line for small businesses, and ends up screwing over the little guy.
Mark Messner, owner of Pepi's Pizza in south Phoenix, estimates he has
employed more than 2,000 high school students since 1990. But he plans
to lay off three teenage workers and decrease hours worked by others.
Of his 25-person workforce, roughly 75 percent are in high school.
"I've had to go to some of my kids and say, 'Look, my payroll just
increased 13 percent,' " he said. " 'Sorry, I don't have any hours for
Messner's monthly cost to train an employee has jumped from $440 to $580 as the turnover rate remains high.
"We go to great lengths to hang on to our high school workers, but
there are a lot of kids who come in and get one check in their pocket
and feel like they're living large and out the door they go," he said.
"We never get our return on investment when that happens."
In the Scooter Libby trial, the jury heard a tape of NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert sounding very much like a liberal Democrat expressing glee at approaching indictments in the Plamegate prosecution of Patrick Fitzgerald on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning on October 28, 2005 (in the 8:30 half hour). He said "Santa Claus is coming tomorrow." MRC's Mike Rule dug out the tape to give people outside the courtroom some of the flavor of that giddy conversation:
Imus: "Here's somebody, if this person who we're going to talk to now doesn't know [who will be indicted in the CIA leak case, or even if indictments are coming] nobody knows. The Washington Bureau Chief for NBC News and the host of 'Meet the Press' Tim Russert. Good morning Mr. Russert."
Don't believe me? Ask the Boston Globe. Better put, have a gander at the paper's editorial cartoon of today. What does the Globe mean by saying that Mitt Romney "once worshipped at the church of moderation"? No doubt the Globe has in mind Mitt's glory days of 1994, campaigning against Ted Kennedy for his Senate seat.
As the Globe documented here, in 1994, Romney aligned himself with Kennedy on abortion, arguing that it should be safe and legal. He also voiced support for the controversial abortion pill RU-486. And when it came to gay rights, Romney portrayed himself as being an even more ardent advocate for the cause, promising "more effective leadership" than Kennedy on winning "full equality" for gays and lesbians, opposed a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, and advocated gays serving openly in the military.
Nigel Calder is probably not a household name in America, as he used to be the editor of the British science magazine New Scientist, and is more recently an author and BBC screenwriter. With that as pretext, he wrote a column for the Sunday Times in which he absolutely slammed the recent hysteria and junk science surrounding anthropogenic global warming (emphasis mine throughout):
When politicians and journalists declare that the science of global warming is settled, they show a regrettable ignorance about how science works. We were treated to another dose of it recently when the experts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued the Summary for Policymakers that puts the political spin on an unfinished scientific dossier on climate change due for publication in a few months’ time. They declared that most of the rise in temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to man-made greenhouse gases.
Calder wonderfully explained how a ten percent uncertainty in science is not something to be easily dismissed:
For someone who by his book title claims the mantle of "audacity," Barack Obama is a mighty timid guy. Will the MSM look beyond his rhetoric of inclusion and consider his actual positions? If so, they'll find that nowhere has he had the courage to break from the most doctrinaire, predictable brand of liberalism.
For my sins, I went through the text of his announcement speech of yesterday, ignoring the high-flown appeals, focusing instead on the policy implications. Here are annotated excerpts.
Of his time in the Illinois legislature, he spoke of "mak[ing] the tax system more fair and just for working families." Liberal code for making taxes more steeply progressive, with "working families" thrown in for good class-warfare measure.
Of the founding event of our country, the Revolution, he said "in the face of tyranny, a band of patriots brought an Empire to its knees." Beyond the factual error -- far from being brought to its knees the British Empire survived very nicely for more than another 150 years -- note how he casts the Revolution first and foremost as a struggle against imperialism rather than as a quest for individual liberty.
Of the great Depression, he said "we put people back to work and lifted millions out of poverty." That's a vote for the welfare-statism of FDR's New Deal.